The Proper Tools: What do I Need to work with Electricity?

Volt Tester: First and foremost you will want a volt tester to safely test whether there is an electrical current passing through the wires you are working with. Volt testers are great for fast and accurate measurements of the voltage passing through a conductor, but they also offer the safest method of testing to see if a wire is currently live. If the wire is live and you plan to work on it see if you can shut off the power in that area before you continue working.

Wire Cutters: This tool is designed with the express purpose of dealing with wires. It is able to strip the insulation and cut wires, preparing them for removal or splicing. Wire cutters should all have some kind of insulation on the handles, make sure that the insulation on yours is intact to prevent the current travelling to you. It is also a good idea to wear insulated gloves while using tools to aid your electrical safety.

Screwdriver: You may not have even considered needing a screwdriver because it seems so obvious, however a screwdriver is an important tool for electrical work. The most common types of driver heads that you will need are the Phillips and Keystone tip headed screwdrivers. If you have a multi-head screwdriver that should suit you just fine for most of your screwdriving needs. Again make sure that the tool is insulated and that the insulation is intact before using it for improved electrical safety.

Pliers: Pliers are an excellent multi-purpose tool, especially when working with electricity. They can be used to bend, cut, and strip wires, giving you a method to manipulate the wires without physically touching them. This is good for ensuring your safety from electrical currents. Pliers work the best for cutting wires when the wire is closest to the pivot point; keep in mind wire cutters are better suited for this job.

Flashlight: It is important to for your safety to be able to see what you are working on for electrical projects, however the lights in the area may be out if you have cut power from the breaker. So instead of lights it is best to use some sort of hand held flashlight or lantern. The lantern comes with an added advantage of being hands free but can be unwieldy to place where you are working. As well, with a hand held flashlight you get the maneuverability to shine the light where you need to, but are limited to working with one hand.