Well, who doesn’t want leak-free pipe assemblies, and therefore, the best possible work efficiency? The answer is simple and predictable.
But most of us are newcomers and don’t know how to choose a reliable kit.
The crimp tool is such a revolutionary toolset that simply blocks liquids or just moves them to different pathways. For this process, we need to rely on the best PEX crimp tools so we don’t face any difficulties.
For housework or industrial purposes, leakage prevention is vital because a slight error in the pathway can make a mess of your work. The job seems very simple, but a tiny miscalculation might lead you to a huge loss.
So make sure you get the best PEX crimp tool for the job!
Here’s a quick overview of my top choice:
|iCrimp ratchet PEX cinch tool with removing function|
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|IWISS F1807 copper ring crimping tool kit|
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|SharkBite 23251 1/2 inch, 3/4 inch tool, copper crimp ring|
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|iCrimp 1/2 and 3/4-inch combo PEX pipe crimping tool for copper ring|
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|SENTAI PEX crimping stripping cutting tool|
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|Apollo PEX 69PTKG1096 3/8-inch – 1-inch stainless steel pinch clamp tool|
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|SharkBite U701 PEX tubing cutter|
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|Zurn QCRTMH steel multi-head copper crimp tool|
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|Pexflow R1245 PEX crimp tool|
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|KOTTO PEX crimping clamp cinch tool|
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In this post we'll cover:
- PEX crimp tool buying guide
- Best PEX crimp tools reviewed
- iCrimp ratchet PEX cinch tool with removing function
- IWISS F1807 copper ring crimping tool kit
- SharkBite 23251 1/2 inch, 3/4 inch tool, copper crimp ring
- iCrimp 1/2 and 3/4-inch combo PEX pipe crimping tool for copper ring
- SENTAI PEX crimping stripping cutting tool
- Apollo PEX 69PTKG1096 3/8-inch – 1-inch stainless steel pinch clamp tool
- SharkBite U701 PEX tubing cutter
- Zurn QCRTMH steel multi-head copper crimp tool
- Pexflow R1245 PEX crimp tool
- KOTTO PEX crimping clamp cinch tool
- Is PEX crimp or clamp better?
- How long do PEX clamps last?
- Can I crimp PEX with pliers?
- Can you connect PEX-A to PEX-B?
- Can I glue PEX pipes?
- Why is PEX plumbing bad?
- Which is better, PEX-A or B?
- Can you use screw clamps on PEX?
- What is better, crimp or cinch?
- Can I use PEX for shower valves?
- Is PEX better than copper?
- Can you crimp PEX to copper?
- Can you crimp SharkBite PEX?
- Are the pipe cuts necessary before clamping or crimping?
- Can’t one ring size just meet all pipe demands?
- Are clamps better or crimps?
- Buy the best PEX crimp tool
PEX crimp tool buying guide
Your crimp tool needs to help you with technical and calculative work. So you need to know what specifications you need to look for.
Here are the parameters for choosing a reliable tool. Let’s dig in!
In most cases, the tools are made of carbon steel, which makes them less reactive to certain components.
Some stainless steel tools might wear out fast, but they might also give you better grip and durability. What you choose totally depends on what your work purposes are.
The material for the rings is basically stainless steel and copper, and sometimes, they’re zinc coated. The rings are made to easily be formed or deformed, with little wear and tear.
Basically, the rings can be of 2 types:
The clamps are mostly made of stainless steel and they have an ear-like configuration. While fitting the clamp, we tighten the ears and adjust the clamps with the pipes.
Some tools have a removal process and others might not. But the same clamps aren’t used twice because you’re breaking the seals while removing. Other than the tool removal feature, you can simply remove the clamps with screwdrivers.
Crimps are an updated version of clamps, as they’re reusable.
Most crimps are made of copper so they’re really bendable. So with less pressure, you can easily just mount and remove the crimps. Basically, you don’t need a different tool for the removal process.
PEX pipe is basically a polymer component and this synthetic material isn’t a hard thing to work with. But normal cutters might not be efficient, so you need to turn to professional cutters.
The cutter blades are made of stainless steel and they’re constructed in such a way that you can cut through pipes. Consequently, the pipe ends don’t have uneven cuts, but rather, smoother ends and better terminals to join connectors.
The sizes of the pipes are generally ¾” and ½”. And the rings are made according to the size of the pipes.
Some manufacturer companies have more options for pipe sizes. They can range from 1/4” to 1-inch pipes.
Choosing a tool that you can carry and use easily is necessary when making your purchases. Light tools are easy to maneuver, helping you increase productivity and save your energy.
Most times though, durable tools are heavy. So weigh up the pros and cons of durability vs weight before making your final purchase.
One thing every amateur fails to consider is the design of their tools. Plumbing work usually spans long hours and requires frequent tool use.
Your PEX crimp tool should be easy to use and gripping shouldn’t be painful. An ergonomic design also reduces your chances of fatigue, blisters, and muscle strains that are associated with the nature of plumbing work.
Your tools should be able to work on different connections and pipe sizes. Purchasing a tool that can easily adapt to any task will help you save money and space.
Owning a PEX crimp tool that can be used in situations where there are different pipe sizes is a time and money saver. You won’t need to carry a heavy toolbox since your task can be easily accomplished with just a single tool.
There’s basically no assurance if your connected or placed crimps are perfectly attached to the pipes. So to ensure good grip, there’s a gauge system that has multiple portals defining your connections.
The “go” portal signifies good attachment with the mounting ring. Otherwise, “no-go” indicates you might have a bad fit.
Best PEX crimp tools reviewed
Here, I’ve listed and reviewed the top 7 best PEX crimp tools.
iCrimp ratchet PEX cinch tool with removing function
The iCRIMP is a remarkable package. It’s very easy to cinch the clamps with the tool, which has 2 functions. It can easily tighten and remove the clamps with the pipe.
If you’re unable to remove them completely with the cinch tool, then a heat gun could help.
The package has an inclusive pipe cutter, 20 ½ “clamps, and 10 ¾ “clamps, as well as the cinch and removal tool. The tool is 11.02 inches long and the cutter is 7.56 inches long. And the overall weight is 2.3 pounds.
This new edition is a perfect multi-functional tool that’s also reusable. The tool meets the ASTM 2098 standard allows the clamps to have a stronger fit.
As long as the single ear hose clamp is within the size of the jaws, it’s an easy job. The downside is the self-release mechanism makes the tool pressure less.
The whole product is made of steel and metal; the clamps are stainless steel.
The clamps have a tightened grip so the removal procedure isn’t always easy. You might have to use a heat gun to help.
IWISS F1807 copper ring crimping tool kit
IWISS’s package has 4 different-sized crimps (3/8”, ½”, ¾”, 1”), a go/no-go gauge for ensuring better mounting, the crimp tool, the removal tool, and a cutter for up to 1 inch. And yes, there are 3 jaws available to fit in the crimp tool too!
This tool uses a carbon steel constructed metal, which ensures its durability. The tightened grip is deadlocked for around 10 years.
The rings are made of copper so it’s easier to remove. This kit strongly meets the ASTM F1807 standard.
There are 3 kinds of packages available and this pack has all the necessary components, so yes, it’s an “all-in-one” package. There’s a hex-headed spanner available with the tool kit for maintaining pipe fits.
Overall, it’s a heavy-duty pack; it has 3 major working tools and weighs about 5.7 pounds. The crimps can be reused, so it has flexibility and cost-effectiveness.
This product has a 1-year warranty.
The spacing of the crimps might not be ideal. Otherwise, it’s handy.
SharkBite 23251 1/2 inch, 3/4 inch tool, copper crimp ring
The SharkBite PEX crimp tool works with the 2 most common crimp sizes: ½” and ¾”. It comes with a go/no-go gauge and a crimp tool that only fastens the crimp’s grip. The product conforms to the ASTM F1807 standard and is American-made.
It has a wide range of applications for service and repair work, water heater installations, remodels, repiping, etc. in single-family or multifamily home constructions.
Basically, this product is suited for both commercial and residential purposes.
The PEX tool here not only works with copper rings, but also with PEX tubing and PEX barb fittings. So this shows its versatility.
Altogether, it only weighs 3.15 pounds and the tool is a special O-ring compressing type to create an unbreakable seal. Consequently, there’s a smaller chance of leakage.
There’s a 2-year warranty on this product.
For 1″ and 3/8” pipes, it doesn’t provide the right-sized crimps. No cutter is included for sizing the pipes before crimping.
iCrimp 1/2 and 3/4-inch combo PEX pipe crimping tool for copper ring
This version is the newly updated one and has the iCrimp mark genuinely manufactured by IWISS.
This remarkable design has a new add-on: the pre-crimp adjustment. Also, the crimp tool is compacted in size, so less pressure is required for crimping work.
The ½” and ¾” crimps are made of copper and are the most common ones used. The pre-crimp system gives perfect adjustments before the fit so the rings don’t slip and interrupt your work.
For better workability (even in narrow spaces), the handles were reduced and are 12.70 inches long.
You can easily regain the deformed ring and the only applicable size is ¾”. The tool segment is made up of carbon steel so there’s less wear and tear. This version also weighs less, at almost 2.65 pounds.
This tool has the go/no-go gauge and meets the ASTM 1807 standard. This gauge tells you if the work is good to go or needs more work. Also, the jaw work creates no mark in the rings.
The product was updated to not have any limitations and hopefully, there isn’t any. But the pipe ranged up to 1” and 3/8” are unfortunately unchanged.
SENTAI PEX crimping stripping cutting tool
SENTAI’s created a calibration tool that comes with 10 pieces of ¾” stainless steel clamps and 20 pieces of ½” clamps. There’s also an adjustable tool to make the clamp grip stronger.
The tool only weighs 2.33 pounds and is made of metal.
Overall it’s a good choice.
If you check out its competitors, then SENTAI might not be your first choice.
There’s no quick removable process; rather it’s time-consuming. The rings are made of steel, so there’s less flexibility. It almost takes 3 hands to operate properly which might be an inconvenience to many.
There’s no cutter included, so you need to even the pipe front with managed cutters.
After being tightened, the clamps can’t be reused. You have to break it; there’s no other way.
The removal process can only happen in 2 ways:
- With a screwdriver
- Or grabbing the band with a pincer, then pulling over the ear
Apollo PEX 69PTKG1096 3/8-inch – 1-inch stainless steel pinch clamp tool
Made of a stainless steel material meeting the ASTM F1807 standard, the Apollo clamp tool can work for 4 diverse clamp sizes (1, ¾, 3/8, ½ inches (Oetiker)). For 2 specific categories (the Apollo PEX and Murray PEX), the suitable clamps are 3/8” and ¾”.
The singular tool has a compact design for easy operation. Moreover, the design is made in such a way that the user gets an easier grip while working. The whole product comes with this bare clamp tool without any clamp-eared rings.
What’s great is you can use it for a long period of time. There’s a 5-year of warranty, which is really satisfying. The tool weighs 3.96 pounds with a strong body, so it’s affordable and sturdy.
The manufacturer Conbraco made this tool for only some specific categorized clamps. For example, you can’t use the Zurn quick-clamp crimp rings.
Also, there’s no cutter available and also no clamp removing procedure. It’s can only tighten.
SharkBite U701 PEX tubing cutter
SharkBite presents an efficient cutter and the range of it is from 1/8”- 1”. You won’t be disappointed by its cutting efficiency, as it leaves no stains or marks. It has an even O-ring outer layer so the pipes are bonded perfectly.
It’s field-proven and cuts the poly pipes within a second, which makes it great for both commercial and residential use. There’s a watertight seal on this tool.
It acts more like a scissor and it has push-to-connect technology. The only things you need to remember is this: cut, push, done. It works for PEX and PE-RT pipes.
What you need to do is just keep the pipe aligned as you create marks, grab the pipe with the 2 terminal sides, and squeeze. That’s all you need to make it go to the stainless steel tooth.
And the tool weighs only 5.1 ounces. How remarkable is that?
The one drawback is it won’t work on other materials, only synthetics.
Zurn QCRTMH steel multi-head copper crimp tool
If you need a crimper that’ll stick with you through your fitting and plumbing journey, the Zurn QCRTMH is your best bet. You can get a watertight PEX pipe connection using a copper crimp ring with this tool.
There’s no doubt this tool will last a long time. Most of its parts, like the head and hinges, are made out of high-quality steel. Its durability will help you save enough money and time, as you won’t have to replace it frequently.
This tool also features a go/no-go gauge, which makes crimping quicker and more accurate.
The Zurn QCRTMH is a multi-functional tool working with 4 different fitting sizes. You can easily install fittings with various jaw sizes, including 3/8, 1/8, 5/8, and ¾ inch, making it the right tool for most PEX pipe connections.
In addition to its multi-functionality, this tool comes with ring removal. It’s also heavy, weighing about 2.6 pounds for added durability.
This tool comes in a cool kit box. It contains all you need for calibrations and necessary adjustments, increasing the efficiency and precision this tool provides. Some of the downsides to this tool is its inability to work with 1-inch fittings and its 5/8 inch head is difficult to come by.
Pexflow R1245 PEX crimp tool
The Pexflow R1245 PEX Crimp tool isn’t just another tool with regular boring features. This tool works perfectly with all Oetiker style cinch clamps, Nibco, Watts, Zurn, and a variety of stainless steel clamps, like the 3/8, ½, 5/8, ¾ and, 1-inch clamps. This crimper is very versatile!
Plumbing and fitting projects are done with ease, all thanks to its ratchet design that auto-releases its jaws with a solid pinch to the cinch clamp tab. Also made of high-quality steel, this crimper is a hard worker and will last for years before needing a replacement or repairs.
The Pexflow R1245 also possesses lightweight features, which makes it easier to carry and work with. Working for longer periods without strains and blisters is possible with its ergonomic handle that provides a firm and soft grip.
Crimping is a lot more comfortable using this tool. Making copper crimp ring connections to your PEX pipes for leakage-free connections is a lot easier too.
With its lightweight features, ratchet design, and compact design, you won’t need both hands to operate this tool; one’s just fine! This crimper also comes in a variety of colors for your aesthetic preferences.
The Pexflow R1245 is very sturdy and can conveniently make PEX pipe connections in snowmelt, radiant heat, and ice rink system. It also features a pressure adjuster; with this, you wouldn’t mistakenly break a wire or distort crimp rings.
KOTTO PEX crimping clamp cinch tool
Finally, we have this multi-functional tool that meets the ASTM 2098 standard.
This PEX crimping toolset works with all stainless steel clamps, irrespective of their manufacturer, and can make PEX connections ranging from 3/8 to 1-inch. Cinching becomes easy with its ratchet design and self-release mechanism.
There’s absolutely no need for calibrations and adjustments; it’s already been carefully calibrated and adjusted in the factory.
This crimper is made out of unique manganese steel, making it very durable and rugged. It also features a design that makes it easy to cinch clamps and remove cinched clamps from pipes to allow for reuse.
Possessing heavyweight features, this tool weighs about 3 pounds, and its weight adds to the ruggedness of this tool. Its rubber-coated handle provides a firm but soft grip, which makes working for long hours comfortable and strain-free.
The KOTTO PEX crimping clamp cinch tool comes with a bright red handle, making it an attractive crimper.
With this crimper, you can conveniently crimp stainless clamps of 3/8, ½, 5/8, ¾, and 1-inch. With every purchase, it comes with a red handle cinch crimp tool, a red handle pipe cutter, 20 pieces of ½ inch clamps, 10 pieces of ¾ inch clamps, and a storage bag.
Is PEX crimp or clamp better?
Crimping and clamping create equally reliable seals that won’t leak when performed properly.
Stainless steel clamp rings resist corrosion more effectively than copper crimp rings, which can be a major benefit in direct-burial applications. PEX clamps also tend to be easier to remove.
How long do PEX clamps last?
ASTM International (a standards organization) requires that the life expectancy for PEX pipes to be at least 50 years.
Can I crimp PEX with pliers?
Yes, but it’d be best to use a suitable crimping tool to break stainless steel PEX clips.
Can you connect PEX-A to PEX-B?
You can, or crimp the PEX-B side and expansion fit the PEX-A side. But the coupler has to be PEX-A compliant.
Crimping will work with PEX-A fittings, but expansion fittings won’t work with PEX-B fittings.
Can I glue PEX pipes?
PEX can’t be glued and there are no compression fittings for CPVC, at least nothing that could be used in the house.
To each pipe, you’ll need to attach an adapter to the pipe thread. The PEX adapter will be crimp or whatever that brand of PEX uses, and the CPVC adapter will be glued on.
Why is PEX plumbing bad?
Its major failures are linked to piping and fitting.
Piping fails when the pipes are exposed to chlorine that’s within the water. They also fail with exposure to direct sunlight before installation.
Which is better, PEX-A or B?
PEX-A is the most flexible of all PEX tubing types, has little or no coil memory, and gives installer an ability to repair kinks with a heat gun. It has 8 times the OD for PEX-B & C. It’s helpful, but offers little practical advantage in most cases.
PEX-B is a clear winner in terms of price vs. both other types.
Can you use screw clamps on PEX?
Please DO NOT use this clamp on PEX tubing. Please purchase PEX clamps, which are installed with a crimping tool for proper sealing of the clamp to the fitting.
What is better, crimp or cinch?
Stainless steel cinch clamps are stronger than copper crimp rings.
When the fitted connection freezes with water in the line, it’ll cause the copper crimp ring to expand just enough to cause a leak when it thaws. In a recent test, the stronger stainless steel didn’t expand.
Can I use PEX for shower valves?
Use threaded PEX water line fittings for shower valves. A plastic bracket forms the sharpest 90-degree angle permitted for this brand of PEX.
Is PEX better than copper?
PEX tubing is much more resistant to freeze breakage than copper or rigid plastic pipe. PEX tubing is cheaper because it takes much less labor to install.
This is why it’s quickly becoming the industry standard. PEX is cheaper/easier to install and you generally don’t need as many fittings.
Can you crimp PEX to copper?
Traditionally, connecting PEX to copper depends on the end of the pipe you’re connecting to.
If the pipe isn’t threaded, you may use a male or female slip adapter. This method requires soldering the adapter to the copper pipe before fitting the PEX to the other end and securing it with a crimp.
Can you crimp SharkBite PEX?
The SharkBite PEX crimp dual tool allows you to make a secure connection to 1/2-inch and 3/4-inch PEX with copper crimp rings. The tool crimps the 2 most popular sizes with one tool and no interchangeable dies.
Are the pipe cuts necessary before clamping or crimping?
How is it bad to be a little more conscious about your work? But it’s assured that you’ll need an even cut for further processing.
So technically yes, the pipe cuts are needed.
Can’t one ring size just meet all pipe demands?
Basically, no. The reason is the pipe’s size won’t match or the ring size will be deformed. Your grip will easily show as a no-go.
Are clamps better or crimps?
There’s a difference between both the fitting mechanism and the removal mechanism. The one you’re more comfortable with is totally dependent on you.
But generally, crimps seem to be the more flexible choice.
Buy the best PEX crimp tool
Fitting PEX pipes in both the residential and commercial sectors might be a tough task, so you might think you need to be a professional for this. But the easy installation process of the joints should make your path easier.
The problematic situation now is this: which is the best PEX crimp tool? Simply every manufacturer won’t match up to your needs.
First, there’s this clamp team vs the crimp team.
If we get to decide on the clamping side, then there’s iCrimp’s collection, a full set of all the required tools. Also, the operational tool has both the cinch and removal functions.
Those who aren’t fond of clamping should switch to wire crimpers.
For crimpers, the favorite is IWISS’s collection. It has the necessary tools that’ll ease your work.
Then, we can choose the newly modified version of both iCrimp and IWISS’s combined tools. This uses a crimp, but has some extra materials, like an all-in-one-kit. So it’s definitely a top contender!
In summary, your tasks will determine which PEX crimp tools are best for the job. So take a look at my top picks and make a choice from there!
I'm Joost Nusselder, the founder of Tools Doctor, content marketer, and dad. I love trying out new equipment, and together with my team I've been creating in-depth blog articles since 2016 to help loyal readers with tools & crafting tips.