Unique Tools for Electricians
Professional electricians swear by these tools, and you will, too. Check out our recommendations here.
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This smart little tool does a lotit 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 wont damage the individual wires, and because its inside the tool, it wont slice your fingers like a utility blade could.
Diagonal cutters have been around for decades. Now Irwin Tools has introduced a new version called the PowerSlot.
Irwin engineered the mechanics so that the cutters exert twice the cutting power of conventional diagonal cutters with the same amount of hand squeeze. Couple that with super-hardened steel to handle all that cutting power and you have a set of diagonals worth the price tag. (And yes, we really did cut that chain link with them. Youd never be able to do that with everyday cutters.)
If youre 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.
The recess handles both plain and winged connectors and, according to the company, works with all major brands. However, it works best with red and yellow sizes; orange connectors are too small. Ideal has several screwdrivers with this Twist-A-Nut handle, including 7-in-1 and ratcheting models.
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 ideathe sharp tip can poke through wire insulation. Instead, use an electricians 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.
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.
Try push-in connectors instead. Theyre simple to use and almost foolproof. Just strip the wires to the length recommended on the package and press each wire end into a separate hole in the connector. And since theyre smaller, they take up less room in the electrical box. Theyre also the perfect solution for extending wires that are too short.
A few downsides: Youll need to keep a greater variety of connectors on hand, since it wouldnt be economical to use a connector designed for six wires to connect a single pair. Also, push-in connectors cost a little more than the twist-on type. Youll find push-in connectors at home centers and online.
An electrical box that can be adjusted until its flush with the wall is a perfect solution when youre thinking about adding tile or paneling but arent 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 youve completed the wall covering. Adjustable-depth boxes cost a little more than regular boxes but are worth every penny in areas where you think youll add tile, paneling or cabinetry and dont want to guess at the depth.
Every product is independently selected by our editors. If you buy something through our links, we may earn an affiliate commission.