If you’re going to do any electrical work around the house, use this checklist to get ready.
Insulated needle-nose pliers. These are handy for getting into tight places and pulling wires through.
Electrician’s pliers. Even handier than the needle nose. If you’ve ever stripped insulation off wires with a utility knife, you’ll really appreciate the wire stripping function. A series of holes sized for different wire gauges let you strip insulation in seconds. Another hole quickly bends wires for wrapping around terminal screws. It can also cut wires and help you crimp or twist wires together. And the handles, naturally, are insulated.
Utility knife. This still comes in handy to strip the outer insulation from a cable. Draw the knife along the cable, keeping the blade between the wires inside — you don’t want to strip off the insulation on the actual wires.
Tin snips. Handy for cutting a section of cable in one quick cut.
Voltage tester. An economical tool which lets you test whether a wire is hot, and test for proper grounding. Touch one prong against a known ground and the other to the wire you want to test. If the tester lights up, the wire is hot. To check an outlet for grounding, stick one prong in the shorter (hot) slot, and the other in the grounding hole (beneath the two slots) — and then to the faceplate screw. The tester should light up both times if both the outlet and the outlet box are grounded.
Rubber shoes and gloves. Just in case.
A good 3/4″ auger bit or sharp square bit. For fast drilling through 2x4s.