How to Choose a Plumbing Press Tool
If you’re ready to make pipe connections without flames, sweating, brazing and grooving, then pressing technology is for you. Today’s professional plumbers are regularly and reliably using press tools to make secure, flameless connections on copper, stainless steel, PEX and black iron in a fraction of the time it takes to solder pipe. A plumbing press tool not only saves you time, it also saves you money by delivering reliable performance, press after press.
What press tools are right for your needs? Consider these questions:1. What type of plumbing connections do you handle most?
First take into account the type of work you do: new installation vs. repair or both. For the new construction plumber, pressing offers the ability to make connections quickly, one after the other. Over the course of a full commercial or residential project install, this time adds up – and timesaving equals more jobs and more income. For the repair plumber, pipe joining may be less frequent, but pressing still offers considerable time savings and other benefits. Long gone is the need for open flames and special work permits to join pipe. A plumbing press tool will allow you to make repairs without shutting off the water or draining the pipe completely.
2. Where will you use pressing most?
Whatever type of plumbing you do, it’s usually a task confined to tight spaces – or in ground -- and your pressing tool must adapt to the job. Be sure to evaluate a press tool based on its size and style. Press tools come in a variety of platforms: pistol grips that are easy to hold and use, inline grips that fit easily into compact areas, and pivoting heads that make connections easier to reach and complete. Then consider the weight of the tool. Hold it in your hand and move it along with you. Press tools should have a balanced feel for less fatigue.
3. What pipe sizes and materials do you work on?
Pressing tools are designed to handle different size pipes, ranging from ½” up to 4” depending on the tool. Just as important as the pressing tool are the jaws you have on-hand to join pipe. While you may think you need a specific “copper press tool” – it’s the jaws that make the difference. Jaws are often designed to accommodate different pipe materials, and are sometimes not interchangeable: i.e., jaws that join copper cannot be used for black iron or PEX. Not purchasing the right jaws or accessories to work with all the systems you encounter can limit the functionality of your press tool.
4. How do you feel about maintenance, battery life?
Some press tools can do more than just press pipe connections. For example, the RIDGID ProPress tool system offers features designed around the plumber, with lighting for increased visibility, onboard diagnostics that alert you to a low battery or service need, and smart connect features that help to confirm connections. You want to keep your press tool up and running – with minimal effort – so features like these can help you get the most out of the tool you choose.
Ready to start pressing? Find your RIDGID Press Tool here.