As someone dealing with electrics, the gear you’ll need falls into three categories. A solid starter kit will include diagnostic tools (like multimeters and voltage-finders), standard prep tools (like spirit levels and claw hammers), and insulated tools for the electrical work itself.
Is there a single electric tool set out there which gives you all of this in one shot? If there is, it’s hiding. A kit this focused and comprehensive tends to be the work of guys at the hardware store, always alive to the possibilities of bundling tools into handy work hampers.
If you’ve been frustrated by attempts to find a single all-in-one kit, then we sympathize. However, all is not lost. You can take stock of the basic equipment you already have and combine items across the different tool functions in order to create a work hamper of your own.
To make this easier for you, we’ve looked at the main items you’ll need to get up and running, and looked at six kits which provide a helpful overlap of your main purchasing needs. If you have time and you’d like a little inspiration, you can always read on for our electrician’s kit wish list and tips to make life easier for yourself if you’re new to this particular discipline.
Short on time? Here are the best electrician tool sets in 2021:
OUR TOP PICK
OUR TOP PICK
In comparison to the other options in this selection, the Klein kit does have a bare bones and minimalist look to it. When competing with other kits which are packed with tools, frankly the Klein apprentice tool set does not have generosity on its side.
What it lacks in budget-saving qualities, it regains in convenience. There is a lot to be said for having your most frequently used tools on you at all times. Upright tote arrangements on a tool belt are exceptionally helpful for easy identification of tools and instant accessibility. The pouch has 12 compartments and is made of Cordura fabric, which has the benefit of being durable, lightweight, and easy to wash. The weave makes it resistant to punctures, which is the most likely form of wear and tear.
The tools themselves are of a high quality. Klein is a respected name in terms of craftmanship and durability. You get a lot of functionality in a small bundle, and since we’re not dealing with a 168-piece kit here, we’ll itemize what you get for your money: Four screwdrivers, insulated and with cushion-grip handles for solid torque and comfort; angle-headed diagonal cutters made with short jaws and beveled edges for close cuts; a tidy little wire stripper, which can also loop and gauge 10-18 AWG solid wire; and four sets of pliers. The Lineman pliers feature the dual function of being able to secure and tug flat steel fish tape without damaging it, so that potentially saves you the need to get a RIDS kit.
A great benefit to having such a streamlined set of tools is being able to tuck the whole 11-part kit into a larger bag along with the bulkier items which will make up your professional armory, like the multimeter and the oscillating cutters. That said, a little more generosity with the accessories wouldn’t go amiss. Just for example, a combined volt-finder and flashlight would be a nice extra, and it would fit nicely into the pouch.
👍 Premium quality tools
👍 Strong pouch and belt
👍 Instant and constant accessibility
👍 Tools are ergonomic and user-friendly for new and nervous
👎 The price
👎 The kit is a little too spartan for some
Having been significantly reduced in price, this 3-item diagnostics kit is a safety and knowledge bundle to add to your overall kit alongside your practical prep and repair tools.
The centerpiece of the kit is the eponymous Manual-Ranging digital Multimeter (the MM300) itself. The MM300 has a safety rating of CAT III, 600v. It’s double insulated and measures AC/DC voltage, and DC current and resistance. It’s not an all-singing and all-dancing device (for example, it won’t send readings to your smartphone through a Bluetooth link), but it’s a reliable tool with strong backlighting. Test leads are included, of course, neatly tucking into the rear when not in use. Batteries are provided for both the MM300 and the non-contact voltage tester (NCVT1).
The NCVT is user-friendly with a light that remains green when switched on and in operation but which turns red when voltage is detected. It will also emit a warning tone. The ON-OFF power button is digitally controlled. Should you forget to turn it off, then you can fall back on the auto power-down feature so that your batteries don’t run flat in the bottom of your bag.
The outlet tester will detect the most common faulty configurations, such as open ground, hot or neutral circuits. If the hot and ground wires are reversed, you’ll get an indication. It’s not sophisticated enough to report on the quality of the ground connection or report on fault combinations, but it will broadcast where the problem is.
This kit is useful for ensuring electrical safety while carrying out minor home repairs, or to help you describe and understand a problem pointed out by a pro electrician.
👍 Good value for money
👍 The devices are easy to use
👍 Provided batteries are a nice touch
👍 Clear lights and displays
👎 Not sophisticated enough for professional work
👎 Instructions could be clearer
This is the cheapest, neatest, and most basic kit in this selection, which makes it an ideal base for which to add your specialist kit. The tidy zip-up case contains a voltage tester (125-250v range), four screwdrivers, two sets of pliers—long nosed and diagonal side cutters—and red electrical tape. Everything that’s necessary, and neatly held in place. With the cable manipulation tools acquired without severe wallet pain, you can stock up on all the specialist equipment to get your jobs done quickly and safely. You might even want to buy this alongside the RexBeti tool kit (see further down) and you’d still be paying under $90.
Wouldn’t you be doubling up on pliers and screwdrivers, then?
Well, yes and no. Yes, you’ll have a good choice of pliers and screwdrivers. No, you’ll only have one set of tools which can withstand a 1000v shock thanks to the insulation that runs right up to the functional tip of the tool, where it has to be bare to do the job. If your palm slips on the handle of these at the wrong moment, then you’re in less danger of zapping yourself to kingdom come if you brush the body of the tool with a knuckle or fingertip. These are professional tools.
👍 Safest basic tools
👍 Durable and reliable
👎 It would be helpful to have markers at the base of the screwdrivers so you can see what you’re reaching for from a distance
👎 Very minimalist kit
This is the kit you want to buy if your garage or working van gets cleaned out by thieves. We’ll admit straight up that it is a general repair kit, hence the 300+ tools. What it does have, specific to your needs as an electrician, is the full set of screwdrivers plus a handle to which you can attach 40 screw-top iterations, including a pozidrive-2 attachment for those awkward fuse board repairs. All three varieties of pliers are included, as is electrical tape, a measuring tape, spirit level, cable ties and a hammer.
We won’t sing you to sleep with the full array of contents, but other notable implements are the utility knife and spare blades, the two arrays of hex wrenches, and a giant socket set. Your DIY kit and automobile will thank you for this restock.
The tools themselves meet or surpass ANSI standards. They’re made of vanadium steel, which gives you a decent resilience for the price, and all handles have a nice grip to them for efficient and comfortable use. The WORKPRO nylon bag is also robust and contains a good number of pockets and compartments. It’s as nice to carry as to store—the handles wrap into a padded grip, and the shoulder strap has a pad to stop the entire load slipping down onto the floor.
It feels almost mean to criticize this generous array, but because it’s so broad-spec, it lacks profession-specific tools like a crimper, wire strippers, voltage finder or fish tape. That said, you’ll go well equipped for all the repairing jobs which come with prepping the work and tidying up after yourself.
👍 Great value for money
👍 Biggest array of tools
👍 Good quality storage
👍 User-friendly, durable tools
👎 Helpful for electricians rather than specifically targeted
This is the least expensive kit on offer, exceptionally generous with the tool supply, and it comes with an amazing bag.
We’ll be honest and admit up front that it is a useful kit for an electrician to have alongside more specialized instruments, rather than being a kit compiled and aimed at electricians. That said, the contents are more specifically electrician-focused than those that come with the WorkPro set.
For example, you get a voltage tester, cable ties, pliers, 5m electrical tape, magnetic level, tape measure, hammer, and an LED flashlight. We couldn’t see wire strippers or crimpers, but since this whole kit will cost you under $60, that leaves room in the budget for loading up your bag with the items not included.
Speaking of bags, we weren’t kidding about how fabulous it is. It’s a unique selling point all by itself, featuring an internal metal frame which holds it open while you work. There are five rubbery base pads which give your tools some protection in wet and dirty conditions, and which alleviate the impact if you drop it. There are no fewer than 11 interior and—even better—8 exterior pockets. You can keep it next to you while you work, retrieving everything you need easily and making tidy-up time a snip. It’s great to have something that keeps you organized while you’re up against a clock and not just while in storage.
The vast majority of the tools are made of vanadium steel and finished in chrome for corrosion protection.
👍 Contains several of the tools that you’ll need
👍 Great value for money
👍 Great quality for money
👍 Great storage and organization design for the bag
👎 Electrical tools not 1000v insulated
👎 Largely marketed at DIY guys who occasionally handle electrics
Yes, Thor’s Hammer looks a lot of fun to haul around. No, we haven’t just included this for the laughs. Among the useful items in this kit are: a voltage tester, electrician’s tape, pliers, tape measure, sealant tape, screwdriver and specialized bits, and—the holy grail of compact kits—a 5-in-1 telephone screwdriver.
Like the REXBETI, this hugely reduced kit comes in under $60 so you’ll be able to grab the parts that those fun-loving manufacturers left out.
You’d be forgiven for mistaking the levity behind the case design for goofiness, or perhaps a lack of seriousness about building something durable for the tools. Though we do recommend that you use a contrastingly sober bag for your bulkier gear—just for those professional appearances—the case is tougher and more functional than it looks. It’s been heat-treated and chrome plated, and the handle is made good and grippy TPR materials.
The tools themselves are tough and precise and meet or exceed ANSI standards. Even better, they’re fixed into place inside so that they don’t all throw themselves on the ground when you fold the sides of the case upward to close it.
👍 Great conversation-starter
👍 Good quality tools
👍 Good proportion of specific electrician’s tools
👍 Great price
👎 You’ll need complementary professional-looking kit gear so people take you seriously
👎 Despite grippy fabric, a weight-bearing tubular handle is never going to be ergonomic
👎 Electrical tools not 1000v insulated
Things to Consider Before Buying the Best Electrician Tool Set
Sticking with the idea that your overall collection of tools forms your “hamper”, here’s a few must-haves. They’re your crockery, cutlery, and main dishes. It’s so much nicer to associate hard work with luxury snacks.
- Screwdrivers and pliers with insulated handles (1000v protection) and voltage detectors to ensure there is no live current at the point at which you believe the electricity to be switched off. These are life-saving hand tools.
- As well as a traditional pair of pliers to remove stubborn staples and nails, it’s good to have long-nosed pliers to manipulate cables, and diagonal cutters for precision work. You’ll also need wire strippers on a day-to-day basis.
- You’ll need general tools with non-conductive handles for installation and prep purposes. Examples are claw hammers, spirit levels, tape measures, and flashlights.
- Diagnostic tools to keep in your kit are circuit finders (ones which also detect studs are particularly useful), a receptacle or outlet reader with a light system to indicate wiring problems, a voltage detection pen, and a multimeter.
- Safety glasses and a small first-aid kit. Wires and tools can be sharp, and cut fingers don’t know when to quit seeping.
The following tools will make your life a lot easier:
- A head torch or magnetic lamp
- A labeling kit. If you make your fuse board clear to read, everyone will love you. Not just your relatives, but future owners of your home.
- A bag which holds your tools upright while you’re working
- A laser measure
- An oscillating cutting tool to create channels for cables
- A utility knife
- A crimping tool. A wire cutter used gently is never going to work.
- A cordless combination drill
Organization tips for new electricians
- If possible, it’s handy to have your main pliers and screwdrivers marked on the base so that you know exactly what you’re reaching for. There’s usually plenty of room to write the code in a fine-tipped sharpie.
- Organize your toolkit so that you can run a really fast inventory each time you leave for a job or just before you finish. Losing a tool in a moment of preoccupation is as annoying as hell, and it doesn’t create a great impression if you have to call a client to ask if you left something behind.
- You may have bought tools which are made of non-corrosive materials, or which have corrosion-resistant platings. Even so, store your kit somewhere dry. Rust can make them unusable—particularly the tools with tension springs.
- Clean your tools often. Don’t let them go back in your bag when they’re gritty or oily.
- Make a habit of charging any cordless tool at the same time as another activity you always do the day before you’re doing a job. For example, once you’ve marked the time on the family calendar, plug that tool in. Create an automatic association so that you don’t even have to remember to do it.
- Finally, don’t leave a busted tool in your bag. Ever. Always put it to one side so that you’re not fooled into thinking that it’s still good. That said, only toss it once you have your replacement. Serial numbers and measurements for replacements can be very useful.
Every electrician should invest in a proper electrician tool set. You can be the best electrician, but without proper tools, you simply can't do even the simplest things. Building your tool arsenal takes time, but there are sets that include a variety of diverse tools that make the smart investement while starting out. We hope you can find helpful tips and suggestions in our guide.