The Best Tube Benders (Review & Buying Guide) in 2021
Make your next maintenance project that much easier with these top-rated tube benders
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BY Corrina Murdoch / LAST UPDATED ON November 24, 2020
Mostly found in industrial settings, tube benders are becoming increasingly common in home tool kits. When you think about the diverse applications of a tube bender, this makes sense. Also known as pipe benders, you can use these tools on anything from standard plumbing work to refrigerator repair. They are useful in construction and mechanic applications alike, particularly due to their unique abilities. Tube benders give you a smooth bend in any kind of metal pipe. It limits the restriction on the flow of fluids and ensures that the pipe fits where you need it to.
Of course, not all tube benders are alike. It takes a much heavier-duty tube bender to handle steel than copper, for example. Depending on the nature of the task at hand, you’ll need something to bend at different angles and something strong enough to handle the job. To help you find the best tube benders on the market, we’ve curated a list of the top options.
Featuring easy-grip handles and the ability to bend over a 180-degree range, this is a popular tube bender overall.
- Works with multiple sizes of tubing
- Allows you to bend left, right, and offset
- Works well on copper and thinner steel
- Not meant for bending thick steel or heavier metals
- Tool itself is relatively heavy
This affordably priced tube bender is good at bending all types of metal. It lets you bend up to 180-degrees for maximum utility.
- Friendly price point
- Bright red color makes it easy to spot among other tools
- Lightweight design that’s easy to control
- Only bends three tube sizes
- If powdercoating is scratched, the tool may rust
Coming as a whole tube bending set, this high-quality tube bender lets you tackle any size project.
- Includes a carrying case for easy storage
- Comes with multiple mandrels for different tube sizes
- Sturdy and resistant to damage
- Won’t work on galvanized steel
- Not the most intuitive design
- Better suited to experienced workers
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Benefits of Tube Benders
- Precise bending results. When you bend a pipe with a tube bender, you get accurate results free of flaws both inside and outside the pipe. It encourages the smooth flow of fluid and reduces the chance of cracks or breakage along the line of pipe.
- Durable tool for long-term use. Generally speaking, tube benders can last for a really long time. Though you might not use the bender every single day, these devices are capable of withstanding a lot of wear and tear. As a result, you’ll be able to benefit from the tube bender for years to come.
- Versatile applications. Anywhere there’s a metal pipe, there’s use for a tube bender. It might surprise you to find out how much of our lives rely on piping. From the flow of water and waste to mechanical applications to the movement of Freon in your fridge, there is no shortage of opportunity to use the tube bender.
- Retains the structural integrity of the pipe. Using a tube bender prevents minute imperfections from occurring inside the pipe. Though it may seem small, if you’ve ever dealt with a clogged elbow of a pipe, you know how easy it is to trap particulate. Proper bending also prevents you from breaking the pipe while you’re working on it.
- Works on multiple materials. If you opt for a high-end tube bender, you will be able to use it on pipes made out of all sorts of metal, ranging from copper to steel and nickel. Regardless of what is plating the surface, you should be able to bend it into shape.
Types of Tube Benders
Perhaps the most common type of tube bender on the market, the press refers to the bending die, which places the force against the pipe. It causes the pipe to shift shape and mold to the force of the bending die. This type of bender is effective on all types of metal, and you can get it in a range of sizes. It’s important to ensure that the press bender will be able to achieve the angles you need.
Rotary Draw Bender
Among the higher-end tube benders, the rotary type of bender attaches to the pipe's outer part. It uses this clamp to bring the pipe over a set form. This rotary component dictates the angle of the bend. Generally, these tools can work with all kinds of metals. It’s important to make sure that the pipe's external diameter is compatible with the bender itself.
Prevalent in industrial settings, the mandrel-type bender fits into the interior of the pipe. It uses this mandrel component, coupled with clamps on the exterior, to achieve the desired bending. While these tube benders are very effective, they are used most often in CNC settings. Without additional equipment, they are less valuable.
A well-known brand owned by Stride Tools, this Ohio-based company opened in the early 1900s. It focuses on offering high-quality tools for both professional and personal use such as tube benders, general tools, pliers, and more.
Beginning its operations as a manufacturer of tube benders in 1926, this England-based company continues to be one of the leading suppliers of these tools worldwide. It has since expanded its selection to include all types of HVAC supplies, including vacuum pumps, leak detectors, tube cutters, and more.
Tube Bender Pricing
- Under $50: Tube benders that fall in this price range are either of the press or rotary type. Most come as a standalone tool that works with metals of different hardnesses.
- $50 and up: In this price range, you can find tube benders of all types. Usually, the set comes with multiple cutters and bending heads.
A key component to any tube bender is the actual opening. This is the part of the bender where you attach the pipe. Varying in size, the structure of the opening dictates the size of the pipe with which you can work. It needs to be made out of material harder than the pipe—something that is durable and sturdy.
This feature dictates the angle you can achieve from your tube bender. Some benders can reach a full 180 degrees, while others can only get the pipe to moderate acute angles. Naturally, tube benders with a larger bending range are more desirable because they can perform more versatile tasks.
Referring to how you, as the tool-handler, bend the pipe, this is a necessary feature. The vast majority of tube benders are handheld. It incorporates two distinct handles, which you then move to force the pipe against the press. The controls must be well-calibrated, easy to handle, and responsive to pressure.
On pretty much every tube bender, you are going to find a series of measurements. However, some are more clearly denoted than others. This feature tells you how far to move the handles to achieve the angle you desire. It’s important that the measurements are easy to read and won’t wear down over time.
- Grip. So long as your tube bender has all the essential features, you can move on to more particular considerations. The first thing to address is the grip. Will it be comfortable for you to hold? Do the handles incorporate an ergonomic design? Is it slip-resistant? All of these factors contribute to user-friendliness, making it well worth some thought.
- Durability. Next, you’re going to want to look at how durable the actual bending tool is. Think about the materials used in construction. Are they prone to wear and tear? Vulnerable to rust and corrosion? If you drop the bender, is it likely to break? These facets of the tool speak to how long it’s going to last.
- Maintenance. After you’ve determined that the tool is user-friendly and durable, you’ll want to assess how easy it is to maintain. Will you have to calibrate it? Is it going to be easy to clean and dry? While upkeep is pretty basic with most tube benders, it helps to know what you’ll have to get it to last the longest.
- Strength. Especially if you plan to use the tube bender for multiple purposes, you want the press and the bender to be able to bend all types of metals. The hardness of pipes is highly variable, ranging from copper to zinc to steel. Be sure that the press can handle galvanized steel, reinforced with chromium, to find as strong of a tool as possible.
Best Tube Bender Reviews & Recommendations 2021
- Measure twice, bend once. It’s easier to know the angle you need than it is to “unbend” a pipe.
- Store your tube bender in a cool and dry environment to limit the risk of rust and corrosion due to moisture.
- Clean away any debris, such as dust or parts of the pipe that may have scratched off.
- Check the dimensions of the pipe before you get started, reading both the inside and outside diameters.
- Use this measurement to make sure your pipe bender is at the appropriate setting.
- When you bend the pipe, go slightly over the angle you want since pipes naturally spring back.
- Consider the metal you’re bending since metals like steel and aluminum are vulnerable to crimping. If it’s a concern, fill the pipe with water before bending.
- Dry the tube bender completely before returning it to storage to prevent premature wear and tear.
Q: What is the difference between a pipe bender and a tube bender?
The two tools are practically synonymous. If the bender can change the shape of a tube, it will be able to bend a pipe. The only difference is how you measure the part that's being bent: tubes use the outer diameter as the standard metric while pipes use the interior diameter.
Q: How do you bend tubing with a hand bender?
Measure the tube and set the bender accordingly. Double-check the necessary angle. Place the tube into the opening and ensure that it is firmly in place. Grip the handles firmly and pull them until you reach the desired angle, going a bit over what’s needed. Let the tube spring back a little and check your work.
Q: What is the best tubing bender?
The best tubing bender is one that gives a full 180-degree range. It should be able to bend all types of material and be easy for you to control. A popular selection is the Imperial Tool Tube Bender for its durability and user-friendliness.
Now that you know the finer points of what to look for in a tube bender, you can make your choice. It could be the Imperial Tool Tube Bender or the affordability of the Wostore Tubing Bender. There’s an option for everyone and every project.