I have had many emails concerning what tools I recommend for electricians when they first start out. I have built a list of what I believe are the best tools for an electrician. Theses are the exact tools I carry on my belt and in my tool bag.
Some of the tools are not required at first but as you grow you will find that most are required to make your job easier and faster.
As I learn about new tools that are coming into the market I will periodically update this list to include the ones that I see most beneficial.
I urge you to book mark the page for your reference. I am always expanding this resource.
The Best Electrician Tool Kits:
These 2 kits come with 28 electrician tools. This is a great buy because if you bought each tool by itself, the cost would be much greater. I use only Klein products, but Greenlee also makes so great quality tools.
Compete Electrician tool Set:
Tool Belt and Hand Tools:
This belt has a roller style buckle with 2 clips. It is padded around the waist which makes this very comfortable to wear. The suspenders are great way to remove some of the weight off your back and onto your shoulders. This is probably the most comfortable and affordable tool belt on the market. Check out our article on all the top Electrician Tool Belts available.
This is my most versatile tool I use. It is a must for twisting wires together for tight connections. They can also be use to tighten Red B-Caps and pull fish tape. They also work as a hammer in a jam.
Klein Diagonal Side Cutting Pliers. I primarily use these to cut my wires to specific lengths when I am terminating on devices.
Klein Needle Nose Pliers. I use these for multiple tasks. They are great for reaching dropped screws or to hold a screw for drilling.
Klein Strippers. These are the most comfortable strippers I have ever used. They form to your hand well and the spring is not too tight allowing for easy usage. These also have the 10-32 and 6-32 hole slots so you can cut them down and not damage the thread. I also use the hole above the side cutters to make loops my wires for terminations on receptacles and switches.
Channel Locks 2-1/4 inch capacity. I use theses to tighten fittings when installing EMT conduit and Rigid conduit. Can also be used to tighten lock nuts on various connectors. Mainly used for 2 inch conduit and smaller.
Channel Locks 5-1/2 inch capacity. These come in handy when working with larger pipe 2 inch and greater.
Klein 11-in-1 Screwdriver. This is a must have for any electrician. This tool has so many features rolled into one. It has both screwdrivers and nut drivers built in. This is super convenient because it reduces the amount of tools you need to carry on your tool belt. I have one piece of important advice when using this tool. NEVER, and I mean NEVER, use this in a live electrical panel. Some times the detachable pieces become loose and fall. This could cause a short or arch between the live buss and the panel enclosure. If you must work in a live panel, always use fully insulated screw drivers.
Klein Screwdriver Set. This set comes with everything you need. Has your flat head screwdrivers, phillips #2, and a trim screwdriver.
SOG Kilowatt Folding Knife. This is a great addition to everyone tool set. It comes with 3 separate wire stripping accessories. It truly is 3 tools in one. Its heavy duty and comes with a limited lifetime warranty.
We review every type of electrician knife on the market. View our article Electrician Knife Reviews to find the best knife for you.
Greenlee Roto Split. This tool is a must if you work MC cable. You will find MC cable in commercial or industrial settings most likely. This makes the job of cutting the flex so easy. Before I was introduced to this tool, I used my side cutters to strip the flex off and I found that the roto split is much faster and cleaner. Another benefit is it never cuts or damages the wire. I sometimes did that with my side cutters.
Klein Pipe Reamer. If you work with EMT conduit then this tool is a must. When you cut conduit with a saw it leaves sharp pieces on the pipe. The reamer removes all the sharp pieces and leaves the ends smoothed. It also has a handy flat head screw driver at the end so you do not have to change tools when tightening fittings.
Klein Electrician Level. I use this particular level because it utilizes the rare earth magnets. This thing will stick to anything! It is so useful when installing EMT conduit and installing electrical cabinets. You never have to worry about it dropping and breaking.
Klien Rare Earth Magnet Tape Measure. This is by far my favorite tape measure out there. The rare earth magnets are so handy when trying to measure a distance.
Fluke Voltage Detector. I use this to quickly determine if a circuit is on or off. I normally use my hand held Klein tester but this one is nice because I can carry it easily on my tool belt.
Sheet Rock Saw. I like this Stanley saw. Its the Fatmax line of the Stanley tools. Plan on using this to cut in new remodel metal or plastic boxes into finished walls. Also this is used to cut in recessed can lighting in a finished ceiling or ceiling tile.
Professional Knee pads – These are great knee saver when having to trim out receptacles. During the trim out phase of a project most plugs are mounted at 18-24 inches off the ground. If you are on a large project like an apartment complex or a large commercial structure you can expect to be crouched for a extended period of time. Also these are great when working in attics on rafters.
Tools In My Tool Bag:
Klein Magnetic Nut Driver Set. I keep these in my bag for special applications. I use these when I need to install breakers in an electrical panel. The magnetic tip is helpful because it allows me to not worry if I am going to drop a screw.
Klein Insulated Screw Driver Set. I use these mainly when working in live panels or junction boxes. I never keep them on my tool belt because the insulation could become damaged.
Klein Screwdriver Screw Holder Set. I keep these handy when I am trying to install screws in hard to reach places.
Klein Stubby 6 in 1 Screw Driver. I use this when I have limited space to tighten or loosen screws.
Greenlee Step Bit. I have used them all and by far this is the BEST one on the market. Its double sided and cuts super fast. This is the most convenient and quickest way to create holes in junction boxes and panels. THIS IS A MUST HAVE!!!!!
Greenlee Knock Out Set. This set goes from 1/2 inch to 2 inch. I typically use my step bit to first drill the hole large enough to insert the knock out set screw. Then I use the ratchet to finish the hole.
Temco Hydraulic Knockout Set. Here is the hydraulic version of the manual KO set. This one is great to use when making larger holes in electrical cabinets. The hydraulic punch allows for super fast operation. Best part about this set is that its a fraction of the cost of the greenlee hydraulic set and it comes with a 5 year warranty!
Greenlee Hole Saw Kit. I use this mostly for PVC boxes. The knock out kit does not work with PVC. Also if the metal in panel or box is really thick, this seems to work better than the knock out kit.
Fluke Tone Generator. I use this when I am troubleshooting a circuit. Places a tone on the wire which allows you to detect it on the other end.
Klein Circuit Breaker Finder. This is a great tool to locate a specific circuit in a panel you need to turn off. Before I had this I would tell my helper just turn each one on and off until I found the right one. The only problem is you can not do that in a commercial setting where there are lots of computers. This tool eliminates the guess work!
Klein Clamp Meter. This comes with testing leads. It also has a nice magnet on the back that allows you to place it on a metal cabinet. I like this one better than then fluke T5-600 only because this one allows for larger wire amp readings. Also it has a better price.
Fluke 323 True-RMS is a great alternative to the Klein clamp meter. This does come with leads and a holding case. The clamp reads up to 400 amps.
DYMO Rhino Label Maker. Not all label makers are created equal! This one is the best for electrical applications. Super easy to label cables.
Brady Lock Out Tag Out Kit. This is vital for safety. I have this kit and it comes with breaker locks and locks for panels. When working in an environment that people have access to panels this is a must for your safety!
Makita Combo Kit. Hands down the best out there. I have used Dewalt and Milwaukee and Mikita beats them every time. The main factor is the power to weight ratio. The Drill/Driver/Hammer Drill is amazingly lite which is much appreciated after a long day of drilling. This uses the lithium ion batteries and the max charge time is less 30 min. My only complaint is that I have had to replace my charger.
Dewalt Drill Bits. This goes without saying but DEWALT MAKES THE BEST BITS ON THE MARKET! Do not buy anything else or you will be flushing your money down the drain!!!!
LED Head Lamp – I personally like my hands free when I am working. There are going to be times in service when you are working in a dark attic or maybe a craw space. Head lamps are a great way to keep your hands free and they proved the light in the exact place you are happening to be looking.
Safety Goggles – These are a important part of being safe on the job. I like these full shielded safety goggles because the protect from dust. Most of the time you are going to use these when you are cutting conduit or hammer drilling and setting concrete anchors.
Cut Resistant Gloves – These gloves help protect you by removing the hazard of cuts. They are great to use when cutting conduit with a saw-zaw or when using a band saw. Also there great to use when pulling wire. Some times during a pull your hand gets nicked or cut by the sharp edges of junctions boxes.
Electrician Hole Saw Kit – These are handy to have when you need to drill through metal/wood studs. These can also be used to quickly make a hole into electrical panels or even junction boxes. I personally manly use the KO sets because of the clean hole that is make. When I am limited to space or I want to create a opening quickly I turn to the hole saw.
Specialty Electrical tools (Advanced Journeyman / Master):
These tools are not required if you are a apprentice, but the are a must for Journeyman / Master level work. There will be plenty of times when you are installing switch gear, transformers, disconnects, generators or more when these tools will be an absolute must.
I carry in my service fan a dedicated bag just for these items. I do not typically use them on a day to day bases but the are a must.
Neiko 10288A – This is a 32 piece SAE and Metric Allen wrench set. This is mainly used in gear with mechanical lugs.
Neiko 01137B – Here is the impact ready version on the Allen wrench set above.
Stanley 92-824 – This is the black Chrome and Laser Etched Socket set. Its one one my favorites because its a ton of value for the price. It also have everything you need to build a variety of trapezes for electrical equipment. Also comes with a lifetime warranty.
Stanley 94-543w – This is a 7 piece ratcheting wrench set. It comes in metric or SEA. Has a limited lifetime warranty.
Ratchet Cable Cutter – There are a couple of ways to cut through large copper cables, but nothing is more fast and effective as using a pair of ratcheting cable cutters. I have found an inexpensive off brand with great reviews and a great price! You could go with some Greenlee or Klein cutters but these ones are comparable.
Fiber Glass Fish Tape – This type of fish tape is non conductive and is used when additional wiring needs to be installed in conduit that has live conductors. Steel style fish tape is not recommended when fishing new wires with live wires because of the possibility of the fish tape to nick the live conductors resulting in a fault on the fish tape. Another safety feature of the fiberglass fish tape is that if it enters into a live cabinet there is no risk of coming in contact with live equipment.
Fiber Glass Fish Sticks – These guys are great for pulling cable and MC along the top of ceiling grids. Thy are also great for fishing down walls stuffed full of insulation. They are sturdy enough to pierce through insulation.
Conduit Scoring Tool – When you become a service electrician, you will thank me for this one! Use this tool to remove a conduit that still has conductors inside. This allows you to cut and remove a conduit with out damaging the wires on the inside.
Two Point Laser – The easiest way to install light fixture on a ceiling is to mark the layout on the ground with a pencil. Make sure you use some type of marking that can be removed just in case they decide to go with stain concrete floors. Once the light fixture markings are on the floor use this type of self leveling laser to shoot up a mark on the ceiling.
Power Tools for Electricians:
Everyone has their own taste in brand when it comes to power tools. Most of the main stream brands are great choices. I would stick with Dewalt, Makita, Milwaukee, Hilti, and Bosch.
Cordless Hammer Drill – These are great for installing concrete anchors. The hammer function is a must for an electrician. You will use small anchors to mount light fixtures, gear, supports and other miscellaneous equipment.
Cordless Reciprocating Saw – Pretty much exclusively used to cut conduit and strut.
Disclosure: Please note that some of the links below are affiliate links, and at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you decide to make a purchase. Please understand that I have years of experience with all of these tools , and I recommend them because they are some of the best tools on the market, not because of the small commissions I make if you decide to buy something. Please do not spend any money on these products unless you feel you need them or that they will help you achieve your goals.
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