Types of PEX Tools
All PEX tubing tools can be categorized into 3 main categories: tools for making a PEX connection (crimp and clamp tools), tools for cutting the pipe (cutters) and tools fore securing the tubing to a wooden or foamboard surface (clip guns and staplers). Brief description and designation of each tool type is given below.
PEX Crimp Tools
Crimp method is the most proven and popular method for making PEX connections and requires a crimp tool (also known as “PEX crimping tool”) and proper size copper crimp rings. This system is compatible with brass or poly PEX crimp fittings in sizes 3/8" - 1" and all types of PEX except for PEX-AL-PEX. Each size pipe requires a different size PEX tool and PexUniverse offers a variety of options, including single-size, dual-size and multiple size tool kits.
PEX Clamp Tools
Similar to a crimp tool, PEX clamp tool (also called “PEX clamping tool” or “PEX cinch tool”) is compatible with crimp style PEX fittings, but utilizes stainless steel cinch clamps instead of copper rings. This is a universal-size tool, meaning that it will work with all clamps and fittings in sizes 3/8" through 1". We carry a variety of options, including economy PEX clamping tools for small, 1-time projects and ergonomical, heavy-duty grade for professional installers.
PEX Pipe Cutters
A PEX cutter helps installer to make a straight, clean cut for a proper connection of the PEX tubing to a fitting. PEX cutters are available in basic, light duty type for pipe sizes up to 3/4" and professional ratcheting type for sizes up to 1-1/4".
Clip gun is a PEX to wood attachment tool with a design similar to that of a stapler. Available models include manual and pneumatic clip guns and are compatible with PEX tube sizes from 3/8" to 3/4". They are most commonly used in radiant heating installations where PEX is secured to the subfloor, but can also be used in plumbing projects to secure long runs of PEX to plywood or wooden studs.
Foamboard Stapler Tools
PEX foamboard staplers are used when PEX tubing is installed in a concrete slab on top of EPS or XPS polystyrene insulation. The tool is loaded with staples and by pushing the tools’ handle, installer drives the U-shaped staple with arrow-like ends deep into the foam, leaving the pipe firmly secured.
Frequently asked questions
Q: Which PEX tools are required for a basic plumbing project?
A: Besides fittings and rings, your choice of crimp or clamp type tool and a cutter are a must. All other tool types are optional.
Q: How do I know which fittings are compatible with which tool?
A: All crimp type fittings, valves, manifolds, etc. (marked F877, F1807 or F2159) can be installed using either a crimp or a clamp type PEX tool. Crimp rings (marked F1807) and stainless steel cinch clamps (marked F2098) are all compatible with crimp fittings.
Expansion type fittings (marked F1960) can only be installed using an expander PEX tool. Press type fittings would require a press tool. Push-fit fittings do not require a tool.
Q: Which PEX tool is the best?
A: Each manufacturer has their own opinion on this subject. Crimping method has been used for decades and is a proven, reliable and economically priced option favored by contractors and homeowners alike. PEX clamping tool, although relatively new on the market is gaining popularity due to ease of use and low price. Both methods above are compatible with all tubing types – A, B and C. Expansion method is among the oldest and most reliable, but is time consuming (especially in colder climates) and costly. PEX press system is very new to the U.S. market and is favored by many installers, but it does not have enough background to determine its’ reliability and the cost of press fittings far exceeds that of the crimp style fittings.