10 Emergency Plumbing Tools All Homeowners Should Have on Hand

Whether you’re dealing with a clogged sink or a loose faucet, these must-have plumbing tools can solve simple problems without the help of a plumber. 

By Melissa Graham | Updated May 5, 2022 3:38 PM

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Whether you just purchased your first home or have lived in your house for years, having a few emergency plumbing tools in stock at all times is important. It doesn’t matter if you live in a brand-new home or in an older space with years of charm—chances are high that you’ll face a plumbing conundrum that calls for a plunger, an auger, putty, or a similar tool.

These items can solve everything from minor problems, like clogged drains, to bigger issues, like small leaks or cracks in pipes. They can also buy you some time until you need to hire a professional plumber to come out and assess your issue. From the best pipe wrench to a top-notch drain snake, these plumbing tools are excellent at preventing major mishaps and solving minor slip-ups.

1. Toilet Plunger

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It’s likely you’ll need a plunger at some point. The unique all-angle design of this NEIKO toilet plunger makes it one of the best plungers on the market. The plunging end features four tiers of flanges and can fit toilet drains from 4 to 6 inches in diameter. Its aluminum handle resists mold and rust, and it even comes with a convenient hole in the handle so you can hang it up for easy access in a supply closet or utility room.

Get the NEIKO 60166A Toilet Plunger on Amazon for $17.



2. Plumber’s Tape

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When dripping occurs between two threaded pipe joints, thread tape can come to your rescue. This particular tape holds in both high and low temperatures and can be used on almost anything: shower heads, sprinklers, gas heaters, appliances, and pipe and propane fittings. Plus, it’s easy to apply and can be removed years down the line, if needed.

Get the PTFE Plumbers Water Sealant Thread Tape on Amazon for $6.49.



3. Drain Cleaner

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From tubs to sinks to showers, drain cleaner is one of the few tools for plumbing that can power through grease, hair, lint, and other buildup to clear drains in any room of your house. Its cable is kink-resistant, and it can be operated manually or with a variable-speed drill. Ridgid plumbing tools are known for their quality and high performance, and this auger is no exception.

Get the Ridgid Power Spin Hybrid Drain Cleaning Snake Auger at The Home Depot for $53.98.



4. Mini Sink and Drain Plunger

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Small clogs are no match for the Liquid-Plumr Mini Sink and Drain Plunger, which has a 5-inch flat bell cup that can clear minor clogs from a variety of drains. Its small size and nonslip grip make it easy to use, and it requires nothing more than a gentle push to plunge.

Get the Liquid-Plumr Mini Sink and Drain Plunger on Amazon for $10.50.



5. Plumber’s Putty

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When pipes develop small holes or cracks, plumbers’ tools like WM Harvey Professional Grade Plumber’s Putty can seal things temporarily until the pipe can be replaced or fixed by an expert. Plumber’s putty is a waterproof material that can be applied like a patch over small pin holes or cracks. This can buy you some time and prevent unnecessary leakage until you receive professional help.

Get the WM Harvey Professional Grade Plumber’s Putty on Amazon for $7.44.



6. Pipe Wrench

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If you have a leaky pipe on your hands, it may need to be tightened to get back in working order. The cast-iron body of this wrench makes it durable and strong enough to tighten even the most stubborn of pipes. It also has a steel jaw for a tight grip that makes turning the long handle less tedious.

Get the Husky Heavy Duty Cast Iron Pipe Wrench at The Home Depot for $19.98.



7. Pliers

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No matter if you own a home or rent an apartment, you can benefit from having a pair of pliers in your plumbing arsenal. The Knipex 7.25-inch Cobra Pliers have a self-locking mechanism that prevents slipping and helps make adjusting pipes or nuts a breeze. This multipurpose tool can grip, turn, pull, hold, and screw hex nuts. It even comes with a pinch guard to protect your precious appendages.

Get the Knipex 7 1/4-Inch Cobra Pliers on Amazon for $29.30.



8. Bucket

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It may seem simple, but a bucket that holds up to 5 gallons of water can come in handy if you come across a plumbing emergency. When it’s not catching a leak, it can be used as storage to hold other tools or equipment in your garage or utility closet. Although basic, it can be one of the most versatile and most necessary items in your home.

Get the 5 Gal. Homer Bucket at The Home Depot for $4.98.



9. LED Flashlight Pack

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You’d be hard-pressed to find a professional plumber who didn’t own a top-notch flashlight. Because most plumbing is hidden behind walls, cabinets, or in small, tight spaces, it helps to have a flashlight on hand to see what problem you’re dealing with. The battery-powered GearLight LED Flashlight Pack can light up an entire room with a narrow beam. It’s also indestructible, compact enough to fit in your pocket, and water-resistant.

Get the GearLight LED Flashlight Pack on Amazon for $21.99.



10. Nitrile Gloves

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Fixing a plumbing emergency can get messy, which is why a pack of disposable MedPride Powder-Free Nitrile Gloves is good to have in your tool kit. With nearly 70,000 reviews, these gloves are excellent for people who are sensitive to the powder in other disposable gloves, and they don’t degrade as easily as latex. A pair of single-use gloves can help protect your hands from germs and other chemicals you come in contact with.

Get the MedPride Powder-Free Nitrile Gloves on Amazon for $13.49.

The prices listed here are accurate as of publication on 5/5/22.