As the saying goes, for every task there is a proper tool, and there are few task-tool combos that need to be considered more carefully than an electrician’s screwdriver. The tool for which the task is intended couldn’t be more sensitive. In a world of metal, wiring, and electrical circuitry, one slipup could be one too many.
That said, even if you have the best training possible, you must have the tools to match. It won’t do you much good knowing what to screw and how and where if what you’re using isn’t properly insulated against electric shocks or can’t get a good grip.
What’s more, electrical screwdrivers aren’t one size fits all. Just as electrical projects require many sizes of electrical screws, so too does an electrician need a variety of electrical screwdrivers.
Besides rubber insulation, what should you look for in screwdrivers for electrical jobs? What sets the best electrical screwdriver sets apart? A quick breakdown of the options are listed here:
Best Insulated Electrician Screwdrivers in January, 2021
With that quick breakdown out of the way, let’s take a look at each option in greater detail:
Klein Tools 33532-INS Electrical Insulated Screwdriver – Best Basic Set
This pair of screwdrivers does a good job of nailing many of the key points that are important for an electrician’s screwdriver. It features a two-layer rubber-molded insulated handle that is easy to grip, is relatively sturdy, and is engineered for precision fitting and maximum comfort and torque.
All of this makes it a favorite with professionals.
The insulation for this model is of special note. It can stop electrical surges of up to 1,000 volts, which is definitely a good thing for electricians in particular.
This screwdriver set also comes with some pretty good tips. You get two tips, one being a Phillips tip and the other being a cabinet tip, both of which are in highly durable and precision fit. This is a very basic set, however, so you “only” have those two tips, while other screwdriver sets on this list have far more to offer.
All of this makes Klein a great example of a “Baby’s First Electrician’s Screwdriver Set,” if you will. There isn’t a lot about this set that is flashy or advanced, and it only comes with two screwdrivers as opposed to the four to six or more you’ll see with other entries on this list. Even so, the screwdrivers are of good quality and possess many of the most important qualities – especially the rubber insulation – which is necessary for tools such as these. This may make them a useful introductory set for those new to the world of electrical work involving screwdrivers.
Stanley 562573 FatMax Screwdriver Set Insulated – Best Multifaceted Set
These offerings from Stanley are the perfect foil for the more basic Klein offering listed above. While that set offers only two, very standard screwdrivers, this is a much more elaborate 10-piece set.
Many Screwdriver Tips
With 10 different tips, there is a lot of variety from which to choose, increasing the odds that a user will be able to find the right tool for the job. This model makes use of several popular types of tips, including flathead, Phillips, and Pozidriv tips.
Of particular note here are the ergonomic handles. They are large, well-insulated, soft to the touch, and designed to allow users to get a good grip. This helps reduce the amount of fatigue users experience when exerting the torque needed to get the job done. They are also tested to be resistant to up to 10,000 volts and are guaranteed up to 1,000 volts.
From the diverse range of screwdriver tips to the soft comfortable handles to the many different sizes included, this is a very multifaceted screwdriver set, with many of those facets being very useful for electrical work. This is such an expansive set that it may be hard to find room to store everything, but given that that stems from getting so much with this bundle, it’s a “good” problem to have.
Milwaukee 48-22-2202 3-Piece 1000V Insulated Screwdriver Set – Best Safety First Set
This is a more basic version of other Milwaukee screwdriver sets that offer similar features. They come with a wide range of features that are designed to put safety first. While all of the screwdrivers on this list offer good safety features, this three-piece set from Milwaukee makes it its centerpiece.
Good Safety Features
These screwdrivers are flame retardant as well as impact-resistant, both of which are highly important features for electrician’s screwdrivers. Even more importantly, they are engineered to be able to resist up to 1,000 volts of electricity.
One of the most notable safety features this set offers is its dual-insulated, dual-color handles. The bottom layer is white while the top layer is red. By making these layers different colors, it is easier to detect if the handle has been chipped or otherwise damaged. It is a simple touch, but it’s one that could make a huge difference if it makes it easier for users to identify and refrain from using damaged screwdrivers rather than risk working with exposed or degraded handles or shafts.
Each of the handles are labeled, making it easy to tell which is meant for which jobs. It’s another small touch, but one that can be helpful for new users especially.
As stated, this is a model that puts safety first and is highly convenient. That said, it is also very basic, offering only three screwdrivers. What’s more, the handles are not as soft or ergonomically designed as other options on this list. These are, thus, less suited for buyers looking for a robust set and more for those looking for one or two quality electrical screwdrivers with good safety features.
Wiha 32091 5-Piece Screwdriver Set – Best Bargain Set
With five screwdrivers for various jobs, this is a good example of what a bargain electrician’s screwdrivers set looks like.
Insulated Grip-able Handles
This is another example of a set that offers good insulation. The screwdrivers in the set are tested to up to 10,000 volts and are certified to up to 1,000 to 1,500, the latter of which is a little more than other options on this list. The handles are also nice and soft, making them highly grip-able, which as has been established can be important for helping you get the most torque out of a screwdriver without giving yourself severe hand cramps in the process.
Each tip is super hardened and precision fit. The shafts and tips are made from a high-strength alloy of chrome-vanadium-molybdenum steel.
The snap-resistant shafts and ergonomic and shock-resistant handles are among the biggest selling points here, along with the low unit’s own low selling point. On the negative side, the case is a little flimsy and the handles do not have hardtails. However, the positives generally outweigh those factors, and can make these a good option for those looking for solid electrical screwdrivers at a bargain rate.
Wera Kraftform Plus 160i/6 Insulated Professional Screwdriver Set – Best Storage Set
The biggest thing about this six-piece set is that it comes with a convenient storage rack. The screwdrivers themselves are insulated up to 1,000 volts, offering an array of different options for different tasks.
The storage rack included with this unit makes it easy to store. The screwdrivers included in the set all fit neatly into place.
This is another example of a handle that has a good grip. It makes use of a Kraftform Plus handle, which is ergonomically designed and can cut down on cramps, calluses, and blistering.
The laser tip etching makes these tips quite accurate, and is a nice touch. There are some durability concerns about them, however, as they can start to warp after extended usage. The handles are also on the smaller side. If your hands are small, that shouldn’t be a problem, but if your hands are on the large side, you may find these a bit small.
Best Insulated Screwdrivers for Electricians – Buyer’s Guide
Now that we’ve made a survey of the best screwdrivers for electricians on the market, let’s review what you should be looking for in a top-notch electrician’s screwdriver.
- The Handle
To begin with, you need to make sure your electrical screwdriver has a rubber handle. This is essential for making sure that you don’t accidentally shock yourself while working. Rubber is an insulator and thus is essential when doing any kind of work with electricity. While other materials may be used as an insulating agent, rubber is the most common.
Never purchase an electrical screwdriver unless it has a rubber handle or something similar.
That being said, not all rubber handles are created equal, either. You also have to consider the ergonomic nature of the handle (which we’ll touch on later) as well as the thickness of the rubber, or how much of the handle it makes up. After all, it is one thing to have a handle that just features a few strips of rubber along the sides, but quite another to feature one that is mostly rubber.
Thickness counts here as well. Ideally, the thicker the rubber, the better.
- The Build and Materials Used
Next, you are going to want to give some consideration as to the materials used in the screwdriver and what the overall build is like.
As we have already mentioned, while different screwdrivers have different handle styles and materials, electrical screwdrivers, in particular, should have rubber handles for insulation.
Most screwdrivers will be made with some variant of nickel or steel. The type of work electricians typically find themselves doing is often best accomplished with a set that features chrome-vanadium steel, chromium, or some variation thereof. These types of screwdriver metals are corrosion as well as rust-resistant, two handy traits to have when working with electrical and metal materials.
- The Head and Tip
Since this is the part that is going to come into contact with the things you’ll be screwing in and out, it’s easily one of the most important elements of the screwdriver. It’s also one of the most variable.
There are many different types of screwdrivers, with flatheads, Phillips heads, Pozidriv heads, Allen heads, and Torx heads being the most common. Chances are, if you’re looking for an electric screwdriver, it will be one of these.
One of the biggest dangers for any screwdriver is to accidentally “strip” the screw you’re screwing. The two most common causes of this are improper technique and improper screwdriver size or shape. The former is down to expertise, and even the best of us can accidentally strip a screw from time, but the latter is simply an error in judgment. You should never screw something – especially when that something is part of an electrical project – when the screw is improperly sized or not the right shape.
- The Size
To screw something properly, you need to make sure that your screwdriver is the right size. Thankfully, screwdrivers are conveniently labeled in ascending order from smaller to bigger sizes from Size 0 up to Size 4.
Size 0 is often used for smaller screws used in electrical components, so if you’re working with electronics, for example, this may be the right screwdriver size for you. From there, we move up to Size 1, which can be employed for larger electronics and electrical components. These two are the most common sizes for electrical products, and thus especially important for electricians.
Size 2 is more standard, with Size 2 screws and screwdrivers being the most common. Size 3 and 4 are for extra-large, extra-thick screws. They are more rarely used, especially among electricians, but it’s always nice to have them in your arsenal.
Of course, if you are buying a screwdriver set, then you should have most or all of these sizes covered. That leaves it to you to recognize when you need to use each option and to apply it accordingly.
- Screwdriver Durability
You may have to do some heavy-duty work with your screwdriver, and the last thing you want is for it to snap. It’s thus always a good idea to look into screwdrivers that have been heat-treated and coated, as these tend to be among the most durable.
If possible, look for screwdrivers that claim they are “precision-machined.” After all, your screwdriver’s head needs to fit the screw like, well, a screwdriver and screw – that is to say, perfectly. Even the slightest flaw in the screwdriver’s shape can throw things off. Precision-machined designs ensure a great deal of accuracy in the manufacture of the tip.
Finally, in terms of strength, you’ll want to look for shaves that are twist-resistant. You may have to put a lot of torque behind twisting the handle, and this can help prevent the shaft from snapping under the strain.
- The Screwdrivers in the Set
Just as a painter needs a full pallet of paints, you need a full set of electricians’ screwdrivers. You never want to realize mid-job that you don’t have the right screwdriver for the task at hand. Thankfully, most screwdriver sets come with most or all of the major screw shapes and sizes covered. The more elaborate the set, the more shapes and sizes there tend to be.
Make sure that the ones you need are covered.
You’ll also want to pay special attention to the sizes that are most directly related to the work you’ll be doing. As mentioned, electricians typically work the most with Size 0 and Size 1 screws, while Size 2 is the most common screw sizes for many other items. Make sure your tool set has all three in the shapes that you need.
You’ll also want to see if the set has screwdrivers with any special features.
- Ergonomic Feel
As mentioned above, the feel of the screwdriver handle is one of the tool’s most important components. You are going to be exerting a fair amount of pressure on this tool, to say nothing of the amount of torque it can take to loosen or tighten screws. You don’t want to have to battle hand cramps or have your screwdriver’s handle digging into your flesh the entire time.
This is where the ergonomic feel of the handle comes in. Not only does the rubber, plastic, or other composite material in the handle need to be insulated against electric shocks, it also needs to be comfortable to the touch.
- Added Features
As mentioned, some screwdriver sets offer screwdrivers or other components which boast special features. For example, some screwdriver sets come with magnetic tips, which can be helpful for situations where you’re dealing with narrow or hard to screw apertures. The magnetism can hold the tip in place, thereby making it easier to screw.
Then there are electrical screwdrivers which, as the name would imply, can be great if you are looking for extra power when you use your set and don’t want to use them manually. Rust-free and corrosion-free finishes as well as fire-heated and precision tips can all make a screwdriver more accurate.
There are a wide range of purposes for which you may require electrically-sound screwdrivers, and these different screwdrivers represent that diversity. Some of these sets, such as the Klein and Milwaukee offerings, are on the smaller and more basic side, and thus may be good as introductory kits, or for those who simply need solid, straightforward, no-frills screwdriver sets. Wiha and Stanley offer diverse ranges of screwdrivers and can be a good choice for those with more diverse and complex needs. The Wera stands apart for its inclusion of a storage rack, which can help you keep things neat.
For every task, there is a tool – determine the nature of your task, and you’ll be able to identify the right tool for you among these various screwdriver sets.