The Best PEX Crimp Tools of 2023

If you’re tackling a PEX-centric plumbing project, you need the right tool to ensure leak-free joints. Use one of these PEX crimp tools to seal the deal.

By Tom Scalisi | Updated Sep 15, 2023 6:15 PM

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The Best PEX Crimp Tool Option

Photo: amazon.com

PEX piping is becoming more popular with DIYers and pros alike. Instead of using expensive copper piping, torches, and solder, you can create watertight joints in these plastic pipes with crimps and clamps—joints that are fast, easy, and affordable.

These crimps and clamps do require special tools, however. To ensure you’re getting the well-functioning joint, it’s important to choose the best PEX crimp tool for your project. If you’re not sure how to find a good tool, this guide explores the features you should consider when shopping for the best PEX crimp tool.

  1. BEST OVERALL: Iwiss ICrimp F1807 PEX Crimp Tool Kit
  2. RUNNER-UP: Kotto Ratchet PEX Crimping Clamp Cinch Tool
  3. BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: iCrimp PEX Cinch Tool with Removing Function
  4. BEST PROFESSIONAL: Lokman PEX Clamp Cinch Crimp Tool
  5. BEST COMPACT: Iwiss ICrimp IWS-FAS PEX Copper Ring Crimp Tool Kit
  6. BEST MULTI-SIZE HEAD: Apollo 69PTKH0015KPEX Multi-Head Crimp Tool Kit
  7. BEST FOR TIGHT SPACES: iCrimp ATSM F1807 Angle PEX Two Crimper Set
  8. ALSO CONSIDER: iCrimp Angle PEX Crimp Tool Combo
The Best PEX Crimp Tool Option

Photo: amazon.com

How We Chose the Best PEX Crimp Tools 

We researched the most sought-after crimp tools in their respective categories and discovered that the best models are determined by their type, design, length, capacity, and other special features.

After extensive product research, we included PEX tools in our list of top picks that were made for PEX A, B, or C with crimps or clamps to suit any user’s preference. As for effectiveness, we selected PEX tools made for ⅜-, ½-, ¾-, and 1-inch pipes and those made for more specific pipe thicknesses. Plus, many of these PEX crimping tools are made with lengths of 11 to 17.75 inches for ample leverage during use.

As a bonus, many of these PEX crimping tools come with additional tools such as pipe cutters, go/no-go gauges, crimp-removal tools, multiple sets of jaws and clamps, hex bolts, hard cases, and more.

Our Top Picks

The best PEX crimp tools on the market are made with effectiveness, ergonomics, and ease of use in mind. Below are some of the top PEX crimp tools available, organized by category.

Best Overall

The Best PEX Crimp Tool Option: Iwiss ICrimp F1807 PEX Crimp Tool Kit
Photo: amazon.com

Anyone new to PEX plumbing will want to consider a complete kit like the F1807 Crimp Tool Kit from Iwiss. This kit comes with a crimper; jaws for ⅜-, ½-, ¾-, and 1-inch pipe; a PEX pipe cutter; and a crimp-removal tool. It also features a go/no-go gauge and a wrench for calibrating the crimper. It all packs nicely into a hard plastic carrying case for protection.

The Iwiss PEX crimping tool kit is easy to use, adapt, and adjust. The long handles make applying sufficient force for crimping easy. It also has flip-up catches for securing the smaller jaws within the built-in 1-inch jaws. If the go/no-go gauge starts hinting at poor alignment, both jaws have individual adjustments to help nail the perfect fit.

Product Specs

  • Type: PEX A, B, or C
  • Crimps vs. clamps: Crimps
  • Length: 15.55 inches
  • Capacity: ⅜-, ½-, ¾-, and 1-inch PEX pipes

Pros

  • Versatile construction; accommodates PEX A, B, or C tubing types
  • Crimp-removal tool and pipe cutter included with purchase for added convenience and user-friendliness
  • Includes a go/no-go gauge and a wrench for calibrating the crimper
  • Hard carrying case included; suitable for transport and safe storage
  • Long handles and flip-up catches provide torque and added safety during use

Cons

  • May take a lot of effort to crimp pipes and tubes

Get the Iwiss ICrimp F1807 PEX crimp tool at Amazon.

Runner-Up

The Best PEX Crimp Tools Option: Kotto Ratchet PEX Crimping Clamp Cinch Tool
Photo: amazon.com

Those who need a reliable PEX crimp tool will want to take a look at the Kotto Ratchet PEX crimping tool. This top pick is made with ASTM 2098 standards in mind with a crimping tool, a pipe cutter, 20½-inch stainless steel crimping rings, 10¾-inch stainless steel crimping rings, a calibration tool, and a storage bag. With all these tools, it can make PEX connections from ⅜ to 1 inch.

The crimping tool has been factory adjusted and requires no calibration from the user; the self-releasing mechanism ensures excellent crimping. Plus, the long handles on this model provide ease of use and ergonomic grip.

Product Specs

  • Type: PEX A, B, or C
  • Crimps vs. clamps: Clamps
  • Length: 11 inches
  • Capacity: ⅜-, ½-, ⅝, ¾-, and 1-inch PEX pipes

Pros

  • Factory-adjusted ASTM 2098-standard design is suitable for professional and DIY use
  • Comes with a crimping tool, pipe cutter, 30 clamps, a calibration tool, and a storage bag
  • Self-releasing mechanism provides ease of use and convenience
  • Long 11-inch construction provides users with an ergonomic grip while in use

Cons

  • Some users have reported that the instruction manual is hard to read

Get the Kotto PEX crimp tool at Amazon.

Best Bang for the Buck

The Best PEX Crimp Tool Option: iCrimp PEX Cinch Tool with Removing Function
Photo: amazon.com

Those who prefer to use clamps over crimps might want to consider adding the iCrimp PEX Cinch Tool to their tool belt. This clamp cincher works for any size PEX and comes with 30 clamps to get started right away.

This iCrimp device holds the jaws in place while opening the handles for more leverage. Speaking of leverage, iCrimp’s 11-inch handles provide plenty. It can also switch between clamping and cutting—that’s one tool for both creating joints and separating them.

One thing to note is that the iCrimp Cinch Tool cannot be calibrated. This tool comes factory-calibrated and won’t need adjustment during usage.

Product Specs

  • Type: PEX A, B, or C
  • Crimps vs. clamps: Clamps
  • Length: 11.02 inches
  • Capacity: ⅜-, ½-, ¾-, and 1-inch PEX pipes

Pros

  • Works with any size of PEX; holds jaws in place while opening for ample leverage
  • Can switch between clamping and cutting functions for user-friendliness
  • Comes with twenty ½-inch clamps and ten ¾-inch clamps
  • Compact size is convenient for users working in tight spaces

Cons

  • Cannot be calibrated or adjusted too much by the user
  • No storage case included; some clamps may get lost easily

Get the iCrimp PEX crimp tool with removing function at Amazon.

Best Professional

The Best PEX Crimp Tools Option: Lokman PEX Clamp Cinch Crimp Tool
Photo: amazon.com

Universal PEX crimping tools are ideal for users who do professional plumbing work. Those who need a reliable and long-term crimp tool can look no further than this Lokman. Not only can it make crimps of ⅜ inches to 1 inch in PEX pipes, but this ASTM 2098-standard model is also factory adjusted and does not require any calibration from the user.

For ease of use in professional situations, this crimp tool comes with 20½-inch stainless steel clamps and 10¾-inch stainless steel clamps. Need more? The inside jaw of the crimping tool is made with EDM wire cutting for accuracy and effectiveness, and it has a self-release and ratchet mechanism. Finally, this crimp tool is small enough for working in tight spaces.

Product Specs

  • Type: PEX A, B, or C
  • Crimps vs. clamps: Clamps
  • Length: 10.8 inches
  • Capacity: ⅜-, ½-, ¾-, and 1-inch PEX pipes

Pros

  • Factory-adjusted ASTM 2098-standard model for long-term use and reliability
  • Comes with 20½-inch stainless steel clamps and 10¾-inch stainless steel clamps
  • EDM wire cutting provides accuracy and effectiveness while in use
  • The 10.8-inch size is convenient for working in small or tight spaces

Cons

  • No storage bag included with purchase; may need to be stored in another tool box

Get the Lokman PEX crimp tool at Amazon.

Best Compact

The Best PEX Crimp Tool Option: Iwiss ICrimp IWS-FAS PEX Copper Ring Crimp Tool Kit
Photo: amazon.com

Finding a compact PEX crimper that fits in a tool box but still provides the leverage required to seal off a PEX joint isn’t easy. But anyone needing just that kind of item will want to check out the Iwiss IWS-FAS PEX crimping tool. This crimper uses a high-leverage design that allows the user to apply enough pressure for a perfect seal despite its compact 12.59-inch design.

This PEX crimping kit is more than just an innovative tool. It also comes with the jaws required for crimping ⅜-, ½-, ¾-, and 1-inch pipe, plus a PEX cutter, a go/no-go gauge, and a hard plastic case to carry it all.

Product Specs

  • Type: PEX A, B, or C
  • Crimps vs. clamps: Crimps
  • Length: 12.59 inches
  • Capacity: ⅜-, ½-, ¾-, and 1-inch PEX pipes

Pros

  • High-leverage design; comes with multiple jaw sizes for various crimping tasks
  • PEX cutter and go/no-go gauge included for added convenience
  • Comes in a hard plastic case for portability and safe storage

Cons

  • Shorter handle than comparable options; may not provide as much leverage as some other PEX crimping tools

Get the Iwiss IWS-FAS PEX crimp tool at Amazon or Walmart.

Best Multi-Size Head

The Best PEX Crimp Tool Option: Apollo 69PTKH0015K PEX Multi-Head Crimp Tool Kit
Photo: amazon.com

For a heavy-duty crimping tool that can tackle most PEX-tubing plumbing projects, the Apollo PEX Multi-Head Crimp Tool Kit is worth a look. This tool kit comes with the crimper, four sets of jaws (⅜-, ½-, ¾-, and 1-inch), a go/no-go gauge, and a wrench for adjustments and calibration. The jaws swap out with two hex bolts, which the included wrench also fits.

The Apollo provides plenty of leverage for sealing off plumbing joints, good for creating up to 100 pounds of force. All of the components pack up nicely into the plastic carrying case, keeping everything secure and in one place between projects.

Product Specs

  • Type: PEX A, B, or C
  • Crimps vs. clamps: Crimps
  • Length: 17.75 inches
  • Capacity: ⅜-, ½-, ¾-, and 1-inch PEX pipes

Pros

  • 4 sets of jaws included for any PEX tubing size or task
  • Go/no-go gauge and wrench included with purchase for added versatility
  • Jaws can be swapped out and attached with 2 hex bolts and included wrench
  • Can create over 100 pounds of force for excellent leverage
  • Plastic carrying case keeps all the tools organized for portability and storage

Cons

  • Big, heavy construction may be difficult to leverage and maneuver

Get the Apollo PEX crimp tool at Amazon or The Home Depot.

Best for Tight Spaces

The Best PEX Crimp Tool Option: iCrimp ATSM F1807 Angle PEX Two Crimper Set
Photo: amazon.com

One advantage that PEX fittings have over copper piping is that in-wall repairs in tight spaces are much easier and safer, but they can still be challenging to reach and crimp. The F1807’s unique design allows the user to get a grip on any ½- or ¾-inch crimp, even in hard-to-reach places.

This kit’s crimper comes with built-in jaws for ½- and ¾-inch pipe, as well as a tubing cutter and several crimping rings. It also has a go/no-go gauge, alerting the user to calibration issues and potential leaks. All of this gear stores away in a hard plastic carrying case.

Product Specs

  • Type: Unlisted
  • Crimps vs. clamps: Crimps
  • Length: 11.22 inches
  • Capacity: ½- or ¾-inch PEX pipes

Pros

  • Suitable for crimping tasks in tight spaces; perfect for in-wall use
  • Tubing cutter and crimping rings included in the kit
  • Go/no-go gauge provides added safety against leaks or calibration issues
  • Hard plastic carrying case allows for safe storage as well as portability

Cons

  • Some users report that the shorter handles provide limited leverage

Get the iCrimp PEX two-crimper set at Amazon.

Also Consider

The Best PEX Crimp Tool Option: iCrimp Angle PEX Crimp Tool Combo
Photo: amazon.com

Occasionally, plumbing projects and repairs get so tight and restricted that they require scaled-down tools to get the job done. For projects like those, check out the iCrimp Angle PEX Crimp Tool Combo. This two-pack of PEX crimping tools features a ½-inch crimper and a ¾-inch model, plus a PEX tubing cutter packed in one of the crimpers’ boxes.

Thanks to their compact size and diameter-dedicated jaws, these PEX crimping tools can fit in some tight spots. Unlike many other crimp tools, both of these tools come from the factory pre-calibrated.

Product Specs

  • Type: PEX A, B, or C
  • Crimps vs. clamps: Crimps
  • Length: 7.87 inches
  • Capacity: ⅛-, ¼-, ¾-, ½-, ¾-, and 1-inch PEX pipes

Pros

  • 2-pack included with purchase; ½-inch and ¾-inch crimpers
  • PEX cutter included with purchase for added user-friendliness and convenience
  • Diameter-dedicated jaws and compact size are perfect for tight spaces
  • Precalibrated design allows for ample torque and leverage while in use

Cons

  • Compact size and short handle length may be difficult for some users

Get the iCrimp angle PEX crimp tool at Amazon.

Jump to Our Top Picks



What to Consider When Choosing a PEX Crimp Tool 

Below are the most important considerations to keep in mind when shopping for the best PEX crimp tools to make watertight joints. Some of the most common things to keep in mind are the type, clamp vs. crimp, length, pipe type, and capacity of these crimp tools.

Types of PEX Crimp Tools 

When comparing PEX crimp tools, here’s a bit of background on PEX pipe. PEX is a flexible tubing that can transport fresh water, hot water, radiant heating, and even sprinkler-system water, making it very popular in residential applications.

These plastic pipes all work the same way, and most of the same joints will apply for all three types, but their makeup and characteristics vary. One thing to understand is that PEX A, B, and C do not indicate a grade or quality of PEX piping. Those designations just imply the manufacturing process used to create the pipe.

PEX A

PEX A is the most expensive type of PEX, and it has some desirable properties. For one, even though it comes in rolled coils, PEX A will hold its new shape when straightened, making it easier to install through wall cavities and floors. However, PEX A does have the potential to leach more production-related chemicals, like toluene and methyl tert-butyl ether (MTBE), into the water supply. Also, it has a lower bursting pressure than PEX B.

PEX B

PEX B can cost half as much as PEX A, and that price comes with some advantages and disadvantages. PEX B has a higher bursting pressure than A, and chemical leaching from the pipe is considerably less likely. However, it doesn’t straighten well and it kinks relatively easily, which can make it a bit of a hassle to install.

PEX C

PEX C isn’t very common, and DIYers are unlikely to come across it. The manufacturing process used to create PEX C makes it relatively weak compared to PEX A and B. It’s also less resistant to oxidation, meaning PEX C will wear down through normal usage faster than A and B.

Crimps vs. Clamps

When shoppers are learning about PEX tools, a key point is that there are crimps and clamps.

  • Crimps are copper rings that slide over a joint, and the crimping tool squeezes the entire ring down onto the barbed fitting underneath. Copper crimps are burlier than clamps, but they’re more susceptible to corrosion.
  • Clamps are stainless steel bands with small pegs and locking holes. Clamping tools squeeze a knob until the peg lands in the appropriate hole, securing it on the barbed fitting inside the joint. Stainless steel clamps are easier to install and less likely to corrode, but they’re also much thinner than copper crimps, so they may bend or separate more easily. Tools that can handle both crimps and clamps are rare, so choose one style before purchasing.

Length

When it comes to putting pressure on a crimp, length is better. The longer the tool’s handle, the more leverage the user can apply to the crimp or clamp, requiring less effort to create a perfect seal. Look for a crimping tool at least 11 inches in length. Since longer-handled tools can be slightly awkward, they might have more of a learning curve than shorter-handled ones.

Clamps tend to be easier to secure and require less effort, so handle length isn’t as much of a priority.

Pipe

Before picking a crimping or clamping tool, be sure to know what type of pipe it works for. While many types of clamping and crimping tools work for plumbing joints, not all of them work for PEX pipe.

Some tools work for both copper and PEX pipe, but they generally require additional jaws or PEX fittings. It can get expensive quickly, but for those who do a lot of plumbing, it might be worth the investment. Switching a fitting on a clamping tool takes less time than sweating a copper joint with flux and solder.

Capacity

Don’t worry about choosing the right size PEX crimp tool. Because PEX comes in only a few sizes—⅜-, ½-, ¾-, and 1-inch—most clamping or crimping tools made for PEX will do. Swapping between those sizes is usually pretty straightforward.

Crimping tools typically have 1-inch jaws that can crimp 1-inch pipe, but their kits come with smaller jaws for tackling smaller pipes. To clamp those smaller pipes, simply open the 1-inch jaws and slip the necessary-size clamping jaws inside.

Clamping tools are often one size fits all. They slide over the knob on the clamp and squeeze it, and those knobs are relatively universal in size.

Gauge 

After completing a plumbing job, it’s not ideal to find leaks or faulty joints. With PEX crimps, it can be difficult to tell if there’s a good seal by eye or feel. To help ensure each joint performs correctly, some tools come with go/no-go gauges.

These gauges have U-shaped cutouts meant for specific pipe sizes. To use a go/no-go gauge, slide it over the joint. Check it from several angles. The gauge should slip over the crimp about halfway before stopping. If it slides over the crimp, or not at all, the joint may have problems when pressurized. The crimp either isn’t tight enough or was installed with uneven pressure, and the crimp is now oblong.

Calibration

Over time, clamping and crimping tools can fall out of perfect calibration. Applying pressure many times throughout a plumbing project can stretch the jaws a bit, in which case dial them back in.

Most of the best PEX crimp and clamp tools have calibration gauges and adjustment screws, and they often come with the wrenches required to adjust them. Use these gauges to determine how far out of calibration the tool is, and tighten it back to the ideal setting. Many of these tools have adjustments on both jaws, allowing for calibrating to a perfectly round result.

The gauge can also determine if the jaws are overtightened, which can just as easily lead to a leak.

Removal Function

Many of the best PEX clamp tools have removal functions for separating clamps from the pipe. Don’t expect to reuse these clamps or crimps, though, as the removal process either cuts them or damages their integrity. However, the fitting underneath should be completely intact.

To remove a clamp, switch the clamping tool to the cutting function. Next, slide the jaws over the clamp’s knob and squeeze until the clamping tool cuts through the band. Then remove the clamp.

Removing crimps requires an entirely different tool with a blade for cutting through the copper crimps. In this case, cut the joint out of the system, slide the cutting tool into the fitting, and squeeze the handles until the jaws cut through the copper crimp. A second cut on the other side of the crimp will separate it.

Given that crimp cutters can slice through copper, it’s important to keep fingers clear from the jaws. Though the risk of copper snapping and becoming airborne is minimal, safety goggles are recommended.

FAQs 

Here are some of the most frequently asked questions about PEX crimp tools and their corresponding answers. Take a look through this section for any additional information not covered above.

Q. What is the best PEX to use?

PEX B is considered the best all-around PEX pipe. It leaches far fewer chemicals and has a higher bursting pressure. The disadvantage is that it can be harder to work with.

Q. Do PEX clamps fail?

They can fail, but it’s usually due to human error. If the clamp is applied crookedly or unevenly, it will leak. To ensure that the clamps stay in place, check that the clamp or cinch type is compatible with the pipe being cinched.

Q. Can I crimp PEX with pliers? 

You cannot get a solid, accurate, leak-free joint with pliers, which can’t apply even pressure all around the crimp. Though this can help with some of the more nitty-gritty problems, a proper PEX crimping tool is the best option.

Q. Can I run PEX through floor joists?

PEX can run through floor joists, stud walls, or almost anywhere else that would normally hold plumbing (according to local code). However, users should ensure that there is clearance from the nailing surfaces and a hole through the joists for proper, long-term use.

Q. Can I run PEX to a water heater?

PEX should not run directly to an electric or tankless water heater, but it can run to a copper riser 18 inches or more in length, coming directly from the water heater. But be advised that the PEX tubing must be 6 inches away from the exhaust vent of the heater.

Q. What is the lifespan of a PEX pipe?

PEX may be able to last more than 100 years. While it hasn’t been around long enough to verify that longevity, long-term testing indicates it could last a century before breaking down. However, external factors can also cause damage and should be watched out for.

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