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Electrical Toolkit And Surviving A Power Outage

by The Handyguys

in Audio Podcasts


First up the electrical tool kit we talk about some key tools for doing electrical work and comment on an article in Fine Homebuilding called An Electrical Tool Kit by Brian Walo.
Fine Homebuilding says (About Brian Walo’s article):

He recommends three electrical testers, a variety of drivers (Phillips head, flat head, nut driver, and Robertson drivers), pliers (side-cutting, crimpers, strippers, end cut, and needle nose), and materials (electrical tape, wire nuts, crimping sleeves, bonding screws, cable clamps, staples, and screws).

Well we discuss what a typical handyguy may want to have and share some of our own favorites in the podcast.
Below are some must haves.


Electrical test KitWell, we think there should be several types of testers. Some simple, some fancier, depending on what you are testing. The three types each have different purposes.
First – A non-contact voltage Tester. This type of tester can tell you if you if a wire is “hot” without needing to remove a wire nut. Its a good first check but many recommend that you also use a true voltage meter to be positive the electric is off before you work on something.
Second – A tester that checks for correct wiring. These are simple devices that you plug into a receptacle and indicator lights tell you if its wired correctly. The one in our kit below also can test GFCIs.
Lastly – A voltage meter – A voltage meter is used to measure the voltage on a particular wire or for testing continuity. It can also test batteries and other low voltage circuits.
This kit from Greenlee includes all three at a good price.


Screwdrivers are needed. For electrical work a number of different sizes and styles are needed. The Handyguys and the author of the Fine Homebuilding article all despise “standard” or slotted screwdrivers but they are a necessary part of the process. ScrewdriversYou couldn’t install a faceplate without one. Many of the older devices only have slotted screw heads. You will need two sizes of slotted, small and medium. Philips is pretty common these days and a decent #2 Philips is probably your most used size. Many of the newest devices use square drive or robertson tips. They give very good positive grip on the screw heads.
This set from Klein is top of the line and wont break the bank. It includes all the sizes you would need except the square drive

The square drive can be bought separately. squareThis square drive screwdriver also has a little hook right below the handle for bending wire. It really speeds up the job of putting in outlets and switches because you do not need to reach for your pliers to put the bend on the end of a wire you are going to terminate.


Get the best pair of “linemans pliers” you can buy. Cheap ones will dull, Lineman Plierschip and generally frustrate you . They are used for many things from cutting, twisting, crimping and pulling.

Strippers – You can strip wire with a pocket knife or even your linemans pliers. A tool dedicated to the task will be easier and faster.


In the podcast we also go into a lot of other items such as wire nuts, screws, crimps, clamps, staples and so forth. If you want links to any of that just use our contact form and we will get them for you.


  • Have some extra screws handy. 8/32 and 6/32 will be the most common size.
  • For fishing wire the author uses a 10′ piece of pex tubing. Read the article for how that works.

When the power goes out.

The music provided at the beginning of this segment is from Mevio’s Music Alley. Check it out at

Portable Generator

Standby GeneratorWhen would you use a portable generator and when would you want a standby generator? The Handyguys discuss the options and pros and cons of different types.

Bottom line – when using a portable generator make sure you follow all of the safety rules provided in the owners manual.

This post is sponsored by erento – Whatever the magnitude or complexity of the project you wish to undertake, online tool hire will provide you necessary tools and equipment.

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