Tools we recommend you buy for your Electrical Apprenticeship!

Brendan Lamothe

Key Takeaways

  • There's a significant shortage of tradespeople, making now a great time to start an apprenticeship.
  • Invest in a quality tool bag and essential hand tools tailored to your specific needs.
  • Seek advice from your employer on required tools and consider starter packs from educational institutions for cost-effective options.

The Urgency of Joining the Trades

For every thousand people leaving the trades, only 500 are joining. If you're considering starting an apprenticeship, now is the time.

Apprenticeships can offer a practical path to a stable and rewarding career. Given the current demand for skilled tradespeople, there's an excellent job outlook.

Tools & Recommendations:

  1. Tool Bag:

    • Start with a reasonably priced model.
    • If committed to a long-term career, consider investing in a Veto Pro Pack, known for its durability and efficiency.
  2. Essential Hand Tools:

    • Alignment Plier and Stripper: Both from Klein Tools.
    • Knife: Milwaukee Fastback with a blade pack.
    • Tick Tester: Fluke always-on model.
    • Plug Tester: Klein Tools.
    • Needle Nose Pliers: Milwaukee.
    • Pliers: Get one large and one small pair.
    • Side/Diagonal Cutters: Insulated models from Klein Tools and Knipex.
    • 7-in-1 Nut Driver: Klein Tools, versatile for various tasks.
  3. Screwdrivers:

    • Compact sets like those from Wera Tools.
    • A couple of large flatheads for various uses.
  4. Meter:

    • Clamp meter recommended for beginners. Klein Tools' model is a reliable choice.
  5. Tape Measure:

    • A practical tool, with models from Toughbuilt recommended for features like a bottom stopper.

Ensuring you have the right tools and understanding the current demand for tradespeople positions you well for a successful apprenticeship and career.

Acquiring an Electrician's Starter Pack

First, you'll need a tool bag to hold all your tools. If you're unsure about your long-term commitment, avoid investing in a high-end bag initially. Look for one where tools are easily accessible. For a professional-grade bag, the Veto Pro Pac is highly recommended, featuring a meter case and a dedicated laptop compartment.

When it comes to essential hand tools, start with a pair of Klein Tools alignments and wire strippers. For more advanced options, consider the glow-in-the-dark versions. A Milwaukee Fastback knife with a blade pack of a hundred is another must-have; it's durable and lasts a long time. Fluke always-on tick testers are crucial for safety, and a plug tester from Klein Tools is also important.

You'll need needle-nose pliers from Milwaukee, which are highly regarded. Two pairs of pliers are essential: a large pair and a smaller pair for varied tasks. Opciones include Klein Tools and Knipex Cobras.

Side cutters or diagonal cutters are also needed. Klein Tools and Knipex both offer insulated options up to a thousand volts, ideal for commercial or industrial work. A seven-in-one nut driver from Klein Tools is versatile and can be adapted for an impact driver.

A hex key set from Klein Tools covers a wide range of needs. For screwdrivers, a compact set like the ones from Wera Tools with interchangeable bits is highly convenient. Always include two large flat-head screwdrivers from Klein Tools; they can double as chisels.

A tape measure is another basic necessity. The Toughbuilt tape measure is noted for its unique stopper function.

Lastly, you may need a meter, though its necessity depends on your employer and the work you're doing. For beginners, a clamp-on meter from Klein Tools is recommended, as it's simpler to use and gets you accustomed to meter functions.

Choosing the Right Tool Bag

When selecting a tool bag for your electrical apprenticeship, ease of accessibility is crucial. Avoid bags where tools fall into hidden cracks. You don't need to start with an expensive bag if you're unsure about committing to the trade. Instead, look for practical features that ensure your tools are easily visible and reachable.

For those committed to a long-term career, the Veto Pro Pack is highly recommended. This model is tailored for electricians with specialized compartments for meters and tools, along with a dedicated laptop case.

Here's a brief comparison of tool bag options:


Basic Tool Bag

Veto Pro Pack




Tool Accessibility



Special Compartments






A well-chosen tool bag can make a significant difference in your daily workflow. Prioritize accessibility and durability to keep your tools organized and easily accessible.

Essential Tools for an Electrician Apprentice

Tool Bag: Start with a reliable tool bag. For beginners, avoid splurging on expensive options. Look for a bag where tools are easily accessible to avoid the hassle of losing tools in its depths. If you're committed to the trade, a Veto Pro Pack is a worthwhile investment.

Hand Tools: Many employers provide power tools, but personal hand tools are usually your responsibility. Here's what you need:

  • Linemans and Strippers: Klein Tools offers durable options. Consider glow-in-the-dark versions for convenience.
  • Knife: The Milwaukee Fastback is recommended, and buying a bulk pack of blades is cost-effective.
  • Tick Tester: The Fluke Always On tick tester ensures safety.
  • Plug Tester: Typically required, with Klein Tools offering reliable choices.
  • Needle Nose: Milwaukee's new collection stands out.

Pliers: Keep two pairs handy, one large and one small, for various tasks. Options include:

  • Canepex Cobras
  • Klein Tools pliers

Cutters: Side cutters or diagonal cutters are essential, and insulated versions are beneficial for commercial or industrial tasks.

  • Klein Tools
  • Knepex (insulated up to 1,000 volts)

Nut Driver: A 7-in-1 nut driver from Klein Tools is versatile and compatible with impact tools.

Hex Key Set: A comprehensive set from Klein Tools covers all sizes you might need.

Screwdrivers: A compact, versatile set from Wera Tools with insulated handles and interchangeable bits saves space.

Tape Measure: An essential for all trades. The Toughbuilt tape measure with a stopper is a cool option.

Meter: Whether or not you need a meter depends on your employer and job type. A clamp-on meter, like the one from Klein Tools, is a good starter option.

These foundational tools will serve you well as you embark on your journey as an electrician apprentice.

Personal Hand Tools

When starting an electrical apprenticeship, having the right personal hand tools is crucial. Here are some key tools to consider:

Tool Bag
If you're committed to the trade, the Veto Pro Pac specifically designed for electricians is highly recommended. It includes a meter case, laptop case, and ensures all tools are easily accessible.

Essential Tools

  • Alignment Tool & Strippers
    Both from Klein Tools. Alignment on the left, strippers on the right. If you want to stand out, consider the glow-in-the-dark versions.

  • Knife
    The Milwaukee Fastback, with a blade pack of 100. Highly durable and long-lasting.

  • Tick Tester
    The Fluke always-on tick tester is a reliable choice for safety.

  • Plug Tester
    A Klein Tools plug tester is often necessary.

  • Needle Nose Pliers
    Milwaukee's new collection offers a highly favored option.

  • Pliers
    You’ll want a large pair and a smaller pair. The Knipex Cobras and Klein Tools are reliable choices.

  • Side Cutters/Diagonal Cutters
    Klein Tools and Knipex offer insulated versions, great for commercial or industrial work.

  • Seven-in-One Nut Driver
    Klein Tools provides a versatile option with a pop-off part for impact tools.

  • Hex Key Set
    Also from Klein Tools, it includes every size you might need.

  • Screwdrivers
    I recommend a compact set from Wera Tools, which includes two insulated handles and interchangeable bits. For larger flat heads, Klein Tools is preferred.

Additional Tools

  • Tape Measure
    The ToughBuilt tape measure includes a handy stopper on the bottom.

  • Meter
    Depending on your job requirements, a clamp-on meter from Klein Tools can be a great starting point.

With these tools, you'll be well-equipped to handle most tasks in your apprenticeship.

Electrician's Most Used Hand Tools

When starting your electrical apprenticeship, there are several hand tools you'll find indispensable. The tool bag is crucial; investing in a good one like the Veto Pro Pack can make a big difference. This bag keeps all tools easily accessible, reducing frustration on the job.

You'll need lineman's pliers and wire strippers—both from Klein Tools are highly recommended. For cutting tasks, the Milwaukee Fastback knife with a bulk blade pack is very handy. Safety is paramount, so a Fluke tick tester is essential, possibly the first one you'll buy.

Plug testers and needle nose pliers are also important. Milwaukee’s needle nose pliers are a top choice. Two pairs of pliers, such as the Knipex Cobras and Klein Tools pliers, are necessary for many tasks. Side cutters or diagonal cutters are a must, with insulated options for commercial or industrial work.

A seven-in-one nut driver from Klein Tools, which can be used with an impact driver, and a hex key set are versatile tools to have. Screwdrivers are another staple; a compact set from Wera Tools, with interchangeable bits, is highly efficient and space-saving. Additionally, two large flat-head screwdrivers from Klein Tools often serve as chisels.

A reliable tape measure, like the one from ToughBuilt with a stopper, is essential in all trades. Depending on your job specifics, a meter may be necessary. Starting with a Klein Tools clamp-on meter is an excellent idea as it offers good functionality while allowing you to get accustomed to its use.

These tools are fundamental and will serve you well throughout your career as an electrician.

Safety Equipment

When starting an electrical apprenticeship, ensuring your own safety is paramount. Here are some of the essential safety tools you will need:

  • Tick Tester: The Fluke Always-On Tick Tester is recommended. It helps detect live wires and ensure your work area is safe before starting any task.

  • Insulated Tools: Many of your hand tools should be insulated to protect against electrical shocks. For example, you'll need Klein Tools side cutters that are insulated up to a thousand volts, which is vital for commercial or industrial work.

  • Gloves: Using high-quality, insulated gloves can provide an extra layer of protection against electric shocks while handling wires and other electrical components.

  • Safety Glasses: Protect your eyes from dust, debris, and the occasional spark with durable safety glasses.

Having the right safety equipment is crucial for your safety and efficiency on the job. Make sure to invest in these tools to maintain a safe working environment.

Pliers and Cutters

Pliers and cutters are indispensable in an electrician's toolkit. For pliers, it's recommended to have two pairs: a large pair and a smaller pair. Your large pliers might include the Knipex Cobras, known for their excellent grip. For a smaller pair, Klein Tools offers reliable options.

When it comes to cutters, you will need a pair of side cutters, also known as diagonal cutters. Both Klein Tools and Knipex offer high-quality, insulated side cutters. The insulation is crucial if you are working on commercial or industrial sites, as it can handle up to 1000 volts for added safety.

Key Points:

  • Two Pairs of Pliers: One large (Knipex Cobras) and one small (Klein Tools).
  • Side Cutters: Look for insulated options from Klein Tools or Knipex, with high voltage ratings.

Multipurpose Tools

Tool Bags:

  • Veto Pro Pack: Best for long-term use, specifically designed for electricians.
  • Affordable Options: Look for bags where tools are easily accessible.

Hand Tools:

  • Alignment Pliers: Essential for everyday use, recommended from Klein Tools.
  • Strippers: Also from Klein Tools, available in glow-in-the-dark versions.
  • Knife: Milwaukee Fastback, highly recommended for durability.

Safety Tools:

  • Tick Tester: Fluke always on tick tester, important for personal safety.
  • Plug Tester: Klein Tools, essential for testing electrical outlets.


  • Needle Nose: Milwaukee's new collection, favored for precision.
  • Side Cutters: Available insulated up to 1000 volts from Klein Tools and Knepex.

Nut Drivers:

  • Seven in One Nut Driver: From Klein Tools, versatile and impact-compatible.

Hex Keys and Screwdrivers:

  • Hex Key Set: Comprehensive sizes, Klein Tools.
  • Compact Screwdrivers: Where Tools brand, space-saving with interchangeable bits.

Tape Measure:

  • Toughbuilt: With a unique stopper feature, practical for daily tasks.


  • Clamp-On Meter: Klein Tools, ideal for beginners to get familiar with meter functions.

Screwdrivers and Bits

When choosing screwdrivers for your electrical work, you have options. You can either get a separate screwdriver for every bit you need, or you can opt for a compact set. Compact sets can save space in your tool bag.

One reliable brand is Wera Tools, which offers insulated handles with interchangeable bits. This compact design ensures you have what you need without taking up too much room. Here’s what might be included:

  • Insulated handles
  • A variety of bits for different screws

Another option is carrying around a couple of dedicated flat-head screwdrivers. These can also double as chisels in a pinch. Klein Tools makes durable, reliable flat-heads that see frequent use.

Common Bit Types

  • Phillips: Cross-head, commonly used.
  • Flat-Head: Straight-line slot.
  • Torx: Star-shaped; often found in electronic and automotive work.

Tips for Using Screwdrivers and Bits

  1. Keep them organized: Use a tool bag that holds everything visibly and accessibly.
  2. Check insulation: Especially vital for working in commercial or industrial settings.
  3. Quick bit changes: A compact set with interchangeable bits makes switching tasks easier.

Invest in quality tools like Wera and Klein to ensure reliability and efficiency on the job.

Measuring Tools

When starting your electrical apprenticeship, you'll need a set of reliable measuring tools. Here are some essentials:

  1. Tape Measure: This is indispensable. A good choice is from ToughBuilt with a stopper at the bottom for added convenience.
  2. Meter: While not always necessary at the beginning, a clamp-on meter from Klein Tools is a great starting point. It’s less expensive and gives you a good understanding of how meters work.

These tools will serve you well in various tasks and ensure accurate measurements, essential for electrical work. Remember to check with your employer for any additional specific requirements.

Electrical Meters

For those starting an electrical apprenticeship, having a reliable meter is crucial. You might not use it frequently in residential work as an apprentice, but it becomes essential in commercial and industrial settings. Go for a clamp-on meter to start. A Klein Tools clamp-on meter makes an excellent choice; it's reliable and suitable for beginners.

If you need something more advanced, consider investing in a higher-end meter. One highly recommended model is from Fluke, known for its accuracy and durability. Regardless of your choice, ensure it fits the type of work you will be doing and is within your budget.

Here are a few points to consider when choosing an electrical meter:

  • Accuracy and range: Ensure the meter can measure the range of voltages you will encounter.
  • Durability: It should withstand rigorous use in the field.
  • Ease of use: Look for intuitive controls and easy-to-read displays.

Investing in a good electrical meter is an investment in your safety and efficiency on the job.

Conclusion and Recommendations

To begin your journey in an electrical apprenticeship, start by investing in essential tools. A tool bag is fundamental; choose one where tools are easily accessible. Budget-friendly options are advisable if you’re just starting out, but for a long-term commitment, consider the Veto Pro Pac specific to electricians.

Make sure to have personal hand tools:

  • Pliers: Two pairs—one large and one small.
  • Side Cutters: (Insulated) - Klein Tools or Knipex.
  • Screwdrivers: Insulated and a compact set.
  • Tape Measure: Preferably with a stopper, like from ToughBuilt.

For safety, a Tick Tester from Fluke is a must, and a Plug Tester is often needed. Additionally, useful tools include:

  • Nut Driver: A 7-in-1, such as from Klein Tools.
  • Hex Key Set: Comprehensive like the one from Klein Tools.
  • Needle Nose Pliers: Milwaukee’s collection is a good choice.

Evaluate the necessity of a meter based on your work environment. A Klein Tools clamp-on meter is recommended for beginners, while a more expensive meter might be suited for advanced needs.

Consider starter packs offered by trade schools and colleges. This ensures a reasonable cost to get equipped with the necessary tools, facilitating your smooth entry into the industry.