Electrical Tool Reviews & Buying Guides

When you talk to electricians, tools become a sort of sacred thing. Everyone has their favorites. Still, we have swayed more than one journeyman by placing a new tool in his hands. Our electrical tool reviews aim to reveal what electricians think about new products coming to market. Those might include a Klein non-contact voltage tester, Southwire RB1000 BendStation, or even hand tools. The new Milwaukee Gen2 combination wire pliers made a particularly big impact with some of our guys. Hands-on Electrical Tool Reviews Our hands-on electrical tool reviews take things like press tools and metal hole saws and find out if they work faster than existing products. Manufacturers are quick to make claims, but testing those claims is what helps Pros and know if a tool can cut it in the field. Our Pro electricians work with us to determine whether or not new tools are accurate, ergonomic, and/or just plain helpful.

Bosch RH228VC Bulldog Xtreme Max Rotary Hammer Preview

Bosch RH228VC Bulldog Xtreme Max Rotary Hammer Preview

Bosch broke new naming records when it announced the RH228VC Bulldog Xtreme Max Rotary Hammer. I mean, it’s got to be good to be named Bulldog AND Xtreme AND Max. In actuality, we think it probably should have been named the Bosch RH228VC Bulldog Pitbull Super Xtreme Ultra Max Premium Vibration Control Rotary Hammer, but maybe we’re a bit more adventurous than the product managers over at Bosch (you know who you are!) We’re certainly more facetious. Bosch specifically designed the RH228VC to master both power and vibration control. As a result, the hammer – according to Bosch – delivers 40 percent more speed, 20 percent more power (2.4 ft lbs) and up to 30 percent less vibration (12 m/s2) than a majority of the other rotary hammers in its class.

Milwaukee 5316-21 1-9/16" Spline Rotary Hammer Preview

Milwaukee 5316-21 1-9/16 Spline Rotary Hammer Preview

Continuing their expansion of their rotary hammer line, Milwaukee has introduced a new 1-9/16″ Spline Rotary Hammer. This new rotary hammer delivers the durability users have come to expect from Milwaukee, with a 10.5-amp motor and 5.5 ft-lbs of impact energy. We’ve picked up and used several of Milwaukee’s rotary hammers and they are a force to be reckoned with. The new hammer is an improvement in that it offers new features to increase efficiency and lower the amount of work (effort) you have to expend in order to achieve the results you need.

Milwaukee 5317-21 1-9/16" SDS Max Rotary Hammer Preview

Milwaukee 5317-21 1-9/16 SDS Max Rotary Hammer Preview

Continuing their expansion of their rotary hammer line, Milwaukee has introduced a new 1-9/16″ SDS Max Rotary Hammer. This new rotary hammer delivers the durability users have come to expect from Milwaukee, with a 10.5-amp motor and 5.5 ft-lbs of impact energy. We’ve picked up and used several of Milwaukee’s rotary hammers and they are a force to be reckoned with. The new hammer is an improvement in that it offers new features to increase efficiency and lower the amount of work (effort) you have to expend in order to achieve the results you need.

Klein J2000 Side-Cutting Lineman's Pliers Review

Klein J2000 Side-Cutting Linemans Pliers Review

If you ask ten electricians which company makes the best lineman’s pliers, all ten would say ‘Klein’ (trust me, I actually asked ten… and I’m an electrician). In fact, most electricians call any lineman’s pliers “Kleins” – though they probably shouldn’t. They have set the standard for lineman’s pliers in the way that Xerox set the standard for copying machines back in the day, or Kleenex did for tissues. Klein tools are on the top of the list for electrician’s tools because it’s their specialty – and when that’s all you do, you tend to get good at it. The Klein lineman’s pliers are said to be the best made. With all of the recent competition, and years of other manufacturers crafting competing products, we were curious to see if they still held the title.

Porter-Cable PCC581B 18V Infrared Thermometer Review

Porter-Cable PCC581B 18V Infrared Thermometer Review

Getting a quick and accurate bead on the temperature differential around an AC duct or a door can be a lifesaver for air mechanical technicians and energy efficiency specialists. While there are a lot of tools on the market that can help you do this, it’s nice to be able to reach for a familiar name – particularly when your shop is already equipped with compatible batteries and chargers. Recently Porter-Cable launched the PCC581B Infrared Thermometer, which comes as a bare tool, making it a great choice if you’re already vested in their 18V cordless platform. And if you’re not, Porter Cable also offers a 9V-powered version, the PCC582B. Both of these infrared thermometers incorporate a tri-color beam that indicates temperature changes visually along with the digital readout. When you pull the trigger, the thermometer takes a reference temperature reading while it projects a circular green beam onto the surface at which it is aimed. The projected beam colors change when a difference in temperature is detected as you scan it across an area. A blue beam identifies a cooler spot, and a red beam indicates a hotter area.

Masterforce 18V Cordless Band Saw 241-0440 Review

Masterforce 18V Cordless Band Saw 241-0440 Review

The Masterforce 18V cordless band saw was something that intrigued me. It looked light and portable and it was based on a decent platform that I was familiar with, so I knew there were batteries, chargers, and other tools that could work off the same system. That alone made it expandable and attractive and, besides that, I had been looking forward to trying out a cordless version of this type of tool for quite a while now. Not many DIY-types will have much use for a cordless band saw, but if you are an electrician or a plumber, it will almost undoubtedly be one of the greatest power tools in your bag. I happen to work for a local electrical company and so the ideas that were running through my head while pondering the use of this type of tool in my daily job, were beginning to overwhelm me. This was going to be a review I could really dive into.