Here’s my picks for 10 power-tools that I think electricians should have. There are, of course, others that could be on this list but I had to stop it somewhere. Here’s my picks:
#1 – HAMMER DRILL
Electricians use drills daily, so having a really good one is key. I’m a fan of Milwaukee, and I’ve used every brand you can think of over the years. I recommend making sure your drill has a hammer-drill feature as you will most likely be drilling anchors into stone, concrete, or other masonry.
#2 – IMPACT DRIVER
Impact drivers are used more and more these days as the go-to choice for drilling. Unless you need to drill multiple holes, or need a hammer-drill function, an impact driver is a choice drill motor to employ. It has a lot of low-end torque, it’s smaller/more compact, and less weight. I’d definitely make sure you have one of these around.
#3 – SAWZALL
Having a full-sized cordless sawzall is a no-brainer. Electricians use sawzalls on a regular bases when doing construction and demo in various environments. My two personal favorites are the Milwaukee M18 FUEL Brushless Cordless Hackzall and the Milwaukee M18 FUEL Brushless Cordless Sawzall – depending on which way you’d like the ergonomics to land, and whether or not you want a one-handed or two-handed saw. Either way you can’t go wrong, but you will need a sawzall as an electrician.
#4 – HOLE HAWG
Electricians have been using hole-hawgs (right-angle drills) for years to bore holes through studs. This is a tool you’d use when working in wooden structures and you’ve got dozens to hundreds of holes to drill. These are great when you’ve got 4 or more studs stacked together and you need to drill a hole through all of them to feed a wire through. The bits range from 6-inches to 18-inches in length. Typically we’ve used corded versions of these tools but now that they’re coming in cordless versions you don’t have to drag several extension cords around a building to drill holes.
#5 – CIRCULAR SAW
A circular saw is a great tool to have on a job if you’re in the construction side of the trade. Service electricians probably will not use these, but anyone working in a wood-framed environment will. Most of the time you’ll be using this to rip down studs and make scabs or braces for light fixtures. You could use your sawzall for this instead, but when you’re doing multiple cuts over and over, a sawzall is a much easier way to do it quickly.
#6 – JIG SAW
A jig saw is not something you’re going to use everyday. You’re probably more apt to use one if you’re in residential than anything, but I’ve used these on commercial finish-outs and remodels as well. They’re great tools for doing finish work, and some people prefer to use an oscillating tool instead, but either way both are great for precise cutting. This is not a “must-have” but it is one of those tools that as the years go on, you’ll see the benefit in having around from time to time.
#7 – ANGLE GRINDER
A cordless angle-grinder is another tool that you won’t use often, but when you do need it you want to have it. I used angle grinders over the year with several different wheels on them, most of the time in very “custom” environments. A lot of times cutting out hardy board, sheetrock, stone, steel, stainless, and sheet-metal. If you don’t do much custom work you may never have a need for this tool, but if you do I’m sure you already know where you’d use something like this.
#8 – HEAT GUN
Using a heat-gun is something electricians do every once-in-awhile. We have to apply heat-shrink wrap to terminations in doing direct-burial splice-work, or a whole host of other terminations. Sometimes labels are heat-shrink activated. A lot of people use heat guns to heat up the sticky-side of LED tape so it sticks better to the surface of cabinets or stone work. And others use it to bend PVC with. I’ve used one of these very often in both residential and commercial construction and service work.
#9 – FRAMING NAILER
The cordless battery-powered framing-nailer is a new tool on the market. It’s kind of like when the first cordless drill hit the market, EVERYBODY HAD TO HAVE ONE. Having to bring an air-compressor, extension cords, and air hoses everywhere with you is just a pain in the ass – so having a cordless battery-powered nailer that shoots full-size framing nails is an awesome ability. I use this thing in construction big time, in both residential and commercial environments. It beats swinging a hammer in tight spaces and does the job in half the time.
#10 – BAND SAW
Band-saws are very popular tools for electricians to keep around. We are cutting metal conduit and strut so often that it makes sense to have a tool like this rather than using your sawzall on everything. Band-saws offer cleaner cuts and the blades last far longer than sawzall blades. These things cut conduit like butter, and Milwaukee makes 2 different sizes – so if you want one that’s more compact you can go with the M12, or the M18 for the big boy.
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**Disclaimer – These videos are for training purposes alone, all work done on electrical systems should be done by a licensed and insured electrical contractor. If you are not an electrician, do not attempt any of the work you are seeing in these videos.**