The Electrical Tools Every New Electrician Should Have in 2024

The Electrical Tools Every New Electrician Should Have

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The Electrical Tools Every New Electrician Should Have

An electrician is only as good as their tools. If you’re just starting out in the electrical trade, it can be tricky deciding what’s essential and what isn’t.

While some electrical tools are essential, others are specialty electrical tools that you won’t need until you’ve got some more experience under your belt.

An important tip for any starting electrical contractor is to buy high-quality tools.

Yes, you can get tool kits that are dirt cheap, but you’ll find yourself spending more time struggling with your tools than actually doing any work.

As you delve into more detailed work, the problem will become even more apparent.

So instead of buying the cheapest electrician’s tools you can find, make an effort to buy the best tools you can afford.

The difference is well worth the up-front cost.

Starting Out

The sheer range of tools available can be intimidating, especially when starting out.

There are four main categories of electrical tools that handle four different jobs common to all electrical work.

These are:

🔧 Pliers

electrician pliers

The most important tool in any electrician’s arsenal is their pliers.

Pliers can manipulate, cut, and grip wires, depending on the type.

Linesman pliers have a squared-off end that can twist wires together, while the center-cutting blade can trim wires with ease.

Long-nose pliers are very useful for bending wires when creating screw-terminal connections, while diagonal and side-cutting pliers are the default tool for cutting electrical wires with their specialized cutting jaws.

There are also specialty tools like tongue-and-groove pliers mainly used in plumbing.

They’re useful for tightening cable clamps, detaching knockouts from metal electrical boxes, and many other niche cases.

While tongue-and-groove pliers aren’t part of regular plier sets, they may be a worthwhile addition to a growing toolset.

🔧 Screwdrivers

Electrical Tools; Screwdrivers

Screwdrivers are basic hand tools that are indispensable for electrical work.

There are very few projects where you won’t use a screwdriver at least once.

They’re great for removing cover plates, detaching or installing switches, and many other tasks.

Electrician screwdrivers often have insulated handles for better safety.

Electricians will often have multiple screwdrivers, as different screws will often have different tips.

🔧 Wire Strippers

electrical wire strippers

Wire strippers remove the insulation from electrical wires, exposing the copper beneath.

These allow electricians to connect wires with other electrical components.

Many wire strippers also have a cutting edge or cutting jaws to trim exposed wire ends.

A wire stripper has various gauged holes to strip different wire widths.

Like most hand tools, they come with an insulated grip area for extra safety.

🔧 Cutting/Crimping Tools

Klein Cable crimper

Crimping is a method to create a connection between wires without the need for soldering.

Wire crimpers connect a wire to a connector, terminal, lug, or two wires to each other.

Many crimping tools have various bits to ensure compatibility between the crimp and the terminal in question.

🔧Other Tools

These four types of tools form the basis of any electrical work and are essential for any beginner or experienced electrician.

It’s a good idea to have a variety of pliers, screwdrivers, wire cutters, and wire strippers available to handle different types of cable or wiring.

While you may end up relying on one or two pieces of hardware most of the time, sometimes you’ll come across a cable or wire where having a different tool comes in handy.

🔧 Basic Electrical Tool Set

A great tip for new electricians is to buy a pre-assembled tool kit and then add a new tool when you feel you need it.

The Klein 28-piece tool kit is a great place to start since it has everything you need to hit the ground running.

Basic Electrical Tool Set - Klein 28-Piece Tool Kit

The tool kit includes:

  • Four types of pliers: side-cutting pliers, diagonal-cutting pliers, needle nose pliers, and pump pliers
  • Eight screwdrivers with a cushion grip that offers greater torque and comfort. The set includes a wire-bending screwdriver, conduit fitting and reaming screwdriver, one Rapid Drive screwdriver for tight areas, and the typical keystone tip and cabinet tip screwdrivers electricians use daily.
  • Seven nut drivers
  • An adjustable wrench
  • A power-return tape measure with a magnetized head
  • A torpedo level
  • A crimping/cutting tool that crimps 10-22 AWG insulated and non-insulated terminals and connectors and features a tapered nose with a hardened wire cutter.
  • One wire stripper/cutter to strip a variety of cables
  • Utility knife so you don’t need to use a box cutter
  • Protective eyewear
  • Canvas zipper bag and canvas tool bag

The kit provides plenty of useful and handy equipment, and it also comes with basic eye protection to keep electricians safe.

However, it’s important to note that the tools don’t have rubber jackets or other insulation measures and shouldn’t be used near live electrical circuits.

This set is an excellent entry-level option for the budding electrical contractor learning to work with electrical wire and electrical components.

It has everything that you’ll need for trimming wires and other basic electrical work.

Our Top Picks for the Essentials

Electricians tackle a wide array of tasks in their work.

Once you’ve settled into the basics, you’ll be able to figure out where to go next.

A good way of picking your next tool is to identify what you need most.

Every time you go, “I wish I had a specialty tool for this job,” make a note of it.

At the end of the month, see which specialty tool you want the most and choose one from the list to buy.

🔧 Digital Multimeter, Klein Auto-Ranging 600V

Klein Digital Multimeter MM400

A digital multimeter is an essential tool for most electrical contractors. It can measure various electrical properties, including current, voltage, and resistance.

Modern multimeters can measure AC and DC voltage and current, making them incredibly useful for electricians working on large, complex electrical projects.

The multimeter you choose will depend largely on the sensitivity of your circuits and the accuracy you need.

In general, the more accurate, the better.

If you work with sensitive circuits, then a multimeter with a higher impedance is the better option.

The Klein Tools digital multimeter measures up to 600V of AC and DC voltage and has a CAT III 600V safety rating.

It also measures temperature and duty-cycle and can test diodes and continuity.

While it’s on the advanced side, it will be the only multimeter you’ll ever need.

🔧 AC/DC Digital Clamp Meter, Klein Auto-Ranging 400 Amp

AC/DC Digital Clamp Meter, Klein Auto-Ranging 400 Amp CL390

clamp meter is very similar to a multimeter or circuit tester (aka voltage tester) but may contain several more advanced features.

In general, it can measure AC current, DC and AC voltage, resistance, continuity, temperature, frequency, and DC current.

If you’re looking to get as much information as possible, and a traditional multimeter doesn’t cut it, consider the Klein digital clamp meter.

It contains all the features you’ll ever want from a clamp meter – and then some.

🔧 Cordless Drill, Milwaukee M18 FUEL 1/2″ Drill/Driver Kit

Cordless Drill, Milwaukee M18 FUEL 1/2" Drill/Driver Kit

You’ll need a cordless drill when you want to drill holes in metal sheets or whenever you need to mount something.

While you can get away with using your electrician’s screwdriver, the electric drill will save you lots of time and effort.

The Milwaukee Tools M18 Fuel drill driver is fast, compact, and powerful.

It comes with several safety features, including anti-kickback for more precise drilling and sensitivity control.

It has an impressive battery life that generates up to 2000 RPM, making it suitable for heavy-duty work.

🔧 Sawzall, Milwaukee M18 FUEL Reciprocating Saw

Sawzall, Milwaukee M18 FUEL SAWZALL Reciprocating Saw

A Sawzall can replace several other tools in your toolbox.

If anything needs cutting, the Sawzall is the tool to do it.

It can cut through wood, metal, PVC, and drywall with ease. It’s perfect for small, tough-to-reach areas that a traditional hacksaw can’t reach.

It’s also electric, meaning it will cut much faster than any traditional hand tool.

We chose this one because we hate carrying around extra batteries and it’s compatible with the Milwaukee M18 Cordless Drill.  

🔧 Tool Belt, Klein Tradesman Pro Electrician’s

Klein Tradesman Pro Electrician's Tool Belt

While it’s possible to carry all of your tools in a canvas bag or tool pouch, a belt helps you keep everything organized.

It’s an essential piece of equipment when working in dark or tight spaces or when you need quick access to a particular tool.

High-quality tool belts will have enough space for all your hand tools and some extras like a utility knife, tape measure, and even a circuit tester.

We recommend a belt like the Klein Tradesman Pro with suspenders to put less weight on your lower back while still ensuring you can comfortably carry everything you need.

🔧 High-Tension Hacksaw, Klein

Klein high tension hacksaw

If you regularly cut through conduit, then you’ll need a hacksaw to make your life much easier.

The Klein hacksaw has a replaceable head that you can convert from 90° to 45° on the fly.

Be sure to insert the blade correctly so that the teeth cut as you push, not when you pull back.

Overall, this hacksaw will last you for a lifetime.

The blades are relatively cheap to replace and last surprisingly long, despite a lot of abuse.

It’s an excellent tool for quickly cutting through conduits or anything else that stands in your way.

🔧 Electrician Straight Claw Hammer, Klein

Klein Electrician Straight Claw Hammer

Electricians often use hammers to secure equipment like transformers or to demolish old electrical components.

It’s vital to choose the right tool for the job since not all hammers work the same.

The Klein Electrician’s Straight Claw hammer has a fiberglass shaft to absorb shock while keeping the head tight. The neoprene grip is comfortable and durable.

🔧 Glow Fish Tape, Klein 20 Foot

Glow Fish Tape, Klein 20 Foot

Fish tape is a great tool for pulling solid wire conductors through a conduit, like a PVC tube.

However, these spaces are often dark as well, making them difficult to see.

In tight spaces, it’s impossible to use a flashlight, which is where Klein Tools’ Glow Fish Tape comes in.

This glow-in-the-dark electrical tape makes installing wires or cable behind walls and ceilings a breeze, as you can easily see what’s going on at all times.

The tape has a fish-rod connector, making it compatible with any fish-rod accessories.

You can also extend it and use it as a super-flexible glow rod to provide light exactly where you need it.

It doesn’t require electricity to work and charges within seconds to generate a soft green glow.

🔧 Rechargeable LED Flashlight with Worklight, Klein

Klein Rechargeable LED Flashlight

One of the essential devices for electricians is a way to see in the dark.

While you can buy a normal flashlight from the hardware store, it’s worthwhile to spend a bit more on a rechargeable LED flashlight from Klein Tools.

This flashlight is bright enough for any application, doesn’t require any external electricity, and is comfortable enough for prolonged use in dark places.

The flashlight switches between several modes, allowing you to choose the right amount of light for the situation.

🔧 Electricians’ Gloves, Klein

Klein electrical gloves

Electricians need to protect themselves when working with live power.

Many professional electricians will use insulated electricians’ gloves to protect themselves from the dangers of live wires and connections.

These gloves are strong enough to handle a large amount of voltage while also being thin enough to allow delicate work.

🔧 Labeling Machine

Electrical Tools Labeling Machine

A labeling machine can make your life much easier. 

It’s easy to lose track of wires or connections during a job, which can spell disaster for complicated wiring.

A dedicated labeler will have various electrical symbols available for easy printing on electrical tape, ensuring that electricians stay organized on the job.

OUR RECOMMENDATION: BROTHER P-TOUCH E550

Consumables

electrical consumables

🔧 Markers – Milwaukee (48-22-3102)

Regular markers often wear off or don’t write well on particular surfaces.

Since marking surfaces can make your job much easier, it’s a good idea to buy specialist markers that can write on anything.

🔧 Cable Ties

Cable ties are great for wire and cable management, ensuring that everything stays neat and organized.

They’re easy to use and affordable, and you should always have a few on hand.

🔧 Cable/Wire Lugs

Lugs are important consumables that attach wires to cables or other power components.

Electricians will use a lot of these, so it’s worthwhile to always have a couple available.

Summary

This is just a shortlist to get you started on your new career as a Sparky or if you are a skilled homeowner wanting to embark on your next home improvement project. 

If you’re also interested in finding out more about what tools an HVAC technician uses, check out this article: The Best HVAC Tools Every HVAC Contractor Should Have

For more tips like this list of electrical tools, follow the Phyxter blog today.

Related Reading: Top 10 Common Home Electrical Problems and Solutions

If you’re looking for an affordable and friendly electrician in your neighborhood, try Phyxter Electrical Services.

Jake Gibson

Jake Gibson

Jake Gibson is a force to be reckoned with in the HVAC industry. As the CEO of Phyxter, he has made it his mission to revolutionize how contractors work. With a background in HVAC, entrepreneurship, and technology, Jake brings innovation and expertise to this traditional industry.

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