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Top 16 Electrical Tools

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Like any other project you may try to tackle, electrical work will require a few tools to accomplish the job. This is a partial list of needed tools to take care of most electrical jobs. These tools are readily available at most building material outlet stores or electrical wholesalers. Hopefully the descriptions below will help you in selecting the proper tools for the type of electrical projects you will encounter.

1. Fish Tape

Photo of a fish tape.
Tim Thiele
A fish tape is used to pull stranded or solid wire through metal or PVC conduit. Cable lube is available to assist you in pulling the wires through the pipe.
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2. Tape Measure

Tape Measure
Tim Thiele
A tape measure is use to measure heights for switches and outlets. You will also need it to center lighting fixture boxes.
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3. Voltmeter

A voltmeter is used to check voltages and verify that circuits are indeed “live”.
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4. Hammer

Hammer photo.
Tim Thiele
A hammer is used to secure boxes equipped with nail-on brackets to studs in a home. You’ll also need it to drive Romex straps when adding new Romex wiring in a home.
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5. Channel Lock Pliers

Channel Lock Pliers
Tim Thiele
Channel lock pliers are used to take knockouts out of the boxes, tighten down Romex connectors in the boxes, and adjust expansion-type ceiling-fan boxes.
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6. Wire Strippers

Wire Strippers
Tim Thiele
Wire strippers are used to cut the insulation off of the wire. They are equipped with different sized cutting teeth for various sized wires. They also have a cutoff portion in order to cut the wire.
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7. Non-contact Voltage Detector

Tick Tracer
Tim Thiele
A voltage detector is used for a quick safety check to see if there is voltage or current flow present. Some of these devices are automatic and some must be turned on via a switch. Simply place the end of the tracer beside a wire, breaker or cord to see if it’s energized.
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8. Side Cutter Diagonal Pliers

Dikes
Tim Thiele
These cutting pliers, sometimes called side snips, are used to cut wire. They are specially designed with a cutting edge that goes down to the tip of the pliers. The advantage being that you can get into tight areas to trim wires. There are some that are equipped with live wire detection capabilities.
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9. Linesman Pliers

Linesman Pliers
Tim Thiele
These pliers are the do-it-all pliers. They cut, twist wires together, and grip wires for pulling. They have a squared off end that is great for twisting wires together, a center cutting blade for cutting wire, and a grip area between the handles to pull wire.
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10. Torpedo Level

Level
Tim Thiele
A level is used to make sure your work is level and plumb. A great installation starts with straight switch and outlet covers.
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Related Video
How to Strip Electrical Wire
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