When it comes to working on electrics, if you want to do the job properly, you’ve got to have the right tools! In this post, we look at some of the essentials needed for a professional electrician’s toolbox – most of these tools can be purchased over at the DIY and Tools section of the main Eurofit site.
Voltmeter and Ammeter
A voltmeter is a truly essential tool for any electrician as it is used to test if a circuit is live, and to confirm equipment is safe before you start working. A voltmeter is also an excellent tool to have at your disposal when troubleshooting circuits and diagnosing faults. An ammeter allows you to test the amount of electrical current in a circuit and is a vital tool for diagnosing problems and checking work that you have carried out. Consider investing in a clamp on ammeter, which will allow you to simply clamp it round the equipment and test it without having to break the circuit. You may want to consider buying a multimeter, which features both a voltmeter and ammeter in a single piece of equipment – which will help to free up space in your toolbox! In addition to a voltmeter/ammeter, you might also want to invest in a simple electrical tester. These compact safety tools can be easily carried in your pocket, and come in really handy when you need to test cables.
As an electrician, you probably spend a lot of your time stripping wires, so it’s sensible to invest in a really high quality pair of wire strippers. Choose a durable wire stripper that features a good number of different sized teeth for stripping different sized wire, along with a sharp pair of clips, so you’re covered for all eventualities.
Side Cutter Diagonal Pliers
Side cutter diagonal pliers are used for cutting wires, and really come into their own when you’re working in tight spaces. Sometimes called Side Snips these pliers have a cutting edge from the tip allowing easier access when space is limited. These dependable side cutter diagonal pliers from Draper are perfect, and feature PVC dipped handles for grip, alongside induction hardened jaws to allow for easy cutting through nails, staples and items other than standard wires.
Having a selection of both Philips and flathead screw drivers is vital for any electrician. Given the variety of screw sizes you can expect to come across it is important that you have the correct sized screwdriver bits available. This four piece insulated screwdriver set from Draper tools is a great starting point at a really competitive price, and features fully insulated, ergonomic soft grip handles for maximum grip and comfort, in addition to high quality chrome vanadium steel blades.
If you are struggling for space in your toolbox, or need other options, you could also invest in a set of insulated multi-bit screwdrivers which will provide you with a bit for every application.
Insulated Needle Nose Pliers
Buying a quality pair of insulated needle nose pliers will pay dividends in the long run, as they’re invaluable when you’re bending wire, holding components or cutting. These pliers have a long and thin tip making them the perfect tool for delicate work in small or crowded areas where space is at a premium.
Linesman/Combination Pliers Combination pliers are really useful for many common tasks which you’ll be regularly faced with, so buy yourself a good pair. This pair of combination pliers features carbon steel hardened jaws with a flat tip which is good for bending wires or metal, twisting wires together, or used to grip and pull wires, nails or staples. They also feature a handy cutting blade which will allow you to cut wires easily without having to change tools. Combination pliers really are the “do it all” pliers, and an absolute toolbox essential.
Tape All electricians end up using a lot of electrical tape so it is sensible to carry a few rolls in your tool box at all times. Electrical tape is most commonly used for wrapping conductors and connectors, ensuring that joint wires are safely connected and that no exposed conductors would be accidentally touched. It is handy to have a selection of different coloured tape available in your toolbox as this will allow you to colour code wires for easy identification when working.
Connectors and other small parts
A supply of different connectors and other small parts should always be stored in your toolbox, as having these often required parts to hand will save you time when you’re on a job. In the same way, you’ll get through loads of connectors when connecting wires together so have a selection of different connectors available to you when on any job.
Hot Work Gloves
Work gloves are an important safety precaution and should form an integral part of any electrician’s toolkit. Invest in a pair of special hot work gloves are available which are designed to handle certain voltages depending on their rating. Having a pair of hot work gloves in your toolbox will allow you to work safely when it is not possible to isolate a piece of equipment, or when handling live wires.
Torch or Lamp
Having a torch to light up dark areas makes working much easier but is also vital for safety, allowing you to see exactly what you are doing. As well as a standard hand torch, it’s also sensible to invest in some handy hangable work lights, and to carry a head lamp, which will allow you to light up dark areas where you need to work with both hands.