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Essential HVAC Tools List | 63 Must Have HVAC Tools

HVAC, which is short for Heating, Ventilating, and Air -Conditioning, is a process responsible for maintaining acceptable conditions of temperature, humidity, and fresh air. This field is applicable to all occupied spaces such as commercial buildings, automobiles, airplanes, ships, etc. In order to be a successful HVAC Engineer or Technician, you have to gain knowledge and obtain a solid understanding of air conditioning, heating, and refrigeration systems. Another important thing is to know about different tools and also how to use them for various jobs. In this guide, we will take a look at some essential HVAC Tools list.

If you are starting a job as an HVAC Technician or training for one, having theoretical knowledge about heating and refrigeration system is one thing. But for practical installation and maintenance, you need a bunch of hand tools and power tools.

Let us jump right into the list of some essential HVAC Tools that every technician must know how to use. Some of these tools are very affordable, while some can be very expensive.

Depending on your job and position, you may have to buy these tools yourself or your employer/company will provide you (at least the important ones) as a part of the job.

Essential HVAC Tools List

Basic HVAC Tools

1. Screwdrivers

One of the basic tools not only for HVAC but also for other fields and domains is a screwdriver. Phillips and Flat-head are two popular types of drives. But other screwdriver types such as Torx, Hex, Square, etc. are also quite common in HVAC installations.

Often, technicians use screwdrivers as scrapers, chisels, or even pry bars. As a result, they break very easily. We recommend you to use screwdrivers only for their intended purposes and they will serve you for years in your HVAC journey.

2. Hammer

Another popular hand tool that every HVAC technician must have is a hammer. The three common types of hammers are Nail Hammers, Ball Peen Hammers, and Mallets (or other soft hammers).

You can use hammers to drive a nail or hit an object with massive force. Depending on your requirement, you might need a regular hammer or a lightweight hammer.

3. Pliers

Whether you need to reach something in a hole, cut wires or twist something, a plier is a very useful hand tool. Some common types of pliers are General Purpose Pliers (Linesman Pliers), Cutting Pliers, Needle-Nose Pliers, Curved Needle-Nose Pliers, Tongue & Groove Pliers, and Locking Pliers.

Every HVAC Technician must have at least a couple of different types of pliers in their tool bag.

4. Wrenches

WrenchesWith HVAC Installation or Maintenance, the technician will have to deal with a lot of pipes, nuts, and bolts. To fasten or loosen them, you need a variety of wrenches.

Pipe Wrenches are one of the essential tools for every HVAC job. Its teethed head and unique shape allow the technician to easily grip pipes and other similar round surfaces. 8-inch, 10-inch, and 12-inch pipe wrenches are very  common.

Open End Wrenches, Box End Wrenches, and Combination Wrenches also come in handy. Make sure you have a set of these wrenches as you can work with only a single-sized nut or fastener with each of these wrenches.

An Adjustable Wrench is another popular type of wrench. Using this one tool, you can work on fasteners of different sizes. A Ratchet Wrench is very useful as well. You can tighten (or loosen) a nut or fastener without taking the tool out or repositioning it.

5. Socket Set

When you buy a Socket Set, you often get a full set of tools including socket wrenches, reversible ratcheting handles, socket extensions, universal joint sockets, etc.

Socket Wrenches are available in different sizes from 1/4-inch to 1-inch. A Socket Wrench Extension allows the technician to reach nuts and bolts that are deep or at a difficult angle.

6. Hex Keys (Allen Keys)

Allen Keys or Hex Keys are six-sided tools that allow you to work on hexagonal-shaped slots. One common place where technicians use Hex Keys is to connect or remove blowers from the motor shaft.

Apart from the regular right-angled Allen Keys, you can also get the Hex Keys with T-Handles.

7. Drills

An electric drill is a very useful tool for the HVAC Technician. You can drill holes and drive screws to run wires, or secure an object. While electric drills are available as both Corded Drills and Cordless Drills, we recommend a decent cordless drill, preferably with a hammering action.

If you are sure about access to electricity all the time, then a corded drill will be a cheaper and more powerful option.

8. Reciprocating Saws

As an HVAC technician, you have to cut through drywall, plywood, or pipes. For all these cutting jobs, a Reciprocating Saw (Sawzall) is a popular tool.

Just like the electric drill, even reciprocating saws are available as corded and cordless. Corded Reciprocating Saws tend to be a lot more affordable than Cordless Reciprocating Saws. Sometimes, the cordless options don’t come with batteries and a charger (you have to purchase them separately).

Do a little bit of research while selecting a perfect reciprocating saw that fits your requirements and budget. It may seem like a heavy investment but it definitely saves you a lot of time and effort in the long run.

9. Hacksaws

If you want to quickly cut thin sheets of metal, a simple hacksaw is the best tool for the job. Apart from metal sheets, you can also cut conduits and general-purpose pipes (not refrigerant-carrying ones).

10. Chisels

Do not use a screwdriver as a chisel. Get a chisel for removing excess material or other similar purposes. A Cold Chisel has a cutting edge on one end and struck head on the other. They are usually made from steel and you can use them to cuts metals that are slightly softer than the chisel itself.

Another type of chisel that is popular with HVAC technicians is a Brick Chisel. As the name suggests, you can cut or trim bricks with these chisels.

11. Files

If you want to smoothen or remove any rough edges from metal (or any other material), you need a File. They are available in a variety of shapes and sizes.

Some common types of Files are Flat Files (double cut or curved tooth), Round files, Half-Round Files, Wood Rasp Files (Flat, Half-Round, Round), etc.

12. Metal Shears

Shears are very useful tools to cut sheets of metal in long and straight lines. Usually, HVAC doesn’t have to deal with such jobs (installation of ductwork), but they sometimes have to make holes in the ductwork in different directions.

15. Cutters

HVAC Technicians often work with different kinds of tubes and pipes. Cutting them to make a neat and proper fit is an essential part of the job.

Tube Cutters, Pipe Cutters, and Metal Cutters are the three common types of cutters that help you cut copper pipes, PVC Tubes, etc.

16. Tin Snip

While Metal Shears allow you to cut large cuts, Tin Snips are useful to make smaller cuts. With Line Type Tin Snips, you can make straight cuts on metals. Additionally, there are Left and Right direction-specific Tin Snips.

Tin Snips are also available as a Curve Type. Similar to the Line Type, even Curve Types are also available as Left-Curve and Right-Curve Tin Snips.

17. Hand Seamer

If you are working with sheet metal, then sometimes you need to bend it at different angles or flatten it. A Hand Seamer is a perfect tool for such jobs. Using a Hand Seamer, HVAC Technicians can make bends on sheet metal with tight and accurate angles.

If there is an unwanted shape on a piece of sheet metal, you can straighten or flatten the bends and wrinkles using Hand Seamers. They are available in different jaw widths in the range of 3-inch to 9-inch.

18. Folding Bar

Another tool that lets you work on sheet metals is a Folding Bar or Drive Bar. You can attach the Folding Bar to the vice and “fold” the sheet metal, usually at 90° (or any other angle if you like).

19. Awls

An Awl is a long and sharp tool that is useful in making holes in sheet metals. HVAC technicians also use Awls for marking surfaces such as score lines. Awls are available in different sizes.

20. Pipe Crimpers

Metal Crimpers (Pipe and Tube Crimpers) allow HVAC Technicians to crimp copper and PEX pipes. These Press Tools do not require soldering or welding and yet they can make watertight seals. Pipe Crimpers are very popular in HVAC as well as general plumbing.

21. Wire Strippers and Crimpers

When making different electrical connections, HVAC Technicians must work with wires of different gauges. A Wire Stripper is a very helpful tool as it easily strips the plastic/rubber outer layer of the wires to make electrical contact.

Wire Crimper is another tool that is useful to crimp the ends of wires. This allows the technician to properly terminate the wires.

HVAC Specialty Tools

1. Multimeters

Whether you are an HVAC Technician or an Electrician, you need a Multimeter in your tool kit. Digital Multimeters or DMMs are available at different price points but we recommend you to invest in a good quality HVAC Multimeter.

You can check the voltages, and conductivity of wires and switches. Modern Multimeters have several features such as live voltage detection, temperature measurement, etc.

2. Thermometers

To get accurate temperature readings, HVAC technicians rely on good-quality Thermometers. These are very useful while servicing as they can further help in fixing the level of refrigerant if there isn’t sufficient cooling.

Thermometers and Temperature Sensors come in different shapes and sizes. Some thermometers have sharp probes to insert them into the ductwork. We recommend you to invest in digital thermometers and temperature sensors.

3. Vacuum Pumps

An HVAC Vacuum Pump is a powerful tool that can remove moisture or vapor from the unit for servicing or repairs. HVAC technicians also use Reclaimer Pumps that can recover the refrigerant fluid and use it after the job.

4. Filter Pullers

When servicing or repairing HVAC Units, the technician has to reach filters that are very difficult to access. Taking out filters from such hard places can be quite tricky. Filter Pullers are special tools that have a telescopic handle to grab and pull the filters.

5. Refrigeration Gauges

A Refrigeration Gauge is a tool that allows the HVAC technician to accurately measure the pressure of the refrigerant. These gauges help in identifying if there is any leak in the line as the pressure drops.

6. Manifold Gauges

This is an essential HVAC Tool. Manifold Gauges help the technician in properly diagnosing the High and Low pressure in an air conditioning system. Manifold Gauges are available based on the type of refrigerant such as R-134A, R-12, etc.

Nowadays, high-quality digital gauges are available that provide accurate pressure readings. But the old-school analog gauges are still quite popular.

7. Gauge Hoses

While Refrigeration Gauges and Manifold Gauges help the HVAC Technician monitor the pressure of the refrigerant, sadly they don’t come with the necessary hoses.

Quick Connect type Gauge Hoses are a popular type. The design of these gauge hoses assures that you need not worry about any leaks outside the air conditioning unit.

8. HVAC Tool Bags

While working on installation, service, or repair, an HVAC technician must carry a lot of tools with him/her. A proper HVAC Tool Bag will save you a lot of hassle as you can neatly and properly organize all the tools in their compartments or pockets.

If you shop around for good quality HVAC Tool Bags, you will come across a variety of options including hand-held, waist bags, and backpacks.

Advanced HVAC Tools

1. Core Removal Tools

A Valve Core is a spring-actuated poppet valve that is an important part of the Schrader Valve. You need special tools to remove and replace the Schrader cores while repairing them.

There are several Core Removal Tools that have a special torque mechanism. While you are tightening the valve core, the torque mechanism clicks to indicate that the thread of the core is perfectly tight and doesn’t cause any leaks.

2. Recovery Units

While working with refrigerants, HVAC technicians must follow several guidelines. There are strict laws that prohibit releasing refrigerants into the atmosphere. A Recovery Unit is a simple piece of equipment that helps the technician to collect all the refrigerant from the air conditioning system.

Refrigerant Recovery Units (or Tanks or Machines) are capable of recovering both liquid and vapor refrigerants.

3. Coil Fin Straighteners

Over time, the condenser in an air conditioning system gets dirty and clogged. This can happen to both the condenser as well as the evaporator. If the coil fins might also get wrinkled.

There is a simple tool in the form of a Coil Fin Straightener. These metal or plastic comb-like devices help the HVAC technician to clean the debris and even straighten the coil fins.

4. Caulk Guns

Creating leak-free ductwork is a crucial part of the HVAC installation and maintenance jobs. Caulk Guns are very simple and useful devices that help HVAC Technicians fill tiny holes and gaps to prevent any air leaks.

Most Caulk Guns are hand-powered tools that you can activate just by pulling a trigger. This will squeeze the cartridge and release the caulk. Choose a Caulk Gun that has a dripless feature to avoid any mess.

5. Nitrogen Regulators

Heavy-duty Nitrogen Regulators are useful for purging, pressure build-up, and leakage tests in HVAC Systems. HVAC Technicians perform these leak tests while there is no refrigerant in the system.

Nitrogen Purging is a critical process while filling the air conditioning system with refrigerant. The nitrogen gas displaces any oxygen in the system and minimizes the formation of oxides. To control the amount of pressure of the Nitrogen gas, you need good quality Nitrogen Regulators.

6. Carbon Monoxide Detectors

While installing, servicing, or repairing HVAC Systems, technicians must check for the level of carbon monoxide on the premises. Carbon Monoxide Detectors are very useful for this purpose.

There are several sources of carbon monoxide in a home or business space. These include fireplaces, space heaters, generators, furnaces, etc. The first job of any HVAC Technician is to use proper CO (Carbon Monoxide) Detectors and find out any leaks before starting a repair or service.

7. Refrigerant Leak Detectors

Managing and maintaining refrigerant in an air conditioning system is critical for its operation. Imperfect joint fittings, improper welding points, vibrations, harsh environments, and temperature can cause refrigerant leakage. If these leaks are not detected and rectified, the efficiency of the air conditioning system falls drastically.

Electronic Refrigerant Leak Detectors are very easy to use and can accurately detect even small leaks. Further, there are several types of Leak detectors such as Infrared, Heated Diode, Ultrasonic, Corona Suppression, etc.

8. Thermal Imaging Cameras

When working with HVAC Systems, Thermal Imaging Cameras help you quickly find the problem and after the HVAC Technician fixes it, he/she can show the customer that the problem is fixed.

In the past, many HVAC technicians were reluctant to invest in proper thermal imaging tools just because of their astronomical pricing. Nowadays, the cost of a decent Thermal Camera has fallen significantly.

There are several benefits of Thermal Imaging Cameras. They help you identify air leaks, water leaks, or even electrical shorts very quickly. You can show the customer what exactly is the problem and also how you fixed it.

9. Phase Testers

HVAC Technicians must also have proper knowledge of mains AC power and also different tools associated with it. One such tool is a Phase Tester. These electrical tools help in identifying the phase or current in the HVAC unit while repairing or servicing.

10. Psychrometers

A Psychrometer is a special device that measures the relative humidity of the air. Maintaining good moisture in a closed space is a critical job for the HVAC System. While repairing or maintenance, HVAC Technicians use Psychrometers to check the amount of moisture in the air or relative humidity.

A Sling-type Psychrometer is a very popular device. It contains two thermometers (one is dry and the other is wet). Nowadays, you can digital versions with sensors and electronics.

11. Flushing Solvents

Contamination from moisture, carbon residue, and other matter can clog the line in any HVAC System. The problem becomes severe if the HVAC Unit is in operation for a long time.

HVAC Technicians have to clean the refrigerant line. To do this effectively, you need Refrigerant Flushing Solvents. These solvents will dissolve any contaminants in the refrigerant lines and also evaporate after the job.

12. Refrigerant Storage Tanks

After recovering the refrigerant from the HVAC Unit, technicians can use Refrigerant Storage Tanks to store it safely. They are available in different capacities. You have to choose one that suits your needs.

13. Refrigerant Scales

Whether there is a leak or the HVAC Technician flushed all the refrigerant out of the unit, they have to refill the system with a proper quantity of refrigerant. For this, Refrigerant Scales or Charging Scales are very useful devices.

Using a Refrigerant Scale, the HVAC technician can accurately weigh the refrigerant in a cylinder before refilling or charging it.

HVAC Safety Tools

1. Overalls

HVAC Technicians must wear proper clothes while working on air conditioning systems. Coveralls and Overalls are suitable for tough jobs with dust or a lot of sharp objects.

2. Gloves

Hand Gloves are another important safety accessory to protect hands from sharp objects, and chemicals, and even against getting rough. The gloves you choose must protect your hands and at the same time, they must be comfortable to hold hand tools and other small objects.

3. Goggles

Protecting your eyes from dust, debris, and other tiny particles is very important. So, every HVAC Technician must get a pair of safety goggles. They will shield your eyes from all these small particles and you can do a better job without worrying about your eyes.

4. Masks

HVAC Technicians must wear proper masks as a part of their personal protection kit. When you are working on repairs, service, or maintenance of air conditioning systems, you might come across all sorts of gunk, dust, chemicals, and even residues in the lines.

A proper industrial-grade mask can prevent tiny contaminants from entering your nose and mouth.

5. Earplugs

As HVAC Technicians, you have to work around compressors, power tools, and other loud motors and machines all the time. So, you have to protect your ears with proper industrial grade Earplugs or Ear Muffs.

6. Shoes

A pair of heavy-duty steel-toe work boots can protect your feet and enables you to work on all kinds of terrain. Be it standing on ladders or working on the floor or even in air ducts, proper footwear is necessary.

HVAC Utilities and Accessories

1. Levels

Whether you are installing HVAC Units, piping, or the electrical stuff, you have to use a Level to make sure that all the things are aligned properly. Simple liquid-bubble are sufficient for marking on the walls but you can get fancy laser levels as well.

2. Tape Measures

For accurate measurements, HVAC technicians rely on Tape Measures. Be it installing an HVAC Unit or measuring sizes for the ductwork, a long tape measure is the main tool. Make sure that you get at least 25 feet long tape measure. In the case of Tape Measures, the longer, the better.

3. Flashlights

HVAC Technicians must reach places without proper lighting. Hence, a proper flashlight or headlamp can light up the area near the HVAC Unit or inside the ductwork. We recommend a good quality head-mount light to make your hands free.

While head-mount lamps are useful, regular Flashlights are also useful to direct the light at an angle you like.

4. Step Ladders

Standing on Step Ladders for hours is a part of being an HVAC Technician. Whether you are working on electrical wiring, refrigerant lines, or ductwork, Step Ladders are your best companion. There are different types of ladders but a simple Step Ladder is sufficient for most jobs.

5. Utility Knives

A Utility Knife comes in handy to cut small things such as boxes, insulation, wires, etc. Makes sure to carry a couple of Utility Knives of different sizes and also their spare blades.

6. Extension Cords

Access to electricity might not be available at all times. But in order to make use of different power tools, you need electricity. This is where Extension Cords make your job easy. HVAC Technicians work with electric drills, reciprocating saws, etc. So, make sure to get a good quality Extension Cord with a decent length.

7. Squares

Speed Squares or Triangle Squares are very useful tools for marking dimensions and also for 45° and 90°. Have a set of Speed Squares in your tool kit as you never know when you might need them.

8. Inspection Mirrors

Telescopic Inspection Mirrors allow HVAC Technicians to check and inspect deep inside the HVAC Unit. Some Inspection Mirrors come with LED Lights to illuminate dark areas.

9. Cable Ties/Zip Ties

As an HVAC Technician, you have to deal with wires, cables, pipes, etc. Instead of hanging them in the air, you can use Cable Ties or Zip Ties to tie them together. Always have a bag of Cable Ties in your tool kit.

10. Staple Guns

If you are working on ductwork, then you have to secure the foil lines to the surface of the duct. Staple Guns are very simple and efficient tools for this purpose.

11. Duct Tapes

There is nothing you can’t fix with Duct Tape. Jokes aside, Duct Tape always comes in handy to secure something.

12. Magnet Trays

A tiny Magnet Tray can hold all your metal screws, nuts, bits, etc., and will save a lot of time and effort. You don’t have to worry about misplacing such tiny items

13. Screws

Having a spare set of screws is important for an HVAC Technician. You might lose some screws, or some screws might be already missing. So, make sure to buy a set of screws that contains all popular and common sizes.

14. Wire Nuts

HVAC Technicians are not pure electricians but they sometimes have to work with electrical installations as well. This might include adding additional wiring or re-routing the wires. Wire Nuts help you in tying the new wire to the existing ones without soldering or other difficult jobs.

15. Fuses and Fuse Pullers

Sometimes, the problem with HVAC Units could be as simple as a blown fuse. So, have a spare set of Fuses of different amperage at your disposal.

In addition, make sure you also get a Fuse Puller as you never know how easy or how difficult it is to reach the location of the fuse and pull it.


In this guide, we saw some popular and common HVAC Tools. If you are starting your career as an HVAC Technician or trying to prepare for one, then a deep knowledge of different types of tools that you might is very critical.

Although we mentioned the 61 Essential HVAC Tools List, there could be still some tools that are useful for a specific application or job.

We hope that this Essential HVAC Tools List could help in getting familiar with all the important tools. If you feel we missed something or want to add something, do let us know in the comments section. It will be helpful to us as well as other readers.

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