How to Use Cheap Electrical Testers

Three testers make electrical work safer and easier — and for less than $20, you can own them all.

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We'll show you how to use inexpensive electrical testers to make electrical work safer and easier. We cover three testers — a non-contact voltage tester, a circuit tester and a continuity tester. You can buy all three at home centers for about $20. Then you'll never have to worry about getting shocked again.

Tools Required

  • Non-contact voltage tester
  • Circuit tester
  • Continuity tester

A non-contact voltage tester, a circuit tester and a continuity tester — they cost less than $20 altogether at home improvement centers. Here, we explain why that’s money well-spent.

Project step-by-step (13)

Step 1

How to Test Electrical Outlets and How to Test a Light Switch with a Non-Contact Voltage Tester

  • This is the safest tool to confirm that electrical power is off, even before you touch a wire.

Non-Contact Voltage TesterFamily Handyman

Step 2

Test the Receptacles

  • Test receptacles with an electrical outlet tester to make sure they’re off before removing them.
  • Turn the power off to the outlet.
  • Shove the electrical outlet tester nose into the narrow (hot) slot of the receptacle.
    • Note: The tester will light and chirp continuously if the power is still on.

Test the ReceptaclesFamily Handyman