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10 Workwear Essentials to Take to the Job Site

You’re working 40+ hours a week, moving around constantly, and often in dirty or dangerous situations. As a plumber, you don’t have time to deal with wrong-sized gloves, uncomfortable knee pad straps, or – let’s be real – wet socks. You need the best of the best workwear that combines comfort with durability, all at a great price.

plumber workwear work boots work pants hard hat back pad

SUPPLY.com is a plumbing supply company with a team of account managers who talk to thousands of PROs across the country each week. We turned to some of our customers for their recommendations on the best gear money can buy. Check out our guide below to be the most prepared plumber or contractor on the job site.

Work Clothes

  1. Work Boots
plumber workwear work boots

One of the most important articles of clothing on the job is your work boots. In fact, they’re so important, they deserve their own guide – check out our top work boot picks here to find the highest-quality boots from waterproof to steel-toe to cold-weather and more. We rounded up the top work boot picks for men and women in the trade Once you have your feet covered, we have the rest of the gear you’ll need listed below.

2. Gloves

plumber workwear work gloves

Uncomfortable or ill-fitting gloves get in the way and can feel more like a hazard than a protection. If you’re regularly dealing with chemicals or heat, though, you need something to keep your hands safe. Don’t settle for the one-size-fits all pair of gloves at the discount store – check out these top-rated options instead:

Superior Glove Crushed Ceramic Powder Grip Gloves

Hobart Fitted Welding Gloves

3. Jacket

plumber workwear work jacket milwaukee heated jacket

A jacket is an ultimate form of protection, whether it be from the cold, water, or anything else you don’t want on your skin. Plus, a good jacket will make you look more presentable and professional to your boss and customers. When it comes to your jacket, you’ll want the highest quality from best brands in the business, so we found options from brands you already know and trust (Milwaukee and Carhartt):

Carhartt Rainwear Shoreline Jacket (Men’s)

Milwaukee Heated Jacket (Men’s)

Milwaukee Heated Jacket (Women’s)

4. Pants

plumber workwear work pants carhartt pants

Whether you’re kneeling under sinks all day, climbing ladders, or laying pipe, it’s of the utmost importance that your pants are comfortable and fit both your body and your needs. You may opt for holster pants instead of carrying a separate tool belt or bag, or you may prefer coveralls to pants that hit at the waist. Our PROs told us their classic choice for pants on the job:

Dickies Loose-Fit Double-Knee Work Pants (Men’s)

Caterpillar Trademark Trouser (Men’s)

Dickies Slim-Git Double-Knee Pants (Women’s)  

5. Knee Pads

plumber workwear knee pads

75% of plumbers report having knee problems, according to this survey from the IPG (independent plumbing, heating and bathroom specialists). There are several ways you can go with knee pads. Some pants come with extra room at the knee for an insert, or you can use strap-on pads.

Duluth Trading Co Ultimate Knee Pad Inserts

Caterpillar Men’s Knee Pads

6. Socks

plumber workwear socks

With the right boots, your feet should be protected. You’ll still want the best socks that won’t wear out or rub your feet. If you’re in an extremely hot or cold climate, you know that socks with sweat-wicking capabilities are important as well. Here’s what we recommend:

DG Hill Thermal Merino Wool Socks (Men’s)

Darn Tough Work Socks (Men’s)

Darn Tough Work Socks (Women’s)

Safety Equipment

Safety equipment is required on the job, especially if you’re on a construction site, but it can be difficult to find comfortable gear that fits regulation. We asked around, and here are some of the highest-rated options to keep your body protected and comfortable.

7. Hard Hat

plumber workwear hard hat

Hard hats aren’t known for being cushy, but there are styles out there that are made to better form to your head while keeping you safe. Check out these top-rated models from Skullgard and Pyramex:

Skullgard Hard Hat with Fas-Track Suspension

Pyramex Ridgeline Full Brim 4 Pt Ratchet Suspension Hard Hat

8. Eyewear

plumber workwear eyewear goggles

Much like hard hats, goggles have a bad rep for being uncomfortable and trapping sweat, so it’s important to pick a good option that won’t distract from the job. In some situations, like drilling or snaking a drain, glasses are required for safety. Keep your eyes shielded and your vision clear with these top-selling options:

Dewalt Clear Anti-Fog Protected Safety Glasses

3M Virtua Protective Eyewear

9. Respirator Mask

plumber workwear respirator mask

Depending on the job, you may need a respirator mask to protect yourself from dangerous fumes. There are different types of masks for different situations, so make a purchasing decision based on what you need protection from, whether it’s dust, chemicals, or other hazardous waste.

MSA AirHawk® II Air Mask

10. Back Support

plumber workwear back support

Tradesmen notoriously have back problems due to the physically demanding nature of their work, so it’s important to try and help your back when you can. Taking care of your back will save you from a lifetime of pain. Our PROs recommend a pad that you can carry around and set down wherever you need it on the job.

Knee N’ Back Pad

Plumber’s Pad for the Service Plumber

Plumber’s Tips

Our brand partner American Standard knows just how important it is for contractors to stay safe. They asked plumber, Olympic snowboarder, and LIXIL (American Standard and Grohe’s parent company) brand ambassador Jonathan Cheever for his tips:

lixil american standard jonathan cheever
  • Protect your eyes and face:  Grinding, cutting, drilling, and using chemicals is extremely common in the trade. That is why having eye and face protection is vital for long term health and protection against accidents that may happen on the job.  
  • Foot protection: Puncture- and slip-resistant footwear is necessary on all job sites. Investing in a reliable and comfortable pair of work boots is well worth it – especially since you are on your feet all day.  Steel-toed boots are perfect if you are working with heavy equipment.
  • Protect your head:  Hard hats should be worn on all construction sites and places where bumping your head or falling objects could be a hazard.
  • Hearing protection: Loud noises are always happening on a job site. Guard your hearing by using ear protection. Stay hygienic and replace your earplugs regularly.” – Jonathan Cheever, Licensed Plumber and American Standard Athlete

In order for the plumber to help protect the health of the nation, the plumber’s health needs to first be protected by the appropriate gear. Take care of yourself and make sure your crew is safe out there on the job!

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