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If you’ve ever had to fix or maintain plumbing, radiator, or hydronic systems, then chances are you’ve come across your fair share of PEX pipes. When you need a piping system that will come together quickly, while still offering versatility and quality, PEX is where you turn. In order to install these pipes, you need the proper PEX crimping tool.
Knowing what crimping tool you need for the smoothest installation of your PEX pipes may seem challenging. In this article we will delve deeper into the explanation of how they work and what features to focus on while searching for the best PEX crimping tool.
What is a PEX Crimping Tool?
If you’ve never had to install your own piping, or simply haven’t had to figure out what tool you needed, then it’s important to become a bit more educated about what exactly you’re looking for before you begin searching for the best PEX crimping tool.
A PEX crimping tool is an integral part of the PEX pipe installation process. PEX pipes were created by the company SharkBite and are made from cross-linked polyethylene tubing. These pipes are considered more desirable than their copper or CPVC counterparts largely due to their greater flexibility.
Your PEX crimping tool will be there while you install your pipes to compress the small, copper crimp bands around the pipes, and secure the tubing using the PEX barb fittings.
Using a PEX Crimping Tool
The process of using the best PEX crimping tool once you find it is not as difficult as you may think. You simply need to be prepared and focused. Here is what you should do:
- Cut your PEX pipe to the size you need and want.
- Slide your crimp rings onto the pipe you just cut.
- Fit the pipe to the tube and push it on.
- Move your crimp ring to the edge.
- Open the crimping tool by pulling both handles.
- Situate the opening of the crimping tool securely and firmly onto the crimp ring.
- Push the handles back together, closing the crimping tool.
- This will cause force which fixes the crimp ring in place, creating a watertight seal.
When you have your hands on your own best PEX cinch tool, you will get to see and feel the tool and you’ll have a better understanding of just how the process will go.
Features of the Best PEX Crimping Tool
When you’re exploring your options for PEX crimping tools, you want to feel armed with knowledge that will help make your decision easier. What you need to know is the features that you should be thinking about. Different models of tools are designed with slight variations, so knowing what those variations mean to you is important.
These are the factors you need to consider during your search:
- Tool Length: you could find yourself trying to apply PEX piping in a variety of places. Identify your specific needs to choose the right length of PEX crimping tool.
- Size of Crimping Clasp: PEX crimping tools differ in the size of their crimping clasps, which means that your pipe will be made into different tube sizes. The crimping clasps range from ¼ of an inch to 1 inch.
- Calibration: if you do a lot of pipe installation, you may find that your PEX crimping tool becomes stretched out. This will lead to you having a more difficult time securing crimp clasps onto pipes. The ability to calibrate your crimping tool back to an effective position could be very useful.
- GO/NO-GO Gauge: this helps you determine whether your tool will perform the job on the size of crimp and pipe you have.
- Ease of Use: the whole point in getting your own PEX crimping tool is so that you can perform installations by yourself. You want a tool that is simple and straightforward to use no matter what your skill or experience level is.
You don’t need to be an expert before finding the right PEX crimping tool for you, but if you keep these features in mind, your search will be much smoother.
Our Picks for the Top 5 PEX Crimping Tools
Now that you’ve learned more about why you need a PEX crimping tool, how they work, and what to look for, it’s time to explore your top options. Check out our list of the best 5 PEX crimping tools.
1. IWISS PEX Cinch Clamp Crimping Tool
The IWISS PEX Cinch Clamp Crimping Tool is a versatile choice that can be used with clamps sized from ⅜ of an inch to 1 inch. It fits almost all PEX clamps and can be used with clamps from other manufacturers, as well. The tool is formatted for you and should not require further adjustment or calibration.
This sturdy tool has a long handle, which makes installation smooth and easy. You should be able to install your piping on your own. When you want to remove cinch clamps, this tool will simplify the process.
If you want a crimping tool for odd jobs, this could be the one, but if you’re looking to perform more regular work, a tool that holds calibration longer may serve you better. It’s hard to beat the price value of this crimping tool paired with functionality and quality.
2. IWISS® F1807 PEX Pipe Crimping Tool Kit
A flexible tool that meets ASTM F1807 standards, this crimping tool comes fitted with a 1-inch jaw, and has three jaw changes, from ⅜ of an inch to ¾ of an inch. The model is made with a comfortable grip so your hand won’t get tired as easily and is accompanied by a sturdy storage case.
Users report that the ISWISS F1807 will crimp tightly and leave your pipes ready to use without fear of damage or leaks.
Even for first time users, this tool should be easy and simple to operate for the installation of pipes. The only thing to consider is where you will use it, as it isn’t ideal for fitting into smaller spaces.
3. IWISS PEX Pipe Crimping Tool Kits Used for 1/2″ & 3/4″ Pex Crimp
If you like to be as exact as possible in your installations, this IWISS PEX crimping tool may be a good choice for you. With the help of a GO/NO-GO gauge, you will be able to make sure your measurements are accurate before cinching your crimps. The 20-piece kit comes with interchangeable jaws and a sturdy carrying case.
One of the handiest things about this tool is that is can be used for crimp cinching even in the tightest of corners. So you will not need to worry too much about running into dead ends during installation.
This toolkit includes just about everything you’ll need to crimp your PEX pipes. However, if you are trying to pipe larger areas that are hard to reach, a tool with a longer handle could be more helpful.
4. IWISS PEX CINCH Crimping Tool Crimper
This universal PEX crimping tool will work with stainless steel crimps of sizes ranging from ⅜ of an inch to 1 inch. If you need to calibrate your tool, no need to worry because the tool to do so is included.
Operation of this model should be easy for everyone, including beginners. The ratchet safety-release helps ensure that your installations progress quickly and reliably.
5. IWISS F1807 1/2″&3/4″ Combo Copper Ring Crimping Tool
This IWISS toolkit offers the full package in one kit including a crimping tool, PEX cutter and adjustable jaw changes. Designed for use with ¾ inch and ½ inch crimps, this tool also has a GO/NO-GO gauge for greater accuracy.
We consider this to be the ideal kit to keep at home if you’re someone who likes to solve your own pipe issues without the help of a professional.
Users report that sometimes the cutter doesn’t make the perfect square shape, so you may want to have a backup on hand just to be sure.
Your PEX crimping tool will give you the freedom and ability to become a handyman, in your own right. You will be able to install pipes, which will make you feel like you’re prepared for any accidents that could come. Taking your time to search for the best PEX tool will make all your future pipe installations feel like a breeze!