Safety First: Whilst this guide talks about some of the tools in an electricians toolkit, it is meant purely as a guide. It has not been written by an electrician and so please ensure you seek advice before conducting any electrical works.
Ever wondered what tools electricians are carrying around in their tool bags that allow them to get the job done so quickly and easily? Or maybe you are a budding electrician yourself and wanting to know the “tools of the trade” so that you can start fixing your own electrical issues around the home?
There are some main tools that every electrician should carry with them, regardless of the level of job that they are completing, and these are the tools that you will need if you are hoping to start working on small to mid level electrical DIY jobs. Our article has given you details on all of these below, and why they are so important!
Only Got 5 Minutes?
If you are in a rush to get working then this part of the article is for you – filled with all those crucial electrical tools that you really cannot do without – and why!
The Tool Bag
Before we can even consider the different tools that may be needed in an electrician’s tool bag, the first thing that we have to look at is the tool bag itself! It is no good having all of the tools and nowhere to store them! A good quality tool bag will help to keep your tools safe, in good condition and well organised when you are working, so that everything is to hand when you need it.
We found that the best tool bags were made from strong, durable materials that could be zipped or locked away and carried easily between jobs with comfortable, padded handles. Some even come in the style of a backpack so that it can be carried on you back and avoid unnecessary strain to your arms and shoulders when moving between jobs.
- Dual side, wide opening storage, providing a vast array of tool and equipment storage options
- Vertically oriented pockets and holders for easy access
- Over 60 pockets and holders for flexibility and organisation
- Waterproof and crackproof polymer base for protection from water and dirt
- Dimensions: 450 x 290 x 340 mm (L x W x H)
It is also worth looking for tool bags that have multiple compartments of different sizes so that each of your tools has its own home (no more rooting around under various pieces of equipment for that long lost screwdriver!).
Make sure to check the maximum weight that your tool bag can hold, as the last thing you want is to be carrying certain tools separately!
TOP TIP: We would recommend looking for a tool bag that either comes with space for a sealable compartment tray or has space for you to insert one. This is perfect for all those small items that you may need when working.
Our Most Important Tools!
Here is a list of some of the main tools that we think every electrician’s tool bag should include.
- WIDE RANGE of tests for Voltage, Current, Resistance, Continuity, Capacitance, Frequency; Tests Diodes Transistors, Temperature
- PROFESSIONAL LEVEL features include Auto-Ranging capability, and True RMS for measuring both AC Current and Voltage
- EASE OF USE: Convenient features like Data Hold, Large LCD Backlit Screen, Auto Shut-off and Hanging Magnet, and Kickstand make taking and recording measurements easier than ever before
- IDEAL FOR COMMERCIAL settings where it can handle the demands of a long workday, from the durable exterior to the wide range of heavy-duty capabilities
- Built-in F400mA/600V and F10A/600V explosion-proof ceramic fuse tubes; Double Protection, more secure and reliable; The fuses can protect the multimeter effectively; Overload protection on all ranges; 3 Years provided by AstroAI
This is at the top of our list because without it, it can be difficult to tell whether there is an electrical current going to the area that you are working with, and if this current is strong enough, flowing freely or if there are some issues. A multimeter will be able to check not just current, but also voltage, resistance and DC voltage/current.
There are two main types of multimeter – digital and analog. Obviously digital multimeters will be easier to read and use, but analog models are usually cheaper.
- 【Multi-function Automatic Stripping Pliers】 No need to press the wire to the hole, all kinds of wires can be fixed according to the required length by adjusting the knob, which will not damage the core, convenient and quick. With thread trimmer (cutting hardness can cut wire), insulated terminal crimping, non-insulated terminal crimping and auto ignition terminals crimping, it can meet various needs, convenient and practical.
- 【Not Easy to Slip】 Bat-type fixture design, the holding power is more stable, it is not easy to slip when stripping line. Stripping adjust knob design, let it adjust the elasticity according to the diameter, convenient and quick.
- 【Durable】 Made of high quality carbon steel, high hardness, good toughness, and durability. The handle part is wrapped with TPR material, and it has exquisite non-slip pattern, soft and easy to grip, you can obtain maximum comfort and reduce hand fatigue.
- 【Wide Range of Applications】 This product is mainly used for sheathed wire core wire, cable, jacket, cable multiple stranded sheath wire; shear wire; bare terminal, insulated terminal crimped.It can be used for a wide range of wire adjustment and maintenance, including home appliances, installing lighting and so on.
- 【Satisfaction Guarantee】 If you have any problems when using this product, please contact us freely. We are happy to help you, and provide a full refund or replacement within 30 days.
Wire strippers do what the name suggests – strips the wire back so that it can then be used and connected to an electrical circuit. All wires are covered by an insulative cover material to protect everything around it, but this insulative material can get in the way if it means you can’t actually access the conductive wires that make the circuit work! A wire stripper will have different holes allowing you to work with different sizes of wire so that you can remove the insulation and connect the wire to your circuit.
- EASY TO USE: The portable VoltAlert AC non-contact voltage testers from Fluke are simple and straightforward to operate – just touch the tip to a terminal strip, outlet, or supply cable. When the tip glows red and the unit beeps, you know there's voltage present. The audible tone can also be switched off if silent operation is desired.
- NON-CONTACT: Detects voltage without the need for metallic contact. Senses the steady state electrostatic ﬁeld produced by AC voltage through insulation without requiring contact to the bare conductor. A red glow at the tip and a beeping noise (if not switched OFF) indicates the presence of voltage.
- CAT IV 1000V AC VOLTAGE: Voltage detection of 200 to 1000 V ac, a wide range to suit a broad spectrum of residential, commercial and industrial needs. Electricians, maintenance, service, safety personnel, and homeowners can quickly test for energized circuits and defective grounds on the factory floor, in the shop, or at home.
- VOLTBEAT TECHNOLOGY: With innovative VoltBeat technology and continuous self-test – so you always know it's working. VoltBeat is a self-test feature for visual confirmation of battery and system integrity, and power on. It provides a double-flash every two seconds during normal operation. The Fluke VoltAlert Tester automatically powers off to save battery life after 5 minutes of non-use. When the battery voltage drops below two volts, VoltBeat provides visual indication by stopping the VoltBeat flash.
- BUY WITH CONFIDENCE: Since being founded in Connecticut, USA in 1948, Fluke has become the world leader in test and detection equipment trusted by professionals. Use the Fluke 1AC II if you need a quality tool for general voltage detection. Tester comes complete with 2 x AAA batteries installed and a 2 year warranty as standard.
This is a crucial piece of safety equipment for any electrician’s tool bag as it will allow you to judge whether a wire is ‘live’ or not! Without this tool you could find yourself having a nasty shock! Some manufacturers have even created non-contact testers (these will detect an electrical current without even touching the wire or outlet).
- LI-ION POWER: The Terratek 18V/20V Lithium-Ion Cordless Drill Set is supplied with a powerful Li-ion battery which results in having no memory effect, no self-discharge and always ready for use. Peaking at 20V from a fresh charge the battery stabilises to 18V. Equipped with a variable speed pressure trigger which can take your cordless drill up to a no load speed of 650rpm and both forward and reverse levers that enable the drill to quickly switch between drilling and withdrawing of screws.
- FLEXIBLE: Get greater control over your li-ion cordless screwdriver with 16 different torque settings available to use with, you will always be able to find the perfect setting for whatever material, whether that be wood, plastic, metal and a variety of other materials. The drill driver has a max drilling capacity for regular materials such as wood of 20mm and of steel, 8mm. Battery and charger included. CADMIUM FREE, EU Batteries Directive 2006/66/EC Compliant
- ERGONOMIC: The 18V/20V Cordless Drill offers both power and control with its soft grip, ergonomic design, 0.8 - 10mm keyless chuck and a light weight of only 1.0 Kg. This electric screwdriver is more than easy to use for extended periods of time. 2 YEAR GUARANTEE
- VERSATILE: Included in the Cordless Drill Set is a 13 piece kit that contains 1x magnet holder, 6x drill bits, 2x Pozi-drive screwdriver attachments, 2x Phillips screwdriver attachments and 2x slotted screwdriver attachments. Perfect for both first time DIY and experienced craftsmen
- 2 YEAR GUARANTEE: For your peace of mind we offer a 24 month guarantee on our Terratek 18V Lithium-Ion Cordless Drill Set with 13pc Drill Bit Kit (Upgraded Model)
We appreciate that this tool isn’t specific to an electrician’s tool bag, but in our opinion it is a crucial tool if you are going to be working regularly on electrics. The amount of little screws that need tightening and loosening is vast, and it is important that these screws are left as tight as possible to avoid anything becoming loose down the line. So not only will it save you an incredible amount of time, but they will also ensure that the finished job is safe, secure and neat.
Screwdrivers and Pliers
- Fully insulated and tested to 1000 Volt with soft grip handles. Incl fully insulated and tested to 1000 volts with soft grip handles
- Contains: four slotted Screwdrivers: 3 X 75mm, 4 x 100mm, 5.5 x 125mm, 6.5 x 150mm. 3 Philips screwdrivers: no.0 x 75mm, No.1 x 100mm, No.2 x 100mm. Voltage test screwdriver with pocket clip: 100 - 250V testing range, 6" Vde diagonal cutting pliers, 8" Vde long nose pliers and 8" Vde combination pliers
- Packaged in a convenient carry case for easy storage
Yes we know that these tools should be found in any tool bag – not just an electrician’s – but we couldn’t not include them in our list! Screwdrivers and nut drivers, plus pliers are a must if you are going to be completing electrical work around the home. However, when completing work with electricity you cannot just buy any old screwdriver or set of pliers. It is really important to purchase ones that have been specifically designed for electrical work as these will have insulative handles to avoid any electric shocks while you are working.
Screwdrivers and nut drivers will be needed for unscrewing plugs or light switches, or other elements on electrical circuits while you are working. They could also be needed if you are working on a fuse box. Whereas pliers are perfect for when you are working with fiddly wiring.
TOP TIP: There are loads of different types of pliers available on the market, so it may be worth investing in a couple of pairs rather than just one. Pliers of different sizes and shapes will help you to work on different jobs in different areas. Some have side cutting features so that you can cut the wire that you are working with as well as grasp it.
Circuit Breaker Finder
- Quickly, accurately, and automatically find the corresponding circuit Breaker of any 120V Standard electrical outlet
- Flashing Arrow indicator for easy identification
- Strong transmitter reaches distances up to 1000-feet
- 90 to 120V operation
- Microprocessor controlled for more reliable identification
This is a clever little tool that makes the task of locating and securing the circuit that you want to work with so much easier! There is nothing worse than having to spend an hour flipping all the fuses in your fuse box just to work out which one correlates to the circuit that you are trying to work on. This normally either takes two people, or gives you a mini workout as you run back and forth from the fuse box to the area of the house that you are trying to work it, as it often comes down to trial and error.
A circuit breaker removes a lot of this hard work by locating the circuit in your breaker/fuse box for you!
- Smooth reeling, sprung-steel electricians fish tape
- For easy cable and wire threading through conduit, walls or under floors
- Eyed end for reduced snagging
- Side handle with brake
- Built-in thumb lock holds wire in place
This handy little invention allows you to push or pull wire through electrical conduits. Such a simple device and yet it will save you so much time and hassle when working with electrics! It is basically a long, thin wire that is wound up inside a wheel but with a hook on the end. This allows you to feed the tape through the conduit, attach the electrical wire to the hook on the end, and then pull the fish tape back through (with the wire following along). It really is as simple as that!
- Conduit Bending Machine
- For 20mm & 25mm Conduit
Discussing fish tape leads us nicely onto a conduit bender. This is a crucial tool for if you are going to be running wiring around the corner or a wall or basically around any bend (which happens quite regularly). A conduit bender will help you to bend the conduit that you are working with (once you have pulled the wire through using your fish tape) so that the conduit can sit flush against the wall that you are working on. This will help to make the finish look neater but also avoid damage to your conduit, as this risks damaging the circuit or having live wires exposed.
Extra Items Worth Having!
Now we have detailed the main tools that we would recommend for any electrician’s tool bag, there are some extra little things that you may or may not already have, but are well worth adding to your electrician’s tool bag!
- Tape measure – for measuring wires, distances and everything in between!
- Hammer – Rarely used on the actual electrical work but often used in the work that comes before and after!
- Torch – if you are working with electrics then chances are (if you have listened to anything we have said!) your electrics will be switched off when doing so! This can make for a rather dark space so a torch will be essential!
- Multi-tool – Preferably purchase a multi-tool specifically designed for electrical work but if not any multi-tool will have a wide range of tools included that will help you to get the job done!
- Level – this is an important tool for any DIY job that you are wanting to complete around the home if you want it to look professional and neat once you have finished! A level will help you to make sure that fixtures and fittings are straight and precise in their placement when you are working.
Although a considerable amount of money can be saved by doing at home electrical jobs yourself, it is important to consider first whether it is safe to do so! Malfunctioning electrics can be incredibly dangerous, not just for the person doing the job but for others living in the house after the job has been finished! We have created some safety tips to consider before completing DIY electrical jobs…
- Make sure to consider if you are going to be able to complete the job – do you have the necessary experience and understanding to get the job done safely?
- Always switch off power to the area that you are going to be working on (if not the whole house) before completing electrical jobs to avoid accidents.
- Ensure that the tools that you are using are in good working order and meet safety regulations before you use them to work on any electrics in your home.
- Keep the area – and yourself – free from water when working with electrics. Even wet hands will increase conductivity when working with electricity.
- Use insulated tools and where possible insulated rubber gloves to avoid electric shocks while working.
Looking After Your Tools
So you’ve got the tool bag…you’ve got the tools for the tool bag….you know how to stay safe when working with electrics….but now you need to know how to actually look after those precious tools so that you don’t find yourself having to buy new straight after using them! Maintaining your tools is particularly important when working with electrics, as damaged or faulty tools could lead to a serious accident.
- Make sure they are stored is a safe, dry place that is away from anywhere that they may become damaged when not being used (this is where your handy tool bag comes in).
- Clean your tools with a dry, clean cloth after each use to remove any oil or debris.
- Regularly check your tools for any repairs that might be needed and make sure to do this before using the tool again.
- Keep up to date with the servicing of your tools so that you know they are going to be in full working order.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do I need a qualification to complete electrical jobs around the home?
The law states that you can complete electrical work around your own home but must then get it signed off by a qualified electrician who will confirm that the job has been done correctly and is safe. Bear in mind that if you are completing electrical work for a rented property then-recent regulations are being introduced meaning that your electrics have to be checked professionally every 5 years!
Are there any safety regulations to look out for when purchasing electrical tools?
Yes! All tools should meet necessary safety standards, such as The Electrical Equipment (Safety) Regulations. If tools do not meet safety regulations then it is not worth the risk using them when completing electrical jobs around your home.
Last update on 2020-10-22 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API