The Best PEX Crimp Tools of 2023

Photo: amazon.com Photo: amazon.com

We may earn revenue from the products available on this page and participate in affiliate programs. Learn More ›

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.

Our best overall PEX crimp tool is the Iwiss iCrimp F1807 All-In-One Crimping Tool Kit for its versatility, excellent torque, and additional accessories. All of the products on this list were thoroughly vetted for effectiveness and reliability, and some were even tested. 

These crimps and clamps do require special tools, however. Korey Gregory, superintendent at water damage specialists ASAP Restoration in Tempe, Arizona, shares that “ineffective PEX crimp tools don’t create a tight enough seal around the ring.” To ensure you’re getting the well-functioning joint, it’s important to choose the best PEX crimp tool for your project. We researched and/or hands-on tested products to find the features you’ll want to consider when shopping for the best PEX crimp tool.

  1. BEST OVERALL: Iwiss iCrimp F1807 All-In-One Crimping Tool Kit
    ↓ Jump to Review
  2. RUNNER-UP: Kotto PEX Crimping Clamp Cinch Tool and Pipe Cutter 
    ↓ Jump to Review
  3. BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: Iwiss iCrimp CRP1096 PEX Clamp Tool Kit
    ↓ Jump to Review
  4. BEST PROFESSIONAL: Milwaukee M18 Press Tool Kit With PEX Crimp Jaws
    ↓ Jump to Review
  5. BEST COMPACT: Iwiss iCrimp IWS-FAS PEX Copper Ring Crimp Tool Kit
    ↓ Jump to Review
  6. BEST MULTISIZE HEAD: Apollo PEX Multi-Head Crimp Tool Kit
    ↓ Jump to Review
  7. BEST FOR TIGHT SPACES: Iwiss iCrimp IWS-FA Long-Version Crimp Tool Kit
    ↓ Jump to Review
  8. BEST RATCHETING: Iwiss iCrimp KIT-0535 Ratcheting Crimp Tool Set
    ↓ Jump to Review
  9. ALSO CONSIDER: Iwiss iCrimp IWS-C Angle PEX Crimping Tools
    ↓ Jump to Review

The Best PEX Crimp ToolsPhoto: amazon.com

We researched and/or hands-on tested the most sought-after PEX 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 the best PEX crimp tools come with additional tools such as pipe or wire cutters, go/no-go gauges, crimp-removal tools, multiple sets of jaws and clamps, hex bolts, hard cases, and more. 

Gregory offers some useful advice: “One of the ways to ensure that you get a quality crimper is to choose ones with longer handles rather than shorter ones. Longer handles help to give you leverage when doing the actual crimping.” He adds, “If you are starting a plumbing business, have wrist problems, or just a huge number of PEX crimps to do, then a powered PEX crimper tool might be worth the investment.”

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 that we researched and/or hands-on tested, organized by category. 

Best Overall

Iwiss iCrimp F1807 All-In-One Crimping Tool Kit

See It

Product Specs 

  • Type: 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

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.

Get the Iwiss iCrimp F1807 PEX crimp tool at Amazon.

Runner-up

Kotto PEX Crimping Clamp Cinch Tool and Pipe Cutter

See It

Product Specs 

  • Type: 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 Kotto PEX crimp tool, pipe cutter, 30 clamps, a calibration tool, and a storage bag 
  • Self-release and ratchet 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 

Those who need a reliable PEX crimp tool will want to take a look at the Kotto 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 cinch rings, 10¾-inch stainless steel cinch rings, a calibration tool, and a storage bag. With all these tools, it can make PEX connections from ⅜ to 1 inch. 

The Kotto PEX crimp 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.

Get the Kotto PEX crimp tool at Amazon, Walmart, or Target.

Best Bang For The Buck

Iwiss iCrimp CRP1096 PEX Clamp Tool Kit

See It

Product Specs 

  • Type: 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 

Those who prefer to use clamps over crimps might want to consider adding this 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 PEX clamp tool 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. 

Get the Iwiss iCrimp CRP1096 PEX crimp tool at Amazon.

Best Professional

Milwaukee M18 Press Tool Kit With PEX Crimp Jaws

See It

Product Specs 

  • Type: Crimps 

  • Length: 13.5 inches

  • Capacity: ⅜-, ½-, ⅝-, ¾-, and 1-inch PEX pipes

Pros

  • Powerful tool can used one handed, and is suitable for every PEX size

  • Claimed to be 40% faster than any alternative, and offers precise alignment

  • Automatic closure ensures full seal with green light to show cycle is complete

  • Kit includes rapid charger, 2 batteries, and a hard carry case

Cons

  • Bulk can make working in stud walls a little awkward

  • Cutter, 3/8 and 5/8 jaws are extra, and not for stainless steel cinch clamps

Using a manual PEX crimp tool all day can result in hand pain, plus tiredness that could impact the quality of work. Those with reduced grip will also find manual tools a problem. Milwaukee’s powerful 18V press tool kit is the solution preferred by many professionals. Spring-loaded jaws provide precise alignment for flawless fitting of all PEX crimp sizes. According to Milwaukee, it is 40 percent faster than powered rivals with a full cycle taking just 3 seconds.

Optimized force means there are no calibration intervals to interrupt work, and no calibration tool is required. A pre-press battery check ensures there’s always sufficient charge to complete the crimp successfully, and a green LED confirms this at the end of the cycle. However, there’s no cutter in the kit, and while 3 sets of jaws are included the ⅜- and ⅝-inch versions cost extra.

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

Best Compact

Iwiss iCrimp IWS-FAS PEX Copper Ring Crimp Tool Kit

See It

Product Specs 

  • Type: 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 

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.

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

Best Multisize Head

Apollo PEX Multi-Head Crimp Tool Kit

See It

Product Specs 

  • Type: 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 

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.

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

Best For Tight Spaces

Iwiss iCrimp IWS-FA Long-Version Crimp Tool Kit

See It

Product Specs 

  • Type: Crimps 
  • Length: 11.22 inches 
  • Capacity: ½- or ¾-inch PEX pipes 

Pros

  • Suitable for crimping tasks in tight spaces; perfect for in stud 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 

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 IWS-FA’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 copper crimp 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. 

Get the Iwiss iCrimp IWS-FA PEX crimp tool at Amazon.

Best Ratcheting

Iwiss iCrimp KIT-0535 Ratcheting Crimp Tool Set

See It

Product Specs

  • Type: Crimps 
  • Length: Unlisted 
  • Capacity: 22 to 2 AWG

Pros

  • Wire strippers and 6 sets of jaws are included with the purchase; 1 handle allows for a wide variety of applications
  • Automatic quick-release jaws and ratcheting function allow for ease of use and efficiency
  • Jaws can be swapped with a spring-loaded release button; comes with 8 pieces in total 

Cons

  • No length listed by the manufacturer; may not be ideal for some users 
  • The carrying case for all of the components is large; may not be very portable or easy to store 

This Iwiss iCrimp tool set comes with everything required for crimping in electrical terminals. It includes a rubber and steel ratcheting crimper tool, six sets of dies, and a wire stripper with built-in cutters, all of which come in a carrying case. It is capable of crimping wires of 2 to 22 AWG, which means these PEX crimpers can work on very small or very large wires. 

There is a spring-loaded button integrated into the design that allows the user to replace the dies tool-free. This tool also has an automatic release function and a quick-release lever that pries the handles open.

Testing Results: Tom Scalisi, a Bob Vila product tester and writer, hands-on tested this model in our Iwiss crimping tool review and concluded that this tool is versatile and easy to use. “There isn’t much assembly with the Iwiss. The crimper tool comes ready to go and has a set of standard dies with bays for 22 to 18 AWG, 16 to 14 AWG, and 12 to 10 AWG already installed. The Iwiss ratcheting crimper tool makes secure connections between wires and terminals; this is due to its ratcheting function as well as its jaw design. I tested connection strength by yanking the terminals with considerable force to pop them off, which I could rarely accomplish. The double crimps add two holding places on the wires that prevent the terminals from coming loose.” 

Read our full review: Iwiss iCrimp KIT-0535 Ratcheting Crimp Tool Set

Get the Iwiss iCrimp KIT-0535 PEX crimp tool at Amazon.

Also Consider

Iwiss iCrimp IWS-C Angle PEX Crimping Tools

See It

Product Specs 

  • Type: Crimps 
  • Length: Unlisted
  • Capacity: ½-, ¾-inch PEX pipes

Pros

  • 2-pack included with purchase; ½-inch and ¾-inch PEX 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 

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 plumbing 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. 

Get the Iwiss iCrimp angle PEX crimp tool at Amazon.

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 for PEX plumbing. 

Types of PEX Crimp Tools 

When comparing the best 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 plumbing tools, a key point is that there are crimps and clamps. 

  • Crimps are copper crimp 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 crimp fittings 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 stainless steel 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 pipe crimping tool at least 11 inches in length. Since longer-handled PEX piping 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. 

Weight 

Fatigue can be caused by holding overly heavy tools. When it comes to PEX tools, lightweight is always better. Plumbers and electricians who use these tools regularly will want to look for options that are between 1 and 9 pounds, with most options weighing in at under 5 pounds. However, heavyweight options may provide more crimping power than their lighter counterparts; refer to user manuals before trying to use a crimper tool.

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 crimp 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. 

Electrical and plumbing 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 pipe 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 will want to 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. 

You might also like

Comments are closed.