Plumbing can be a complicated trade, but the tools and equipment that plumbers use certainly make it easier. When it comes to plumbing, you need a reliable and durable pipe bender. The last thing you want is for your tube or pipe to break when bending it around the corner of a wall.
These handy devices allow plumbers to bend pipes and tubes into all sorts of shapes which are perfect for specialised plumbing jobs. There are many different types of tube benders available on the market, so finding one that suits your needs might take some time and research.
To save you from having to waste hours researching this topic, we have compiled a list of the best tube and pipe benders for plumbers below!
What is a Pipe Bender?
A pipe or tube bender is a tool used by plumbers to bend or curve pipe sections while installing them.
A Pipe Bender has two jaws, one fixed and one moveable, which are designed to bend metal pipes around its radius to form the desired curvature.
The material of the Pipe Bender can vary depending on how much pressure and friction needs to be taken into account when bending the pipe – for example, a light-duty Pipe bender will use an aluminium body with soft rubber gripping pads while a heavier-duty model will have a metal body with steel jaws and hardened surface pads.
Best Tube and Pipe Benders for Plumbers
Below, we are going to look at the best pipe benders available that are perfect for plumbers. I am sure that the brand names you will see will not be a surprise as they are all synonymous with quality in the plumbing trade.
Note: There are plenty of cheap Chinese options but… If you buy cheap, you buy twice!
Best Tube and Pipe Bender – Top Pick – Irwin Hilmor GLM
Our top pick for the Best Pipe Bender for Plumbers is a real heavy-duty offering that will bend your 15mm – 22mm pipes without having to worry about creases. Introducing the Irwin Hilmor GLM (amazon link – opens in a new tab).
This compact bender has the ability to produce a variety of complex bends on tube diameters up to 22mm. Its solid steel construction, high precision engineering and higher-pressure aluminium die-cast formers provide an extra degree of strength that makes it ideal for installing heating systems.
Complete with 15mm and 22mm thread forms it can also be used as an economical alternative in most heavy-duty industrial applications. Made by Irwin Hilmor, you know this product is made to last!
- Heavy Duty
- Precision high-pressure aluminium die-cast formers
- Guides to produce sets, offsets, multiple bends
- Capacities are: Copper BS2871 15-22mm, Stainless Steel BS4127 15mm, Mild steel BS4152 15 mm
What I Like
What is not to like, after bending literally hundreds, if not, thousands of tubes – this pipe bender is the best quality and most reliable. No pinching, No splits, No creases, No flat spots – What more could you ask for
Best Tube and Pipe Bender – On a budget – Silverline MS124
In truth, I think that the Hilmor is the best pipe and tube bender available and worth paying the extra few quid for but if you are on a seriously tight budget but need something to last you through until you are able to upgrade, we recommend the Silverline MS124 Pipe Bender (amazon link – opens in a new tab).
This pipe bender is a simple tool designed to bend metallic tubing. It has tubular steel handles and robust cast-aluminium formers. The Silverline Pipe Bender bends both copper and aluminium, as well as light-grade stainless steel tubing up to 180 degrees.
It can also be mounted in a vice for easier operation; the Silverline Pipe Bender also comes with 15mm &22mm anodised aluminium guides that are compatible with most common plumbing, heating, and refrigeration tube sizes.
- Tubular steel handles
- Robust cast-aluminium formers.
- Bends 15mm and 22 mm copper and aluminium, and 15 mm light-grade stainless steel tube
- 15mm and 22 mm anodised aluminium guides.
What I Like
This is a good heavy-duty pipe bender for those that are on a tight budget and need to save a few quid. We like how easy it is to use and is great when mounted on a bench when you have to do lots of repeated bends in a short space of time.
Best Mini Tube and Pipe Bender – Silverline MS129 Mini
What if you are looking for something else to bend smaller tubes? If you often work with 6-10mm tubes, you will certainly need a mini tube bender and we think the best mini pipe bender is the Silverline MS129 (amazon link – opens in a new tab).
This ultra-compact Mini Pipe Bending Machine is a handy tool for bending tubing up to 180 degrees. The strong aluminium body offers durability, whilst the heavy-duty hinge improves performance. The specific design of this product ensures that it can bend tubing up to 10mm in diameter, making it perfect for central heating and hydraulic pipes.
- Strong aluminium body and heavy-duty hinge
- Bends 6mm, 8mm and 10mm copper and aluminium tubing
- Suitable for central heating and hydraulic pipes
- Compact size
- Bends pipe up to 180 degree
What I Like
There are a couple of great features that I like about this mini tube bender. Firstly, the quality. The Silverline is extremely lightweight, well-made, and durable.
Secondly, I love how easy this tool is to use, it bends copper tubes with ease with truly little force making your bends on the money and leaving them looking tidy.
Pipe and tube benders are an important part of the plumbing trade, so you need to make sure that you have the right tools that are up to the job.
As for pipe benders, there are only a few trusted names that I would even consider because you know their products will be good quality meaning it will end up saving you money in the long run.
Overall, the best tube and pipe bender for plumbers working with 15mm – 22mm tubing is the Irwin Hilmor GLM; and for those working on 6mm – 10mm, the best mini pipe bender is the Silverline MS129.
Plumbing Wizard Tips
“Spend a few more quid and buy good quality – there is nothing worse than having a substandard kit that either breaks or is not up to the task at hand!”
“When bending pipes, make sure you are bending in one smooth motion – jerking the pipe bender will cause unwanted ripples!”
“Be sure to use the guides and have the pipe fully inserted!”
“Always make sure you are using the right tool for the right size pipe bender, or you run the risk of damage to either your pipework or your tools!”
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the difference between a pipe bender and a tube bender?
There is no difference. A tube bender and a pipe bender are the same things.
How do you bend copper pipes without a pipe bender?
Not easily is the answer but it can be done. You will need to plug one end of the tube and then fill it with sand. Once filled, plug the other end. Heat the desired area you want to bend and then it can be done by hand. It is probably better to buy a pipe bender.
Can pipe benders be bench mounted?
Yes, if you have multiple bends to make in a short space of time, most pipe benders will be able to be clamped to a bench for ease of use.
I’m Lee the Plumbing Wizard. I’ve been a plumber for over 40 years and have seen it all. People used to call me a magician because I could fix things so easily – hence the name Plumbing Wizard.
I’m always happy to help out a fellow tradesman or woman, so if you need any advice or just someone to talk plumbing with, don’t hesitate to get in touch!