Linesman pliers: useful for holding bolts, nuts, and other fasteners, as well as cutting thick gauge wire. Needle nose pliers (a long, narrow grasping instrument used for tiny parts or in tight locations) with a cutting edge Flat head screwdrivers are used to insert flat head or slotted screws into material. A thin metal rod with a flat end used as a lever to drive small items such as nails or staples.
Lineman's pliers: similar to linesman's pliers but with a hook instead of a jaw for more efficient gripping of heavy materials or when working with wires up to 1/4 inch in diameter.
Screwdriver: a driver with a flexible shaft designed to fit into a hole containing a screw thread. It can be hand or power driven.
Soldering iron: a tool used to melt solder and join electrical components together. It has a handle with a heating element attached to one end and a tip made of carbon steel with a coating of silver to prevent oxidation (this prevents the tip burning while creating a good connection with the component).
Tweezer: a pair of bent wires or rods joined at their ends and used for picking small objects off surfaces or squeezing through holes or openings.
Wire cutters: any of several types of tools used to cut lengths of wire. They vary in size from hand-held units to large machines.
Tools for Splicing, Gripping, and Holding Pliers - These tools are constructed of metal and have insulators in the handle. They are used to cut, twist, bend, hold, and grab wires and cables. The term "plier" comes from the name given to these tools by their original manufacturer: John Deere.
Tools for Splicing, Gripping, and Holding Punches - These tools are made of steel with an aluminum handle. They come in a variety of sizes for punching wire terminals or cable ends. Some include a slot in the top of the tool for inserting a wire or cable end so it can be punched.
Tools for Splicing, Gripping, and Holding Ties - These tools are made of stainless steel and have plastic or rubber handles. They come in several sizes for wrapping wires, cables, or tubes with tape or other materials. Some ties have teeth on them so they can be tied down securely without slipping.
Tools for Splicing, Gripping, and Holding Hammers - These tools are made of metal (usually steel) and have wooden or plastic handles. They come in different sizes for crushing or bending wires/cables. Some include a blade attached to the end of the hammer for cutting wires.
Pliers provide almost the same functions as combination pliers. They vary from combination pliers in that the tip component may expand wide to accommodate thick wire or pipes. Wire cutters are instruments for cutting metal wire and other similar materials; they are not goods for gripping objects. Hand-operated tools such as these can be a great help, but you will also need some type of tool for cutting through hardened steel wires used in electrical work.
The term "plier" comes from the French word meaning "to fold back," which describes how this type of tool operates. Two sets of jaws, one on each end of the tool, are opened by inserting a third set of jaws (the operating jawset) into the gap they leave behind. The operator closes the jiggers' grip by pulling them together. This action causes the three jawsets to close around the object being gripped or held.
Combination pliers are a must for anyone who does much electrical work. They can handle virtually any size wire without difficulty. The two halves of the tool can be separated to allow access to all sides of the wire. There are several different styles of combination pliers, but most include an opening in the middle of one of the halves large enough to fit a pair of wire cutters. If you do a lot of electrical work and don't have combination pliers, buy a set right away!