Tools Most Used By Electricians
When it comes to electrician’s tools it’s fair to say that every electrician will have that certain tool they can’t be without, and these may differ from sparky to sparky depending on the type of work they undertake.
Electrical work can’t be done without the right tools and there are certain essential tools that every electrician will need in order to do their job safely, and effectively.
So, we have put together a short list of what we believe are the ‘must-have tools’ that every electrician should have in their tool box.
- Approved Voltage Indicator (AVI)
This device is an absolute must as it determines the presence/absence of electricity. Used to detect AC voltages on sockets, switches, outlets, circuit breakers. Used to check that power has been switched off before commencing an electrical project. This is a life-saving tool that no electrician can be without.
- Insulated Screwdrivers
A tool box staple. You’ll need a variety of different types of screwdriver for the differing size screws you’ll encounter on a daily basis, these vary from wood screws, to machine screws. For safety reasons ensure that your screwdrivers are insulated up to 1000V to protect you against electrical shock and arcing.
- Side Cutters/Pliers
Most Sparkies will have a array of these in their tool box, but the most commonly used ones used on a daily basis are:
- Traditional Pliers – cutting/stripping wires and handy for removing nails
- Long Nose Pliers – the thin, grasping ends make it easy to hold or grab when fishing cable.
- Side-Cutters – great for when you need to cut wires to specific lengths
- Wire Strippers
Wire strippers are an essential tool to ensure that when stripping the insulation from a cable only the required amount of pressure is used to prevent the copper cable from being damaged. Some makes can also be used to strip sheath and insulation of twin and earth cable. This particular model shown also has the capability to carry out crimping.
- Multi Functional Tester
Definitely the electrician’s best friend – the multifunctional tester or MFT is a requirement for any electrician to ensure that any installation is installed correctly and that all test readings meet the requirements as laid out in the IET regulations.
- Battery Drill
Used for drilling holes in wood, walls or other tough surfaces and fixing screws and fasteners onto surfaces. The type of drill used will vary depending on the job in hand, for example for fastening work, a lower-voltage cordless model might be used; however for drilling into concrete then a hammer drill provides more impact and will drill more holes faster.
- Electrical Wall Chaser
A tool for cutting narrow grooves and channels into walls to install cables and or conduit. Great time saving device allows you to cut clean and accurately. The electric motor powers electric discs similar to those found in angle grinders. The ones that have a vacuum cleaner connection are great for dust-free working.
- Multi Tool
A cordless oscillating multi-tool is a handy tool to have in your tool box. It’s versatility is ideal for accurately cutting a variety of materials eg flooring, tiles, plasterboard, wood and PVC.
- Fish Tape / Rids
Also known as ‘draw wire’ or ‘electricians snake’ this handy tool is ideal for many applications including drawing cables through conduit or fishing cables across ceilings or down walls.
- Head Torch / Magnetic Torch
These are a must have as you will be working in the dark on many occasions when the power is turned off. These types of torches are also good as they allow you to work hands free.
Whether corded or cordless, today’s power tools pack more power in smaller, lightweight models. Ergonomic consideration makes today’s tools easier and safer to use. The most-used power tools for electricians are saws and drills, including hammer/drills.
Every electrician uses drills, but the type of tool needed varies with the application-what is essential for one worker isn’t necessarily needed by another. The power required depends on the material being drilled. For fastening work, a lower-voltage cordless model might be used; for drilling into concrete, a hammer/drill provides more impact and can drill more holes faster.
As with drills, the type of power saw needed by electricians varies with the job at hand. Because of versatility and dependability, handheld reciprocating saws are one of the most popular classes of power-saw equipment. Spiral saws perform the same tasks as reciprocating saws, but instead of a blade, they cut with a bit with downward, parabolic fluting. Other types of saws used for electrical work include hole saws, cut-off saws and portable band saws.
MAKE YOUR TOOLS LAST
It’s all well and good to ensure you have all the tools of the trade, but if you don’t look after them, it will just end up costing hundreds, if not thousands, to continually replace them. On top of this, tools that are in better condition are safer and a safer working environment is essential. So, here are some tips and tricks.
- Ensure they are stored correctly. Store them in bags, boxes, hang them on the wall or create a dedicated tool shelf, but either way, never leave your tools just lying around. A peg board is a fantastic way to store your small tools.
- Make sure the storage place is dry. Humidity and moisture can do a world of damage to your tools so take the required measures to protect them. There’s nothing worse than rusty tools.
- Whenever you’re done for the day, clear your tools prior to storing them. A clean cloth to remove any excess oils, sawdust or grease.
- Repair your tools when required. Check your tools after every job and take immediate measures to fix anything that needs fixing. If the tool is completely ruined, replace it immediately.
When it comes to the tools you require, it will largely depend on the types of jobs you do. Ensuring your tools are taken care of and that you have the right tools for the job is crucial in the trade industry.
What are some things every electrician should know?
If you are thinking about becoming an electrician, there are a few terms you will be required to know. You can get a head start on your electrical training by reviewing some of the most important ones here.
The unit of intensity of electrical current, otherwise known as the measure of electrical flow.
The capacitor is an electronic component made of two close conductors that store electric charge.
The flow rate of electrical charge in an electric field, usually in an electrical circuit.
The rate of energy consumption in an electrical circuit. Electric power is measured in units of watts.
An electrical quantity that measures how the device or material reduces the electric current flowing through it. The resistance is measured in ohms.
The unit of electrical resistance and impedance abbreviated with the omega symbol. Resistance is the opposition a substance offers to the passage of electrical current.
The conductors and equipment for delivering electrical energy from the supply system to the wiring system of the premises served.
The unit of electromotive force that measures electrical pressure. Voltage is the effective difference of potential between any two conductors of the circuit concerned.
The unit of power or rate of work represented by a current of one ampere under a pressure of one volt.
Resistor is an electrical component that reduces the electrical current. The resistor’s ability to reduce the current is called resistance and is measured in units of ohms.
Is Being an Electrician Hard on Your Body?
It’s normal to want to know everything about a career you’re interested in – all the pros and all the cons – so that you can make an informed decision on what it is you want to do. One thing to consider before you take up a new trade (electrical work, for instance) is the physical effect that your new job might have on your body.
The good news is that being an electrician isn’t too hard on your body – there are numerous jobs, including some trade jobs, that take a far harsher physical toll on those who do them.
However, this doesn’t mean that being an electrician is always easy going. If you ask electricians who have been in the business a long time, they will probably tell you they have experienced some discomfort in their knees and back.
This isn’t too surprising, as being an electrician often means crouching, kneeling and bending to reach the electrical installations you’re supposed to be working on. With that in mind, it is advised that you take the proper precautions to ensure that your body remains healthy: electricians should stretch often and consider investing in knee pads to wear while working. It’s also good practice, as in any line of work, to take breaks and refrain from putting too much stress on your body outside of working hours.
Generally speaking, though, being an electrician doesn’t come with any major risks to your long-term physical health (excluding the potential for electrical shocks, which you can read about here). In many ways, a relatively active job like electrical work is preferable to a job that has you parked in front of a computer all day – the dangers of sitting down for long periods of time are well-documented, and this isn’t something you’ll have to worry about too often when you’re working as an electrician, zipping from one job to the next all day long.