Reliable connections are possible with the best PEX crimping tools. Because the affordability and convenience of cross-linked polyethylene (PEX) piping over copper and PVC make it one of the best choices for plumbing.
In order to make use of PEX piping in your new construction or remodeling project, you will need to be able to make reliable connections that will stand up to pressure and wear.
Best PEX Crimping Tools In 2019
Our reviews and buyer’s guide are here to help you make that decision. In our reviews, we will compare some of the top 5 PEX crimping tools using a variety of features as a standard. Those features are all found in our buyer’s guide.
Which provides what you need to know about the crimping tools options available and answers some of the most common questions you might have. Our goal is to provide you with enough information to make a qualified choice when you purchase your best PEX crimping tools.
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IWISS PEX Pipe Crimping Tool Kit – Best Overall PEX Crimping Tool
Getting into hard to reach places during the installation of PEX pipe is simplified using the IWiss PEX Crimping Tool. The innovative head on this tool along with its versatility, accuracy, durability and ergonomic features makes this one of the best overall PEX crimping tools available.
Tight places don’t have to cause crimping problems. The design of this tool’s head is more compact and better suited to meet those challenges.
It allows for crimping a wide range of pipe sizes from 3/8” up to 1” by easily changing the head ring size. Along with head ring adjustment, this tool also allows you to properly calibrate its jaws for the best fit possible for each ring size.
This crimping tool is constructed of pressure-treated steel for greater durability. And comes with an ergonomic, sure-grip handle for greater comfort and improved leverage for getting a solid squeeze on that crimping ring. Included with the crimper are a crimper ring removal tool and a GO/NO GO gauge to ensure a proper seal at each connection.
This tool comes packaged in a compartmentalized carrying case. So that you can find what you need when you need it and to protect your tool from damage when not in use.
Apollo PEX Multi-Head Crimp Tool Kit – Best Heavy-Duty PEX Crimping Tool
With a durable construction, versatility and the ability to adjust the crimping force of this tool. It is the best heavy-duty PEX crimping tool in our review.
Durable, high-quality tool steel is the foundation of this crimping tool. It features a compound hinge that increases your leverage, especially in hard to reach places. And allows you to get a solid seal on your crimping connections.
You have a variety of options when it comes to pipe and connection sizes with this tool. Because it provides heads for four different sizes from 3/8” up to 1” diameter connections. These rings are easy to switch out as you move from one job to the next. And are also made of durable tool steel.
What sets this tool apart from its competitors is the ability to adjust the amount of force you can apply to various crimping instances. Which makes it an ergonomic and easy to use choice when you are wrapped up in a heavy-duty plumbing job.
IWISS PEX Ratcheting CINCH Crimping Tool – Best Cinch Style PEX Crimping Tool
Those who prefer cinch clamp to crimp ring connections will want to take a serious look at the IWiss PEX Ratcheting Cinch Crimping Tool. This is among the best cinch style PEX crimping tools on the market. Because of its build quality, accuracy, and ergonomic features.
IWiss quality is built into the tempered, tool-steel construction of this crimper. The head design is sized and shaped to fit into spaces that are a challenge to reach.
It is properly setup with calibration adjustments to ensure the most accurate seal as time. And use begin to wear on your tool, which is something a factory calibrated tool cannot provide.
The ratcheting function on this tool is a unique feature that is not found in all cinch-type crimping tools. Because of the ratcheting function on this tool. It requires less force and allows you to repeat the same function multiple times with minimal strain. It is designed to begin ratcheting the moment you start to apply pressure on the clamp. And continues to ratchet until the clamp is properly sealed before letting go.
SharkBite PEX Crimping Tool – Most Efficient PEX Crimping Tool
When it comes to simplicity and efficiency the SharkBite PEX Crimping Tool is tough to beat. The durability, construction quality, ergonomics and ease of use of this tool makes it a solid choice for those who tend to work with the two main sizes of PEX pipe.
There is no changing out head ring sizes on the SharkBite. Which means there are no extra parts to lose and search for. You slip this crimping tool over the crimping ring whether ½” or ¾”. And use the leverage of its compound hinges to give the ring a good squeeze.
No calibration is necessary with this tool and the included GO/NO-GO gauge is designed to work quickly and easily in a variety of positions. Its handles are designed with a solid, tempered tool steel with an ergonomic grip. So that your hands will stay in place as you squeeze.
Zurn QCRTMH Steel Multi-Head Copper Crimp Tool – Best Copper Ring PEX Crimping Tool
Getting a watertight PEX connection with a copper crimp ring can be accomplished using the Zurn QCRTMH Steel Multi-Head Copper Crimp Tool. This tool is a durable, versatile and frustration-free option among the best copper ring PEX crimping tools available on the market.
High-quality, tempered, tool-steel is utilized throughout the head, hinge and handles of this crimping tool to ensure that it will still be working well years down the road. In addition, its compound hinge provides you with the leverage necessary to work all day without too much strain.
The crimping head rings on this unit can be changed to fit four different sizes of pipe and fittings, including 3/8”, ½”, 5/8” and ¾” connections. They are easy to change out and lock securely in place when moving from one size to the next on a job site.
This kit provides all that you need for changing out head rings, calibrating the jaws for proper function with various sizes, a crimp ring removal tool and a GO/NO GO gauge. All are packaged in a compartmentalized case to make it easier to find what you need when you need it.
Best PEX Crimping Tool – Buyer’s Guide
There are a wide variety of considerations that guide any purchasing decision. Many of those considerations are according to personal preference. But there are some general features that the best PEX crimping tools should include. Providing you with what you need to know about those features is the objective of this guide.
Before discussing the manual PEX crimping tools in this guide it is in your best interest to understand that your workload should be a primary consideration when it comes to choosing the right crimping tool.
If you are involved in the installation of PEX pipe on a larger, commercial scale you might be well served by a pneumatic or automated crimping tool in order to handle the higher volume of connections.
Those who work with a lower volume of connections or on a smaller scale will be fine with the manual tools we addressed in this guide.
There are a number of features included in the best PEX crimping tools that form a set of criteria for comparison. Here are those features and the aspects of each that provide you with the greatest benefits.
Durability. Choose a tool constructed of high-quality steel. Regardless of what tool you are using durability should always be an essential consideration. Tools that will continue to function properly over the long-term tend to cost more. But they are also more dependable.
A less durable tool might save you some money. But it might cause a lot of headaches when you use it or might have to be replaced sooner. It is always better to purchase a quality tool once than it is to purchase an inferior tool several times.
Versatility. Be prepared for more variations than you expect to encounter. Your PEX crimping tool should be modifiable to accommodate different sizes of pipes and connections. There are few instances where a single size of piping is used throughout the entire scope of the project. The ability to quickly and easily adapt to the variations in piping size and connections makes one crimping tool superior to another.
Calibration. Make certain that your crimping tool is properly calibrated or can be calibrated for optimal performance from one size to the next. An issue sometimes found with modifiable crimping tools is that they function perfectly on some sizes and leave a little something to be desired on others. Having a tool that is easy to calibrate as you change sizes adds value to your crimper.
Ergonomics. Use a tool that is comfortable in your hands. Plumbing projects can be extensive and you might have to use your crimping tool over and over again. A tool that is easy to grip, hold and use pays back that little extra investment when it comes to preventing blisters, stress, and strain throughout those long hours you use it.
Ratcheting. Ratcheting can provide greater assurance of a solid seal. Because you have greater control and can accomplish a higher level of compression. The ratcheting feature is worth the extra money that you might have to pay for a higher quality PEX crimping tool. It is especially valuable with cinch type crimpers, which we will discuss later.
Weight. Avoid unnecessary strain with a lighter weight tool. Obviously, you will have to strike a balance between durability. Which tends to be heavier and lighter weight, which tends to be weaker. The idea is to find a crimping tool that does a good job of meeting both aspects in order to get the most out of your investment.
Cinch vs. Crimp
There are two different types of rings that create the seal on PEX connections: cinch rings and crimp rings. Each of these types has its advantages and disadvantages. Let’s take a brief look at each.
A cinch style crimping ring works similar to a radiator hose clamp with its tightening screw. But also functions similar to a zip-tie. With this style of crimping ring, you can use a single tool without having to change out worrying about adjusting the size of your crimping tool.
These tend to be made of less-corrosive stainless steel for greater longevity and are easier to remove and replace when necessary. In addition, the cinching tool tends to require a lower initial investment. However, these type of rings is often more difficult to get your hands on and tend to cost more per unit. Being easier to remove would also suggest that there is a weak point to be concerned about over time.
Crimp rings are cheaper to purchase and easier to get your hands on. They are simple and easy to install, especially in places where maneuvering your crimping tool is challenging.
The main drawback of this type of ring is that it requires that you change or adjust your crimping tool to accommodate pipe size variations. In addition, changing out a crimped ring is more of a challenge. And the rings tend to be copper, which is more corrosive than stainless steel.
Either option has the potential to create a dependable connection if the user is fully aware of how each is properly used. And how to best utilize the right crimping tool for each application.
FAQs About PEX Crimping Tools
Serious buyers always have questions when it comes to selecting the right tool. We have tried to anticipate some of the most common questions. And provide you with the answers you need to make a well-informed choice. Here are some frequently asked questions about PEX crimping tools.
Which PEX tools do I need for my plumbing project?
In order to seal PEX pipe to a fitting with either a crimp ring or cinch style ring, you will need either a crimping tool with the proper pipe fitting sizes for your project or a cinch style crimping tool. Along with either of these tools, you will need a cutter and you will want either side-cutters or a screwdriver to removed improperly sealed cinch rings.
Do I have to use the same brand of tool as the brand of pipe and fittings I’m using to get a reliable seal?
No. American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) has established a standard for all PEX pipe, fittings and rings. All pipe, fittings, and tools manufactured in compliance with these standards should provide the reliable seal you require on your project.
How do I do I know that the ring is crimped correctly as I work?
A GO/NO-GO gauge is usually provided with each crimping tool. This gauge tends to have the various sizes included in your crimping kit on a single plate. You will slip this gauge over the crimped ring after crimping in order to determine whether the ring is sufficiently crimped for the specific size of pipe you are working with. If the gauge slips easily over the crimping ring, then the crimp ring is adequately crimped to create a reliable seal.
Which fittings and rings are compatible with which tools?
Crimp style fittings are usually marked as F877, F1807 or F2159. Crimp rings, whether crimp style (F1807) or cinch style (F2098) are compatible with these fittings. Fittings marked with F1960 are meant to be used with expander PEX tools and will require an expander PEX tool rather than a crimping tool.
Which is the best PEX crimping tool?
If you posed this question in a coffee shop full of plumbers you might start a fight. The best PEX crimping tool is the one that fits the scope of your project or workload. You will want something that is durable, dependable, ergonomic, accurate and easy to use.
It is a plus if the tool has a wider range of versatility and comes at a budget-friendly price. Ultimately, the best tool is the one that provides you with the most value when it comes to meeting all of your project needs.
Achieving solid and reliable connections with PEX pipe, the best crimping tools are essential. In order to get your hands on the best PEX crimping tool that will get the job done right, make your job easier. And provide you with a dependable tool over the long-term you will need to compare how the various features mentioned in our buyer’s guide are implemented into the design of each crimping tool.
Crimping rings have been the standard for use with PEX pipe for decades. And are apt to continue to be the standard for a long time to come. But the popularity of cinch ring type connections are gaining ground. Because of their ease of use and the fact that they do not require you to make as many alterations to your tool.
Ratcheting is also likely to become a future standard in place of the compound hinge style. Because it allows for ease of use without strain. Regardless of which PEX crimping tool you choose, look for the highest possible quality at the price that best fits your budget and the plumbing workload you have ahead of you. We’re sure you’ll find the best PEX crimping tool to perfectly suit your needs.