When it comes to pipe maintenance, owning a press tool that is reliable and has the right features for your needs is extremely important.
But, (and there’s always a but when buying new equipment); these tools are not cheap. Rigid ProPress models start at over $1000. Other brands are priced similarly.
Deciding which model to buy can be confusing. That’s where this guide comes in.
Below you will find 5 carefully selected press tools covering a range of budgets, functions, speed, and power.
For the results of our findings, just head to the table below. For a comprehensive review of each of our picks, keep on reading.
Top 5 Best Press Tools
RIDGID RP 340-B
Press Tool Kit
Force: 7,200 lbs
M12 Force Logic
Force: 5,400 lbs
RIDGID RP 200-B
Force: 5,400c lbs
Cycle: 3 secs
Our testing method involves a combination of the above criteria, plus recent customer reviews and feedback on performance, as well as analysis of how each of the models fares against others on the market.
1. EDITOR’S CHOICE: RIDGID RP 340-B Press Tool Kit (43358) Hydraulic Crimping Tool With ProPress Tool Jaws
The Editor’s choice award goes to the Rigid RP 340-B. This is a premium kit that incorporates all of the best features of the Rigid Propress range.
It includes what Rigid state to be the “next generation” of pressing tool technology. What that translates to is a more lightweight device than its predecessors, yet packed with extra power and functionality and lifespan.
Taking the latter for example, the RP 340-B has the longest service interval duration in the industry at 42,000 cycles. This is a whopping 31% longer than previous models in the range.
Rigid has also brought down the weight of the unit to 8.3lbs (with battery fitted). This small, handheld device is designed to offer greater maneuverability, yet is still capable of working with the standard size ProPress tool jaws.
The specifications here come in at 30% smaller in size than older models while being 17% lighter. That’s some reduction and a good example of why the Rigid 340-B is a current market leader.
And on the subject of power, this is one of the best press tools currently available. With 7,200 pounds of hydraulic ram output, it certainly has some grunt. Add the fact that it features a 4-second cycle time your workflow speed will be increased too.
The device is battery powered too, of course, meaning you can use this wherever the job takes you. This particular kit includes the standard two 18V Advanced Lithium 2 batteries.
However, this cordless hydraulic crimping tool is also compatible with premium, 18V Advanced Lithium 4aHr battery.
You will need to buy these separately, a fact that I do find surprising considering the price-point of the kit.
Mind you, once installed you’ll have 400 presses at your disposal on every full charge. That’s an excellent battery life for the working professional.
The capacity of the 340-B from Rigid is also high caliber. Capable of working from ½ -inch to 2-inch combined with the 270-degree swiveling barrel, this is a tool that will provide a watertight, permanent seal every time you use it.
Other great features include the strong LED work-light built into the unit. There’s also an LED display that provides essential diagnostic warnings.
This will alert you when the unit is working at an improper temperature. Issues such as having an open-jaw mounting pin, low battery or that maintenance is required will also be indicated.
Finally, you have the best warranty on the market with Rigid’s full lifetime offering. It doesn’t get much better than that.
Overall the RIGID 340-B is a market leading compact press tool, that leaves much of the competition (including other models from Rigid) in its wake.
The new improved design, ease of use, versatility, and power all go towards making this the essential tool for plumbing professionals.
If you are looking for a high quality device that will provide a watertight, permanent seal every time, this is the press to buy.
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2. BEST BUDGET: Milwaukee 2473-22 M12 Force Logic Press tool Kit
If the RIGID 340-B comes in at a price-point that is over your means, or you find it difficult to justify due to the amount of use you think you’ll get out of it; the Milwaukee M12 could be your answer.
While the specifications across the board come in 2nd place to our top pick from Rigid, this is still a great machine that delivers.
Let’s take the overall design for instance; Milwaukee has reduced the size of the tool so that it weighs a mere 3.8lbs. It follows the in-line shape of the 340-B and similarly can be operated with one hand.
As they state on the website; “the M12 Force Logic Press Tool will operate nearly anywhere you can fit your arm”. A rather useful attribute considering the nature of your average piping system.
Calibration levels are good too. While they don’t match the RIGID 42,000 cycle standard, the fact it requires a service every 32,000 crimps is not to be sniffed at. That’s still a long operating shelf-life.
Furthermore, the Milwaukee M12 features an indicator that will alert you to when it needs calibration. The tool will also signal that a secure connection is made.
Other important specifications include power, at 5400 lbs. press force, and operation speed which provides a cycle time of 5 seconds.
Those that have already read the Rigid 340-B review above will see that these specs are not as impressive as you’ll get in the more premium machine. However, for the budget, we are still in good territory here.
The unit is powered by the M12™ Red Lithium battery (if you are Milwaukee fan you will already likely own these batteries, however, 2 are included in the kit), meaning you have cordless functionality as well as AC hook-up should you need.
And for peace of mind, you have the fact Milwaukee is a well-established brand in this area and that they throw in a generous 5-year limited warranty, (not quite life-time though is it).
The Milwaukee 2473-22 M12 is a quality compact press kit for the money. It has the power, design and cycle life to suit the professional plumber and comes in at a lower price-point than a lot of the competition.
Yes, if you want the highest quality unit on the market right now, you should turn towards the offerings from Rigid. However, where budget is a priority you will not go wrong with the Milwaukee 2473-22 M12.
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3. Rothenberger 16002 ROPRESS Compact Press Tool with 3 Copper Jaws 1/2″, 3/4″, 1″, and Case
This offering from Rothenberger is a top-quality press tool for the professional plumber.
The 16002 RoPress is, in fact, lighter than Milwaukee Propress reviewed above, coming in at only 3.7 lbs (admittedly the difference is marginal at only 0.1lbs.)
The 3.5-second crimp cycle is an impressive specification that Rothenberger has managed to pack into the device. In fact, this does make it one of the fastest compact press tools currently available.
The one-handed operation design is similar to other models in our top 5. One trigger is able to control all of the tools’ functions. The handle features an over-molded grip area enabling greater stability as you work.
As with other press tools reviewed here, it is comfortable to use and will allow you to access the areas where the pipes are. For low light conditions, there’s also a useful LED work light built-in.
The kit includes a long-lasting 18 volt Makita Li-Ion battery. This takes just 15 minutes to recharge and will provide 50 crimps on each charge. (Fit the 16002 RoPress with a 3v battery and you will get 100 crimps from a single charge.)
3 copper jaws are also included in the kit. These are 1/2″, 1″, 3/4″ in size.
The device also has a sophisticated alert system built-in. The LED monitor will notify you of the battery charge level and maintenance status. A handy alarm will sound if a crimp has not completed successfully.
Finally, Rothenberger include a limited lifetime/1 year electrical warranty
Overall the Rothenberger is a worthwhile entry in our top 5. That fast speed cycle is a real draw and will please many pros. There’s also that quick 15 minute charge time.
Similar to our top pick from Rigid, it is a shame they expect you to pay more for the superior batteries (the 3amp batteries will give you the 100 cycles on one charge), however, this fact doesn’t stop the RoPress being a recommended purchase.
4. RIDGID RP 200-B Compact Press Tool Kit (43433); Hydraulic Crimping Tool with ProPress Jaws
Another Rigid ProPress makes our top 5, this time in the form of the 200-B.
As the model number would indicate, this is a few steps down from the 340-b that is our editor’s choice, however for those looking to become part of the Rigid family at a lower price-point, this could be the tool for you.
Similar to the 340-B we have an inline design incorporated into this tool, the device also has a 270 degrees rotating swivel barrel.
This, of course, makes it extra versatile while working with hard to reach areas.
As with the Milwaukee M12 reviewed above, you will get an impressive 32,000 cycles out of the unit before needing to check it in for recalibration. (As a reminder, the top pick 340-B offers 42,000 – the current leader on the market in this regard).
The tool doesn’t disappoint in terms of power either. It packs a punch of 5,400 pounds (24kN) of hydraulic ram output.
Versatility is good too, especially if you are familiar with the Rigid line of press tool equipment. The 200-B is compatible with all compact series jaws with up to a 1-1⁄4 inch capacity, (when working with copper, stainless steel or 1-1/2 inch PEX).
The unit is battery powered of course. Similar to its 340-B sibling, the kit includes 2 x 18V Advanced Lithium 2 batteries.
Fully charged, these beasts will produce 200 presses per charge. That’s an amount any working professional should be satisfied with.
Once again, even better batteries are available (the Lithium 4s will provide 400 cycles), but you will need to purchase these separately – Rigid! Come on! These should be made part of the kit!
For those looking to purchase a top quality Rigid ProPress, the 200-B is an excellent way to get started. This is a powerful tool with some great features.
However, there is no getting away from the fact that the 340-B is a superior model. If you want to buy the best tool currently available, your money is better placed there instead.
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5. Milwaukee 2674-22C Short Throw Press Tool Kit w/ PEX Crimp Jaws
If the compact propress tools reviewed above are all above your available budget, (we are talking low 4 figures for each of them), this short-throw press from Milwaukee may be of interest to you.
The functionality is a bit different of course; using the 2674-22c you will only be able to Crimp F1807 and F2159 rings up to 1” in size.
That being said, accuracy levels are very good, with the spring-loaded jaws gripping the ring for precise alignment.
The tool also features an auto-cycle function that helps to ensure you create a full press every time. An LED indicator will make it clear that a press cycle has been completed.
The 3-second cycle duration makes this a fast tool to use too.
Optimized for residential installs, there is enough power in the Milwaukee to provide consistent, quality connections every time you use it.
Furthermore, the device does not require calibration services in the same way the other tools in our top 5 need. This eliminates potential downtime.
That’s some pretty useful benefits there.
The hand-tool is cordless and runs off of 18-Volt Lithium-Ion batteries. (One M18™ REDLITHIUM CP2.0 battery is included in the kit.)
It also has a built-in battery check so that you can check levels before or during your work.
Finally, there’s that good old 5-year warranty (complete with 2-year jaw warranty) provided by the ever-reliable Milwaukee. Another great reason this tool should pique your interest.
If the specifications available here suit your needs, the Milwaukee 2674-22C Short Throw Press is definitely worth a look.
It comes in at a fraction of the cost of the ProPress tools reviewed above, yet the features and functionality are great. Highly recommended for the price.