Electricians use a lot of tools. Which ones you pick for your toolbox depends somewhat on your personal preference. It can also vary according to your assignment. That said, there are some essential tools that absolutely every electrician needs to do the job safely and effectively.
So, here’s a handy list of the top tools every electrician needs.
A multimeter measures multiple electrical properties, including voltage, current and resistance. Multimeters can be analog or digital, and the newer ones boast some decidedly high-tech features, including Bluetooth and thermal imaging cameras.
2. Voltage Tester
This tool isn’t just essential; it’s potentially lifesaving. It’s crucial to know when you’re working on a live wire or other charged equipment, and a voltage tester can ensure there’s no voltage in an electrical wire or device. If possible, get a non-contact voltage tester: They can detect electricity without touching the wire or outlet.
3. Wire Strippers
The first step in any wiring job is removing the wires’ insulation, and wire strippers are the tool for the job. The handle should always be comfortable to hold and easy to grip. Look for strippers with cutting teeth if you want to be able to trim the wire ends at the same time.
4. Circuit Finder
It can be a challenge to find the circuit directory in homes, and when you do find it, the service panel is rarely matched with the complementary breaker. Circuit finders make the job easier. Simply plug the transmitter into the outlet, and the detector will figure out where the matching directory is.
5. Screwdrivers and Nut Drivers
Most people have a screwdriver in their personal toolbox. However, some screw- and nut drivers are manufactured specifically for electrical work, and they’d be an excellent addition to your kit. At the very least, you should make sure you have both Philips and flathead screwdrivers in a variety of sizes. You’ll use them to remove and install cover plates, outlets, switches and other devices.
Like screwdrivers, pliers are a must-have. Get a pair with handles that are easy and comfortable to grip, and make sure they open and close smoothly. Also, be on the lookout for specialty pliers like needle-nose pliers for small spaces and tongue-and-groove pliers to tighten clamps.
7. Fish tape
Don’t be thrown by the name: fish tape is used to pull, or “fish,” stranded or solid wire through conduit. It can be retracted and deployed as needed from the reel it comes on.
8. Tape Measure
Whatever style you use, tape measures are essential. But if you want to treat yourself, you can get one of the newer tape measures – complete with a laser guide!
These are especially important if you’re working in a construction zone. Claw hammers are great for removing nails and wood.
Make sure your work is level before giving it to the customer.
Electrical work often takes place in dark spots. Make sure to keep a flashlight handy, and don’t forget the batteries!
12. Utility Knives
One of these will always come in handy.