You’re probably familiar with a PEX pipe. This revolutionary pipe has taken its place in many homes since its inception. Initially, it was used in radiant floor heating systems, and today, it is mainly used in plumbing.
PEX pipes are known to eliminate all the plumbing issues that are prevalent with copper pipes.
Unlike copper, PEX doesn’t rust, and it is resistant to freezing temperatures.
Most importantly, they are easy to install, so you can save yourself from the high charges by professionals!
So, if you love setting things up here and there, we’re sure you’re looking forward to installing your new PEX pipe! This special pipe requires special tools, one of which is an expansion tool.
If you have fittings that don’t fit into the PEX pipe, it’s the expansion tool that makes the process simple.
However, it’s not that easy to find the best PEX expansion tool among numerous of them. We’ve shared our recommendations here so that you can pick the one you need!
How To Choose The Right PEX Expansion Tool?
1. Manual Or Electric?
PEX expansion tools are of two types- manual and electric. Manual expansion tools feature an expansion head and a long handle, which you push back and forth to open and close the expansion head.
Since the tool requires manual labor, it doesn’t come with a cord for connecting it to the power supply. These are also cheaper options compared to their electric counterparts.
On the other hand, electric PEX expansion tools operate with the help of an electric motor built inside the tool.
There’s no need to apply force rather than press the trigger, and the motor will start functioning. Some electric expansion tools operate with a cord, while others operate without it.
The choice of the mode of operation all depends on your requirements. If you need to get things done quickly, it is a good idea to go for the electric PEX expansion tool, and if you are on a budget, you might want to choose the manual tool.
2. Build Quality
The best PEX expander tool for your particular use should have exceptional build quality otherwise, why bother purchasing one?
Regardless of the type of expansion tool, it has to be stronger than the PEX pipe, so that the pipe can expand well. If the material is heavy-duty, you will be able to use the expansion tool for years.
You would also want the material to be corrosion-resistant, especially if you’re working in wet areas.
3. Expansion Heads
This is an important aspect you should look for in a PEX expansion tool. Expansion heads are the only variables that work with pipes of different sizes.
Expansion Tool for PEX may come with two, three, or even more expansion heads that let you cover different types of tasks, where different pipe sizes are required.
When you’re buying a PEX expansion tool, make sure you double-check whether it comes with the head size you need.
4. Ergonomics Of The Tool
The ergonomics of an expansion tool are also crucial thing to consider because they determine your comfort level. Manual tools consist of a long handle, and if you’re planning to use this type of tool, make sure it has a firm grip that prevents slipping.
Alongside, the grip should also provide you comfort as you are holding it, so that your hand won’t ache after pushing the handle for some time.
Electric expansion tools should also have a comfortable grip that lets you keep going until you’ve finished your tasks. Not only that but also the overall design of the tool should allow convenience so that you can easily work in hard-to-reach places.
A tool should never be too heavy to cause a strain on the muscles. You’ll find most PEX expansion tools being lightweight, but that doesn’t always mean the quality is sub-par. Also, a heavy-duty tool doesn’t equal being heavy.
The PEX expansion tool that supports the perfect balance between weight and quality is what you should be looking for.
If you are always on the move, you will appreciate it if your PEX expansion tool comes with a carrying case. Typically, expansion tool kits do come in a carrying case, which has a compact design.
What you will want to look for in the box is whether it is sturdy enough to withstand accidental falls. If it’s sturdy, then the items stored inside won’t get damaged.
7. Additional Items
If you purchase a PEX expansion tool kit, you’ll likely get additional items, such as a tube cutter, a deburring tool, or a tube of grease.
The items included in an expansion toolset vary from one set to another. So if you find one that contains all the things you need, you should go for it!
Top 10 Best PEX Expansion Tool in 2022
1. DEWALT 20V MAX Pex Expander Tool
One of the favorites among plumbers and homeowners alike is the Dewalt PEX expander tool.
This is a tool that facilitates all your PEX plumbing needs without any hassle. It comes with expansion heads of three different sizes- 3/4 inch, 1/2 inch, and 1 inch.
Each expansion head does its job of successfully expanding the diameter of your PEX pipe so that you can easily insert a fitting. Plus, you can easily attach it or remove the fitting from the PEX tube expander.
The expansion head isn’t just limited to the Dewalt brand, but you can also use the ones by Milwaukee and Uponor.
As for the expansion tool itself, it takes only 20 volts for it to start functioning. You don’t need to plug the device into the power outlet since it runs on batteries. The trigger, which is located on the grip, is designed in a way to allow you to work on enclosed spaces.
All you need is to press the trigger and the tool will be fully actuated. You can have the convenience of using the tool with one hand.
The ergonomic handle has a rubber over-mold, which is an advantage because you won’t feel discomfort while holding it.
It won’t slip out of your hand, so you can leave that thought aside and work as long as you want.
If you need to plumb a PEX manifold in a dimly lit room, it can be quite a pain to get things right. Luckily, the tool has a built-in LED, which is bright enough to let you see clearly!
- Works with Dewalt, Milwaukee, and Uponor expansion heads
- Three different expansion head sizes for different applications
- Bright LED allows you to work in a dimly-lit room
- It is a cordless tool
- The rubber over the mold handle prevents slipping and ensures comfort
2. ZELCAN 11pc Tube Expander Tool Kit with Pipe Cutter
If you’re looking for versatility in a manual PEX expansion tool, the CO-Z tube expander tool kit is what you should look into.
Instead of purchasing your plumbing elements separately, you are free to use what this kit has to offer- a manual expander tool, a deburring tool, a chamfering tool, and expansion heads of different sizes.
All of these items are neatly packed in a sturdy blow-molded case so that you can easily carry everything wherever duty calls.
First off, this set allows you to not only expand PEX, but also copper, aluminum, and other soft metals. With the seven expansion heads ranging between 3/8 inch and 1-1/8 inch, you have the convenience of installing any of the aforementioned pipes suitable for various applications.
As long as you use the correct head size for pipes, you will always get a solid seal.
The tube expander itself is user-friendly. It features long handles that give you more space for operation.
Additionally, the grip lets you hold the level comfortably while preventing the tool from slipping.
As for the deburring and chamfering tools, they allow you to smooth any rough surfaces inside the pipe that would impede the expansion process.
While the wheel of the cutting tool cuts through PEX and soft metal pipes easily, the built-in chamfering blade lets you clean away any sharp edges left from cutting.
There’s no need to panic once the cutting wheel goes dull because you can always replace it with a new one!
- A long lever with a grip provides comfort
- The deburring and chamfering tools let you smooth any rough surfaces beforehand
- You can use it on PEX and soft metal pipes
- Chrome-plated tools resist corrosion
- The sturdy storage case allows easy carrying of tools
3. MILWAUKEE 2432-22 M12 ProPEX Expander Tool Kit
Milwaukee, the leading power tool company for decades, offers premium-quality products that are worth the value. And, one of those products worth mentioning is the M12 ProPEX expansion tool kit.
Like the previous set, this one also comes with plenty of items, but the exception here is that the expansion tool is electric. That means you’ll be able to install pipes faster than a professional would.
Starting with the items, the sturdy red box contains an electric PEX expansion tool, expansion heads, grease, lithium-ion batteries, and a battery charger.
The box lets you keep all these things organized so that you can easily have access to them whenever you need them. Not to mention, the handle allows for easy carrying in long distances.
Being the best PEX expansion tool, it has an ergonomic design that lets you use it comfortably, even in cramped spaces. It has a similar paddle trigger to the one by Dewalt, and an LED that lets you work in dark areas.
Not only that, but the handle also resists slipping and you have the convenience of using the tool with one hand.
The expander tool is capable of expanding PEX pipes ranging between 3/8 inch and 1 inch. There’s an auto-rotate mechanism in the tool, so when you insert the expansion head into the pipe, the diameter will be uniformly expanded.
While you can also use expansion heads by other brands, the mechanism will only work with those by Milwaukee.
In order to ensure the expansion process doesn’t go wrong, you can apply a bit of the included grease to the expansion cone beforehand. And, when you’re done using the tool, just take out the battery and recharge it for your next use.
- The ergonomic design makes the tool suitable for cramped spaces
- Auto rotate mechanism ensures uniform expansion
- Metal tools ensure durability
- The grease allows prepping of the expansion cone
- Comes with two rechargeable lithium-ion batteries
4. PEX Tube Expander Tool By Yescom
Here’s a manual tool kit you’d love to own if you’re looking for something that fits your budget- the Yescom PEX expansion tool kit!
This kit contains the basic necessities required for plumbing PEX as well as plastic-coated aluminum pipes. It contains a manual expansion tool, three expansion heads, and a small tube of grease.
Like any other expansion tool kit, you’ll get these items packed in a storage case for convenience.
If you’re a beginner with PEX pipe installation, you don’t need to worry because you’ll find instructions attached to the inside of the lid! It comes in handy, especially if you’re using it for the first time, and your WIFI connection isn’t working.
Although cheaper than electric expansion tools, this manual tool offers an easy and effective way of creating a secured seal. It still complies with the ASTM F1960 standard.
Its long handles are coated with a comfortable grip allowing you to leverage the tool each time you need to do some plumbing.
The expansion heads come in different sizes- 3/4 inch, 1/2 inch, and 1 inch. Each of these heads fits perfectly into its corresponding PEX tube and expands it precisely. Once done and you insert a fitting, there’ll be a watertight seal that will last for years.
Before you start using the tool, don’t forget to apply a bit of the included grease to the expansion cone!
- Long handles with comfortable grip offer convenience
- Comes with instructions that are easy to follow
- The expansion heads expand PEX pipes precisely
- The grease ensures the expansion heads work smoothly
- You can also use the tool for expanding plastic-coated aluminum pipes
5. IWISS PEX-a Expander Tool With All Size Heads
Next up is the Iwiss PEX pipe expansion tool kit. If you’re looking for the perfect balance between quality and value, this kit has it all!
This set contains the same items as in the previous set- a manual PEX expanding tool, three expansion heads, and a small tube of grease.
There’s no instruction attached to the inside lid of the storage case, but that’s not a big issue. What matters the most is the tool’s functionality!
Now, speaking of the expansion tool, it is lightweight because its body is made of alloy. That means you can easily pick it up and use it for radiant heating and plumbing applications.
Additionally, the handles have a cushioned grip that lets you hold the tool firmly. When lightweight is coupled with comfort, there’s no barrier to finishing off your projects quickly.
You don’t need to worry about inserting fittings into PEX pipes of different sizes. The expansion heads that come with this set are designed for expanding 3/4 inch, 1/2 inch, and 1-inch PEX pipes.
Whether you’re installing a PEX manifold, shower faucet, or potable water system, the expansion tool will ensure a watertight seal.
It doesn’t matter which PEX pipe you’re going to install because this tool works with almost any brand, including ProPEX and Uponor.
For optimal performance, it is recommended you apply a bit of the included grease to the expansion cone.
- Works with PEX pipes of almost any brand
- The lightweight lever allows ease of use
- The cushioned handles provide a comfortable grip
- Ensures a watertight seal
- You don’t have to use a go/no-go gauge to checking
6. EFIELD Auto-Rotation Pex A Expansion Tool
Another Best manual PEX expansion tool kit you would love to own for getting all your plumbing tasks done is this one by EFIELD.
The set contains the PEX expanding essentials, including a manual expansion tool, three expansion heads, and grease. For easy carrying and storage, the items are neatly packed inside a black heavy-duty storage case.
Like the Yescom expansion kit, this one also comes with instructions attached to the inside of the lid. If you’re new to PEX plumbing, you can follow the steps. They are clear enough to read!
Coming to the expansion tool, its body is made of carbon steel, which adds durability to the tool. As every manual expansion tool should, this one also features long handles with grips that allow you to maneuver the tool comfortably. You’ll have to apply minimal effort, which is enough to achieve perfect results.
The expansion heads, which measure 3/4 inch, 1/2 inch, and 1 inch, offer easy installation and removal should you need to use a specific size. Plus, they offer precision whenever you put them into the PEX tube of the corresponding size.
To further enhance the precision, you can rub a small amount of grease onto the expansion cone beforehand.
Your installed fittings will remain fully secure once the pipe has shrunk back to its original size.
Although this is a manual tool, you’ll be able to finish your projects faster than you expected!
- The carbon steel expansion tool adds durability
- Long handles minimize the effort needed
- The grease facilitates the expansion process
- The expansion heads measure 3/4 inch, 1/2 inch, and 1 inch
- Heavy-duty storage case withstands impact
7. ICOOL Hydraulic Tube Expander Swaging Tool
Whether you’re a beginner or a professional, the Icool hydraulic tube expander kit comes with everything you need for different plumbing applications.
This set consists of a hydraulic tube expander, a deburring tool, a pipe cutter, and plenty of expander heads. Alongside PEX pipes, you can use this kit for soft metals, including aluminum, copper, and titanium.
So, if you’re someone who’s always working with pipes made of such materials, this is all you need!
Starting with the tube expander, it works by hydraulic pressure. It features a lever on the side which when you pump will cause the expansion head to expand and contract.
A good thing about this design is that you can use it single-handedly to hold the pipe with the other hand.
Not only that but the relief valve located on one side of the tool locks or releases the expansion head from the cone. This is something you will want to look at in the best PEX expander tool for ensuring a secure attachment of the expansion head.
The expansion heads come in various sizes suitable for different types of projects. There are seven of them ranging between 3/8 inch and 1-1/8 inch. Each of these expansion heads works flawlessly for pipes of the corresponding size.
While the tube cutter neatly cuts PEX pipes, as well as soft metals, the deburring tool smoothens any rough surface inside or outside the pipe.
- Pump design allows single-handed operation
- The relief valve locks or unlocks the expansion head
- Seven expansion heads of different sizes for a wide range of applications
- It is capable of expanding pipes to a maximum diameter of 28mm
- You can use it on PEX and soft metal pipes
8. Tube Expander Tool Kit By Wostore Store
The Wostore tube expander tool kit is another great set that offers versatility.
Like the previous kit, this one comes with all the items you need to get started with your plumbing projects- seven expansion heads, a deburring tool, a pipe cutter, and the expander tool.
However, the difference lies in the fact that the expander tool in this one does not use a hydraulic mechanism. It works just like a typical manual expander tool with long handles.
The long handles allow you to apply minimal effort while the grip prevents your hands from slipping. The overall tool is made of steel and aluminum alloy, so you don’t need to worry about it giving up after a few uses.
Whether you are working on floor heating, water treatment systems, or refrigeration, expansion heads of various sizes offer a reliable seal to prevent any leaks.
The sizes range from 3/8 inch to 1-1/8 inch, which should be enough for covering general applications.
Besides PEX, you can also use the tool on brass and copper pipes. As for the tube cutter, it cuts pipes with the help of a wheel.
After several uses, the wheel might get dull, and you will need to replace it with a new one. There’s an extra wheel included for your convenience!
Although the tube cutter has a reamer for smoothening the sharp edges, there’s also a separate one for smoothening the inside of the pipe.
- Includes seven expansion heads for general applications
- The non-slip handle lets you work comfortably
- You can also use the tool for expanding brass and copper pipes
- Comes with an extra cutting wheel for the cutting tool
- The deburring tool smoothens sharp surfaces inside the pipe
9. IBOSAD Manual PEX Pipe Expander Tool Kit With Heads
Another PEX hand expander tool kit worth mentioning is this one by Ibosad.
Just like most expansion tool kits, this one contains a manual expansion tool, expansion heads, a PEX cutter, and a small tube of grease.
But that’s not where it ends, because you’ll also be getting a pair of work gloves for your safety! All the items come organized in a sturdy storage case so that you can easily access them and carry them with you.
The expansion tool features long handles that require minimal effort for leverage. With the addition of a plastic grip, you can hold the tool comfortably without worrying about it slipping out of your hands.
Plus, the body of the tool has a chrome finish to prevent it from getting damaged due to corrosion or weather elements.
The expansion heads come in different sizes measuring 3/4 inch, 1/2 inch, and 1 inch. Each expansion head is of a different color for easy identification. This is an advantage, especially when you need to get things done against the clock.
The expansion heads work flawlessly on PEX pipes of most brands, including Uponor and ProPEX. When you apply the included lubricant onto the expansion cone, you will achieve even better sealing!
As for the PEX cutter, it is scissor-style and it cuts the PEX pipe without leaving any rough edges. It is compact enough to be used in enclosed spaces.
- A long handle minimizes the effort needed
- Anti-slip grip ensures the tool stays in your hands
- Resists damage caused by corrosion and weather elements
- Color-coordinated expansion heads for easy identification
- The scissor-style PEX cutter provides clean cuts
10. Bare-Tool Milwaukee 2432-20 M12 12-Volt Propex Expansion Tool
The Milwaukee 2432-20 M12 ProPEX expansion tool is similar to the PEX pipe expansion tool as we have previously seen, but it doesn’t come with additional items.
This electric expansion tool lets you complete all your plumbing projects effortlessly. It features a paddle trigger that activates the head when you press it.
The mechanism it uses is bound to deliver a precise expansion of pipes. With this expander, you can expand PEX pipes measuring 3/8 inches up to 1 inch.
If you already have expansion heads lying around, or you don’t mind purchasing them separately, you can go for this tool.
As for the handle, it offers a solid grip so that you can comfortably hold it while installing PEX for radiant heating or water treatment systems. On the bottom of the handle, you’ll find an LED that is bright enough to let you see in a dark or dimly lit room.
The ergonomic design and compact size of the tool make it easy to use in corners and tight spaces. Not only that but also it is lightweight compared to most expansion tools in the market, so you can easily lift it and carry it around.
There’s also a hook that allows you to hang the item on your tool belt as you set things up.
- The tool allows single-hand operation
- Bright LED lets you work in dark or dimly lit rooms
- It is lightweight so you can move it easily
- Can be used to expand PEX pipes measuring 3/8 inch to 1 inch
- A hanging hook lets you hang on your tool belt
Comparison Table of Pex Tube Expander
Expanding Capacity (inches)
DEWALT Expander Tool
1/2, 3/4, 1
CO-Z Pex Pipe Expansion Tool
3/8 – 1-1/8
Long lever handles
MILWAUKEE 2432-22 M12 Pex Tube Expander
3/8 - 1
Yescom Pex Expanding Tool
1/2, 3/4, 1
IWISS PEX Pipe Expansion Tool Kit
1/2, 3/4, 1
EFIELD Pex A Pipe Expansion Tool Kit
1/2, 3/4, 1
ICOOL Hydraulic Tube Expander Kit
3/8 – 1-1/8
7 expander heads
Wostore Tube Expanding Tool
3/8 – 1-1/8
Tube cutter with reamer and extra blade
IBOSAD Manual PEX Pipe Expander Kit
1/2, 3/4, 1
Weather and corrosion resistant
Milwaukee 2432-20 M12 ProPEX Expansion Tool
3/8 – 1
Allows one-handed operation
How To Make PEX Expansion Connections?
It’s easy to make PEX connections using an expander tool. Here are the steps you can follow.
Step 1: Measure The Length Of the PEX Pipe
If you haven’t cut your PEX pipe to the length you need, you need to take measurements first. Measure the length of the pipe with a measurement tape and mark around it using a pointed black marker.
Step 2: Cut The PEX Pipe
Once you’ve marked the area, take your PEX cutter and cut along the line, Make sure to cut it straight, or otherwise, you’ll have difficulty in inserting a fitting.
Step 3: Slide The Expansion Ring
Take the expansion ring and slide it over the PEX pipe. If the ring has a stop edge, you will know when it won’t go any further, and if there’s no stop edge, then slide the ring no further than 1mm. Make sure both the ring and the PEX pipe are dry.
Step 4: Attach The Expander Head
Lightly grease the cone of the expander tool to allow smooth expansion. Then attach the expander head that corresponds to the size of the tubing. Make sure to tighten it into place.
Step 5: Expand The PEX Pipe
Hold the pipe with one hand and the expander tool with the other. Insert the expander head into the pipe. Press the trigger and hold it until the pipe has expanded.
The number of expansions depends on the size of the PEX pipe, technique, and weather conditions. If you’re living in colder regions, the pipe will need to be expanded more because it becomes less flexible.
Note: Always make the correct number of expansions and avoid over-expanding the PEX tube.
Step 6: Insert The Fitting
Insert the fitting into the pipe and push it until it doesn’t go any further. The expansion ring will shrink back and secure the fitting into place.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Do You Need An Expander For PEX?
In case you’re unable to insert a fitting into a PEX pipe, you will need an expansion tool to expand the pipe’s diameter.
2. How Do I Use The Manual PEX Expansion Tool?
If you have a manual expansion tool, you can make connections by following the steps.
- Lightly grease the cone of the expansion tool.
- Attach an expansion head that corresponds to the size of the PEX pipe. Make sure to tighten it into place.
- Slide the expansion ring onto the PEX pipe as far as it can go. Make sure the pipe has a straight clean cut.
- Insert the head of the expansion tool inside the pipe.
- Push the handle back and forth to expand the pipe’s diameter. Keep pushing until it gets all the way up to the jaws.
- Remove the expansion head and insert the fitting. The pipe will shrink back to its original size.
3. Can You Expand PEX Twice?
Depending on the size of the PEX pipe, technique, and weather conditions, you can expand PEX more than once. It is necessary to make the correct number of expansions in order to ensure the fitting fits snugly into the pipe.
4. Should I Use PEX-A Or PEX-B?
PEX-A is commonly used in plumbing applications because of its higher flexibility compared to PEX-B. That means you can use an expansion tool should you find it difficult to insert fittings.
Also, PEX-A withstands freezing temperatures, which makes it ideal for use in colder regions.
Even if there’s a kink in a PEX-A pipe, you can easily repair using a heat gun. Hence, it is a good idea to choose PEX-A.
5. Is PEX Ok For Drinking Water?
After going through numerous laboratory tests, PEX is proved to be safe for use in potable water systems.
It can get frustrating if you can’t insert that faucet fitting into your new PEX pipe. The only thing that makes it possible is a PEX expansion tool, and it is important to invest in one because you never know when you’ll need it!
Since the quality fluctuates in terms of service and longevity, you do need to pick the best PEX expansion tool. Each of the above tools has gone through enough research, so when you purchase any of them, there’ll be no room for disappointment.
Hopefully, you’ll be able to insert any type of fitting from now on!