What to Pack in Your Journeyman Tool Bag: The Essential Guide

cut electrical cable

Just a couple of months ago, we plumbed the depths of our experience and not-so-secret society of electrical Pros to bring you the Top 10 Tools Every Electrician Needs as part of our Training The Apprentice series. But who are we kidding? That’s an eternity in the toolosphere, so we’re back to take a different approach and expand our preparedness for the next job. The Top 10 Tools might be essential, but there are certainly more that the Journeyman Electrician will want to have to make work (and life) much easier. So pull up a chair, see what some of the other guys are doing, and join in the conversation in the comments below as we discuss what to pack in your journeyman tool bag.

Editor’s Note: Check out our best tool bag roundup to see our top picks.


But first, let’s take a quick trip down memory lane to talk about those Top 10 Tools. The Pros know they always need a multimeter, voltage tester, circuit finderdiagonal cutting pliers, side cutting linemans, long nose pliers, wire strippers, fish tape, and screwdriver set.

Now, let’s talk about the tools that will really complete a Journeyman’s bag and let him be ready for much more.

I’m Forever Yours, Electrically (Journeyman)

1. Tool Belt

Sometimes it’s just not enough to have a good tool bag or box. You need the tools on you because you’re up a ladder, moving around the jobsite, or called to do some other task and you need to stay organized. You’ll want the tools at hand. That means you need a good tool belt in your bag.

2. Cordless Hammer Drill

Some jobs will require you to drill into masonry, so it’s a good idea to have a powerful drill with a hammer function to get the job done.

Best Cordless Drill Under $150 for Pros

3. GFCI Outlets

Invariably, you’ll run into older work or work that hasn’t been done to code. In the case of outlets near a water source, replace them with GFCI outlets. It’s wise to carry a few in the van to save you a trip to the store.

install GFCI circuit breakers

4. Arc Fault Breaker

For safety’s sake, replace old breakers with arc fault breakers that detect electrical slow leaks. Have some of these handy as well.

What is an Arc Fault Circuit Breaker

5. Knockout Punch

If you’ll be doing an installation in addition to service work, you’ll need a knockout punch along the way to prepare cans. Don’t worry, it’s not nearly as painful as it sounds.

Southwire Max Punch XD Knockout Tool

6. Tape Measure

Hey, because you can’t just eyeball it!

Klein Tools 25-Foot Double Hook Magnetic Tape Measure

7. Torpedo Level

Every tradesman needs to be sure each step of his work is level, plumb, and square to make sure the guy after him can do his job well and to ensure an excellent result. Choose one with rare-earth magnets so it sticks to conduit during bends. If you want bonus points, a lighted model helps.

What to Pack in Your Journeyman Tool Bag: The Essential Guide

8. Wire Pulling System

In a perfect world, we could install wires before sealing up the walls and floors. Good luck with that! For installation behind existing surfaces, bring along a wire pulling system.

What to Pack in Your Journeyman Tool Bag: The Essential Guide

9. Work Gloves

Don’t be a hero, protect the things that make your living by slipping on some good work gloves that give protection but allow dexterity.

What to Pack in Your Journeyman Tool Bag: The Essential Guide

10. Cordless Band Saw

Frankly, you will probably need a bigger tool bag. But if yours is big enough, consider the king of metal cutting: the cordless band saw.

What to Pack in Your Journeyman Tool Bag: The Essential Guide

Epilogue: What to Pack in Your Journeyman Tool Bag

Between the Top 10 Tools and this article, new guys should be well on their way. We want you to have everything needed to get the job done without running to the store. If you’re an apprentice, we hope this helps you be more knowledgeable on what to pack in your Journeyman tool bag. Pros can also leave us additional electrical tool tips in the comments below. You can also hit us up on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter!

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