25 Essential Electrician Tools for 2020
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Workers rely on tools for accuracy, resiliency, craftsmanship, comfort, and safety. This includes electricians who keep our homes illuminated, connected, and energy efficient. Below, we review the must-have electrical maintenance tools for the modern electrician's tool belt.
Here’s what we’ll cover in this guide:
Basic electrical maintenance tools
Essential electrician tools
Electrician tools for staying safe
High-tech electrician tools
Basic Electrical Maintenance Tools
Pliers—often referred to as cutting pliers or lineman pliers—are a staple on any electrical tools list. They are mainly used for cutting wire, or gripping, twisting, bending or straightening wires. Any prepared electrician stocks an array of pliers in their tool box or truck, including needle nose pliers, side-cutting pliers, and reaming pliers for tightening locknuts, fittings and caps.
Electricians use a variety of screwdrivers, another toolbox necessity, for loosening and fastening various pieces of hardware. Many professionals now carry versatile and adaptable screwdrivers with interchangeable bits, so they're never stuck without the proper electrical maintenance tool.
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4. Tape Measure
When working with wiring, it's essential to know exact measurements when cutting and stripping. A simple retractable tape measure does the trick, but available models with magnetic tips, multi-step locks, and other features make this process easier.
5. Electrical Tape
Made from plastic, vinyl, or fiberglass cloth, this adhesive material is pressure sensitive and essential for insulating wires or other materials that conduct electricity. Electrical tape prevents the electrical current from accidentally passing to other wires, and possible electrocution when touching live wires.
6. Cable Ties
Also known as zip ties, these inexpensive fasteners are great at binding electrical cables or wires together. Keep your electrical space neat and organized with cable ties.
7. Electric Drill
Electricians regularly install new lighting fixtures or need to disassemble installed hardware to access wiring and other electrical components. A handheld electric drill with various bits helps expedite these tasks—and allows professionals to affix specialty bits (like the reaming bit, see below) for industry-specific purposes.
When installing light fixtures, finding precise points for placement is key. An electrical tools list isn’t complete without a standard level, as it helps electricians ensure fixtures, screws, and other installations are placed exactly where they need to be.
Essential Electrician Tools
9. Wire/Cable Lugs
Similar to the features used on jumper cables and car batteries, wire and cable lugs connect wires to appliances, cables, and other devices in need of power.
10. Coax Connector
Coax connectors link cables to devices, while simultaneously protecting the cable from shredding. Multiple connectors exist, and keeping a variety on hand ensures you always meet your customers’ needs.
11. Wire Strippers
Professional electricians regularly strip the plastic coating on wires to expose the copper and make customized connections with other wiring or components. This essential electrical maintenance tool comes in a variety of models and types.
12. Fish Tape
Fish tape is one of many popular electrician tools. It’s used to run wiring between gang boxes (or other electrical components) through conduit piping. Fish tape is housed in a retractable coil and can be fed through installed conduit piping. Once the end of the fish tape appears on the opposite side, wiring can be hooked to the tape and the tape can be retracted—pulling the wire along the conduit.
13. Fishing Rods
Fishing rods are essential electrician tools when installing wire through walls, below carpets, or above ceilings. Rods are typically fiberglass and include hooks on the end for easy maneuvering.
14. Terminal Block
These modular, insulated devices assist electricians when grouping multiple wires together. They’re used to connect wiring to a ground or connect electrical switches and outlets to mains.
15. Voltage Tester
To safely perform electrical work, electrical power must be cut off in key sections of the property (usually via the circuit breaker). A handheld voltage tester allows electricians to test outlets for power, so they know when they’re safe to work on. Electricians also use this tool to confirm power has been restored.
16. Reaming Bit
Installing new conduits (or replacing old ones) means connecting different segments of piping together to create a wiring route between electrical components. A reaming bit attaches to an electric drill and widens the opening on one end of the piping, allowing it to connect to another segment of piping and complete a secure conduit.
17. Conduit Bender
When determining a wiring route, electricians often run wiring along the corner of the wall or in other mostly hidden areas. Conduit benders are electrician tools used to curve conduit piping to accommodate these routes and ensure the conduits remain nonintrusive and efficiently placed in the customer’s home.
18. Splicing Connector
These plastic clips help electricians make quick connections with multiple pieces of wire. They can be used with multiple cables, including device wires, telephone cables, and electrical cables.
For an electrician, working in the dark is a potential hazard of the job. Keep essential electrician tools, like flashlights and other various work lights, handy and within reach.
Electrician Tools for Staying Safe
20. Insulated Gloves
Electrocution poses real danger for electricians, so they need to take precautions. Wearing insulated gloves provides another layer of protection, so include them as one of your electrical maintenance tools. Insulated gloves come in various styles for fit and comfort, so choose the type that works best for you.
21. Flame Retardant Work Shirt
Skilled and trained electricians learn how to take precautions against dangerous arc flashes, electrocutions and fires. Part of this training includes making sure they wear work shirts made with fire-resistant material to prevent serious burn injuries.
22. Safety Glasses
Electricians need to protect their eyes when closely examining electrical wiring or operating power tools. Apprentices and seasoned veterans alike need a pair of safety glasses on hand at every job site, as part of their essential electrician tools.
23. Rescue Rod/Hook
Rescue rods (or hooks) are used to remove large items or unconscious people who have been electrocuted from a hazardous area. Because a dangerous electrical current may still be live, emergency first-responders must use the rescue rod to pull a victim away from the electrical source without getting electrocuted themselves.
High-Tech Electrician Tools
24. Circuit Analyzers
Circuit analyzers, a digital handheld electrician tool, provides virtually instant information about the circuit connected to an individual outlet. In seconds, these electrical maintenance tools measure voltage, polarity, line voltage, reversals, and more.
25. Circuit Finders
Electricians often find it difficult to know which outlets are connected to which circuits in a house. Modern electricians use circuit finders with two main components incorporated into the device: a handheld digital transmitter and a small receiver that plug into outlets around the home. When an electrician holds up the transmitter to circuits in the breaker, the device sends a signal to the receiver to indicate which circuit the outlet belongs to.
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