No electrician worth their salt gets stuck into replacing a single light switch, adjusting a single circuit breaker or tightening the simplest screw without their trusty set of electricians’ screwdrivers. Why’s that? That non-conductive insulation protects against electric shock, the reinforced and specially-profiled tip does its work without damage in the tightest of working spaces, and that high-quality screwdriver has been tested and certified for all the strictest standards.
But believe it or not, a simple step-by-step guide that takes every aspect of professional product selection into consideration from every angle is actually a super-rare thing. That may be because electricians are among those professions that like to keep their highest-performing tools close to their chests, in order to maintain a competitive edge in a cluttered local market.
Well, we think your organisation can go from sub-par tools to the precise electrician’s screwdrivers for your purposes and budget in as few as these 4 simple steps:
1. What are your needs?
There aren’t just a lot of electrical tasks within a typical electrician’s remit – there are a lot of different types of electricians, too! From residential sparkies to specialist industrial electricians, master electricians to low-voltage electricians, and outside linemen to inside wiremen, each of them generally performs a specific set of electrical tasks – that will require a specific set of screwdrivers.
2. What’s your favourite brand?
Ask a sparky what their favourite tool brand is, and they’ll give you a very personal answer. But it’s almost beyond doubt that it’s a specialist brand with a great reputation for quality, durability, ease of use and high safety standards. Reading specialist electrician blogs and product review pages is a great place to start, but another great tip for screwdriver selection is a brand with a big range, great warranties, and a reputation for performance that justifies the price.
3. What insulation do you require?
Arguably the biggest difference between that stock-standard screwdriver and an electrician’s tool is the insulation. Handle insulation is the big one, as that’s the part that’s in the vulnerable human hand, but many electricians screwdrivers feature insulation and special coatings and materials all the way down to the tip – because you can’t take a single chance when it comes to the risk of electric shock. There are different current and voltage ratings for different levels of insulation protection, which has an impact on what materials are used, including:
There are also a range of coatings that can cover the metal elements of electricians’ screwdrivers, ranging from protection against slip, chemicals, heat, wear and more.
4. What certifications are needed?
In Australia, we take the safety of electricians screwdrivers very seriously. Depending on your industry, tasks and conditions, there are a range of certifications to know about, overseen by the Electrical Regulatory Authorities Council (ERAC). Electrical tools featuring the RMC – the Regulatory Compliance Mark – prove that it meets Australian electrical standards, but your chosen tool may also need official certification for:
* Australian/New Zealand Standards (AS/NZS)
* International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC)
* Occupational Health and Safety (OH&S) certification
* Specific voltage/current ratings, ie. for low-voltage (up to 1000V) up to 100,000V and beyond.
Electricians screwdrivers: What else is there to consider?
All of that aside, the perfect electrician’s screwdriver selection may also take into consideration your organisation’s need for:
* Size, length & shape of shaft & tip
* Coated, reinforced and/or magnetic tips
* LED lights for extra illumination
* Adjustable torque settings
* Ratcheting mechanisms
* Anti-roll design
* Ergonomic grip
* Built-in voltage protection.
As well as considering all those features and functions, at the end of the day the best judge of the perfect set of electricians’ screwdrivers is the electrician themself. Each sparky has its favourite, most trusty and comfortable tools that simply feel good in the hand – and our experienced industry guides can help your organisation tell the favourites from the duds. Get in touch today for some extra guidance. Visit RS for a full range of screwdrivers suitable for electrical work.