PEX is making a serious impact for DIYers so take a look at the tools below then we’ll help you figure out which is right for your home.
Here are our reviews of the 4 best PEX crimp tools on the market:
SharkBite 23251 PEX Crimping Tool
This is on the cheaper end of things, but don’t let that fool you. This PEX crimp allows you to handle both ½” and ¾” lines with quite a bit of ease. It’s also the size of a small pair of bolt cutters (see full specs) so keep that in mind if you’re looking to work in super tight areas.
The only unfortunate thing is that it doesn’t come with crimps, so you’ll have to buy your fittings separately. Still, it’s definitely one of the cheapest ways to handle PEX tubing and the user-friendly aspects will help you get things done very easily.
IWISS PEX CINCH Crimping Tool Crimper for Stainless Steel Clamps
If you’re looking to get everything done with one purchase, then you may want to take a close look at the IWISS PEX. This one handles everything from 3/8” to 1” and comes with several crimps so you’ll be ready to go right out of the box.
On top of that, its super simple to use and the price is definitely right for a beginner tool. It even comes with a calibration tool, so pick it up if you’ve never used PEX cinches before and you’re going to be ready to go quicker than you ever thought possible. This is likely the best PEX crimp tool for the money.
IWISS® F1807 PEX Pipe Crimping Tool Kit
This is one of the best around and if you’re a professional you could do a lot worse. It may be a bit overkill for the average homeowner, however, simply due to the cost. This PEX crimp tool is designed to handle everything from 3/8” to 1” lines and is designed a lot better than most of the crimps out there.
With a handy carrying case, comfort grip, and easily changeable jaws (see full specs), even the heaviest use will see these lasting forever and being a convenient way to speed up plumbing jobs. Durability and comfort in one package, as long as you’re willing to pay the higher price.
Apollo 69PTKG1096 PEX Quick Cinch Clamp Fastening Hand Tool
PEX crimps can be hard to lay down, so if you need a bit of extra leverage then these might just be the right option for you. Like any respectable PEX crimp they’ll let you take care of 3/8” to 1” lines, but the extra bit of manual force from the design of the head is definitely a nice touch.
These still aren’t one-handed tools, but if you want to make things a little bit easier on yourself then you may want to give these Apollo crimps a shot. These are among the best PEX crimp tools in my book.
Why Use PEX Crimps?
There are a ton of different crimps out there these days, but PEX has a lot of advantages for the home DIYer. The biggest one is simple: you can run a line without having to measure and cut.
Just loop the line over the fitting, stick the crimp on, and close things up. It’s super-easy overall.
The only real drawback is that it requires a pretty large amount of force to close these crimps. There are models that make it a bit easier, and a better tool is always going to give you an advantage, but it’s a bit more involved than traditional fittings.
On the other hand, not having to measure down the 1/16” of an inch is a pretty impressive advantage for those who aren’t in the professional plumbing game.
What to Look for in Your PEX Crimp Tools
These tools are fairly simple in construction, so as long as they’re not going to break within the first couple of hours of use, most people will be fine with them.
On the other hand, if you’re looking to ensure that you get the best experience with these crimps, look for the following qualities.
Instead of closing straight in, some PEX crimps have an extra angle to add some leverage to things. You can easily tell by the head: they’ll have a farther offset and an extra axis of movement.
On the other hand, these extra moving parts do tend to reduce durability over the long term. Keep that in mind if you’ve got adequate hand strength to work the normal models.
For the most part, in a residential setting, PEX crimps come in sizes of 3/8” to 1”. As long as you have those covered then you’re unlikely to run into anything incompatible within your home.
You can get away with a smaller variation of sizes as well, including a few tools which just have a couple of different-sized holes instead of you having to switch the jaws out entirely to change things up.
Which type you go with largely depends on your intended application, but we tend to favor a wider range of sizes.
Comfort grips are essential. PEX crimps take quite a bit of force to close and if you’re having to do a bunch of them in a row then you’ll really appreciate rubberized grips.
At the very least you need a coating, but if you’re planning on using them a lot then you want to look for grips which will fit your hand well.
PEX crimps are awesome for making plumbing jobs around your home a lot quicker. If you spend the time to learn how to use them, and invest in the best PEX crimp tool you can find, then you’re going to be in good hands and you’ll find them expedient and convenient.
If you haven’t used one yet, then what are you waiting for? Make the investment today and you’re going to find a whole new world of ease with your next job. Good luck!