Is Plumbing Better Than Being an Electrician? (Top 9 Factors to Why, 1 Reason Why Not)

“Should I become a plumber or an electrician?” If you’ve ever asked yourself this question, you’re not alone. Many people face this career dilemma, and the decision isn’t always easy.

In this article, we’ll explore the top 9 factors that make plumbing a better choice than being an electrician and the one reason why being an electrician might be a better fit for you. Let’s dive in!

9 Reasons why plumbing is better than being an electrician

1. Diverse work environments

Plumbers work in various settings, including residential homes, commercial buildings, and construction sites, providing a more diverse range of work environments compared to electricians.

2. Hands-on problem solving

Plumbing often involves hands-on problem-solving as plumbers diagnose and repair issues related to water systems, drainage, and fixtures, providing a dynamic and engaging work experience.

3. Immediate impact

Plumbers can often see the immediate impact of their work, as fixing a leak or restoring proper water flow can have an instant positive effect on the client’s daily life, adding a sense of satisfaction.

4. Versatility

Plumbers work with a wide range of materials, tools, and equipment, requiring adaptability and versatility to handle various plumbing systems and fixtures.

5. Job stability

Plumbing is a trade that remains in demand, as there will always be a need for professionals to maintain and repair plumbing systems, ensuring steady job opportunities and long-term job security.

6. Broad skill set

Plumbers need a diverse skill set, including knowledge of pipe systems, fixtures, appliances, and even gas fitting, allowing for continuous learning and professional growth.

7. Physical activity

Plumbing work can involve physical labor, which can be appealing to individuals who enjoy being active and prefer a more hands-on approach to their work.

8. Lower risk of electrical hazards

Compared to electricians, plumbers face a lower risk of electrical hazards and potential electric shocks, making it a potentially safer profession in terms of electrical risks.

9. Unique challenges

Plumbing can present unique challenges and problem-solving opportunities, such as working with different pipe materials, addressing complex drainage issues, or designing efficient plumbing systems.

Is plumbing better than being an electrician?

Comparing the merits of plumbing and being an electrician is subjective, as both professions have their own unique advantages.

Plumbers play a vital role in ensuring proper water supply, drainage, and sewage systems, making them indispensable for maintaining public health and safety.

On the other hand, electricians are crucial for installing and maintaining electrical systems, providing power, and ensuring the safe operation of various devices.

Both professions offer rewarding career paths with stable job prospects, and the choice between them ultimately depends on individual interests, skills, and preferences.

What’s the difference between a plumber and an electrician?

  • Focus: Plumbers primarily deal with water supply, drainage, and sewage systems. They install, repair, and maintain pipes, fixtures, and appliances related to plumbing. Electricians, on the other hand, specialize in electrical systems. They work with wiring, circuits, outlets, and electrical devices, ensuring proper installation and functionality.
  • Knowledge and training: Plumbers require knowledge of plumbing codes, pipe materials, and various installation techniques. They often undergo apprenticeships and vocational training to gain expertise in their field. Electricians, similarly, undergo extensive training and apprenticeships to understand electrical codes, safety procedures, and electrical theory.
  • Tools and equipment: Plumbers work with tools such as pipe cutters, wrenches, plungers, and soldering equipment to complete plumbing tasks. Electricians utilize tools such as wire strippers, circuit testers, pliers, and multimeters for their electrical work. Both professions require specific tools and equipment tailored to their respective tasks.
  • Work environments: Plumbers work in a variety of settings, including residential homes, commercial buildings, and construction sites. They may encounter tight spaces, sewage systems, and plumbing fixtures. Electricians also work in diverse environments, such as homes, offices, industrial facilities, and construction sites, dealing with electrical panels, wiring, and electrical systems.
  • Specializations: Within each profession, there are further specializations. Plumbers may specialize in areas such as residential plumbing, commercial plumbing, or even sub-specialties like gas fitting or pipe relining. Electricians can specialize in residential electrical work, commercial electrical systems, industrial wiring, or specialize in specific equipment like solar panels or security systems.

What type of work do plumbers and electricians typically do?


  • Installation: Plumbers install and connect various plumbing systems, including water supply lines, pipes, fixtures (such as sinks, toilets, showers), and appliances (like dishwashers and water heaters).
  • Repairs: They diagnose and fix issues related to leaks, clogs, broken pipes, and malfunctioning plumbing fixtures. They may also repair or replace damaged or worn-out components.
  • Maintenance: Plumbers conduct routine maintenance to ensure the proper functioning of plumbing systems. This includes inspecting pipes, valves, and fixtures, as well as cleaning drains and performing preventive maintenance tasks.
  • Sewage and drainage: Plumbers work on sewage and drainage systems, including installing and repairing sewer lines, septic tanks, and drainage pipes.
  • Gas fitting: Some plumbers specialize in gas fitting, which involves installing and maintaining gas lines and appliances, ensuring they operate safely and efficiently.


  • Wiring and installation: Electricians install electrical systems in buildings, including wiring, outlets, switches, and circuit breakers. They ensure compliance with electrical codes and safety standards.
  • Troubleshooting and repairs: Electricians identify and resolve electrical problems, such as faulty wiring, circuit overloads, or malfunctioning equipment. They use specialized tools and equipment to diagnose issues and make necessary repairs.
  • Upgrades and additions: Electricians upgrade electrical systems to meet increased power demands or install additional outlets, lighting fixtures, or appliances.
  • Maintenance: Electricians perform regular inspections of electrical systems to ensure safety and identify potential hazards. They may also conduct preventive maintenance to prevent electrical failures.
  • Specialty work: Electricians can specialize in areas such as industrial electrical work, renewable energy systems (like solar panels), or security systems (like alarms and surveillance cameras).

What qualifications are required to become a plumber or electrician?


  • Education: A high school diploma or equivalent is usually required to start a plumbing career.
  • Apprenticeship: Most aspiring plumbers undergo an apprenticeship program, which combines on-the-job training with classroom instruction. Apprenticeships typically last around four to five years and are often offered through trade unions, plumbing associations, or plumbing companies.
  • Licensing: After completing an apprenticeship, plumbers are typically required to obtain a license. The specific requirements for licensing vary by jurisdiction but often involve passing an exam that tests knowledge of plumbing codes, regulations, and practices.
  • Additional certifications: Plumbers may choose to pursue additional certifications to specialize in specific areas, such as gas fitting or pipe relining. These certifications can enhance their skills and professional opportunities.


  • Education: A high school diploma or equivalent is generally required for entry into an electrician training program.
  • Apprenticeship: Aspiring electricians typically complete an apprenticeship program, which combines classroom instruction with hands-on training. Electrical contractors, trade unions, or vocational schools frequently sponsor apprenticeships, which typically last four to five years.
  • Licensing and certification: Electricians are typically required to be licensed or certified. The requirements vary depending on the jurisdiction. Licensing may involve passing an exam that assesses knowledge of electrical codes, safety practices, and electrical theory.
  • Continuing education: Electricians often need to engage in continuing education to stay updated on advancements in electrical systems, safety protocols, and code changes.

How long does it take to become a plumber vs. an electrician?

It takes about the same amount of time to become a plumber or an electrician, which is four to five years.

Plumbers need at least 246 hours of technical education and 1,700 hours of training. Electricians need 144 hours of technical education and 2,000 hours of training.

Plumbers and electricians receive most of their training through an apprenticeship program. Apprentices learn on the job under the supervision of an experienced journeyman.

Plumbers spend a lot of time on their feet, bending, crawling, and carrying heavy equipment. Electricians spend long hours on their feet or in tight spaces.

What is the salary range for plumbers and electricians?

Job PositionSalary Range
Apprentice$40,000 – $50,000
Entry-level Plumber$50,000 – $60,000
Experienced Plumber$70,000 – $80,000
Master Plumber$80,000 – $100,000
Electrical Engineer$70,000 – $90,000
Senior-level Electrician$80,000 – $100,000
Master Electrician$100,000 – $120,000
Electrical and Plumbing Supervisors$130,000 – $150,000
The table provides an overview of salary ranges for various positions in the plumbing and electrical fields, ranging from apprentices to supervisors, giving an idea of the potential earning potential at different career stages.
  • Apprentice: Apprentices work under the guidance of experienced professionals, learning the fundamental skills and techniques of the trade while assisting with various tasks, such as installation, repairs, and maintenance.
  • Entry-level plumber: Entry-level plumbers perform basic plumbing duties, including installing and repairing plumbing fixtures, pipes, and appliances, while following specific instructions and under the supervision of experienced plumbers.
  • Experienced plumber: Experienced plumbers have gained proficiency in their trade and can handle a wider range of plumbing tasks independently, including complex installations, repairs, and maintenance work.
  • Master plumber: Master plumbers possess advanced knowledge and expertise in plumbing systems. They often supervise projects, provide technical guidance, and handle intricate plumbing installations, inspections, and troubleshooting.
  • Electrical engineer: Electrical engineers design, develop, and oversee the implementation of electrical systems. They work on projects involving power distribution, lighting, control systems, and may also be involved in research and development.
  • Senior-level electrician: Senior-level electricians have significant experience and expertise in electrical systems. They handle complex installations, troubleshoot electrical issues, and oversee projects, often working with a team of electricians.
  • Master electrician: Master electricians are highly skilled and experienced professionals who can lead and manage electrical projects. They handle intricate installations, supervise other electricians, ensure code compliance, and provide expertise in electrical system design and troubleshooting.
  • Electrical and plumbing supervisors: Electrical and plumbing supervisors oversee teams of electricians and plumbers, coordinating work, ensuring safety protocols are followed, managing project timelines and budgets, and providing guidance and support to their teams.

What job outlook is there for plumbers vs. electricians?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the demand for electricians is expected to increase by about 7% between 2021 and 2031. Meanwhile, plumber jobs have a projected growth rate of only 2% within that same decade.

The BLS expects employers to have 48,600 job openings per year for plumbers and similar trade workers over the next decade. For electricians, the BLS projects about 79,900 openings per year, on average, over the decade.

The number 1 reason why being an electrician is better than being a plumber

Compared to plumbing, electrical work generally involves less exposure to dirty environments. While plumbers often work with wastewater, sewage, and plumbing fixtures, electricians typically work with electrical systems, wiring, and equipment that are less likely to involve direct contact with dirt, sewage, or unpleasant substances.

What kind of tools and equipment do plumbers and electricians use?


  • Pipe wrenches: Used to grip and turn pipes and fittings.
  • Pliers: Used for gripping, cutting, and manipulating pipes, fittings, and other plumbing components.
  • Pipe cutters: Used to cut pipes cleanly and accurately.
  • Augers and drain snakes: Used to clear clogged drains and pipes.
  • Pipe threaders: Used to create threaded connections on pipes.
  • Plunger: Used to create suction and clear clogs in drains and toilets.
  • Pipe fittings and connectors: Used to join pipes and create watertight connections.
  • Soldering tools: Used for soldering copper pipes and fittings.
  • Pipe inspection cameras: Used to visually inspect pipes and identify issues.
  • Leak detectors: Used to detect and locate leaks in plumbing systems.


  • Wire strippers: Used to strip the insulation off electrical wires.
  • Screwdrivers: Used for various tasks, such as removing or tightening electrical screws.
  • Pliers: Used for gripping, twisting, and bending wires and electrical components.
  • Wire cutters: Used to cut electrical wires cleanly and safely.
  • Voltage tester: Used to check for the presence of electrical current and test circuit continuity.
  • Circuit breaker finder: Used to identify the correct circuit breaker for a specific electrical circuit.
  • Multimeter: Used to measure voltage, current, and resistance in electrical circuits.
  • Cable pullers: Used to pull electrical cables through conduit or cable trays.
  • Conduit benders: used to shape conduit pipes for electrical wiring installations.
  • Wire connectors: used to join and secure electrical wires together.

How do the job skills of plumbers and electricians differ?

The job skills of plumbers and electricians differ based on the nature of their work.

Plumbers need expertise in installing, repairing, and maintaining plumbing systems, including pipes, fixtures, and drainage systems.

They must have knowledge of different pipe materials and plumbing codes and be skilled in soldering, pipe threading, and leak detection.

Electricians, on the other hand, specialize in electrical systems, focusing on wiring, circuits, outlets, and electrical equipment installation and repair.

They require knowledge of electrical codes, circuitry, and safety protocols and may also specialize in areas like industrial or residential electrical work.

While both professions require technical aptitude, the specific skill sets and knowledge areas differ due to the unique demands of plumbing and electrical work.

Are apprenticeships available for both plumbers and electricians?

Apprenticeships are available for both plumbers and electricians, providing valuable hands-on training and experience.

These apprenticeship programs typically combine on-the-job training with classroom instruction, allowing individuals to learn the practical skills and theoretical knowledge required for their chosen trade.

Apprenticeships offer a structured pathway for aspiring plumbers and electricians to acquire skills, gain experience under the guidance of experienced professionals, and earn a wage while learning.

What is the cost of starting a business for a plumber vs. an electrician?

Comparatively, the average cost to open an electrical contracting company is $5,500, while the average cost to open a plumbing contracting company is $19,267.

Insurance, state fees, equipment, bank account fees, and staff payroll are just some of the initial costs associated with launching either company.

Branding, accounting fees, tax preparation, marketing funds, and rent for an office space are all expenses that are entirely discretionary.

Plumbers make an average of $53,691, while electricians make an average of $56,535.

Who’s at greater risk of harm, plumbers or electricians?

Both plumbers and electricians face certain risks in their respective professions, but the level and nature of those risks can vary.

Electricians typically face a higher risk of electrical shock and burns due to direct exposure to live electrical systems.

They must adhere to strict safety protocols and wear personal protective equipment to mitigate these risks.

Plumbers, on the other hand, may face hazards like exposure to harmful substances, working in confined spaces, and the risk of cuts or injuries from tools and equipment.

While both professions have inherent risks, the specific risks can vary based on the tasks involved and the safety measures implemented.

Are there any safety concerns for plumbers and electricians?

Both plumbing and electrical work come with safety concerns that need to be addressed.

Plumbers must be cautious about working with pressurized systems, avoiding exposure to toxic gases, and ensuring proper ventilation in confined spaces.

Electricians need to be mindful of electrical hazards such as shock, arc flashes, and electrical fires.

Both professions require adherence to safety codes, proper use of personal protective equipment, and ongoing training to mitigate risks and ensure a safe working environment.

Do plumbers wish they were electricians, and vice versa?

While individual preferences vary, it’s not uncommon for some plumbers to have an interest in electrical work and vice versa.

Some professionals may even pursue cross-training or expand their skills to gain knowledge in both the plumbing and electrical fields.

However, it’s important to note that personal preferences can differ greatly, and many plumbers and electricians have a strong passion for their respective trades and do not necessarily wish to switch professions.

Which job is considered more difficult, plumber or electrician?

Comparing the difficulty of being a plumber versus an electrician is subjective and depends on various factors.

Both trades require technical knowledge, problem-solving skills, and attention to detail.

Plumbers often work with a wide range of pipe materials, must understand complex water systems, and deal with unique challenges like drainage and sewage.

Electricians, on the other hand, must have a deep understanding of electrical theory, complex circuitry, and electrical codes.

The difficulty can vary based on personal aptitude, training, experience, and the specific tasks encountered within each profession.

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Author: Logan

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