Plumber vs. Pipefitter: What’s The Difference? 

Pipefitters and plumbers are ready and willing to help with piping, making sure that the systems work perfectly. The two careers have many similarities but are distinct, making you wonder, what's the difference between a plumber and a pipefitter?


While the two professionals both repair and maintain pipes, the difference is in the type of system they work on. Plumbers are more inclined to water-based systems like water heaters and sewage lines, sometimes also checking appliances like laundry machines and dishwashers. Pipefitters, however, usually work on high-pressure piping of heavier materials like galvanized steel.

Work Environment

Another difference between the two is that they work in different industries. You will find plumbers in residential and commercial buildings installing and repairing systems, while pipefitters are typically in industrial environments. Their work involves piping necessary for large-scale operations in a more fast-paced industrial environment.


Another difference between a pipefitter vs. plumber is how they have unique skills to handle their jobs. Take plumbers, for instance; they benefit most from having excellent communication skills to deal with customers and can easily build relationships. On the other hand, pipefitters must have specialized skills to handle heavy and complex systems for them to stand out.


Since the two have different skill sets and work in separate environments, it is expected that their tools are also distinct. Plumbers rely on wrenches for the sink, pipes, and other types to get the job done. Their equipment is simpler because they deal with metals like copper and PVC. In contrast, pipefitters use more elaborate tools like pipe threaders and welders, which are handy during the cutting and installation of heavy metals like high-carbon steel.

Training and Education

There are also some similarities in the type of training needed for both careers but with some specialization. To be a plumber, you need training on drainage systems and how to repair and maintain building fittings. Pipefitting education entails learning about electric and gas piping, welding, and other skills needed for industrial systems.

Opportunity To Specialize

Plumbers can specialize in fields like water supply or repair, making them more skilled in particular aspects of plumbing. They can also take further studies to become project managers or heads of plumbing for projects. For pipefitters, who are technically specialized plumbers, they can choose to narrow down to specific industries instead. That's why you find professionals like medical pipefitters who only work in the healthcare industry.

Read more: DIY Plumbing vs Hiring a Professional Plumber: Which is Better?

Wrap Up

Pipefitting and plumbing may sound the same, but they are two different career paths. They come with special skill sets to get the job done in various capacities. If you need any plumbing services in Kennesaw, contact A-Total Plumbing to get the right people for the job.