Unique Tools for Electricians
Professional electricians swear by these tools, and you will, too. Check out our recommendations here.
More than just a wire stripper
This smart little tool does a lot—it works as a wire stripper, sheathing cutter, wire bender, measuring gauge and a wire nut wrench. But what it really excels at is stripping sheathing from nonmetallic cable. The little tooth inside slices through the sheathing as you slide the cable through. The tooth won’t damage the individual wires, and because it’s inside the tool, it won't slice your fingers like a utility blade could. Buy an Ideal Lil’ Ripper Stripper online or at home centers.
Diagonal cutters redux
Diagonal cutters have been around for decades. Now Irwin Tools has introduced a new version called the PowerSlot.
Facing lots of wiring?
If you're facing a big wiring project that involves lots of Wire-Nuts, this tool will save a lot of wear and tear on your hands. This Twist-A-Nut Screwdriver from Ideal Industries has a recess in the top to grip a Wire-Nut, so you can twist the connector using your arm instead of your fingers. Simple but brilliant.
Good news, Electricians: you no longer have to tear the grip off their pliers’ handles so they can be used as reamers. The exposed handles on Milwaukee’s 10-inch Reaming Pliers can handle 1-inch conduit, and the reaming head design can smooth out pipe up to 2 inches. These reaming pliers are also available in 8-inch and 12-inch sizes.
Stripped hole fix
The built-in screw holes on a metal box are easy to strip. And if that happens, your first impulse might be to use a drywall screw. Bad idea—the sharp tip can poke through wire insulation. Instead, use an electrician’s tap to cut new threads in the hole. That will enlarge the hole from a No. 8-32 screw size to a No. 10-32, so you may need a couple of new screws, too.
Instant electrical connections
Traditional twist-on wire connectors can be a bother to install. The wire ends have to be held in perfect alignment while you twist on the connector. And then you have to fit all those wires and connectors neatly into the box.
Adjustable-depth electrical box
An electrical box that can be adjusted until it’s flush with the wall is a perfect solution when you’re thinking about adding tile or paneling but aren’t sure how thick the finished wall will be. There are a few different versions of adjustable boxes. Turning a screw in the Carlon box shown here moves the box in and out and allows you to fine-tune the box position after you’ve completed the wall covering. Adjustable-depth boxes cost a little more than regular boxes but are worth every penny in areas where you think you’ll add tile, paneling or cabinetry and don’t want to guess at the depth.