When it comes right down to it, going back to the basics is almost always the best choice. Ask any plumber what tools he or she uses at home to fix his or her own plumbing, and he or she will undoubtedly tell you one or more of the following. If you want to address your own plumbing problems as much as possible, do as the pros do and purchase these five basic plumbing instruments.
Your basic, run-of-the-mill plunger, with its rubber head and wooden handle, takes care of almost every clog in your toilets and drains. If you do not want to cross-contaminate toilet germs in your sinks, there are smaller versions of basic plungers designed for sink and tub drains. It is a good idea to have one plunger for each toilet in your home, and one sink plunger for all of your sink and tub/shower drains.
A plumber's wrench is adjustable and can unscrew any size pipes in your home. It also provides you with enough leverage and torque that you really do not need any other type of wrench for unscrewing and removing pipes. For added comfort on your hands, buy one with a no-slip rubber grip handle.
Manual augers are just as effective as the pneumatic and electrically-powered kinds, not to mention that they are quite a bit cheaper. Be sure to buy a toilet auger and a sink auger, since the head of a sink auger is smaller and tailored to handle the narrower drains that extend down into small sink pipes. The head of a toilet auger is larger so that it can grind up the blockage located in the trap of your toilet and push the blockage on through.
When you have pipe cutters in your plumbing repair kit, you will never need to have the hardware store pre-cut your plastic/PVC pipes for you. You can buy any length of pipe you need in the diameter you need and take it home to cut yourself. Just be sure to invest in pipe cutters that does not need constant re-sharpening.
If you think you will be cutting your own plumbing pipes, then you will also need a pipe threader. Pre-cut pipes already have screw-in threads on the inside or outside of the tubes, but uncut pipes do not. A pipe threader will create the screw threads for you and it is not difficult to use nor difficult to learn how to use.