# What is the advantage of PEX pinch clamp vs. crimp rings?

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

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?

• How are these stainless clamp rings holding up 5 years later? Considering doing my house with this system instead of Wirsbo. – Nic Jun 11 '15 at 14:16
• I'm not in the same house now but I had no leaks in the ~3 years after I used these. I've since used only these clamp style rings and to date haven't had any problems with them. – Mike Powell Aug 5 '16 at 12:47

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+ 10+ years now.

• Auto manufacturers have been using the clamps for decades on auto CV boots to keep the boot in place. As long as you're applying them correctly and crimping with a proper tool there should be no issue with failure. The auto application has a lot of dynamics that a crimp clamp won't be seeing in static use for water line so I'd see no issue with using them there as well. – Fiasco Labs Jun 28 '15 at 16:20

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.

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.

I have been in the plumbing trade most of my life, around 28 years. I can tell you that when it comes to tools, you get what you pay for. Cheap tools will perform poorly, and doesn't always do the job. I use both clamps and rings with my professional grade tools, and never had a call back for a leak. I have friends in the trade who have purchased cheap versions of these tools, and have had many problems. So I say again, you get what you pay for.

I have been plumbing for 14 years,and I switched to using stainless rings almost exclusively about 5 years ago. Being able to use just one tool from 3/8" up to 1" was too much of an advantage to ignore. I have never had an issue, or leak, that could be attributed to the ring/tool. I wouldn't advise getting rid of the standard set of copper ring crimpers though. They are still beneficial in certain applications.

• Can you go into more details about when one might still want to use the copper rings? I'll be doing a home remodel and replacing all of my galvanized pipes with pex this summer. – bobpaul Jan 17 '17 at 17:55

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.

I've used stainless cinch fittings and pex tubing for air supply.After two years and at 120PSI no leaks.You'd have a hard time convincing me that this system is not reliable if installed correctly.

All 3 points you make are correct. I'm a DIY and bought these Pex Cinch Clamp Fasteners by Apollo to plumb my new house we were building. It's a 4500 sq ft home and I had a lot of pipe including copper manifolds. My water has been turned on for 5 months now without any leaks. It passed the air test without any issues. The only time I had a leak was when I forgot to clamp the ring on :(

As far as the comment about cheaper tools don't work... I would have to disagree when it comes to the apollo tool. I also used a copper crimp tool for 1 1/4" pipe and that thing is a beast. No doubt it's stronger and more well built than the Apollo cinch tool. However, I don't plan on dropping my tool off a 2 story building so it's good enough for me. Anyway, point being the cost/benefit ratio for the tool alone outweighs the extra cost of the stainless steel cinch rings(and yes they cost more) IMO.

The ring sits so tight around the pipe you can spin it around and it won't leak. Cinch rings are also easier to take off if you know the trick (twist the top off basically). Even after you get the clamp off the pipe is so tight around the fitting you can't pull it off. You have to cut it. This proves just how tight the ring clamps around the pipe.

I installed the pipes in and under the floor joists and it was definitely easier in confined places.

I wouldn't hesitate to use the stainless steel rings again. Don't be afraid of the newer technology.

I began using the steel crimp clamps about 3-4 yrs ago. Before I did that I spoke to a plumber who recommended them over the copper ring clamps because, even in his experienced hands, his Go-NoGo gauge was rejecting about 1 out of every 4 copper clamps. Yes, the steel clamps are a bit more expensive, but IMHO, they are worth it. I have used these in several DIY situations and have yet to have one leak.

Been plumbing for 10 years in BC Canada and I've never seen any professional plumber or anyone period for that matter use the SS "cinch" rings (for the record it is "cinch" vs "crimp" not crimp vs clamp)

Every new PEX joint is installed using a copper crimp ring. Not saying cinch is bad, saying I CANT say it's bad cause the pros out here just don't use them.

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. :)

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.

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.

• 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

The idea of crimps are flawed and leakage around the two crimp bumps are likely. In order to pull a crimp tight, you need to bunch up material at the crimper's closure point. This means there is a noncontact area around the two raised bumps. Joint failures show this clearly, there are no embossed ridges at the bump areas and water stains show leakage at the point where the crimps are raised away from the pipe at the crimp bumps

Secondly why is pipe compound not recommended?

Screwed-tight pipe clamps stretch out, why do we believe cinch clamps will not stretch?

Viega "PEX Crimp Hand Tool", Viega-41723-User-Guide.pdf Says: "The maximum out-of-roundness of a completed crimp shall not exceed .006". This is the difference between the minimum outside diameter of a properly crimped ring and the maximum outside diameter of the same properly crimped ring."

"shall not exceed .006" is crazy, they are just looking for a way to blame the installer. This is plastic and thin stainless that is stretched by a hand tool inside a wall."

• So you basically don't like either the pinch clamps or the crimp rings? Is there another option? – bobpaul Jan 17 '17 at 18:30

The crimp clamps were designed with a built in 360 degree feature in the band to prevent an incomplete seal. I have not used these clamps on ant plumbing applications. However, this type of clamp is used extensively, In automotive applications. It is a patented design that has been extensively tested under extreme pressure situations. The whole secret to using these clamps successfully, is in the initial sizing of the application. You must match the clamp to the outside diameter of the application. All of these crimp type clamps have an open and close diameter. In addition, you must use the specific tool that was designed To be used to crimp the clamp properly.

• I think the "crimp" vs "clamp" terms are getting mixed up a bit. I believe that @owlpic, in his answer above, is referring to the solid rings that get crimped down more or less radially onto the PEX tubing. From the context of your answer it sounds like you're referring to what owlpic and I would call the "clamp" style, where a thinner band wraps around 360+ degrees and is pulled tight circumferentially by squeezing a protruding ear in the band. At any rate I think all three of us are in favor of the clamp style. :) – Mike Powell Sep 17 '15 at 1:03

I just bought and used the Sharkbite pex crimping system yesterday at HomeDepot to replumb my entire bathroom. The crimping tool was a little less expensive than the clamp tool, and the copper crimp rings were less expensive than the clamps. So, as a DYI job, i save about \$30 and all the connections sealed up great. The crimp tool can be a bit awkward in tight spaces, but it's all workable. The clamps might be a nice option for professions plumbers, but for homeowners, the crimp system costs less in parts and tools and seems to work well.

When working as an auto mechanic, I bought a MAC Tools hand crimper for the Oetiker "clamp" style SS clamps. The MAC tool both squeezes and flattens the little square of the clamp that we squeeze when installing. The MAC tool also has a 1/2" square hole in each handle for using two 1/2" drive ratchets to assist in squeezing if necessary. The main point here is that the finished "squeezed" joint is double squeezed: one radially and one diametrically. Worth checking out for any other tool crazies like me.

The stainless rings are easier to get right or should I say the copper rings are easier to get wrong. Copper crimp tool must be perpendicular to the pipe. Also difficult to keep the copper ring in place until you are lined up and ready to apply pressure.

i have used these for 18 years and have never had a problem with one fitting i have used them on and thats has to be 10 to 20 thousand we do retrofits on mobile home it cheap and works just make you calibrate your tool every 100 or so clamps and you will not have a problem now home depot sells a battery operated tool for them

• Hello, and welcome to Home Improvement. It's hard to understand what you're saying here; would you edit your answer to add a sentence or two, and fix the grammar? Thanks. – Daniel Griscom Dec 8 '18 at 3:03

I use both crimps and the stainless steel rings I like the stainless steel rings better but use copper crimps as well

• You could improve your answer by explaining why you prefer stainless steel rings and in what situations you instead decide to use copper crimps. – dslake Oct 3 '16 at 19:24

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