Throughout your career as an electrician you will see thousands of tools and buy hundreds for yourself to suit all the different activities you perform in your day-to-day. While it is difficult to know what you need to start off with, there are some tools which will be vital at whatever level on the job youâ€™re on. To help you plan your first purchases, here are 5 must-have tools in an apprentice electricianâ€™s kit:
Pliers are a big must for any apprentice electrician, used for twisting and manipulating wires, they need to have insulated handles, should open and close smoothly and be easy to grip and use for long periods of time. Not every plier is suited to every job, so you should have several of them handy to prepare for the different jobs that come up. These include:
- Side-cutting pliers: Perfect for cutting wires down to the right size. Ensure that they have a specifically hardened head suited for cutting.
- Needle nose pliers: Used for reaching into cramped spaces, holding small objects and manipulating wires.
If you are looking for an excellent set of pliers you canâ€™t get much better than Klein or CK Tools.
A bit of a no-brainer, wire strippers are a big must when working as an apprentice electrician. Used to cut and strip insulation from wires, they will be one of the most used tools in your collection, however, they also wear out easily no matter what brand you buy, which means that you should buy from reputable brands but not spend too much money on them. It is also best to buy a pair of wire strippers that work for a number of sizes including the #10, #8 and #6.
While they may not be specific to the electricianâ€™s toolkit, screwdrivers are going to be an important tool on your job. Whether you use them to open up electronics, unscrew panels or install cover plates, youâ€™ll be using a screwdriver on a regular basis. It is best to have a variety of types and sizes ready to go, the most important of which are a #1 and #2 Phillips head and cabinet tip flat-head. Just like with any tools in the electricians kit make sure that they are properly insulated for safety. For work where you are dealing with sensitive components where electrostatic discharge is an issue make sure you have an ESD-safe set.
Being an electrician is a dangerous job, especially when you are working with live wires, which is why one of the most important safety tools in the profession is a voltage tester. A voltage tester is used to test whether a wire has electricity running through it. There are many different styles of tester available from simple pen-like tools to more complex voltage testers with multiple options. Probably the ideal is to have a non-contact voltage tester, which allows you to detect live wires without needing to get into contact with them.
Multimeters are used for debugging, safety and optimisation by measuring the different properties of electricity, such as voltage, current and resistance. The ideal is to buy a digital multimeter which is generally more accurate and easier to read. Clamp-on multimeters from Fluke are an excellent brand for apprentice electricians.