The 16 Tools You Need for Electrical Projects

Mother and son using voltage meter
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Like any other project you may try to tackle, electrical work will require a few tools to accomplish the job. If you are like me and other electricians, you will likely have a few bags of tools that you use almost every day. it seems that I use almost every tool in my tool bag at one time or another during the course of the day.  When someone tries to lift my tool bags, they are amazed at how heavy it is and how I could possibly need all those tools!

This is a partial list of needed tools to take...MORE 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 what we call, throw away 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. I am always on the lookout for the latest and greatest electrical tools that can make my life easier doing electrical work!

  • 01 of 16
    Gardner Bender steel fish tape

    A fish tape is used to pull stranded or solid wire through metal or PVC conduit. Cable lube is available to assist you in pulling the wires through the pipe.

  • 02 of 16
    Stanley measuring tape

    A tape measure is used to measure heights for switches and outlets. You will also need it to center lighting fixture boxes.

  • 03 of 16
    Etekcity Digital voltmeter

    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.

  • 04 of 16
    Stanley hammer

    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.

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  • 05 of 16
    Channellock pliers

    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.

  • 06 of 16
    Irwin Vise-Grip wire strippers

    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 in order to cut the wire.

  • 07 of 16
    Greenlee voltage detector

    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.

  • 08 of 16
    iExcell side cutter diagonal pliers

    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 being that you can get into tight areas to trim wires. There are some that are equipped with live wire detection capabilities.

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  • 09 of 16
    Stanley lineman pliers

    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.

  • 10 of 16
    Stanley torpedo level

    A level is used to make sure your work is level and plumb. A great installation starts with straight switch and outlet covers.

  • 11 of 16
    Dorcy Waterproof LED flashlight

    A light comes in handy in those places where lighting is limited. Never try to reach into a panel without proper lighting.

  • 12 of 16
    Stanley allen wrench hex set

    Allen wrenches are used to tighten Allen-headed screws in your electrical panel.

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  • 13 of 16
    Stanley utility knife

    This knife is needed to cut the insulation off of Romex wiring. You will also need to open boxes when doing the installation and this tool will come in handy.

  • 14 of 16
    Craftsman phillips screwdriver set

    A Phillips screwdriver has four blades used to install Phillips-head screws. The tip looks like a plus sign.

  • 15 of 16
    Stanley screwdriver set

    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.

  • 16 of 16
    Titan Tools wire crimpers

    This tool strips the wire ​and also crimps lugs onto the wire.