Top 6 Best PEX Crimp Tools For 2018 – In Depth Reviews By Expert
For those in building and plumbing trades, the widespread growth of the use of Cross-linked polyethylene (PEX) will be old news. Nor will it be any surprise; as an invention, it has made a whole lot of people's lives a whole lot easier.
Table Of Contents
- Top 6 Best PEX Crimp Tools 2018 Reviewed
- 1. IWISS PEX CINCH Crimping Tool Crimper for Stainless Steel Clamps from 3/8"to 1" with 1/2" 20PCS and 3/4" 10PCS SS PEX Clamps
- 2. SharkBite 23251 PEX Crimping Tool, 1/2-Inch and 3/4-Inch for PEX Pipe
- 3. SharkBite U701 PEX Tubing Cutter 1/4-Inch, 3/8-Inch, 1/2-Inch, 3/4-Inch and 1-Inch
- 4. Conbraco Crimp Tool Pex Multi Size
- 5. IWISS® F1807 PEX Pipe Crimping Tool Kit for 3/8",1/2",3/4",1" Copper Ring with Free Gauge
- 6. Apollo 69PTKG1096 PEX Quick Cinch Clamp Fastening Hand Tool
- Buying Consideration
- Safety Concern
- Final Thought
One of the best things about PEX is its ease of fitting. However, if you want to make use of this great material, you'll need the right equipment; and there is a big choice of PEX crimp tool on the market.
Top 6 Best PEX Crimp Tools 2018 Reviewed
1. IWISS PEX CINCH Crimping Tool Crimper for Stainless Steel Clamps from 3/8"to 1" with 1/2" 20PCS and 3/4" 10PCS SS PEX Clamps
First up is a great value basic crimper which could be all you'll ever need. Made by IWISS, this universal crimping tool is designed to fit stainless steel clamps of all sizes from 3/8" through to 3/4", and comes complete with a calibration tool.
Recommended for professionals and amateurs alike, this crimper also comes with ten 3/4" and 20 1/2" clamps to get you started. Once you have your two sections lined up, calibrate these crimpers and you're good to go.
The great, easy to use grips have a satisfying feel, making it easy to ensure your whole fitting is secure and leak free.
2. SharkBite 23251 PEX Crimping Tool, 1/2-Inch and 3/4-Inch for PEX Pipe
A bit of a step up from the more basic crimpers, this SharkBite tool will be more appreciated by professional fitters. While it costs a bit more, the difference in price will make sense when it comes to continuous use.
As this is a heavyweight crimper, it is good for brass and poly clamps. It also has a handy, one part gauge so you can check your fitting measurement before you try to seal it.
As it only has two settings, 1/2" and 3/4", there are no adjustments to make before you use it. Its heavy duty tool head is exactly calibrated to those dimensions, meaning you're guaranteed to make those fittings every time.
3. SharkBite U701 PEX Tubing Cutter 1/4-Inch, 3/8-Inch, 1/2-Inch, 3/4-Inch and 1-Inch
This great product from SharkBite is a dream for PEX plumbers working on water pipes for drinking and heating systems.
As these types of water systems are often in confined areas, this cutter is specially designed to be usable in tight corners. Its blade is visible from above, making it easier to obtain the right length for each section of pipe.
The cutting head is big and flexible enough to cope with every calibration from 1/4” through to a full inch. It also represents great value for money compared to other cutters, and the grip on the handles is excellent.
4. Conbraco Crimp Tool Pex Multi Size
A crimping kit in its own case with accessories, this Apollo set will give confidence to homeowners and other DIY practitioners that they can face any pipe fitting task ahead of them.
Capable of making joints and fittings from 3/8” through to an inch, leverage delivered by the grip handles can be varied depending on the job.
The main thing with this product is that there is a lot of room for adjustments. A proper, two handed set of grips with chunky handles will appeal to those seeking measurement that their work will not leak. Also, the heavily engineered jaws are extremely sturdy.
5. IWISS® F1807 PEX Pipe Crimping Tool Kit for 3/8",1/2",3/4",1" Copper Ring with Free Gauge
A superbly made and designed product from IWIS, this great tool set has just about everything a pipe fitter could want, all in a compact, indestructible looking case.
The PEX pipe cutter has an easy to see and use, big cutting head of a perfect size for one handed use in confined spaces. Complete with gauges and spanner, the kit is best ex crimp tool for the money.
Manufactured to ensure it is compatible with Apollo, SharkBite and Watts clamps, the kit has both crimper and pipe cutting tools and accessories. The excellent, adjustable jaw will ensure confidence in fittings from 3/8” through to an inch.
6. Apollo 69PTKG1096 PEX Quick Cinch Clamp Fastening Hand Tool
Another basic crimping tool, this model is for use with certain sizes of clamps made by Oetiker, Apollo and Murray. While this may be somewhat of a hinderance for some users, this Apollo product does represent excellent value for money.
If you've had trouble with sharkbite clamps, where you just can't get them to bite right, this crimper will make sure they're driven all the way home and your fitting won't leak. Just be sure and stick to the specs as mentioned.
The only thing is, these crimpers may require a double handed grip, as the handles are relatively short.
Buying PEX crimping tools should not present too much in the way of difficult choices. After all, they are designed to fit clamps around the ends of two lengths of pipe; there should not be too wide a difference between one make and another.
Of course, this will depend on the user and the type of job/s the tool is expected to complete. PEX technology is taking over from metal piping, which is still prevalent in the vast majority of homes; and crimping tools are likely to be used by homeowners, so some care should be employed.
As we have seen in the reviews, crimpers come in different sizes. There is a trade off between how much pressure a crimper can put on a clamp and how long the handles are. Those with shorter handles will need more physical strength to use properly. Those with longer handles will be more cumbersome.
Of course, it should be remembered that these are sizable metal tools. Hence, the longer and larger they are, the heavier. This should be remembered not just when carrying around, but for continued use.
Then there is the question of space. Plumbing pipes in is often a frustrating activity as the space you have to work in is often very limited. If you're trying to crimp a pex extension in a kitchen unit, for instance, you'll be glad of the smallest tools possible.
While a lot of crimpers are designed to work with all makes of clamp, not all are. As described above, cheaper tools may well only be compatible with products made by the same manufacturer. Although this is usually the case with cheaper models, it is worth looking out for.
Most pipe diameters in homes are one or two sizes. Indeed, one of the tools reviewed here doesn't need adjusting as it only has two sizes in the crimping head. Again, it is worth checking that the clamps your crimper is compatible with come in the right size for your pipes.
Although not the greatest price range in the world, crimpers can still vary quite a lot. One model could set you back two or three times as much as another. There may be good reasons for this, but they may be cosmetic.
Again, these tools are designed for the same thing and are made by and large of the same materials. Grips might be slightly different, and accessories such as cases and gauges will vary. Just be sure you're paying for something you actually need.
While generally regarded as safe and relatively easy to achieve, crimping joint between pipes of any sort has to be done properly. Leakages can cause a great deal of damage and cost more than just money depending on what's being carried in the pipes.
If you add different materials technology and human error into this equation, you can see that there could be a number of safety concerns when carrying out this sort of installation. Here is some food for thought around PEX usage and crimping.
Too Good To Be True?
Using cross linked polyethylene piping is acknowledged as having a lot of advantages compared to traditional copper for the same uses.
It's much cheaper, as it doesn't have to be dug out of the ground and smelted. As with any natural resource, copper is finite and becoming rarer; this will only make it more expensive. PEX manufacture, if other technologies are anything to go by, will probably become cheaper over time.
As it is non metallic, PEX is useful for plumbing and other piping uses because it is extremely flexible. This is not only useful in installation, but afterwards as well.
On installation, flexible piping means that you don't have to install so many joins. This reduces cost. After installation, flexibility means the PEX can expand with pressure and heat, or contract for the opposite reasons.
Compared to copper, PEX is very hard wearing. Copper pipes expand and contract, but this wears them out. They also rust; PEX does not.
All in all, industry loves PEX and so do plumbers. Construction firms and property developers see a product which will outlast copper by a factor of possibly hundreds. Plumbers see something they can use easily and cheaply.
Of course, there's no such thing as a free lunch. If you're thinking there's got to be a downside to all of this, you're right, there has.
The first thing to point out is that a chain is only as strong as its weakest link. In the case of plumbing systems, there is the possibility of a huge number of weak links every time there is a joint. While using PEX means less joins, the joins themselves are not made of PEX, they're made of metal.
Remember every disadvantage metal has over PEX; it wears out and rusts. This is true of metal joints. While T bends and corners will be sturdily made, they are still clamped onto PEX piping by relatively thin, round clamps. Over time, this will need replacing.
A real safety concern is the actual fitting of the clamps. While all the crimpers we have looked at should be capable of completing excellent seals, they need to be used correctly. Fittings require parts which are not visible when crimping; this can mean that the seal is not complete.
Even then PEX is at its weakest in joints. Over a length of piping it is flexible, but this flexibility in joint situations means that it will chafe against metal fittings and eventually wear down. This will cause leaks.
PEX can be a great, cheap product to use, and will be excellent value for the majority of users. The use of a good crimping tool will mean its benefits are felt by the fitter and the end user.
Careful use should follow careful buying, of course. As we have seen, crimping tools need to be chosen with care, although by and large they are all of high standard and good value.
Technology proceeds at a pace every year, and DIY is has to follow like everything else. We hope our Best PEX Crimp Tools in depth reviews for 2018 help you keep up with your tools for his year.