Whenever you use an electrical system or electrical equipment, it is important to be aware of the ongoing risks associated with electricity. Not only can you get electrocuted, but the heat generated by electricity can also cause burns if you are not careful where you touch it. Due to the risks of working on electrical systems and the need for specialized tools that can handle the complexity of electrical equipment, there is a wide range of tools designed specifically for electricians.
The best electrician's tools often include safety features, such as insulated handles, to help protect the user while working. However, you can also find tools such as digital multimeters to help identify live currents before picking up a screwdriver or pliers. Below, learn more about the various types of tools and what to consider when choosing the best electrician's tool for your next project.
There are a large number of different electrician's tools that fall into three categories: hand tools, power tools and specialized tools.
The best electrician's hand tools include the common tools that many DIY enthusiasts already have for miscellaneous household tasks. Expect to find hammers, hobby knives, nut drivers, spanners, sockets and a wide range of screwdrivers in an electrician's toolbox. However, one difference between electricians' hand tools is that they often have insulated handles to protect against live electrical currents.
These tools are often more affordable than power or specialty tools, simply because they are easier to manufacture and can often be purchased online or at your local home improvement shop.
Saws, drills and impact drivers often hang on electricians' toolkits and are often used in electrical work. Saws are very effective for cutting slots to run wires or trim conduit pieces for installation. Although drills and impact drivers tend to do the most work in tightening or loosening screws and other fasteners, drills also help with routing or creating paths for long conduit runs.
The best electrician's power tools can also include large hammer drills, as some electrical work requires drilling or cutting masonry materials such as concrete, brick and mortar. Keep in mind that these tools usually cost more than hand tools or specialized tools.
Electrical systems are not usually put together with a few nails; they are often hidden behind walls, above ceilings or under floors, so it is important to have the right tools on hand to do the job. This includes a variety of specialized tools, such as strippers for removing insulating sleeves from the ends of wires or crimpers for closing splice connectors to make a quick connection between two wires.
Electricians often use digital multimeters that can read continuity, capacitance and frequency to test for voltage, although they may also use a voltage tester for this purpose. If you are laying wire, look for fishing line tape to help pull the wire through tight spaces (such as behind walls) and use electrical tape or conduit adhesive to secure the wire.
Picking up the first set of electricians' tools you see is not a good way to invest in quality tools. Instead, take some time to understand a few key factors that can help you choose the best electrical tools for your workshop.
The reason for the wide range of electrical tools available is that each tool is designed for a different purpose. It can be tempting to grab the most interesting option, but if you're looking for electrical tools to perform a specific task, it's important to understand the function of each tool.
For example, the metal head on a set of pliers can be used to hammer nails, but it's not as effective as a hammer, so just because the tool works doesn't mean it's the best choice, or that it's even designed for that purpose. Rely on wire cutters to cut the wire, wire strippers to strip the wire, crimpers to crimp the connectors and screwdrivers to fix the screws.
Many electrical systems run through basement ceilings or walls, so you may have to work in tight places with your hands above your head. This means that you should consider the weight and comfort of your tools. Large, bulky tools will be difficult to carry around the job site or hold for long periods, and if you need to reach behind walls or work overhead, these tools will greatly reduce the efficiency of your project.
Smaller, lighter tools increase control and manoeuvrability, while reducing user fatigue. Likewise, the comfortable handles and padded grips help to reduce muscle strain and improve control when working. These padded handles also provide a layer of insulation to help protect your hands from electric shocks. Remember that lighter tools also tend to be less durable, so you may need to replace them more often than heavy tools.
Safety needs to be a priority when you are working with electrical systems, as it is easy to accidentally electrocute, burn, cut or even stab yourself while you are working. It is often forgotten, but electrical cables are made of sharp metal and can pierce the skin with very little force, so it is best to wear protective gloves to keep your hands safe. Safety glasses are another essential piece of PPE for working with electrical systems.
Proper care is not limited to PPE. You should also look for electrical tools with insulated handles to protect yourself from live electrical currents. Standard plastic or rubber handles provide basic insulation, but it is best to rely on tools with a specific insulation rating. This rating is usually listed by the manufacturer and ranges from 1,000 volts to over 2,000 volts.
Purchasing individual tools means that you will need to find new storage options or rely on existing toolboxes to store and organise these items. A toolbox may be a good way to organise a new set of tools, but if you plan to move around a lot while working, or if you're climbing up and down ladders, then it may be better to invest in a tool belt.
Some electrician's tools will come with a special carrying case to help keep you safe and organised when you're not using your tools.
A good way to determine what tools you should have on hand to carry out basic electrical repairs at home is to consider the tools needed by first year apprentice electricians. Check out the list provided to get a better idea of the common tools required for standard electrical system projects.
This list of electrical tools is a great place to start your search for the top tools designed to work with electrical systems. We have selected the following based on several key factors, including tool type, usage, weight and comfort.
This impressive electrician's tool is a professional product that combines the cutting power of a small wire cutter with the ability to strip several different sizes of wire. The tip of the tool has a serrated nose to bend, shape and pull the wire, while the curved handle helps improve the tool's grip and maneuverability.
Take advantage of the high-quality non-slip handles of these insulated electricians' screwdrivers for better control in tight spaces. The screwdrivers are made from chrome vanadium steel and they have a magnetic tip to help prevent small screws from being misplaced. Electricians and experienced DIY enthusiasts can tackle electrical projects with this screwdriver set and be confident that the insulated handles will protect the user from voltages of up to 1,000 volts.
Breakthrough mortar, brick and concrete to lay wires or conduit with this heavy-duty rotary hammer drill from ENEACRO. The drill comes with three large bits and two durable chisels for breaking up concrete slabs, and it has a protective carrying case that holds the drill and all accessories. The built-in vibration control helps to absorb the vibration energy before it reaches the handle to protect the user's hands while working.
Cut, twist and clamp wire with these heavy-duty wire racking pliers that weigh only 1 lb. Improves user control and maneuverability while reducing fatigue. The pliers have a cutting edge for cutting wire and a textured tip to help hold the wire securely in the jaws of the tool. Behind the pivot point, these Knipex pliers have an additional gripping area for pulling nails and a built-in fish tape puller to help pull the wire effectively.
The compact size and lightweight design of this torpedo level make it easy to carry in a tool belt or tool box. It has multiple high visibility bubbles and can measure 90 degrees, 45 degrees, 30 degrees and level. The aluminium body is durable and waterproof and has a built-in magnet to keep the level on the metal surface for easy hands-free use.
Whether the goal is to verify that the power is off before starting an electrical project or to test the continuity of a circuit to identify a short circuit in a system, this digital multimeter kit is a great choice. It comes complete with a non-contact voltage tester, a socket tester and a torch to help illuminate dimly lit work areas. The kit includes batteries and a carrying case for storage and transport.
Cut wires and conduits with the sharp, precision-grade blade of this KNIPEX Tools dismantling knife. The blade's shank foot extends into the handle, so users can rely on the knife's strength and durability when cutting hard materials. It is made with an insulated handle to protect the user from voltages of up to 1,000 volts.
A quick and efficient way to crimp a large number of connections, this ratcheting crimping tool comes with 1,200 insulated terminal sleeves so that users can shorten the workload of their wiring projects. The crimper or crimper has non-slip nylon handles for improved control and manoeuvrability and contoured grips that fit the natural shape of the user's hand. Adjust the ratchet to increase or decrease crimp strength for precise control.
Years of experienced electricians in the trade make wiring look easy, but without the right tools it can feel impossible to pull wires through insulated walls or across ceilings. This Klein Tools fish tape can be pulled 25 feet long and features a slim plastic tip to help navigate tight spaces and reduce catching. The tape is also marked with laser etched markings in 1-foot increments to help track the length of the wire run.
The long, narrow range of these pointed pliers is ideal for working in tight locations, such as on ceilings or in gaps between drywall and exterior walls. They have non-slip insulated handles for both improved user control and protection from up to 1,000 volts AC. The pliers are made from chrome vanadium steel and have a rust-resistant coating to extend the life of the tool.
Electricians in industrial, institutional and commercial environments often use conduit to create neat, protected wiring. This mini hacksaw is perfect for cutting conduit components for quick length adjustments during long line runs. It features a lightweight aluminium frame and a textured, non-slip handle for improved user control and manoeuvrability in smaller spaces.
Safety is a big issue, so it is a good idea to wear a pair of insulated gloves before attempting to use an electrical system. They extend well beyond the wrist to protect the user's hands and forearms from voltages of up to 12,000 volts. The contoured shape of the gloves - which mimic the natural shape of the hand - reduces user fatigue and abrasions during regular use.
This lightweight impact driver clips onto the user's tool belt or slides into the bottom of the toolbox for easy storage and transport. It runs at up to 2,700 RPM for fast screw tightening and is capable of producing up to 1,400 in-lbs of torque. The impact driver kit includes the impact driver, 20V battery and battery charger. Just be sure to pay attention to the built-in battery charge indicator to avoid getting stuck in the middle of a job with a dead battery.
One of the most important aspects of the selection process is to find a variety of basic electrical tools that have been designed with quality in mind. Extensive research into more than 15 tools (including more than 30 individual options) has helped to identify the best electrical tools. It is necessary to look at the tools necessary for electrician's hand tools as well as for a complete electrician's tool kit.
Consider that the best electrician's tool options include several specialist tools such as wire strippers, crimpers, digital multimeters, voltage testers, electrical tape, fish tape and conduit adhesives. However, it is important to remember that while specialist tools are an attractive option for the best electrician's tools list, most electrical work is done with electrician's hands or power tools. This means that the overall value of the tool cannot be based solely on the intended purpose.
There is a lot to know about electrician's tools. For more information on electrical tools and equipment, please see the following frequently asked questions.
Electrician's tools are important for electrical work for several reasons, such as to provide insulation from circuits and heat, and to make the job easier to complete.
Each electrician has his or her preferences when it comes to tools, so it is difficult to state the exact number of tools an electrician needs. Instead, it's best to consider the various tasks and projects an electrician undertakes and ensure that you have the right tools for the job. It is always better to have the right tools than to have a lot of tools, especially when it comes to electrical work.
There is a clear distinction between power tools and electrical equipment. Power tools are tools designed for use with electrical systems and electrical equipment, whereas electrical equipment is any device powered by electricity.
The best electrical tools for a first year electrician include a digital multimeter, voltage tester, circuit finder, hobby knife, screwdriver set, diagonal cutters, side cutters, sharp nose pliers, wire strippers and fish tape.
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