Tool Buying Guide

Setting up an irrigation system can be tricky if you don't have the right tools. But how do you know if you are buying the right tools for your job? This guide is here to help answer those questions!

When determining what tools you need, the first question is what type of tubing you are using. Will your system's mainline be poly tubing, or will you be using PVC pipe? Next, will you use emitter tubing/drip tape that already has emitters installed, or do you need a punch tool to insert your drippers into the mainline?

Let's dive into cutting tools for poly tubing first. DripWorks carries two cutting tools specifically for cutting poly tubing.

The Punch N' Cut is a lightweight tool with a steel blade to cut through poly tubing easily and can even cut through PVC pipe up to 1" in size. This tool also has a punch tip to make holes in poly tubing for 1/4" fittings and emitters. On the back end, there is a holder for transfer barbs and various emitter types, making installing them into the mainline a breeze. While the primary use of this tool is for cutting your tubing, the added features make it a great all-around tool to have in your irrigation supply kit.

The Poly Tubing Cutter is also an option for a cutting tool. This tool can cut poly tubing, rubber, or plastic pipe up to 1 1/4" in diameter. It cannot cut PVC. This cutting tool has an ergonomic grip with a spring handle and locks to secure the blade when not used.

The Fiskars PVC Cutter is a robust cut tool designed to cut several pipe types. It can cut up to Schedule 40 PVC in a 1 1/4" outside diameter. It can also cut PEX, PE, PB, and Rubber pipe up to 1" in size. The handle has a ratcheting feature to provide up to 35% more cutting power and ease the stress on your hands.

Moving on to punch tools. With so many options, which one do you choose?

For 1/4" fittings, emitters, and 10/32 threaded-based sprayers, you will use a standard 1/4" punch tool. DripWorks sells various 1/4" punch tools, some with bonus features.

The Miracle Punch has been a long-standing favorite amongst our customers. This easy-to-use punch tool has a groove for the ½" poly tubing to fit into, and then you squeeze the handle like a pair of scissors. As the top handle closes around the tubing, a punch tip is exposed and punches a hole in the line. A blue guard inside the grooved tubing port can be removed so that the tool can also be used on ¾" poly tubing. Replacement punch tips are available in 3 sizes to fit your different needs.

The Pocket Punch operates similarly to the Miracle Punch but only works with ½" poly tubing. With this punch, you will squeeze the end down, and the punch tip will poke a hole in the tubing. As an added feature to this tool, the groove that tubing fits into can also be used to hold emitters or transfer barb for installation. You can also slip the grooved edge under an emitter or transfer barb to remove it from the mainline. This tool will make a hole perfect for 1/8" and 1/4" fittings.

The simplest and most cost-effective punch tool we offer is the Key Punch. The small Key Punch tool can be used for 1/8" and 1/4" fittings and barbs. It has a small loop to be placed on your key chain for safekeeping. There is also a hex tool on the handle for inserting Mini-Jets into the mainline.

The Purple Handle Punch is an excellent option for a manual punch tool. This punch tool has an ergonomic handle to fit comfortably in your hand. The tool makes a clean 1/4" hole for use with any 1/4" barb fitting or emitter and 5/8" tape fittings. A small cap is provided to protect the tip when not in use. The purple handle punch is a perfect choice for small hands.

For larger hands, we have the Netafim Punch Tool. This tool makes a 1/4" hole with a stainless-steel tip and heavy-duty plastic body. The ergonomic shape fits nicely in a large hand for those who find the purple handle punch too small.

The Orange Handle Punch is another manual punch that can be used for 1/4" fittings as well as the oversized barb on the EL14B (1/2" Easy Loc by 1/4" barb) and LSB/LSBSO (Tape Loc by 1/4" barb) fittings. The stainless-steel tip is very sharp, so do not accidentally poke yourself when using this tool. On the back end of this tool, there is a hex adapter that is used to help screw Mini Jets into your mainline.

The Adjustable Punch Tool comes standard with an oversized tip for making large holes for the LSB/LSBSO (tape loc by barb) and the EL14B (Easy Loc by barb) fittings. Much like the Miracle punch, there are replacement tips in a smaller size for a standard 1/4" fitting or barb. The Adjustable Punch Tool can be used in tubing ranging in size from ½" to 1 ½". A dial on the front of the tool adjusts to the right tubing size. Slip your tubing into the open groove, then turn the dial so the tubing is snug. This will create a clean punch when you squeeze the handle.

The perfect "do it all" tool would be the Spaghetti Stickler. This compact stainless steel tool punches 1/4" holes for both 1/8" and 1/4" barbs and fittings, but you can also use it to help you insert the fittings. First, you will push the tubing over the prong to give it a gentle stretch. Then, insert the barb in the hole of the tool for stability and push the tubing over the barb. You can then place the barb between the prongs for leverage in pushing the barb into the mainline. You can also use the prongs this way for inserting emitters. This tool to help insert those small barbs into the 1/4" tubing will make the job easier on your fingers. For removing barbs or emitters, slip the prongs under the emitter against the mainline and give a gentle pull. If you are using many emitters or 1/4" tubing within your system, this is not a tool you want to be without.

For assistance with choosing the right tool for your irrigation system, please call our dedicated customer service team at 1-800-522-3747 Monday-Friday from 8 am-4 pm PST. You can also email us your questions at