- Press Tools Buyer’s Guide
- ‘Best Press Tools of 2020’ Reviews
- Press Tools FAQs
If you are reading this article, chances are you are a plumber, mechanic, or electrician, and you are looking for the best press tool kit on the market. For those of you that don’t know, press tools are essential if you are working in an industry that emphasizes pneumatic and hydraulic pressed metal which is needed to manufacture and shape sheets made out of copper, steel, and other metals.
While there are a number of different types of press tools, most are categorized by the operation they are used for. Thus, there are different bending, piercing, and trimming press tools, among others. The demand for these tools is quite wide, and while the average price of a proper kit is around a few thousand dollars, the investment is absolutely worth it if you plan to work in the industry.
In order to facilitate a simple buying process, and to give you a better insight into press tools, we came up with a list of the best press tools on the market. Along with this, we also offer you a buyer’s guide and FAQs at the end of this article to address any questions or doubts you may have.
Press Tools Buyer’s Guide
If you handle any work that includes the usage of hydraulic, pneumatic, or similar presses, you will need to invest in a proper press tool kit. Keeping this in mind, not all offers are the same, and while you may think that a higher priced product is the best one, it is not always the case. There are a few features that you should look into when buying a proper kit. In order to help you make the best possible purchase decision, we have listed five of the most important ones.
Key Feature #1: Types of Press Tools
There are an array of different press tool types, and it is all about which operation you are going to perform with it. While the pipe plumbing press tool seems to be the most common it is not the only one.
Taking a look at the relevant market, the best ones are the blanking tool, the piercing tool, the shaving tool, the forming tool, as well as the combination tool with which you will be able to perform multitasking work.
Key Feature #2: Material
When it comes to the material, there are two important points to consider. The first one is the material that the press tool is made of, and our recommendation is to get one that has cast iron or stainless steel as the primary material. On the other hand, the second point is the material that the tool is compatible to work with as copper, stainless steel, carbon fiber, and pex are the most important ones.
Key Feature #3: Size
While the size is not as important as the material that your press tool is compatible with, it should still be adequate and not too big or too small. The ideal press tool size is about 40 cm in length.
Key Feature #4: Weight
The weight is a critical feature because if your press tool is too heavy, you will not be able to work with it for more than a couple hours, and you will have to take longer breaks. The perfect weight seems to be around 10 lbs.
Key Feature #5: Ease of Use
Last but not least, you should look for a press tool that comes with a number of innovative features including Autostop and a reversible crimp feature as these will allow you to maneuver and work in tight spaces.
‘Best Press Tools of 2020’ Reviews
1. Greenlee PSTLP-KIT001 Press Tool Kit
If you are looking to buy from a trusted brand, and you don’t want to spend your whole budget on one press tool kit, take a look at this product. It stands at a reasonable price and may be the perfect choice if you are going to work with copper and steel fittings.
Greenlee is one of the younger companies when it comes to electricians and plumbers tools. Still, taking a look at the different kits that they offer, including the PSTLP-KIT001, the high quality of their products is quite clear. While they strive to cover all your needs, they still offer their products at a very reasonable price. This kit includes a Piston with a pistol grip, as well as jaws adequate for copper and steel fittings.
One of the highlighted features has to be the automatic feature that will allow you to save time if you are looking to work multiple presses at once. Additionally, once it reaches the optimal force, the Piston will stop on its own, using the Autostop technology, that not many press tools have. Frankly, this Piston compares really well to its high-priced competitors, mostly due to the HPC pressure that allows high accuracy – a feature we are really impressed with.
You can monitor the HPC pressure by listening to the audible signals and looking at the LED light. On top of all that, it will never run out of power without you knowing due to the LED display, through which you can monitor the maintenance and battery percentage. The patented twist and release locking system will allow you to change the jaws (6 included) without much effort.
There is not much that this kit lacks as it includes a piston tool, six jaws, two batteries, and one charger. The jaw can be rotated 360 degrees, which means you can get to all those tight spaces and perform heavy-duty fitting work. The only visible con is that it works well with only copper and steel – other metals may not fare as well. Still, for the price, it is not something that should concern you.
This kit includes a number of great features. This includes the accurate pressing piston, to the two long-life batteries and the sturdy charger that is included in the kit. The Autostop feature will leave you worry-free, as it ensures optimal force and precise fitting. Not to forget the readable LED display that will allow you to monitor the current status of the tool at any point.
Unfortunately it is optimal only for copper and steel fittings. Additionally, this piston is kind of heavy compared to other higher-priced models, so you may tire of using this press tool sooner than you would with other offers.
What We Like
- HPC Pressure
- Autostop feature
What We Don’t Like
- Only for copper and steel fittings
- Heavy for some
2. Ridgid GIDDS2-813276 Press Tool Kit
If you are an experienced plumber or electrician, you know that a proper press tool with adequate jaws and durable batteries will go a long way to the ease and success of your job. That is exactly what this Ridgid kit offers, coming at a reasonable price compared to some of its other competitors.
Unlike the Greenlee company, which we listed as one of the younger companies on the market, the Ridgid company is among the oldest plumbing equipment brands. Founded back in 1932, it has shaped the history of these tools, and even today, it offers some of the bestselling press tool kits. While their series includes a number of different models, the GIDDS2-813276 features a high-quality press tool, six different jaws, two lithium batteries, and a sturdy carry case has to be the best.
Comparing it to an average press tool, this product is 30% smaller, and 17% lighter which will allow you to work with it for hours at a time without getting exhausted. Along with that, it has improved maneuverability with which you will be able to reach into those tight fitting spaces. Another great feature about the design of this product is the sturdy LED light, which will allow you to work in low-light environments without having to use an extra battery or a mobile flashlight.
Unlike some other models (including the Greenlee one), this press tool runs on 18A Lithium batteries that are more powerful than most other options, offering 400 presses on a single charge. Not to mention, it is a model with an incredible number of cycles (42,000) with an average time for each starting at just 5 seconds.
It includes a 270-degree rotatable barrel, with a capacity of 0.5 to 2 inches. Additionally, as an upgraded product coming from the latest Ridgid series, it is compatible with all the attachments and jaws previously released by this brand. As we have mentioned in the section above, there are six different jaws that come with this kit, including a 1/2, 3/4, 1, 1 1/4, 1 1/2, and a 2 inch one.
The readable LED display will allow you to monitor the pressure status, maintenance, and low battery. While this offer comes with almost everything that a press tool kit should, the customer service is lacking to some degree, as you would expect more effective communication and problem solving for the price that you pay.
What We Like
- Easy to maneuver
- 7,200 lbs. pressure
- 6 different jaws
- 18A Lithium batteries
What We Don’t Like
- Pricey for some
- Customer service
3. Milwaukee 2473-22 M12 Press Tool
If you are looking to buy a full press tool kit from a trusted brand name, this is definitely a good option to look into. What is surprising here is the level of quality you get for the low price. It’s a great press tool kit that won’t cost you an arm and a leg.
One thing to note about this particular press tool is that it’s designed for ease of use. For one, it is ideal for single handed use, which is always important because it leaves your second hand free to perform other important tasks. On that same note, it’s also designed to be fairly slim and compact, something that lets it get into tight spaces with ease.
Speaking of user friendliness, beware that the Milwaukee 2473-22 M12 is optimized for residential fittings and installations. It works to provide the adequate amount of force for most residential installations. What’s also convenient here is that there are no calibration intervals to deal with, which translates to less downtime for the use, and therefore higher efficiency.
It’s also a great press tool thanks to the high quality components used here, particularly the press mechanism. This thing has the ability to press and crimp more or less anything in about 3 seconds flat. It’s advertised as being 40% faster than other such tools, and we do have to agree with this.
What also helps make things easier is the auto cycle which helps to ensure a full and proper press each time, not to mention that the spring loaded jaw allows for super precise alignment each time.
What we really like about the Milwaukee 2473-22 M12 is how it’s an all in one kit, and it really is designed for convenience. Here you get a ½ inch, ¾ inch, and 1 inch crimp jaw, complete with the battery and the charger. Realistically speaking, this one tool should be all you need, plus it also comes in at a great price too.
The only bad thing that stands out about the Milwaukee 2473-22 M12 is how it’s only compatible with these specific jaws. It does not work with other jaws. On a side note, you might want to avoid copper with this press tool.
What We Like
- One handed use
- Easy alignment
- Auto cycle for full press
What We Don’t Like
- Not ideal for copper
- Battery life could be a bit better
4. DEWALT DCE200M2K Press Tool Kit
As another product manufactured by a trusted brand, this DEWALT Pipe Plumbing Kit is among the best press tools, and for a good reason.
If you are a plumber, or you know a thing or two about pipe plumbing, there is no chance you haven’t heard of the Dewalt brand. This kit stands a good price considering what it comes with – one pipe plumbing tool, five crimping heads ranging from 1/2 to 2 inches, a kit box and a shoulder strap, two 20V Lithium batteries, and one powerful charger.
It has a great capacity covering a range of 1/2 inch to 4 inches and is compatible with copper, stainless steel, pex, and carbon fiber pipes (unlike the Greenlee one which covers only copper and stainless steel). Much like its higher-priced competitors, it comes with an LED display through which you can monitor the crimp, temperature, battery status, and potential service needs. The triggers are forward and reversed, while the crimp can be rotated both vertically and horizontally which will allow you to work in tighter places.
As we have mentioned above, it does come with two 20V Lithium batteries, with the optimal power sitting at 18V. One of the best things about it is that you can invest in additional Ridgid jaws (the best on the market) and fit these with the Dewalt Press Tool.
As with any other product, this press tool kit does have a few cons – the jaws are easy to dislocate, while the product is not as sturdy as you would expect it to be. Still, if you follow the maintenance instructions and don’t put it under heavy use without consulting a professional, it is a product of good value for both beginners and more experienced plumbers.
The DeWalt press tool kit is an affordable kit that not only features a good quality plumbing pipe tool but comes with a few interchangeable heads, as well as durable 20V batteries and a powerful charger. Additionally, the rotatable crimp will allow you to fix the most troublesome spots.
The jaws don’t seem to hold in place, which is the reason why you may want to invest in the Ridgid Standard Jaws that are sturdy and have a better fit. Also, the customer service of the retailer is not the best, and we see it as a concern yet to be addressed.
What We Like
- High-pressure capacity
- Readable LED display
- 20V Lithium batteries
- Rotatable crimp
What We Don’t Like
- Not as sturdy
- Jaws don’t hold in place
5. Milwaukee 2773-22 M18 Press Tool Kit
Although we don’t think that a higher price always ensures higher quality, there is no doubt that the Milwaukee 2773-22 M18 Press Tool Kit stands at a great value for money.
If you are a plumber and you need to handle high-intensity tasks on a daily basis, you can’t work with a simple press tool kit. The Milwaukee kit is just the right choice for those that don’t have a tight budget and want only the best. It includes six different jaws ranging from 1/2 to 2 inches, as well as a powerful charger and durable Lithium batteries.
It has an in-line design, that is not as heavy as its competitors, and is highlighted by the 10% faster charge and 20% longer run time. Along with that, due to its simple yet sturdy design, you will be able to work with it for the whole day without getting exhausted. The auto-cycle feature is there to ensure accurate and powerful pressure, and stops the tool from running if it can’t complete the task.
The Milwaukee press tool kit features one of the best calibrations including 50,000 cycles, with an average time for each being around just four seconds. Compatible with 13 different fitting systems, you can perform demanding work without any accessories that you would have to buy separately.
The only visible con is the fact that this press tool kit is effective only with copper presses – still, as these are the most common, it is not a huge concern. Overall, it is a great value product that is worth every dollar.
This kit includes a number of great features, but we must say that the high capacity calibration and the range of jaws that it comes with are our favorite. Not to forget, the tool itself is much lighter and easier to handle, even in the tightest spaces.
It is compatible only with copper fittings, which can be a problem for plumbers that are used to working with stainless steel, pex, and carbon fiber pipes as well.
What We Like
- 50,000 Cycles
- Light, comfortable
- Faster, more powerful cycles
What We Don’t Like
- Pricey for some
- Only for copper
Press Tools FAQs
Question 1: What Is A Press Tool
A press tool is an item used for fitting plumbing pipes or as a part of the hydraulic or pneumatic presses for manufacturing copper, stainless steel, and iron metal sheets.
Question 2: Why Use a Press Tool for Copper and Black Pipe
While some soldering and an open flame are quite common when it comes to securing copper and black pipes, the press tool is more efficient and ensures a watertight seal.
Question 3: How to Use A Press Tool
This all depends on the type of operation you want to perform. If we are talking about securing pipe joints, the first step is to cut the pipe and measure the depth of the sockets. Once you have done that, mark the pipe and fit it into the joint. Choose the adequate jaw and put the press tool over the fitting bead. Keep it square until the crimp is complete.
While an open flame or a soldering tool is always an option, investing in a proper press tool kit will allow you more efficient and reliable fitting work. Our personal favorite is the Ridgid GIDDS2-813276 as it is a tool manufactured by a trusted brand, with a high cycle capacity, and a light design allowing you ease of use.