On any given day, a plumber may have to work on a toilet, a sink, a water heater and a bathtub drain. For each of these jobs, a plumber may use the same tools; but different tools may be needed depending on the problem. A toolbox to a plumber is what a medical bag is to a doctor–it should contain the items that are necessary to fix the most commonly seen problems that plumbers face.
The essentials - Plumbers should carry with them at all times a sturdy flashlight, to ensure that they can clearly see under sinks, in dark corners or in basements. An exchangeable screwdriver--one which can be used as a Phillips head or flathead--is also a must for plumbers, as this will be used for take apart drains or faucets. Channel locks or pliers are often used to loosen supply lines or pipe connections. A tape measure ensures proper cuts for pipes and correct reassembly when needed.
Stocking the toolbox - A plumber's toolbox needs several wrenches. The most commonly used wrenches for plumbers are the 6, 10 and 12-inch adjustable wrenches used to tighten and loosen any nuts or bolts. They also can be used instead of a ratchet set. Pipe wrenches are larger than adjustable wrenches, with 14 and 18-inch being the standard. A pipe wrenches has a longer handle and its mouth opens and closes in an up-and-down fashion instead of side-to-side as the adjustable wrench. Pipe wrenches are heavier and provide much more leverage in loosening and tightening pipes. A hacksaw or handsaw is another tool plumbers should carry, as this can be used to cut pipes, drywall, or wood. Plumbers should carry a few varieties of plungers, including a toilet and sink plunger, and a metal file for any areas that require smoothing.
Getting the job done - Plumbers often will need pipe cutters, which are used to cut copper pipe smoothly and accurately. They are usually about six to eight inches long and look like a cross between an adjustable wrench and a pipe wrench. Pipe cleaners, which are hand-held tools with a wire bristle on the end, are used to clean the inside of copper pipes. Plumbers use Teflon tape, or plumber's tape, to prevent leaks by sealing pipe threads and lubricating joints. A utility knife is also a good tool for plumbers to carry.
Safety items - A plumber also should always keep in his toolbox at least one pair of heavy-duty gloves, a pair of goggles and a first-aid kit. These items will be used often and will help prevent and address any injuries.