6 Essential Power Tools Every Electrician Needs (With Pictures)

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Which power tools do electricians use the most, and how do they use them on a daily basis? These are some of the questions I plan to address in this article. As an electrician, I’ve used a wide range of power tools to complete an even wider range of tasks. However, there are definitely some power tools that I have used far more than others and, as a result, consider to be most essential for people working in the electrical trade. The following are the most important power tools for electricians.

In my experience, a cordless drill, an impact driver, a rotary hammer drill, a multi-tool, an angle grinder, and a wall chaser are the most important and necessary power tools for electricians. If you have all of these power tools, you should be able to install the majority of electrical installations.

There you have it. These are the power tools I use the most in my work as an electrician. Obviously, depending on the task, I use many more. But I must admit that having just these six different power tools will get you a long way when it comes to installing and maintaining electrical components. In this article, I will further introduce and explain each tool on the list, as well as its use-cases and implementations. For good measure, here is a list of the most important power tools for electricians.

  • Cordless Drill
  • Impact Driver
  • Rotary Hammer Drill
  • Multi-Tool
  • Angle Grinder
  • Wall Chaser

These have proven to be the most essential power tools working as an electrician. However, the list could be expanded with a sea of different tools and variants, which could be used for other purposes. However, in this article, I will explain the use-cases for each of the most essential power tools. The list of power tools is structured hierarchically, which means I start out with the ones I use most often.

What Power Tools Does an Electrician Need?

Power tools are implemented in the parts of an electrician’s work tasks, where manual labor just isn’t quite enough to get the job done. Surely, if you wanted to, and had all the time in the world, you could use only your hands. Power tools are implemented in the parts of an electrician’s work tasks, where manual labor just isn’t quite enough to get the job done.

Surely, if you wanted to (and had all the time in the world), you could use only the natural strength of your hands. But if we want to be as effective as possible, we have to use the right power tools dedicated to the specific task. The following list of power tools is the ones I have found to be most important in my everyday life as an electrician.

Cordless Drill: Powered With 18V

The cordless drill is at the top of the list for a very good reason. Although a screwdriver can be used for many of the same tasks, the cordless drill is a much-appreciated time-saver for electricians and other tradespeople. There are different preferences as to which type of drill suits the individual person. This also comes down to which brand you would choose for yourself. In my work as an electrician, my go-to cordless drill is the 18V drill from Milwaukee. There are multiple reasons why I prefer this drill; some of which include the battery life and the ability to shift power tools with the same 18V battery.

Milwaukee Cordless Drill, 18V

I personally use this cordless drill by Milwaukee with the 18V battery option. This drill weighs 2.5 pounds and has a maximum speed of 1800 RPM (rotations per minute). Important note: You will have to buy the 18V battery separately, as it is not included in this deal.

A number of electricians I work with also prefer the cordless drill supplied with the 12V battery. The cordless drill with the 12V battery has the advantage of being much lighter while both carrying around and operating for different tasks. If you’re about to gather a collection of power tools for electrical work, I would highly suggest considering the 18V model, as the battery integrates with a larger selection of other power tools.

Impact Driver

An impact drill is a high-torque tool for tightening or loosening screws, nuts, and bolts. When dealing with particularly tight and clamped screws, where a standard drill simply couldn’t handle the job, I’ve mostly used an impact drill. In this case, an impact driver can handle more heavy-duty work. Another benefit of the impact driver is its compactness and lightweight when compared to a standard drill. It allows you to reach smaller spaces where electrical components must be firmly attached. Even though I don’t use an impact driver as frequently as I do my 18V cordless drill, I appreciate its features and applications in certain work tasks.

Makita Cordless Impact Driver, 18V

The brushless motor in this Makita impact driver has a maximum speed of 3400 RPM (rotations per minute) and the tool weighs 2.6 lbs. Important note: You will have to buy the 18V battery separately, as it is not included in this deal.

I recall one particular task where my impact driver came in handy. In this case, I was given the task of disassembling several server rack cabinets. Initially, I attempted to loosen the colts with my standard Philips screwdriver. After a few curse words and struggles, I reached out to the impact driver. “An impact driver has the ability to unfasten screws with high force, effectively “hammering” the bolts loose. Instead of taxing my hand strength, the impact driver made this assignment as simple as child’s play.

Rotary Hammer Drill

With concrete being the standard material for a lot of new construction, a rotary hammer drill is a must-have power tool for any electrician. I’ve used both corded and cordless rotary hammer drills. The advantage of using a cordless drill is obviously that you can take it wherever you want. I, on the other hand, prefer to use a rotary hammer drill that can be powered by an outlet. When using a rotary hammer drill for an extended period of time, having a constant power source is extremely beneficial. You’ll need at least two batteries if you’re using a cordless rotary hammer drill, as you’ll frequently run out of power.

HILTI Corded Rotary Hammer Drill

During my time as an electrician, I primarily use the corded rotary hammer drill from Hilti. This particular model is operated with a 120-volt outlet and has a maximum speed of 740 RPM. SDS drill sets need to be purchased separately.

However, if you work as an electrician in a residential setting, the cordless drill is usually the best option. In most cases, all that is necessary is a few holes to be drilled, and no constant power source is required. A rotary hammer drill with a vacuum attachment is another useful feature for residential electricians. This cuts down on the amount of dust and general “mess” you’d otherwise leave behind.

Oscillating Multi-tool

An oscillating multi-tool (also known as a finecutter or multicutter) is a tool used to cut precise shapes in materials such as drywall, plastic, and wood. In my own experience, I’ve used the multicutter to expand sockets for power outlets and adjust cable canals. It works by vibrating the sharp blade attachment many times per second, allowing it to carve away excess material. Again, this particular power tool is an excellent addition to an electrician’s toolbox because it saves a significant lot of time and energy. A multicutter is simple to use, but it should be used with caution. When compared to drills, it has a much higher speed capacity, with orbits as high as 20.000 to 30.000 per minute.

Milwaukee, Cordless Multi-Tool

Milwaukee’s multi-tool has a universal adapter that can be used to apply blades and attachments for a variety of tasks. You can switch between 5.000 and 20.000 orbits per minute with the Milwaukee 2426-20 multi-tool. It is also quite handy and light in weight when compared to other power tools.

A multi-tool also has its name for a very good reason, as it can be applied for multiple purposes. There is no single purpose for these power tools, and the applications are endless. In many cases, a multicutter would be considered an over-kill. It really comes down to the individual work task. There is a general saying among electricians concerning especially power tools. You don’t work the tool, you let the tool work for you.

Angle Grinder

On several occasions, I’ve been very fortunate to be in the presence of a much-needed angle grinder. In several instances of my apprenticeship, I’ve had to install and adjust metal cable trays with the old-school metal saw. After three hours of sawing through raw metal, and many more meters of cable trays to install, I wondered if there really wasn’t any easier way to get the job done? And yes there is.

Milwaukee, Cordless Angle Grinder

This Milwaukee angle grinder utilizes the same 18V Lithium-Ion battery as the cordless drill, mentioned above in this article. The Milwaukee 2680-20 angle grinder weighs just 1 pound and comes with both a safety switch and a handle for operating the tool with stability.

An angle grinder is used to cut through hard metal, which is something that an electrician will have to do frequently. The angle grinder, like the multi tool (and most other electrical power tools), can be a dangerous piece of equipment, and there are a number of safety precautions you’ll need to take when using it. It is available in both corded and cordless versions. In most cases, I would recommend just getting the cordless angle grinder because you will most likely be using it for shorter periods of time.

Wall Chaser

A wall chaser (also known as a groove cutter) is one of those power tools that you can’t live without if you work as an electrician. A wall chaser is used by an electrician to carve out an internal path (conduit) in walls or surfaces where cables need to be installed. This is, in my opinion, one of the more physically demanding power tools to operate.

A wall chaser, on the other hand, is a tool that, in its own way, makes an electrician’s job much easier. A wall chaser is available in a variety of versions depending on the material to be carved. I’ve mostly used this powerful tool to install conduits in masonry walls. However, wall chasers with the ability to carve out conduits in concrete can also be acquired.

Wall Chaser

I wouldn’t suggest buying a wall chaser, for anyone who is not certified electricians or tradespeople. If you have a task, where a wall chaser is necessary, I would recommend either hiring a professional or getting proper guidance before using this power tool.

Which Power Tool Brand Is Best for Electricians?

The rather tedious answer to this question is that it depends on a variety of factors. It will in some ways depend on your training and the tools you’ve been accustomed to operating. And in similar ways, it will just come down to an individual’s personal preference.

In my own opinion (which is also a widely known preference among electricians), Milwaukee really does produce some of the best power tools out there. If I were to pick just one, Milwaukee would certainly be my choice. My second option would be power tools manufactured by Makita.

Also Read: Why do electricians use Milwaukee tools?

Although, I also find it worth mentioning, that Makita is a close runner-up when it comes to the manufacturing of electrical power tools. The one thing I like about Makita is the comfortable grip, which in my experience, is just one step ahead of the other brands. Also, like Milwaukee, Makita also has a wide selection of power tools, which are operated with the same 18V or 12V battery. This feature makes it easy and simple to quickly switch power tools when necessary.

Also Read: Best Makita drill for home use (a hands-on review)

Final Notes: I hope I’ve offered you some helpful information on the most important power tools for electricians. This article was largely inspired by my own work as an electrician. As a natural occurrence, opinions will most likely differ depending on which electrician you ask.