Gift Guide for the DIY Electrician

Equip your DIYer for safety and success. See more pictures of Home Construction.

Home ownership comes with never-ending tasks, many of which fall into the electrical realm.

While some of these jobs are completely doable by a capable DIYer, if you don't know what you're doing, you have to call someone that does. Whether it's a friend who can walk you through the process or a professional who can get it done quickly, you need knowledge and experience on your side. But either way, you need the right tools, too. So, skip the year-end socks and undies, and get your favorite handyman or woman some tools they can't wait to use.



Electrical Testing Tools for the DIYer

Safety should always be the main consideration for any DIYer who works with electricity, so testing tools are a must. An outlet tester, also called a receptacle tester, plugs into an electrical outlet to let you know if it's "hot" -- i.e., conducting electricity. You can find out if the outlet has been wired properly, and it can also be used to diagnose basic problems. A continuity tester does the same thing for a fuse, a light switch or the wiring in a light fixture. A voltage tester indicates if a cable has power running through it, and the non-contact variety are the safest tools for the novice. A volt meter, or volt-ohmeter (VOM), gives an actual voltage reading so you can make sure it's running at the correct rate.

Punch Down Tools for the DIYer

Need help with the jack, Jack?
Need help with the jack, Jack?

Punch down tools are typically used in the telecommunications industry for installing phone systems, but they can also be useful to the DIY telephone system installer. These tools are used to install a wire where your fingers don't fit. There are a variety of brands of this tool that all serve the same function, but they use different heads, which are specific to each job. Choose one that cuts the excess wire off after installation for an easy finish.

Compression Tools for the DIYer

In order for wires to go live, they need to be attached to an electrical current. This is where a compression tool comes in. Compression tools have a slot to hold the compression connector, so when you insert the wire, you can press down and clamp it around the wire. There are a few different styles depending on what kind of electrical wire you're trying to connect. A ratchet style tool works like a ratchet wrench with different levels of tightness that can be adjusted, and a lever style is great for smaller compression connectors.

Soldering and Desoldering Tools for the DIYer

Small enough for the smallest of jobs.
Small enough for the smallest of jobs.

Soldering tools are used in electrical work for intricate tasks, and there are tools available for different applications. A soldering iron can make a series of wire strands into one solid strand, which ensures that the wires won't separate or fray when attached to the terminal. A soldering pencil is useful for more intricate jobs like repairing a circuit board, and a soldering gun is helpful for joining two wires. In cases where you want to remove solder, such as in a circuit board repair, you'll need a desoldering tool, which is pretty inexpensive. These tools have a temperature control so they don't impact the elements around the area. They essentially melt the solder and then vacuum it out.

Electrical Conduit Mounting Tools for the DIYer

Electrical conduit is a metal tube that holds the delicate wires that conduct your home's electricity. Conduits are an incredibly important safety measure, and having the right tool for the mounting job is essential. A drill and a screwdriver are great gifts because they're necessary tools to secure the conduit to a wall or to feed it through the wall. If your home has plaster walls, a chisel lets you create a hidden channel to hide the conduit so it's not visible. Bending tools let you manipulate the conduit into fitting into any space, and a hacksaw will allow you to cut the conduit to the length you need.

Related Articles


  • "6 Important Electrical Conduit Mounting Tools.", 2010.
  • "Compression Tools.", 2010.
  • "Continuity Tester.", 2010.
  • "Electrical Testing Tools.", 2010.
  • "Electrical Test Tools Choices & Tool Procedures for Electrical Inspectors & Home Inspectors.", 2010.
  • Griffin, Jeff. "Cool Tools: Power Connection Tools.", June 2009.
  • "How to Use a Punch Down Tool.", 2010.
  • "Soldering.", 2010.