Like any other project you may try to tackle, electrical work will require a few tools to accomplish the job. If you are like other electricians, you will likely have a few bags of tools that you use almost every day. Many people use almost every tool in their tool bag at one time or another during the day.
This is a partial list of tools needed to take care of most electrical jobs. These tools are readily available at most building material outlet stores or electrical wholesale stores. There are different manufacturers of similar tools, but if you're in the electrical trade, you know which tools to buy. The quality of some brands can last a career, while other tool manufacturer tools are throwaway tools.
If you are a serious electrician depending on your tools to get the job done, tool cost is not a problem. Quality over price savings is what is important. Choosing wisely will give you quality tools and make your job much easier. Hopefully, the descriptions below will help you in selecting the proper tools for the type of electrical projects you will encounter.
A voltmeter is used to check voltages and verify that circuits are indeed “live.” There are many manufacturers of these testers with various options available. Choose the voltmeter that serves your needs.
A hammer is used to secure boxes equipped with nail-on brackets to studs in a home. You’ll also need it to drive Romex straps when adding new Romex wiring in a home.
Channel lock pliers are used to take knockouts out of the boxes, tighten down Romex connectors in the boxes, and adjust expansion-type ceiling-fan boxes.
Wire strippers are used to cut the insulation off of the wire. They are equipped with different sized cutting teeth for various sized wires. They also have a cutoff portion to cut the wire.
A voltage detector is used for a quick safety check to see if there is voltage or current flow present. Some of these devices are automatic and some must be turned on via a switch. Simply place the end of the tracer beside a wire, breaker or cord to see if it’s energized.
These cutting pliers, sometimes called side snips, are used to cut wire. They are specially designed with a cutting edge that goes down to the tip of the pliers. The advantage is that you can get into tight areas to trim wires. Some are equipped with live wire detection capabilities.
These pliers are the do-it-all pliers. They cut, twist wires together, and grip wires for pulling. They have a squared-off end that is great for twisting wires together, a center cutting blade for cutting wire, and a grip area between the handles to pull wire.
A light comes in handy in those places where lighting is limited. Never try to reach into a panel without proper lighting.
Allen wrenches are used to tighten Allen-headed screws in your electrical panel.
This knife is needed to cut the insulation off of Romex wiring. You will also need to open boxes when doing an installation and this tool will come in handy.
A Phillips screwdriver has four blades used to install Phillips-head screws. The tip looks like a plus sign.
This screwdriver is used for straight slot screws. You will likely need more than one size for your project. If you have to choose just one, pick a medium blade. It will suit most projects.
This tool strips the wire and also crimps lugs onto the wire.