All the Tools Apprentice Electricians ABSOLUTELY Need!

Brendan Lamothe

Key Takeaways

  • A combination of a lightweight drill and a versatile impact driver covers various electrical tasks.
  • A durable tape measure with special features can greatly assist in overhead and distant measurements.
  • A selection of pliers and a reliable level are essential for precise work and setup in electrical projects.

Essential Drills

Combo Set Features

When beginning as an apprentice electrician, acquiring a robust combo set of drills is crucial. The ideal set includes an impact driver with various speed and torque settings. These sets offer versatility and powerful function—key characteristics for any requisite toolset.

Impact Driver

When discussing an impact driver, it's essential to note its high torque capability. Torque is paramount when you need to drive screws or assemble heavy gauge materials. Additionally, most impact drivers allow for adjustments in speed, which means you can adapt to the task at hand, whether it requires delicacy or brute force.

Hammer Drill Function

A quality drill should have a hammer drill setting. This feature enables the drill to bore into dense materials such as concrete. The combination of spinning and hammering mechanics allows for efficient penetration through masonry, which is often needed in electrical installations.

Considerations for Choosing Drills

When choosing drills, evaluate the following:

  • Weight: Look for a lightweight drill to prevent fatigue during prolonged use.
  • Power: Ensure your drill has sufficient power for demanding tasks.
  • Dual Functions: The ability to switch between regular drilling and hammer drill mode provides versatility.
  • Affordability: If budget constraints exist, prioritize an impact driver—it's a fundamental tool that covers a wide range of tasks.

Tape Measure

Importance of Tape Width

Your tape measure is an indispensable tool in your kit. With a wide tape, you can pull it out and measure considerable lengths, especially when working above your head, like installing lighting fixtures. A broad tape won’t easily collapse, aiding in measurements across larger spans without support.

Long-Standout Feature

Choose a tape measure with a long standout, enabling you to extend it up to 13 feet without bending. This feature is crucial for reaching distant points alone, allowing you to measure spaces that other tapes can’t manage without collapsing.

Magnetic Tip

The magnetic tip on your tape measure comes in handy in commercial settings with metal studs. It sticks to metal surfaces, preventing the tape from slipping and making solo measurements much easier.

Dual-Sided Markings

Look for tape measures with markings on both sides. This feature is practical when you’re working in tight spots or when you have to measure from above or below. The dual-sided markings mean you can read the measurement from any angle.

Choosing Tape Length

Select a tape measure that’s 25 feet in length. It’s the ideal size for regular use, allowing you to measure long distances usually encountered on the job but still maintaining a manageable size and weight. Avoid shorter tapes as tasks often involve measurements over 20 feet.

Wire Stripper

Size Varieties

When selecting a wire stripper, note the physical size options. Some models are compact, comfortably fitting in your hand, whereas others are larger. The form factor plays a crucial role in how easily the tool can be maneuvered during use.

Gauge Compatibility

Wire strippers are compatible with various wire gauges, which dictate their use-cases:

  • Common Sizes: 12 gauge, 14 gauge, 16 gauge
  • Versatile Range: Models that handle 10 to 20 gauge suit most electrical tasks
  • Precision: Ensure strippers match the gauges you commonly work with, usually 10, 12, or 14

Additional Functions

Beyond stripping wires, look for strippers that offer:

  • Wire Bending: Holes for bending wire are standard.
  • Bolt Cutting and Threading: Threaded holes enable cutting number 6 or number 8 bolts without damaging the thread—ideal for electrician's frequent tasks.
  • Use bullet points, tables, or bold text to emphasize important features you use regularly.

Lineman's Pliers

High Leverage Design

Your lineman's pliers are not just any set of pliers. You are provided with high leverage lineman's pliers equipped with long handles. The benefit of these longer handles is apparent when you need to make cuts through thicker wire. The leverage affords you more cutting power with less strain on your hand. Remember, when you're dealing with tough wiring jobs, that extra leverage can make a significant difference.

Integrated Crimping Tool

An integral feature of your lineman's pliers is the integrated crimping tool located inside the jaws. The inclusion of this crimping tool in your pliers negates the need to carry an additional crimping tool. When you are joining wires or fitting sleeve connectors, the crimping tool ensures that you can accomplish your tasks efficiently and with reliable results.

Cleated Grip Feature

Your lineman's pliers come with a unique cleated grip on the inside of the jaws. This feature enhances your grip strength when manipulating wires or hardware, which is vital for tasks that require a solid grip. The design ensures that when you are pulling or twisting, the pliers provide a reliable, non-slip engagement with the object you're working on.

Diagonal Cutting Pliers

Versatility in Uses

Utilizing your diagonal cutting pliers, you can perform diverse tasks efficiently. They are not just limited to snipping wires; you can also use them in prying. When dealing with stubborn staples or nails, the pliers can be used to pull them out. Their design makes them suitable for both cutting and reaming the ends of conduit, ensuring smoother edges. Here are specific applications:

  • Cutting wires and nails
  • Prying out staples or similar fixings
  • Reaming out conduit ends for smoothness
  • Snipping in tight spots

Design Features

Your diagonal cutting pliers are designed with features to enhance functionality and ease of use. The cleated jaws provide excellent grip for pulling or twisting objects. The long handles facilitate leverage, making it less strenuous to cut through thicker materials. A few key design elements to note:

  • Cleated jaws: Enhancing grip when pulling or twisting
  • Long handles: Offering increased leverage for cutting
  • Cutting edge: Suitable for a variety of materials
  • Versatile use: Ideal for prying as well as cutting

Needle Nose Pliers

Design for Tight Spaces

When working as an electrician, it's often necessary to maneuver within confined spaces. Your needle nose pliers are designed for precisely this purpose. With their slender, elongated tips, these pliers allow you to reach deep into electrical boxes and navigate around tightly packed wires with ease. Having the ability to grip and pull wires in cramped environments makes them essential for tasks where conventional tools just can't get the job done.

  • Slender profile: Reaches into confined spaces comfortably.
  • Long nose: Ideal for precise wire gripping and manipulation.
  • Ergonomic handles: Offers a secure grip without straining your hand.

Multi-Functional Cutting Edge

The multi-functional nature of your needle nose pliers cannot be overstated. Aside from their primary function of gripping, they are also equipped with a cutting edge. This built-in cutter allows you to sever wires on the spot without the need to switch tools, streamlining your workflow and saving precious time. For a tool that’s frequently in your hand, its dual-purpose design underscores its indispensability.

  • Integrated cutter: Simplifies your toolkit and reduces the need to switch between tools.
  • Sharp edge: Ensures a clean cut without fraying wires.
  • Durable construction: Built to withstand the demands of everyday use.


Combination of Functions

  • Impact Driver:
    • Speed settings: Multiple
    • Torque settings: Multiple
    • Special feature: Hammer drill setting
  • Wire Stripper:
    • Gauges: Handles common sizes (10, 12, 14, etc.)
    • Threaded holes: Cuts and threads bolts (#6, #8)
    • Wire bending: Integrated holes for bending wire
  • Lineman's Pliers:
    • High leverage for cutting thick wire
    • Built-in crimping tool
  • Needle Nose Pliers:
    • Slim design for tight spaces
    • Includes cutting edge
  • Multi-Purpose Tool:
    • Features: Cutting edge, wire stripper, slim tip, reaming capability
    • Bolt cutter: Built-in
    • Compact design: Multiple tools in one

Advantages of a Multi-Tool

  • Efficiency:
    • Less to carry: Combines several tools into one
    • Weight reduction: Essential for ease of mobility
  • Functionality:
    • Versatile use: Able to perform multiple tasks with one tool
    • Space-saving: Decreases the need for multiple, bulky individual tools
  • Economic:
    • Cost-effective: Less expensive than purchasing many separate tools
  • Practicality:
    • Magnetic levels: Assists in setting up panels, light fixtures, and metal pipe
    • Break length: Improved tape measure reach with a long stand-out


Magnetic Feature for Conduit Work

You'll find that a magnetic level is indispensable for conduit work. The magnet is robust, enabling the level to adhere firmly to metal surfaces. This feature is particularly beneficial when setting panels, hanging light fixtures or installing metal pipes. Such a level will facilitate your work, ensuring accuracy and efficiency.

Key Aspects of the Magnetic Level:

  • Strong magnet: Securely attaches to any metallic surface.
  • Versatile use: Ideal for various tasks including setting panels and hanging fixtures.

Multiple Angle Bubbles

Your magnetic level is equipped with bubbles for various angles, enhancing its versatility.

Detailed Overview:



0 Degree

For horizontal leveling, ensuring true level surfaces.

90 Degree

Perfect for vertical alignment.

45 Degree

Useful for diagonal placement, common in piping.

30 Degree

Helpful for specific angle requirements.

  • Accurate alignment: Achieve precise leveling at multiple angles.
  • Efficient assessment: Quickly check the angle without changing tools.