Electricians use a wide variety of tools and equipment on the job. Depending on the type of work they are performing, electricians may need to use basic hand tools such as pliers, screwdrivers, hacksaws, and wire strippers, or specialized electrical tools including voltage detectors, conduit benders, and fish tapes. They may also use heavy machinery such as backhoes, cranes, orcherry pickers for larger projects.
The most common hand tools used by electricians include adjustable wrenches and open-end wrenches for tightening bolts and loosening screws; side cutters for cutting wires; needle-nose pliers for gripping small objects; wire strippers with built-in crimpers for cutting and stripping insulation from conductors; insulated screwdrivers for working around live wires; multimeters to check voltage levels; wire cutters for making clean cuts in wires without fraying them; and hacksaw blades to cut through conduits.
Aside from hand tools, electricians also use a variety of power tools such as drills, saws and sanders to bore holes in walls or ceilings or to grind down surfaces. Electricians also make frequent use of ladders, scaffolds, and lifts when working at height. When installing conduits in difficult locations such as attics or crawl spaces, electricians may opt to use a flexible conduit that can be bent by hand rather than rigid metal pipes, which require a special bender tool.
For more complex jobs involving running large lengths of cable between buildings or up the sides of buildings, electricians will use machines like threading machines with rotating heads that can pull the cable along its length at an even pace with minimal effort from the worker themselves. Other devices like hoists are often used by electricians when working high off the ground or in tight spots. Electricians may also need access to special test equipment for repairing motors and generators, such as oscilloscopes that measure current output over time.
In addition to their physical tools, many modern electricians will rely heavily on computers with specific software programs designed just for their needs, including drawing programs that can help them design plans for new installations or simulate how existing systems should be configured while troubleshooting problems.