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I just saw these for the first time today at Lowe's:

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The advantages I can see over the crimp style are:

  1. A single tool can work with multiple PEX sizes
  2. That single tool is cheaper than a single-size crimp tool (~$40 vs ~$80)
  3. The tool grabs and pinches the raised segment of the clamp, so it doesn't need to wrap around the tube which should make it easier to use in confined spaces

Has anyone used this type of ring for PEX work and have any thoughts on them?

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7 Answers 7

up vote 4 down vote accepted

The benefits of the clamps are exactly as you say - the biggest one being that they're sometimes the only option in a cramped area. They used to be over 5x the price of the rings, which adds up very quickly -- but I see now they are only slightly more expensive.

I don't think they're any less reliable than regular pex crimps, I know of some (at my cottage) that have been fine for 5+ years now.

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The stainless steel Cinch Clamps are stronger than the copper Crimp Rings. I know this from personal experience after working with frozen water lines. When the fitted connection freezes with water in the line it will cause the copper Crimp Ring to expand just enough to cause a leak when it thaws. The stronger stainless steel did not expand in a recent test. However, you cannot use the poly tees and elbows with Cinch Clamps.

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I agree with all three of your points regarding the pinch ring. I chose to use the pinch ring style to modify some of the work that the previous owner did in our place and had no problems after over a year of them being in place.

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Good to hear -- thanks! –  Mike Powell Sep 13 '10 at 15:53

I just did a remodel, and ended up using PEX clamps. Got the clamps and what-nots at Home Depot. The clamp tool can be a bit of a challenge to use between floor joists, and I did indeed have to do just this in a rather awkward angle, but it worked great. Due to other issues, I had to undo a connection at one point, and peeling the clamp apart wasn't too difficult.

Being able to use the same tool for both 1/2" and 3/4" made it a wise investment. The clamp tool itself auto-releases when the clamp is fully seated, so you don't need to be a plumbing pro to use it.

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I picked up one of these yesterday and it works great. No problem getting it in between my floor joists, and it doesn't appear to be as finicky about keeping the tool exactly perpendicular to the tubing.

As for the different style bands, I'll update here if they start leaking. :)

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I purchased this type of tool and rings originaly because they didn't have the other tool in stock and I had a job to do. I have noticed several things that I like better since I have now used both. I can visually tell if the pinch rings have been pinched whereas the other style you have to feel it or look closely and in dim light that can be difficult. I have seen many jobs where somebody missed crimping one fitting b4 the water got turned on. I also recently noticed they use them to attach the fuel nozel to the hose at the gas station. The single tool for multiple sizes is also a plus. I'm looking for the racheting pinch ring tool. A coworker of mine had one and it was awsome in cramped spaces.

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I have strong reservations about the integrity of both types. I have two leaks after 8 years of service with the stainless steel clamps. My colleague at work has had three leaks in as many months, one causing extensive damage and mold abatement for which the insurance folks are required to make you leave and stay in a hotel room (with 4 boys). Both homes are relatively new 6-8 years service and in the same water system.

I found out that the tools are supposed to be calibrated every 30 connectors but usually are not.

My clamps seem to lose compression over time and I have one slow leak and one leak around the circumferential space between fitting and tubing. My colleague had complete parting of the band so that the leak was open ended flow after the PEX slipped off the fitting.

Mine seem to be under clamped as a result of tool wear. My friend's may have been over tightened by a tool adjusted too tightly.

Three engineers on my floor at work are seriously considering what it would take to replace their entire house full of these clamps. You have about two minutes from leak initiation to serious damage. I am totally thankful we were home, but have little confidence in this product.

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Interesting feedback. Here in central Virginia the crimp fittings (the ones where the whole copper ring gets crimped, not the pinch style I pictured above) are all I ever see being used in new construction. When you say "stainless steel clamps" do you mean the pinch style shown here? As far as I know copper is always used for the other style. Calibrating the tool is done by just checking your crimped fitting with a go/no-go gauge. I don't know how often it's done, but if you have the gauge it's about a 5 second procedure. –  Mike Powell Jul 29 '14 at 18:16

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