What are VDE tools?

VDE tools are hand tools designed for use in electrical applications. Primarily used by electricians, if used appropriately they keep the user safe from electric shock.

Usually identified by red/yellow colours, the handles are insulated to up to 1000v. If you were to work on a live electrical circuit up to 1000v, deliberately or by accident and only touch the plastic handles, you should not get a electric shock.

However this does not mean you should work live with VDE tools. Where possible working live should always be avoided. There are however many instances where electricians have no choice but to work on live electrical installations and in these instances if used as correctly the tools should keep you safe.

What does VDE stand for?

VDE stands for ‘Verband der Elektrotechnik‘, the scientific organisation internationally responsible for testing and certifying electrical tools and equipment.

To identify a certified VDE tool, look for the VDE symbol as photographed below.

Electrician-world – VDE symbol on a VDE screw driver

VDE screwdrivers and VDE terminal drivers

VDE electrical terminal/screwdrivers are typically insulated the full length of the driver with only the only exposed metal on the tip/head. The terminal drivers photographed are Wiha Softfinish, my personal preference for electrical terminal drivers.

VDE side cutters and pliers

VDE side cutters, electrical Pliers, (snips) grips etc are insulated as far as possible and have flanges toward the end of the grip to help avoid contact with exposed metal. The VDE pliers and side cutters photographed are my personal preference, CK redline. They work great, are tough and hard wearing and feel good in the hand. My side cutters are a little blunt these days but they still do the job!

When should a VDE tool be replaced?

If the insulation on VDE tools is damaged or degraded in any way the tool should be removed from use and disposed of in such a way that it cannot be used again.

If you cut through a live cable and blow a hole in your snips, they will also need replacing! 😮