What tools does an electrician need?

Electricians use a wide range of hand and power tools. It all depends on the type of electrical work and tasks you’re on with. There are a few must have electrician tools though that I believe the majority of electricians use on a regular basis whether its domestic, commercial or industrial electrical. See below for my lists of must have electrician tools and other electrician tools you may require:

Must have electrician tools – hand tools

Electrical hand tools all electricians need:

  • VDE terminal drivers – assortment of flat and pozi head
  • VDE side cutters
  • VDE Long nose Pliers
  • VDE snub nose Pliers
  • Grips (also known as gland pliers, water pump pliers or slip joint pliers) – these are available as VDE if you so wish. and you Ideally you need two pairs.
  • Adjustable spanners – I have two medium size and one small
  • Knife – most use a Stanley retractable or similar folding knife with disposable blade
  • Junior hacksaw
  • Hacksaw
  • Hammer
  • Tape measure
  • Volt pen
  • Voltage indicator – also known as testers or steinel’s
  • Sharpies

Other electrician tools – hand tools

Some of these electrical tools are specific to different types of electrical work. So for example an industrial electrician is likely to frequently use a 1/2″ socket set where a domestic electrician would most likely not. You will quickly figure out what electricians tools you do and don’t need.

  • Spanners – most frequently used sizes by electricians are 10mm, 17mm and 24mm however you may also need 8mm, 15mm and 19mm. Best just to get a set!
  • Adjustable spanners, assortment of sizes
  • Ratchet spanners – flexi head ratchet spanner in 10mm and 17mm are very useful
  • Allen keys – metric 1.5, 2, 2.5, 3, 4, 5, 6, 8, 10, 12mm
  • Small 1/4″ socket set
  • 1/2″ socket set
  • Allen keys – metric 1.5, 2, 2.5, 3, 4, 5, 6, 8, 10, 12mm
  • Boat level ideally magnetic
  • Padsaw (folding one so it doesn’t scratch your other tools)
  • Tin snips
  • Cable strippers
  • Cable cutters/sheers
  • Electricians scissors
  • Gland pliers
  • Ratcheting cable cutter
  • Lug crimpers
  • Ferrule crimpers
  • Bush spanner
  • Cable rods
  • Files – flat and round
  • Large flat head screw driver
  • Utility/pry bar
  • Metal tie wrap gun

Must have electrician tools – power tools

Most electricians use power tools, be it domestic, commercial or industrial. Commercial and industrial electricians tend need a few more than domestic due to the nature of their work. Most use battery power tools, some commercial and industrial electricians use 110v and some domestic use 230v. Here’s my list of must have electricians power tools:

  • Combi drill
  • Impact driver (for 1/4″ bits)
  • SDS drill

Other useful electrician tools – power tools

  • Oscillating Multi tool (multi cutter)
  • Grinder (usually 125mm discs)
  • Core drill
  • Jigsaw
  • Circular saw
  • Laser level
  • Impact wrench (for 1/2″ bits)
  • Reciprocating saw
  • Nail gun
  • Chop saw
  • Compact band saw
  • Threaded rod cutter

Electrician tools – voltage indicator

A good voltage indicator is probably the most important tool in an electricians tool bag. You will need it for safe isolation and proving dead before commencing work on electrical installations. A proving unit is also a good idea, used for proving your tester works properly before using it. They are also very useful for fault finding and identifying electrical circuits . Electrical voltage indicators are often referred to as Steinells.

Electricians tools – volt pen

A volt pen is also an essential tool for all electricians particularly for domestic electrical work. They allow you to very quickly and easily check for dead before commencing work and during.

Volt pens are also very helpful for fault finding and identifying circuits.

However it is not recommended that volt pens are used entirely in place of a voltage indicator. Always check an electrical circuit is dead with a voltage indicator before commencing work.

Electrician tools – multifunction tester

If you are doing any sort of electrical inspection and test work, you will need a multifunction tester. Multifunction testers allow you to carry out all the tests needed to test or fault find new and existing electrical installations. They must be able to carry out:

  • Continuity tests (resistance testing)
  • Insulation resistance testing (usually at 250, 500 and 1000v)
  • ZS Earth fault loop impedance testing
  • PFC Prospective fault current
  • RCD trip time testing

Multifunction testers require calibration on an annual basis.