When it comes to electrical work, one thing is certain – it cannot be done without the right tools. Every electrician, whether an experienced pro or an apprentice just starting, understands the importance of having a well-equipped toolbox. The specific tools an electrician needs may vary depending on the type of work you undertake, but there are certain essential tools that every electrician should have. In this article, the exceptional-quality electrician training team at Trade Skills 4 U will explore the essential list of tools for electricians and discuss their importance in ensuring safety and efficiency in electrical projects.
Our electrical tools list
Approved Voltage Indicator (AVI)
An Approved Voltage Indicator (AVI) is an indispensable tool for every electrician. Its primary function is to determine the presence or absence of electricity, helping to detect AC voltages on sockets, switches, outlets, and circuit breakers. Electricians use AVIs to ensure that power has been switched off before they start working on an electrical project. This tool is crucial for their safety as it prevents accidental exposure to live electrical circuits, potentially saving lives.
Insulated screwdrivers are a staple in every electrician’s toolbox. Electricians encounter various sizes of screws on a daily basis, from wood screws to machine screws. Using non-insulated screwdrivers on live electrical components can be extremely dangerous, as it may lead to electrical shock or arcing. Insulated screwdrivers, rated up to 1000V, provide protection against such hazards, ensuring the safety of the electrician while working on live circuits.
Electricians rely on various types of pliers for a wide range of tasks. The three most commonly used types are:
- Traditional Pliers: These are used for cutting and stripping wires, as well as for removing nails.
- Long Nose Pliers: The thin, grasping ends of long nose pliers make them ideal for tasks that require precision, such as fishing cables through tight spaces.
- Side-Cutters: These pliers are essential for cutting wires to specific lengths, ensuring a neat and professional finish in electrical installations.
Wire strippers are a must-have tool for electricians, enabling them to remove insulation from cables without damaging the copper conductors. Using the right wire stripper is crucial to ensure that the correct amount of pressure is applied during the stripping process. Some models can also strip sheath and insulation from twin and earth cable, making them versatile tools in an electrician’s arsenal.
The multi-functional tester, often referred to as an MFT, is the electrician’s best friend when it comes to ensuring the correctness of an electrical installation. It is a mandatory tool for electricians to verify that all installation components meet the requirements specified in the IET regulations. MFTs provide accurate readings of various electrical parameters, helping electricians identify and resolve issues in electrical systems effectively.
Hammer, Corded, or Battery Powered Drill
A battery drill is a versatile tool used by electricians for drilling holes in various materials, such as wood, walls, or other tough surfaces. It also comes in handy for securing screws and fasteners. Electricians choose different types of drills based on the specific job requirements. For example, lower-voltage cordless drills are suitable for fastening work, while hammer drills, with their increased impact, are preferred for drilling into concrete, making them essential for various installation tasks.
Electrical Wall Chaser
The electrical wall chaser is a specialised tool designed for cutting narrow grooves and channels into walls, facilitating the installation of cables or conduit. This tool is a time-saving device that enables electricians to make clean and precise cuts. It is powered by an electric motor that operates electric discs similar to those found in angle grinders. Additionally, models equipped with a vacuum cleaner connection provide a dust-free working environment, improving safety and cleanliness on the job site.
A cordless oscillating multi-tool is a versatile addition to an electrician’s toolbox. Its ability to accurately cut a variety of materials, including flooring, tiles, plasterboard, wood, and PVC, makes it an indispensable tool for a wide range of electrical projects. Its versatility and precision in cutting and shaping materials contribute to efficient and professional electrical installations.
Fish Tape / Rods
Fish tape, also known as a draw wire or electrician’s snake, is a handy tool for multiple applications. Electricians use it to draw cables through conduit or to fish cables across ceilings and down walls. It simplifies the process of routing cables, making installations more efficient. The fish tape’s flexibility and ease of use save electricians valuable time and effort.
Head Torch / Magnetic Torch
Working in the dark is a common occurrence for electricians when the power is turned off during maintenance or installation. Head torches and magnetic torches are indispensable tools as they provide hands-free illumination. Electricians can focus on their work while having a clear view of the area, improving safety and productivity.
Some more of the Best Tools for Your Electrical Toolbox
Above we covered most of the basics, but when you’re expanding your toolbox or specialising in a certain area of electrical work like EV charging, you can consider:
A voltage tester is a crucial electrical tool for any electrician. It ensures that electrical equipment is functioning correctly and checks whether it’s safe to work on a circuit. Health and safety regulations require electricians to check for the absence of voltage before working with switches, cabling, junction boxes, or other areas where live current may be present. A voltage indicator is a must-have for any electrician because the tool helps you determine if there is a live electrical current running through a wire or not. It’s also helpful in testing outlets and switches.
Without an effective voltage indicator, you could be more susceptible to electric shocks and put other people in the building at risk. In the worst cases, an electric shock can be fatal, so this is a tool no electrician can afford to be without.
A spanner is a versatile tool for electrical work. It is commonly used for tasks that involve loosening or tightening nuts and bolts. Spanners are available in various sizes and designs to provide a secure grip on fasteners. Spanners will almost certainly be an essential inclusion in your tool kit if you regularly need to loosen or attach nuts, bolts, or similar fixings.
With so many different sizes of bolt and nut, a similar variety of spanner designs are available to ensure a close fit between the head which applies torque and the fixture in question. Size is equally important in order to achieve a tight grip.
Common spanner models include:
- Adjustable spanner: As the name suggests, these feature a moveable jaw which can be adjusted to fit different sized bolts or nuts. The monkey wrench is the best-known form of adjustable spanner.
- Open-ended spanners: These spanners have a double C-shaped clamp in different sizes at either end, and are useful when space is limited.
A good hacksaw is a must-have electrician’s tool. It is a hand-powered saw with a fine-toothed blade that is ideal for cutting through metal conduits and other materials. One significant difference between a hacksaw and a regular hand saw is the orientation of the teeth. Quite often, hand saw teeth are curved backward so that the saw cuts on the backward stroke. A hacksaw’s teeth are curved at a forward angle, so it cuts on the forward stroke. Here are some examples of materials that you can cut with a hacksaw:
- Steel pipe
- Threaded rod (sometimes called “Ready rod”)
- Electrical conduit pipe (aluminium or steel)
- Multi-conductor electrical cables
- Steel and aluminium struts
- PVC pipes
Electrical tape is a vital tool for insulating wires and managing cables in electrical installations. It comes in various colours, each serving a different purpose. For safety and quality, it’s essential to use RoHS-compliant, water-resistant, self-adhesive, and flame-retardant electrical tape.
This tape is pressure-sensitive, self-adhesive, and designed to resist liquids, heat, and abrasion to protect an electrical wire’s conducting core. You can find a variety of different materials in electrical tape. These include glass cloth, copper foil, vinyl, and PVC. They’re typically available in a wide range of designs with varying insulating capabilities, adhesion strengths, temperature tolerance, thicknesses, widths, and colours. Using electrical tape in different colours can make it easier for electricians to categorise wires.
Cable cutters are versatile tools that not only cut cables but also bend, hold, twist, or strip small-gauge wires. When working with high-voltage wiring, it’s crucial to use fully insulated cable cutters to ensure safety. Electricians have to deal with several kinds of cables regularly. Often, they have to cut cables using cable cutters. However, cable cutters are much more than that because they can also twist, bend, hold, or strip wires with their precision.
Electricians frequently need to cut wires and other materials. Safety knives are designed with small, dexterous blades that reduce the risk of accidents. Commonly referred to as box cutters, Stanley knives, and penknives, safety knives conceal the blade of the knife to keep the user safe. The blade is only exposed when the knife is in use to prevent injuries and accidents. Safety knives come in a wide range of designs and sizes for different specialist uses. Some safety knives have spring-loaded sliders that retract automatically after use, while professional safety knives used by electricians usually have steel, plastic, or aluminium handles with a carbon or stainless steel knife.
Circuit Breaker Finder
A circuit finder is a useful tool for electricians to locate circuits through the service panel. This device simplifies the process of identifying the right circuit without the need to guess or randomly toggle switches.
Breaker finders operate based on the principle of electromagnetic field detection. The transmitter unit is connected to the outlet or circuit under investigation, sending a signal through the wiring. The receiver unit, held by the electrician, scans the electrical panel, and emits an audible or visual signal when it detects the electromagnetic field generated by the live circuit. This enables the electrician to identify the corresponding breaker quickly and accurately.
These essential tools are the foundation of every electrician’s toolbox, ensuring that you can work safely and effectively on a wide range of electrical projects. Whether it’s testing for live circuits, cutting precise grooves in walls, securing fasteners, or insulating wires, these tools are vital for delivering high-quality electrical installations and maintenance.
In addition to these essential tools, electricians may also use a range of other specialised tools to meet the demands of specific jobs. Being well-prepared with the right tools ensures that you can carry out their work efficiently and with the highest regard for safety standards. Electrical work requires precision, expertise, and attention to detail, and having the appropriate tools is a critical aspect of achieving success in this field. By investing in the best tools for your electrician’s toolbox and staying up to date with the latest advancements in electrical equipment, you can continue to excel in your profession and provide safe, reliable electrical solutions for their clients.
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