Last Updated on December 12, 2020 by William
PEX Crimp Vs. PEX Clamp – Which to Use & Why!
If you are someone who works in a certain trade, or you know a bit about DIY projects, you probably know how important it is to make sure you are always using the correct tools for whatever job you have at hand. When you use the right tools for the right job, you achieve the results that you intended without worrying about any issues coming about as the years go by.
Of course, there are times when two tools reveal themselves that serve the exact same or similar purpose. When it comes to PEX Crimp and PEX Clamp tools, that is precisely the case. The following overview will show you the differences between the PEX Crimp and PEX Clamp, as well as the advantages and disadvantages of each so that you can decide on the best tool for your needs.
Why Use PEX?
For starters, copper can be very expensive. Many plumbers and heating professionals have decided to make the switch over to PEX to remain competitive. Of course, there are ot
- Flexibility: PEX is very flexible, which allows it to bend in just about any direction. You won’t have to use as many connections with PEX, which means the installation process is a lot faster.
- Corrosion-Resistant: PEX doesn’t corrode or pit. You won’t ever have to feel concerned about restricted water flow or leaking pinholes.
- Longevity: PEX, according to ASTM International, can last up to at least 50 years. In essence, PEX is more flexible and provides serious longevity compared to other types of piping.
Overall, PEX is longer-lasting and more durable than copper, which is why it has become one of the most popular alternatives in the modern world. Of course, to put together a PEX piping system, you will need the right tools. This is where PEX Crimps and PEX Clamps come into play.
Understanding PEX Crimp Tools
PEX Crimp tools are used with copper crimp rings. When it comes to DIY homeowners working with PEX pipe, PEX crimp tools are the most popular. You must consider the size of the pipe that you are working with, as the size of your PEX crimp tools must correlate to that size. PEX crimp tool models often range from around ⅜” to 1”. Some PEX crimp tools come with interchangeable jaws as well, which allow you to swap sizes with ease.
When you use a PEX crimp tool, you can tighten the entire ring. It is important to note that they require quite a bit of force. You may need to put in more effort to get a tight crimp on the crimp band when you are using a PEX crimp tool.
Understanding PEX Clamp Tools
PEX Clamp tools, otherwise known as PEX Cinch tools, are very similar, though they do have some notable unique qualities. Many PEX Clamp tools come with a ratcheting design. They can be used with copper, just like PEX Crimp tools, though many can be used with stainless steel clamps as well.
The great thing about PEX Clamp tools is that they do not require nearly as much force as PEX Crimp tools. When you are working in very narrow areas without a ton of wiggle room for movement, PEX Clamp tools can be far more beneficial.
The Main Difference Between the Two
The main difference between PEX Crimp tools and PEX Clamp tools is that PEX clamp tools can be used for both stainless steel and copper crimp rings. Instead of using the whole body of the ring, they simply pinch the tab. They are far more flexible when compared to crimpers, as you can use them with different PEX pipe sizes. Essentially, you can think of PEX Clamp tools as ‘one-size-fits-all’ tools. I have even used them on pressure washer hoses before due to their high pressures.
When the ring is crimped correctly, it becomes much easier to remove after the fact using a Clamp tool. Rings that are fastened are much more difficult to remove using Crimp tools. Many users say that they prefer Clamp tools due to the fact that they work with stainless steel clamps, giving them an edge beyond copper clamps.
Plus, compared to copper crimp bands, stainless steel bands are far more resistant to corrosion so safer for water supplies.
PEX Crimp Tools – Pros and Cons
Though both of these products are very similar in many ways, exploring the pros and cons of both of them is very important before making your final decision. Here are a few of the pros and cons of PEX Crimp tools;
Pros of PEX Crimp Tools
- Sizes: When using a PEX Crimp tool, you need to make sure that you have the correct size for the piper that you are working on. Luckily, PEX Crimp tools typically come with an interchangeable jaw design, allowing users to use the same tool on multiple pipes.
- Seal: PEX Crimp tools can create watertight seals with ease, as they crimp the entire ring.
- Variety of Sizes: You can purchase PEX Crimp tools in a wide range of sizes. Some are far superior to others when doing work in smaller spaces. There is a myriad of options out there, though it might take a bit more research to find the best one for your particular situation.
Cons of PEX Crimp Tools
• Material Limitations: PEX Crimp tools can only be used on copper crimp rings, making them a bit more limited compared to PEX Clamp tools.
• Pressure: When creating a seal that is watertight with a PEX Crimp tool, you do need to apply quite a bit of pressure. However, the amount of pressure that you must apply varies from one tool to another, so, once again, finding a quality crimp tool is of the utmost importance.
PEX Clamp Tools – Pros and Cons
When it comes to PEX Clamp tools, there are many notable pros and cons to be aware of.
Pros of PEX Clamp Tools
• Versatility: With PEX Clamp tools, you can work with multiple materials, including copper and stainless steel.
• Seal: You can create a seal of equal quality with a PEX Clamp tool, though you only have to cinch a single part of the ring instead of the whole thing.
• Pressure: Creating a seal with PEX Clamp tools does not require as much force compared to a PEX Crimp tool.
• Easy Removal: One pro that is definitely worth noting is the fact that it is much easier to remove a sealed crimp ring with a PEX Clamp tool compared to a PEX crimp tool. This is because only one section of the crimp ring has been clamped when a PEX Clamp tool is used.
• Flexibility: PEX Clamp tools are far more flexible compared to PEX crimp tools.
You can use a PEX Clamp tool with all different PEX pipe sizes.
• Tight Spaces: People often use PEX Clamp tools in narrower spaces thanks to the fact that they are much easier to maneuver. When working between two pipes, having this additional maneuverability can be extremely helpful.
• Corrosion: People often prefer stainless steel clamps to copper rings. Stainless steel is much more corrosion-resistant compared to copper and you need a PEX Clamp tool to work with stainless steel.
Cons of PEX Clamp Tools
• Lack of Components: Both PEX Clamp tools and PEX Crimp tools have additional accessories and components. However, it is much harder to find readily available PEX Clamp tool components and accessories.
Which Of These Tools Is Best?
Although you won’t usually find a PEX tool on a list of essential plumbing tools, they are still nice to have for larger jobs. When you use a PEX Crim tool to crimp a copper ring, you get a really tight seal. If your main goal is to get a tight seal with a copper ring, you should buy a PEX Crimp tool. In fact, this is truly the only main advantage that the PEX Crimp tool has over the PEX Clamp tool.
Because you can use the PEX Clamp tool with both copper and stainless steel crimp bands, and thanks to the fact that it fits with just about any size of pipe, it is the more versatile choice. However, because you don’t crimp the entire ring, as the PEX Clamp only clamps down on the tab, you don’t get a seal that is as tight as you might be able to get with the PEX Crimp ring.
Bottom Line – PEX Crimp Vs. Pex Clamp Tools
So, as you can see, both PEX Clamp tools and PEX Crimp tools can be used to seal fittings on PEX pipes. In a sense, they both serve the same purpose. Of course, as you’ve also seen, there are a few obvious differences between both of them.
A PEX Crimp tool can only be used with copper rings. Crimp tools also crimp the entire ring as well. A PEX Clamp ring can work with both copper rings and stainless steel rings. Plus, they only cinch one section of the fitting, and they are much easier to manage in tight spots.
Both of them are equally powerful if you are simply concerned with finding a tool to create a watertight seal. However, if you are looking for a more versatile tool, we recommend looking at PEX Clamp tools.