Hello Electricians! I’m writing to you about a topic I closely relate to as an electrician and one I have a lot of fun with. This blog is speaking to current and future industrial electricians and folks looking to gear up for future jobs in environments such as mills, mines, switchgear yards, or any industrial environments. That means one thing, new tools! To remain efficient and relevant, it’s important to have electrical tools and equipment pertinent to the job and the best electrical tools for your specific environment. Let’s dive right in. Here is a list of 10 must-have industrial electrician tools.
Aerial Tool Bin
Now this first, and especially important item here is a clear favorite from those who have been lucky enough to use one. Introducing the Aerial Tool Bin brought to you by the innovative minds at Rack-A-Tiers. This thoughtful gadget attaches to square or rounded 90-degree corners of scissor lifts, boom lifts, aerial lifts, and railings with two strong locking bolts. The Aerial Tool Bin is a safe and efficient way of storing your electrical tools at waist height while on a variety of lifts.
Now this innovative tool is truly a hand-saver. Pulling twine, mule tape, hydro string, fish tape, and rope can be quite detrimental to the hands often pinching and burning the skin should you chose not to wear the proper PPE. In the electrical world, it’s a cardinal sin to stop the pull so, we grin and bear. Many reading this will be content with linesman or using an off-cut of EMT, but the Ropematic Pro eliminates this issue with speed and ease. The latch automatically locks onto your rope as you pull and unlocks as you slide the Ropematic Pro back down the rope. It’s effortless and will cut your pull time in half leaving you with plenty of time for the next task at hand. With its two cushioned handles and steel body pulling hard through 90’s and pulling multiple feet at once will make this tool a game-changer!
Trending in the direction of essential electrician tools, let’s jump to the “Big E-Z,” from Rack-A-Tiers. A method to pull wire and cable is one of those must-have items in the electrical world. This wire-carrying delight’s big selling feature is the ability to roll 300 lbs., 32″ diameter wire spools around the job site. Now I know first-hand that a lot of industrial wire may go beyond that. But let’s not toss aside the unsung heroes of this environment: rope pulls for pulling said cables. Also worth the mention are service plugs, PLC wiring, small compressor wiring, and armored cable are where the Big E-Z shines. Just throw your rolls on this bad boy and wheel it around to your heart’s content.
In the vein of my previous wire-pulling example, a “Must-Have” list would be incomplete without the mention of the Rack-A-Tiers wire dispenser. Allowing a 34″ spool onto the rack, and boasting up to 300lbs of support, this unit is no joke. It has several holes to adjust for wire size and works perfectly for dispensing wire. Plus, you can use it as a makeshift sawhorse for cutting wood or conduit, a pipe vise with its thoughtful V-notches, or as a workbench. Wire your PLC cabinets in style and then take a load off and set it up as a seat to take a break and marvel at your amazing wiring. Oh, and did I mention there is a Rack-A-Tiers XL available? That’s right, dispense even bigger and heavier reels. 40″ diameter? 500 lbs.? The Rack-A-Tiers XL handles that with ease.
Oh, and did I mention there is a Rack-A-Tiers XL available? That’s right, dispense even bigger and heavier reels. 40″ diameter? 500 lbs.? The Rack-A-Tiers XL handles that with ease. Made with the same innovative features and insanely durable material as the original Rack-A-Tiers, this is a tool that you probably won’t ever have to replace (but you might enjoy it so much that you buy more anyway).
If you haven’t come across this godsend of a tool I implore you to head right to Rack-A-Tiers website immediately and type in “Bulldog Bender.” Click on it, hit add to cart, and thank me later. This is one of my personal favorite tools in my arsenal. Bend up to 500 MCM cable with ease with this ingenious piece of craftsmanship. Available with smooth or knurled dowels this tool has two sides that can be used to bend large cables in all of the tight spaces thrown at you. Never again struggle to bend wire and cable in smaller-sized disconnects and raceways. Let’s also not ignore the glaring positive of molding cable to fit better in LB’s and transfer switches with limited space. Bulldog or bust.
An item that needs no introduction is this stellar electrician hand tool that strips, crimps, and cuts. “The Croc’s” from Rack-A-Tiers plays second to none in the way of electrician wire strippers. Still my favorite pair, this ergonomic wire stripper can strip standard AWG #10 – #22 wire and 14/2 and 12/2 NMD using razor-sharp wire stripping blades. These bad boys cut 6-32 and 8-32 machine screws, have a barrel sleeve crimper for terminal connectors, and ergonomic glow-in-the-dark handles. Good for any industry, this is one of the best electrical tools on the market.
You’d be hard-pressed to terminate any cables if you cannot enter the wires into a panel. For this, you need something for cutting mild and stainless steel. Maybe an electrical tool with a flange to prevent over-drilling to account for many cuts and sizes? You already see what I’m getting at, a Carbide-Tipped Hole Cutter Kit. These kits available on the Rack-A-Tiers website come in two sizes. The 4-piece set includes 7/8″, 1-1/8″, and 1-3/8″ sizes and a pilot bit. The 8-piece set includes 7/8″, 1-1/8″, 1-3/8″, 1-3/4″, 2″, 2-1/2″ sizes and 2x pilot bits. As an electrician, you can’t put a price on these sets as they are invaluable and essential. Lucky for us Rack-A-Tiers can, and it’s competitive, modest, and won’t leave you eating only slices of bread till the next payday.
Fish tape is one of those basic electrician tools that is as necessary as good humor in trades. Though it only has one purpose, pulling wire is a staple in our trade, making this tool essential. No worries about the decision as the materials these are made with will help narrow down your search. Steel is a popular choice due to its rigidity but there’s no replacement for a non-conductive line when fishing into a live panel like polyester. Beyond that, the length of the run and the strength of the fish tape plays a role.
Luckily, Rack-A-Tiers has the best cable-pulling and fishing tool you could ask for. The Ferret is completely unique in its design and will feel like a breath of fresh air after years spent dealing with lesser fish tapes. No more bending, kinking or getting stuck on obstacles as you try to fish wire through walls or underground spaces. This cable puller even has a guide wheel on the head that rolls right over obstructions. You have to give this a try.
Volt tick, voltage tester, pen tester, glow tester. Whatever you call it, a voltage tester is essential and important. With a non-contact voltage detection 50-1000 VAC, this voltage detector gets the job done. The Ultimate AC Sensor works well detecting voltages with an audio alert. This prevents the user from working on a live circuit. Trust and invest in your safety and you will be rewarded with a clean near-miss/injury record. In other words, if you want to spike your hair, use gel, not a live circuit.
When you need industrial-grade bits of the Allen head variety for panel terminations, miscellaneous connection points, or fasteners, then this set is a must. Treat yourself to a 1/4″ hex shank, quick connect design. These high-qualityhex key Allen bits are 6″ long for increased versatility. They also include a 3/8″ socket adapter which I’d recommend for panel terminations instead of running them in with your impact driver. Available sizes include 3/16″, 7/32″, 1/4″, 5/16″ and 3/8″.
Well, let’s call it a day. Thanks for staying tuned and reading about some amazing tools with me. My hope is you learned something and saw something you would enjoy, or at the very least appreciated I’m promoting using a socket vs. an impact driver for panel lugs. Enjoy your work in an industrial environment. Be safe and feel confident using the right tools of the trade. Cheers.
Want to learn about some of our favourite tools for Residential and Commercial Electricians? Read some of our other blogs: