Plumber vs Electrician: Which Job is Better?

Both electricians and plumbers are professions in high demand. If you are thinking about becoming an electrician or a plumber, you might ask: which job is better?

Here we list the main 7 comparisons between pursuing a career as an electrician and a plumber.

1. Varying Work Environments

The experience of working as a plumber or electrician can vary greatly depending on your work environment, such as residential, commercial, or industrial settings. Each industry comes with its unique challenges and requirements. So it may be hard to say which one is better as it largely depends on your working environment.

2. Job Difficulty

While both electricians and plumbers are essentially skilled tradespeople, neither one is easier, but maybe plumbing is a more challenging profession compared to being an electrician

Plumbers may have to work in more challenging conditions, such as digging 7 feet underground, whereas electricians usually only need to dig 18 inches.

Plumbers may also be prepared for physically demanding tasks, such as carrying heavy cast iron bathtubs upstairs without causing damage.

Electricians, on the other hand, have the ability to work in various environments and can typically fix mistakes more easily, such as by resetting a breaker.

3. Knowledge and Skill Sets

While both trades require their own set of skills and expertise, plumbers possess a more comprehensive and versatile skill set.

Plumbers must have a broader range of knowledge and skills than electricians. 

They need to grasp the concepts of gravity, ventilation, pressure, heating and cooling systems, gas systems, electrical circuits, pumping, moisture control, fire management, water purification techniques, pH equilibrium, emissions control, combustion, and a range of mechanical and chemical processes.

Plumbers also need to be skilled in sweating pipe, brazing, welding, threading, and more. Plumbers work with a range of materials, such as copper piping, PEX, ABS, PVC, cast iron, and steel. 

In contrast, electricians primarily need to understand electricity and electrical systems. 

4. Education and Salaries

The entry-level of both electricians and plumbers is a high school diploma or equivalent. Meanwhile, there is not much of a gap in their salaries. The median year pay of an electrician is $60,040 in 2021, while that is $59,880 for a plumber.

5. Career Opportunities and Flexibility

Electricians may have more career options than plumbers, from working with high voltage systems to becoming a field engineer traveling across the country.

An electrician can work in various roles such as field engineer, high voltage electrician, and industrial plant worker. 

6. Constant Learning and Stakes Condition

The electrical industry demands constant learning due to frequent changes in the field. The stakes are high for electricians since mistakes can result in fire or even death, while a plumber’s mistake generally leads to a mess.

7. Work-Life Balance

Both electricians and plumbers typically work 30-40 hours per week, but an electrician’s schedule may not be confined to standard working hours. Plumbers, often include overtime, weekends, late nights, and shift work due to the nature of their job.

For example, plumbers often receive late-night emergency calls, which require immediate action, similar to a firefighter. 

Final Thought

It is not possible to compare which profession is easier, as both plumbers and electricians have equally significant and challenging roles in society. However, plumbing is a more difficult trade compared to being an electrician. 

Plumbers have to manage a greater variety of tasks, utilize a more diverse range of tools, work in more challenging conditions, and possess a wider knowledge base and skill set. Being an electrician still involves hard work and its own set of challenges, but it is generally easier on a day-to-day basis when compared to plumbing. 

It’s wise to select a career you enjoy so that when challenges arise, you can overcome them more easily. 

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