Behind every job well done is the skill of an artisan—and, of course, the tools that help them perform their craft. For electricians, the tools of the trade are an important part of not only a job well done, but also jobsite safety and business stability. From hand tools and safety gear to banking apps and electronic reference guides, access to the right tool at the right time is the key to success.

The best electricians always know which tools and resources will help them do their best work. Here’s a closer look at some of the tools every successful electrician has in their repertoire—whether hanging from their toolbelt or accessible on their smartphone. 

20 must-have hand tools and safety gear for electricians

Outfitting your toolbelt will help you prepare for any job: whether you’re installing outlets, expanding a breaker box, or getting to the bottom of a faulty circuit. Here are 20 essential equipment items you need to have on your belt, in your toolbox, or onboard your truck:

  1. Coax connectors: Coax connectors link cables to different devices while protecting them from shredding. A variety of connectors exist, so keep a few different types on hand so you always have what you need to get the job done.
  2. Conduit bender: A conduit bender curves conduit piping along wall corners and other hidden areas to help create non-intrusive routes for wiring.
  3. Electric drills: Electric drills take a lot of the work out of assembling, disassembling, and installing fixtures and other electrical components. Choose a cordless model with interchangeable drill bits for maximum versatility.
  4. Electrical tape: Electrical tape is pressure sensitive and can safely insulate wires or other conductive material, so the current doesn’t pass through the wrong wires or electrocute others.
  5. Fish tape: Fish tape has a retractable coil, so it can be used to run wiring between gang boxes and other electrical components through pre-installed conduit piping.
  6. Fishing rods: Fiberglass fishing rods are often used to install wire through walls, underneath flooring, and above ceilings. The hooks on the end help electricians move the wires into the appropriate locations.
  7. Flashlights: When the power is off at your worksite, flashlights are a must. Look for freestanding, heavy-duty models as well as traditional handheld flashlights like Maglites.
  8. Insulated gloves: Insulated gloves offer extra protection from electrical shock. They come in multiple styles, so you should be able to find a pair that suits your individual needs.
  9. Level: Levels are important when installing lights and other fixtures. A standard level should be sufficient, unless your specific job calls for specialty versions.
  10. Pliers: Pliers are among an electrician’s most basic tools, as they can be used to cut, twist, grip, bend, or straighten wires. You’ll probably need a variety of pliers, including reaming pliers, side-cutting pliers, and needle-nose pliers.
  11. Reaming bit: Reaming bits attach to electric drills. They’re often used to widen the opening on one end of the piping, so it can be connected to another section.
  12. Safety glasses: Protecting your vision is crucial while you’re on the job. Keep at least one pair of safety glasses in your toolkit at all times. It’s always wise to have a backup pair in case of damage.
  13. Screwdrivers: Screwdrivers are necessary for fastening or unfastening hardware. You might consider purchasing insulated screwdrivers with interchangeable bits, which can save space in your toolbox.
  14. Splicing connector: Splicing connectors are plastic clips used to make quick connections between wires.
  15. Tape measures: As an electrician, you’ll need to make exact measurements when stripping and cutting wires. Some models include multi-step locks, magnetic tips, and other useful features for professionals.
  16. Terminal block: Terminal blocks are insulated modular tools that allow electricians to group multiple wires together, typically to ground them, or to connect switches and outlets to mains.
  17. Voltage tester: A voltage tester tests outlets to see if they’re receiving power. Use them to ensure the power is off before you start work, and after the work is completed to ensure they’re receiving power once again. These also come in “non-contact” varieties, so you don’t have to make physical connections to test the power.
  18. Wire and cable lugs: These tools connect wires to appliances, devices, and cables to power them.
  19. Wire strippers: You’ll need wire strippers to remove the sheathing from wires and connect them to other components or wires. There are a variety of wire strippers available, so be sure to find out which types you’ll need most often at your specific job.
  20. Zip ties: Zip ties are used to fasten cables and wires together—they’re essential for keeping wiring neat and organized.

7 essential apps for electricians

These days, even talented tradespeople rely on digital technologies. Sure, you might spend your days crimping wire or bending conduit, but when it comes to running your business, everything is online, in the cloud. Here are 6 types of apps that any electrician can benefit from using: 

For your business

  1. Calculators and conversion apps: Free apps like ContractorCalculator can help you make measurement conversions, square footage conversions, and other important calculations on-the-fly. They bring a whole new meaning to jobsite mottos like “measure twice, cut once!”
  2. Job management software: No matter the job, there’s a lot going on! Job management apps like Jobber are critical organizational tools that can help you schedule jobs, track time and expenses, create professional quotes and invoices, manage customer information and send appointment reminders.
  3. Marketing software: Where is your next job coming from? If you intend to market yourself to local customers, you’ll need an app like Local Pro.  This tool can be used for marketing and booking jobs, and offers electrical leads from Home Depot purchases through the app. There are tons of others like it!
  4. Digital resource guides: You may have an encyclopedic knowledge, but it never hurts to have a reference. Apps like Master Electrician Reference are great for beginners and seasoned professionals alike. If you have an electrical-related question, the answer is bound to be somewhere in the charts, diagrams, formulas, and other resources.
  5. Digital business banking: As a contractor, you have special accounting and financial needs, and you need software that simplifies the administrative side of your work. Check out North One’s easy-to-use app and interface, which allow electricians to deposit money, plan for taxes, and, most importantly, manage their funds with ease. 
  6. Bookkeeping software: Speaking of finances, bookkeeping software is a must-have for electricians. QuickBooks is an easy-to-use app that allows you to create invoices, manage payroll, and handle financial tasks on-the-go or from your desktop. It’s especially helpful if you have employees working for you; however, any small business owner can benefit.

Manage your business with North One’s banking tools

North One’s small business banking tools are designed to provide the features small business owners and contractors need the most. From saving for expenses and managing your cash flow to planning for tax season, our bank accounts and financial tools should be part of every electrician’s toolkit. We offer digital banking and over 90,000 ATMs across the country, so it’s never been easier to manage your electrical business. 

Apply to North One