I have a Sharkbite stopper that I put on the end of a 1/2" PEX tube, and now I'd like to remove it. I've used both the official orange plastic removal tool and an adjustable wrench, and my fingers are sore from pressing on it trying to get it to budge. Any other options short of cutting it off at this point?

5 Answers 5


Try pushing the pipe in a bit, before pulling it out. Sometimes the barbs dig into the pipe, so the release ring can't disengage them. Pushing the pipe in, may allow the release to completely disengage the barbs.

  1. Use the tool to compress the release ring.
  2. Push the tubing deeper into the fitting, while keeping pressure on the release tool.
  3. Pull the tubing out of the fitting.

During step 2, you might feel the release ring move slightly closer to the fitting. This is a good sign that the barbs are fully retracted, and the pipe is ready for retraction. If you don't feel the release move, don't worry, it might just be too slight for your sore fingers to feel.

Alternatively, try reversing steps 1 and 2. Push the tube deeper into the fitting, then use the release tool to operate the release mechanism.

  • I tried pushing on the connector while I pushed on the tool, and at first it didn't seem to be working... but with a little persistence it finally came loose! Thank you. Sep 3, 2015 at 1:09

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I have worked with Sharkbites 100s of times as I often use these for quick jobs, especially in houses that are a copper and pex hybrid. Here are the easy tips for dealing with this:

  1. To get the connector out you must press on the release collar. The tool picture above works but I have also used needle nose pliers when I didn't have the official tool handy. Actually I have used a lot of things. But you must have pressure on the collar in multiple places.

  2. If you have the tool and it isn't coming off. Don't push the pex all the way in and definitely don't pull on it when using the tool. I would push the pex in then release it out about 1/4" and then try to use the tool. I know it is hard to gauge where the pex is in the connector but you are making it harder by pushing or pulling before the teeth are released.

  3. Try squeezing the tool around the pipe snuggly. Often times the tool is a little deformed and the sleeve isn't pushed in correctly or uniformly enough to release the bite action.

  4. Try rotating the tool around the sleeve. The release sleeve might have an issue or might be obstructed on a certain part. Rotating the tool slowly while keeping it snug on the pex usually works for me 90% of the time.

  5. You can use pliers if you need more force. I have found myself in this situation just a couple times but this works too. I have also used a butter knife to move the sleeve in the right shape - sometimes it gets stuck.

  6. You can use your connector again. I have reused a couple of sharkbite stoppers 10s of times already for showers.

  7. Sharkbite would never tell you this but I have used the Gatorbite removal tool - which is very very similar to remove many sharkbites and have turned to it a few times when the sharkbite tool didn't work. (I have never not been able to remove a connector or had to cut a pipe)


For half inch, the fitting itself takes a 3/4 wrench in the middle, and the tube takes a 5/8 wrench. I used a monkey wrench on the fitting, and a 5/8 wrench pushing on the plastic tool. I could have skipped the tool and used that wrench to push the release ring. I could do this by hand but with this set-up I could squeeze the two wrenches firmly together with channel locks and keep them square by holding the handle of the one on the release ring side, and this completely freed the fitting. It helped to have a second person pull the pipe out, but probably not necessary. I've never had such trouble getting them apart.


I used the suggestion above using the 5/8" wrench instead of the orange sharkbite tool. I also used a special vise grip wrench I have that has a c clamp end for holding parts together. I placed one part of that vise grip on the end of the 90 degree sharkbite connector and the other end on the 5/8" wrench which was over the release ring and gently squeezed while holding the 5/8" wrench to stay flat over the release ring. The pex tubing then came out with a gentle pull. Success!!!! I think I could have accomplished the same removal with other type of sharkbite connectors by using a regular vise grip on the connector and squeezing on the 5/8" on top of the release ring and maybe a channel lock plyiers. Good luck to all and thank you to the person who gave me the advise i used to accomplish the removal. I was able to finish my plumbing job.


Cut it off and replace it with a sharkbite union and a small piece of pipe. Probably not as clean as the other approaches, but I'm not sure I'd want to use that PEX end after it had been mauled by the sharkbite teeth.

  • 1
    The seal on the end of the tubing is on the inside of the tubing. It doesn't really matter much that the Sharkbite connector mauled the outside of the tubing a little bit. ;-) Sep 2, 2015 at 19:38

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