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Pex Crimping Kit?

3902 Views 29 Replies 19 Participants Last post by  CJadamec
Just finished putting a new service valve on my "on demand" water heater. The builder's plumbers must have really cranked down on the copper fittings and split a couple and they recently started leaking. Replacement went just fine however, I disturbed a Pex fitting close to the water heater and it is seeping a bit. Sigh...... I know there will be future projects or leaks to deal with so I'm interested in what crimping tools are worth looking into?
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Looks like his crimper was out of adjustment. Probably wasn't crimped tight enough.

If it's just a fitting or two cut the pipe as close to the fitting as possible and replace it with a shark bite fitting.

The only crimp ring I've had leak on me was a fitting in a tight spot that was under tension.
There are 2 different types of PEX fittings, cinch and crimp. You have the crimp style right now. I prefer the cinch style.

The crimp style pliers are expensive and you need to have inserts for each size (or multiple pliers).

The cinch style uses one size pliers and is constructed so it doesn't open until you reach the proper tightness.
There is a go-no go guage for verifying proper crimp. I suspect this step was overlooked.
You may be able to simply hit it again and fix your leak.
Ive been shopping for a crimper myself. I’m leaning towards the crimp style. The copper rings are much easier to remove with a tool compared to the cinch type which need to be cut off. I also believe the copper rings are less expensive.

My brother has a cinch tool but the plumber we hired for some repairs recently used a crimp system.

I believe you can also get crimp tools that ratchet. As mentioned, you need to check with Go/NoGo gauge.

I only have one size of plumbing pipe so only need one size of pliers regardless.
There are 2 different types of PEX fittings, cinch and crimp. You have the crimp style right now. I prefer the cinch style.

The crimp style pliers are expensive and you need to have inserts for each size (or multiple pliers).

The cinch style uses one size pliers and is constructed so it doesn't open until you reach the proper tightness.
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Crimp is expensive once. I didn’t have much debate with a whole house to re plumb. $99 for a kobalt crimper with all the dies and a go/no-go gauge. The only ones that leaked were where it was difficult to hold them square.

For a single repair I would spend $10 for a sharkbite fitting
Good info so far. I'm interested in purchasing the tool and kit so that I'm prepared for future repairs/additions to the plumbing. The Kobalt one sounds like it would be worth looking into.
The Kobalt one sounded interesting, but it look s like it's NLA at Lowe's. They are slowly dropping Kobalt for Crapsmen.

781540
I invested in like 200$ worth of a kit years ago when I bought my house aND for my first leak.

This very day I bought almost everything necessary to do my whole house re-plumb. I have done about 50 cinch rings with one failure and it was obvious the moment it DID NOT cinch properly.

I made my decision based on YouTube and pro plumber feedback. Mine are knock offs probably from China but work great and was a steal considering I got fittings, bands, and couple hundred feet of blue n red pex.

I do hate plumbing though. This project has me all stressed out. New water heater and all new lines. Yay...

Good luck OP.
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The reason it is weeping 1) they didn’t cut the pex pipe square so it can’t butt up tight all around the stop of the fittings 2) the crimp rings aren’t crimped square to the pipe also!
In this case two negatives don’t equal a positive !!!!
Noticed that too Seasled
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We just bought a 5th wheel camper that's all pex / flexible hose hybrid plumbing. I've read numerous stories about leaks and needing decent tools and supplies to fix leaks. So I'd be very interested to learn what a good basic set of tools and hardware would be in case of pex related leaks...
I also hate plumbing, leaking water is a huge cause of anxiety for me.
I have a Mastercraft labeled crimp set from Menards that looks just like that Kolbalt set. It was under $100 several years ago. I use only pex when repairing or upgrading in my 20+ units and my own home. Have done hundreds of them without a failure. I use the crimps, occasionally push fittings, and recently started using some of the evotech or whatever they are called with good results.

Cut the pex clean, ream it with the deburring tool, set everything straight and give it a squeeze. Check with gauge. Squeeze again if close. Over squeezing should never occur if your tool is properly adjusted.

That top ring in the first picture will likely leak as it is not straight to the fitting. I also use only the metal fittings with the crimp rings, that one is plastic. I have to question the quality of the plumber who did this.
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I have an Apollo crimp set ($100.00) and a Sharkbite clamp tool ($65.00). Each is a fine tool, but the clamp tool is my favorite. Admittedly, I haven't used the clamp tool anywhere near as much as the crimper so I might someday change my feelings.

I bought the crimp set many years ago and it works real well, but it can be a bear to use when working out of position, such as overhead or in confined spaces. In order to start a crimp, the tool must be opened quite wide and I've had several instances where the tool would not fit within the space in which I was trying to make a connection. One recollection was within a kitchen cabinet and another was at the top of a 12" joist bay, along with several other similar situations. There is also an issue that you must have clearance at the back and sides of the connection to accommodate the head of the crimper. That is a routine obstacle to work around and plan for.

When replumbing a bathroom more recently, I envisioned the issues I was going to have making connections within a double wall and at the back of the shower. Rather than fight with the issue, I bought a clamp tool. I should have done it years ago! It's smaller, does not need the width clearance and needs no space behind the connection. It is also easier for me to use as it requires only hand strength and not shoulders and chest muscles, which apparently aren't what they used to be.

The cost of a clamp over a crimp ring is negligible ... less than a dime. The time saved from not having to work around issues, as described, is well worth the extra cost of the clamps. I don't know which tool makes a better mechanical connection. As long as they don't leak, I don't care.

As far as removing clamps or crimps that are not perfect, I use a cutoff tool. Most often the pex is left somewhat unscathed and I've never ruined a fitting. A clamp ring can also be removed with pliers and a screwdriver, and there is a tool made to cut crimp rings from a fitting, but the Pex tubing has to be cut at the end of the fitting before removing the crimp ring. I have been known to make a bad crimp or clamp connection and when I do, I most often cut the faulty connection out and use a fresh fitting, saving the clamp or crimp removal for a less busy time.

781561
I have several (at least 4 or 5) IWISS crimpers for various electrical plugs, all are decent quality.
That looks like a decent kit. I may get one when they are back in stock.

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I noticed that too. I am a PEX user not quite trusting of the plastic fittings though
The reason it is weeping 1) they didn’t cut the pex pipe square so it can’t butt up tight all around the stop of the fittings 2) the crimp rings aren’t crimped square to the pipe also!
In this case two negatives don’t equal a positive !!!!
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Right, neither do I, and I don’t use push fittings in areas that will be inaccessible.
I noticed that too. I am a PEX user not quite trusting of the plastic fittings though
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Yes I am the same way. I just re plumbed a vintage rv. It would cost me around $600 in copper and only about $150 for pex. A buddy of mine uses push fittings for everything. That would worry me and add to the cost lol. I prefer copper but as of late the prices have gotten scary. I’m still going to use soft copper with flare nuts for the LP systems though, only because compression fittings are not trustworthy for that application
Right, neither do I, and I don’t use push fittings in areas that will be inaccessible.
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