28 tools you didn’t know you needed
Sometimes we come across tools that make our job a lot easier, but are not always part of our typical tool arsenals. Here’s a fun list of tools that can fundamentally change the way you perform certain tasks!
I can’t tell you how useful it is to have a laser pointer when working with others. Being able to quickly point out things related to you task makes communication a lot smoother and quicker.
I know it says cat toy laser pointer on the link, but that’s par for the course for cheaper laser pointers on Amazon. It still works very well. This model is my favorite because it’s very affordable, the charger is built it on it (no separate cord), and you don’t have to hold down the button for the laser.
Conduit Bending Level
Most electricians have Klein’s torpedo level, but it falls short by only having the extra 45 and 30 degree dials. Checkpoints compact conduit bending level has everything the Klein level has, but also a 60 and 22.5 degree mark for a larger variety of quick bends!
If you want to go deeper, you can get a Stabilla level, which lets you choose the exact degree of bend. This level works great when paired with a conduit bending app like iBend, or when you need to put it on a slanted room or beam to find out the exact degree of pitch and match it!
Right Angle Impact Adapter
I’ve lost count on the amount of times this has gotten me out of a pinch. It’s perfect for getting screws in or out of tight spaces that otherwise can’t be reached.
There’s two versions listed for a reason. The DeWalt adapter is affordable and works great. What you will quickly learn though, is that it can be hard to grip or get pressure on the head to drive a screw in. If you click through the DeWalt link, there is a second option for a two-for-1 bit that includes an attachment for an arm to go in. My issue with this is it’s more loose pieces to lose, and if you’re gonna spend more for that version, you might as well get the Milwaukee.
The Milwaukee adapter is built like a tank. It’s all metal and has a beautifully designed handle on it that locks into place. The DeWalt adapter will last you a while, but the Milwaukee will last a lifetime. If you can afford it, this is your best bet.
When doing a lot of makeup, I keep this in a drill nearby at all times. It seriously helps prevent carpel tunnel and other repetitive movement ailments we are all susceptible to as electricians.
Please keep in mind when using this tool that you should never wrench wirenuts down very hard. If you hear the impact drill start clicking, you’ve gone too far. You will strip out in inside and possible cause live conductors to push out through the plastic, causing a short or a safety hazard.
This glove holder is dirt cheap and very convenient. Just attach to your safety vest and voilà, a perfect place to throw your gloves when you’re on break or otherwise not using them.
Earth magnets are more accurate stud finders than any on the market. Just run it across the wall to find the nearest set of screws or nails, and never worry about it running out of battery.
It’s also great for fishing line down the wall, just drop a string with a heavy nut and use the magnet to guide it to your hole!
Cyclops Erasable Scratch Pads
If you’re someone like me who always loses their note pad or forgets measurements easily, this is the perfect product for you. Just peel the tape and adhere this pad to your tape measure for an easy scratch pad to make note of your measurements! Simply use your finger after to wipe it off.
Plan Table Magnifying Glass W/ LEDs
If you are working with half sheet prints or otherwise have a lot of paperwork, specs, notes, or anything else that is of small writing, this magnifying glass is perfect. It rolls effortlessly around a print cart right over what you need to see, and the LED lights built in ensure you can read it no matter the setting.
Hidden Bluetooth and Earplug Combo
Take the small Bluetooth player and clip it on the inside of your hard hat along the rim of the liner, then plug the headphones in and run it to the back of the hard hat where you adjust it. Tie it off there with a ziptie and leave enough dangling to comfortably get to your ears. You now always have a 29 decibel earplug waiting for you at all times. Oh, and it plays music, and no one will be able to tell.
Lightweight Folding Stool
This folding stool weighs 1.3lbs, can support up to 250lbs, and collapses into a bag 15″ long. It’s perfect to throw in your tool bag and bring with you onto the job site to use on breaks, or anytime you need to comfortably sit for extended periods of time like wiring up a low panel or trimming out receptacles.
Magnetic Bowl, Grabber, and Extendable Mirror
This combo set is amazing. The magnetic bowl is great to place on a lift or in a room as you do rough in to hold all your screws, nuts, and bolts. The telescoping magnetic grabber can help you pick things up in tight corners where they may have fallen behind. The telescoping mirror is priceless for looking up walls or above tight ceilings where it may otherwise be hard to look. For just over $10, this is a slam-dunk.
Automatic Wire Strippers
Those of us who want to work as an electrician long term should really consider getting a pair of automatic wire strippers. Anytime you are trimming out receptacles, or otherwise doing a lot of wire makeup, an automatic wire stripper will help save your hands and increase productivity.
The Klein version is great, as it automatically strips 8-20 AWG solid or 10-22 AWG stranded wire.
Portable 18V USB Charger
Having a lightweight USB charger that you can slap a job site battery into is invaluable. You can charge your phone, headlamp, laser pointer, or any other small device on the fly whenever you need it. Not more fighting for space on the spider box and hoping no one takes your stuff.
Hallow Socket Adapter
If you’re ever building conduit or data racks, this tool will help you get the job done a lot quicker. The hallow shaft allows you to spin the nuts far up the allthread within seconds, and the end is thin enough to fit inside the strut. You can buy this in either 9/16 or 3/4, for 3/8 of 1/2 rod. The lengths come in varying sizes too, from 3″ – 24″.
Quality Knee Pads
Hold on, hold on. I know you probably already own a pair of knee pads, and maybe even one you like. But unless you own the equivalent of this one, I implore you to try this pair out. I constantly run my mouth about how amazing these are.
First, they are insanely comfortable. As in, I can kneel on them all day without it hurting at all comfortable. The single strap is like magic, it doesn’t bind up on my pants like other pairs do AND it doesn’t slip down. I consistently wear these to my breaks because I literally forget I’m wearing them, that’s how nice these are.
Folding Drywall Saw
Here I go again, suggesting you get a tool that you likely already have. But next time you upgrade, consider Klein’s folding drywall saw. It’s a simple improvement, but the reason I love it is that it doesn’t destroy my tool belt when I throw it in. It also remains more compact when storing it away in your tool bags or backpacks.
This version of a drywall saw also can lock in at a 125 degree angle, which is useful for when you need to cut in a tight spot.
Malco Reversable Hex Drivers
I’m a big fan of tools that have multiple uses. This one is great to have in your bag, as carrying these two drivers will give you quick access to 1/4″, 5/16″, and 1/2″ drivers. No need to fish out another size, just flip the bit around. Great for light fixtures or other tasks that have multiple sized hex head screws.
Getting a set of multi-bit screwdrivers will not only save you money in the long term, it will make you more versatile and keep your bags lightweight. This set of 4 screwdrivers gives you access to 28 tips and nut drivers, for an amazing price. The 11-in-1 is the flagship tool you should keep on you at all times, and when you’re in a pinch and need a stubby or electronics screwdriver, you have every tip you’ll need. If you’re running a conduit rack, pull out the multi-nut driver.
If you don’t want to get the full set, I’d recommend getting the 11-in-1 at a minimum. It will forever change how you organize your tool belt, guaranteed.
WiHa 6-in-1 Screwdriver / Reamer
This tool blew my mind a bit. It’s an amazing tool to keep on you when running conduit. You get both #1 and #2 phillips and flathead tips, and a conduit reamer on this bad boy.
My favorite part of this is that you can either use the reamer as the hand tool as shown in the picture, or it pops out and is ready to be thrown into a drill!
This one got you to stop scrolling, didn’t it? No, it’s not what you think it is. This is a NutBoss. When you need to spin a nut up and down all thread in a spot where your hallow socket adapter won’t reach, such as above the strut, this is your best friend.
Simply throw it in a drill and pull the trigger while making contact with the nut. NutBoss will push it up or down the allthread in a matter of seconds, saving time and your hands from repetitive spinning.
Foldable Hard Hat Sun Viser
This is hands down my favorite item I bring out when I begin to work outdoors in the sun. It attaches very easily to my hard hat keeping the sun off my face, neck, and eyes, protecting me from sunburn and from the heat. When I’m done, it folds up into a small flat self contained net the diameter of a baseball.
If you want extra sun protection, I recommend getting a couple pairs of neck gators. The one listed is very breathable, tested to UPF 50 protection, and isn’t too tight around the rim making it comfortable to wear all day. This is especially useful on rooftops where the sun just reflects off the floor. Doubles as a covid mask.
When working in the heat outside or indoors, its incredibly important to stay hydrated. Liquid IV Hydration Multiplier makes this a lot easier, and tastier. I’ve traditionally stayed away from electrolyte supplements because when you actually looked at what was in them, it turns out it’s a lot of nothing.
Liquid IV has changed the name of the game however, with one packet having more electrolytes than three traditional sports drinks. Keep yourself safe from heat stroke!
Klein Dual Cooling Fan For Hard Hats
Keeping with the heat trend, Klein just put out a new hard hat cooling system that can run for a total of 6 hours! It comes with two ducts that shoot air into the top portion of your hard hat, running air up and back down your face keeping you nice and cool.
The battery pack doubles as a portable battery you can use to charge your phone or headlamp with!
Klein has a very affordable tap kit that comes in a perfect carrying case. It includes all your common thread sizes, including two 6-32 and two 8-32 taps incase they need replacing. This doubles as a great gift to that apprentice that repetitively snaps screws off while trimming out.
Rolling Shop Chair
When doing a lot of trimming out of low outlets, this chair is invaluable. It saves your knees and back and improves productivity. Throw all your material on the lower shelf, and roll from spot to spot as you do your install.
It may be a pain to haul this around yourself, so forward this page to your employer and see if they can supply some for the job!
Bosch’s laser measurer is great when needing to take a bunch of quick measurements, especially vertically. If you are working with a slanted roof and need precise measurements in different spots, this will give you quick, accurate measurements in seconds.
This is great when running MC or Romex and needing to strap it as you go. Just throw a handful of nails or screws onto the wristband, grab your hammer or drill, and get strapping!
Job Site Speaker
If your job site allows it, having a speaker around can make the day go by much faster. Klein’s speaker has a convenient magnet on the back, making it very easy to move it from stud to stud, or mount it above the ceiling with you. With a 10 hour battery life and IPX5 dust and water resistance rating, this will last you a long time.