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Best or favorite Electricians hand tools


noops

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About 2 years ago I made the leap to Milwaukee for my hand tools. I did everything except strippers as I thought the combo needle nose strippers were dumb. I was fairly happy but the bigger Philips and both Robertson's have all rounded out. I love the Exabit (?) drivers but I'm underwhelmed by the tips wearing out from really not that heavy of use. I use drills and bits FAR more than hand tools as I find turning screws by hand makes my forearms just scream. I know some will say it's been 2 years! That's true but they rounded off rather quickly and are now to the point of being rather useless. I can't really torque down anything without them popping out. If they just now started going bad I probably wouldn't even bother asking about it.

Klein used to be my go to but I really feel their quality has suffered and that's why I gave Red a shot. Greenlee seems to be about the same. Kind of hit and miss.

I've seen Wera but their grips look lousy. All hard, unpleasant looking, and not really appealing, but maybe they're much better in actual use. The Milwaukee grips are actually probably my favorite. Older Klein with the softer rubber is very nice too but the new stuff is hard and gross.

My Milwaukee original 6-in-1 pliers started siezing up last fall and we're replaced with a set of the NWS/Irwin 9.5" crimping linesmen.

So what's your suggestions and recommendations? Anything to avoid? Does Milwaukee replace screw drivers with rounded out tips? They've definitely seen use but I wouldn't say it's been excessive. The Exabit ones are still awesome and I use them if at all possible, in part because of the roundedness of the alternatives but also because they're just awesome at not slipping or stripping out. I think some of the problems are because of the crap screws. I don't know if crap screws are actually a thing but some of them seem to just be complete garbage. They do everything but fasten look they're supposed to.

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Most Philips screws are garage to begin with but milwaukees stuff tends to be softer. I run Klein screw drivers, I know you don't like them but I jut picked up knipex pliers for my electrical bag, all great quality. For screwdrivers try Wiha, they make some nice stuff and don't have the grips like the weras.

Jimbo

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That is interesting about you using Milwaukee hand tools for the past two years, I've not considered them to be a serious option when looking at hand tools, because I always gravitate toward Klein and never gave it a second thought.

From what others have posted here, Wera is a better option, despite your best efforts to convince yourself away from them, definitely put them up there as a prime contender. I have been looking closely at a set of screwdrivers and just need to make the final leap to purchase them.

I'm glad you chose to share your experience, I may be predominantly Milwaukee, but my decisions are more calculated than emotional, so I will likely go looking somewhere else when I hear experiences like yours.

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I didn't think I'd like the Wera grip but I do. I like Felo's grip even better, it's rubbery but not sticky and as you grip harder it gives a little bit being both comfortable and giving you better grip. Recently I've been using my PB Swiss and those are growing on me, the steel is the nicest I've seen but the handles are thinner than I'd like.

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Wow. So which ones goes into your go bag there Bmack?

I guess soft would be a good way of describing the Milwaukee tips. They're really nice otherwise but the tips need to be harder or something. I've not had any problems with the flat blades. Neither the demo's or the normal plate types really show any wear and the plates get used ALL the time and the demo's really do get hammered on.

I notice the Klein is at the back and no mention of it... It's not that I hate them it's just when I replaced the ones I got 15 years ago the replacements seemed inferior to the originals. Milwaukee was definitely cheaper but the tips really are too soft. They're great when they're new but less than stellar after they've worn.

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I use Wera. I have a full set of insulated screw drivers and a few non insulted. The grip is by far the most comfortable and allows for insane grip and torque compared to Milwaukee and Klein.

I own Milwaukee's too, they sit in my tool bad for when I need a beater.

The best part about Wera is that they grip the screws and don't cam out easily.

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I use Wera. I have a full set of insulated screw drivers and a few non insulted. The grip is by far the most comfortable and allows for insane grip and torque compared to Milwaukee and Klein.

I own Milwaukee's too, they sit in my tool bad for when I need a beater.

The best part about Wera is that they grip the screws and don't cam out easily.

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I am in the same boat as Hilti. For me personally grip comfort doesn't really matter, that being said the Wera drivers are very comfortable. They really fit my hands well. More important to me was how they grip the screws and that laser etched tip is great. For my money Wera is the only screwdriver in my toolbox. I would like to try the Felo though, they look pretty nice.

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7 hours ago, noops said:

Wow. So which ones goes into your go bag there Bmack?

I guess soft would be a good way of describing the Milwaukee tips. They're really nice otherwise but the tips need to be harder or something. I've not had any problems with the flat blades. Neither the demo's or the normal plate types really show any wear and the plates get used ALL the time and the demo's really do get hammered on.

I notice the Klein is at the back and no mention of it... It's not that I hate them it's just when I replaced the ones I got 15 years ago the replacements seemed inferior to the originals. Milwaukee was definitely cheaper but the tips really are too soft. They're great when they're new but less than stellar after they've worn.

 

Right now it's the PB Swiss, but it was hard to take the Felo's out. My only issue with those(Felo) was that they just didn't like to hold their magnetism and I have a lot of screws recessed screws to deal with. I tend to reach for my Wera more, which is in my tool box and equal distance from the PB Swiss most of the time...the thing is the tips on the Weras are the best by far, they grip soo nicely onto screws because of the laser etching. I hope you can tell by the picture that their grips are smaller than you probably initially imagined, that was my biggest concern before buying them.

 

I really don't like the Kleins. They're made well but they roll off everything because they don't rest on the handle, they tip over so the blade touches the surface then they roll in a circle until they find their way off where you put them. Also they don't seem to fit into screws with the same nice fit as the European screwdrivers.

 

I also really liked the Wittes, they're the OEM for Matco and are very nice screwdrivers. The only problem is they get dirty fast but that's not a big deal. They basically lost their spot in the tool bag so I could try others and I just haven't switched back.

 

The Wihas are nice too but this particular set is insulated so they rarely get used. I've used their bits and they have great steel. The softfinish is basically what feels like a thin rubber coating all over. It feels like their would be durability issues but I've seen some mechanics post pics of them well used and they seem to hold up well.

 

I don't really like the Snap On screwdrivers at all. The handle is just a big plastic handle and there is nothing that stands out that says "This is a $20 screwdriver" at all. The Tektons(black and red, weird handle) are nice for the price and being USA made but they could use a little better finishing, the edges are sharp.

 

I'd reach for ANY of these screwdrivers over those Milwaukees, I love Milwaukee but their blade steel is just not very good. Stay away from their bits also. Hope sometime they fix this but right now, stay away.

 

Of course all of this is just my opinion and some may disagree.

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Describing the grips:

Snap on: Hard plastic

Witte: A bit of a hard marshmellow coating like that on some matte phone cases, with three soft scotchbright-esk grip pads.

Tekton: Red portion is hard plastic, black portion is a hard rubber

Wera: Black is a hard plastic, green is a soft rubber that is grippy.

Wiha: Soft rubber all over, the insulated sleeve is hard plastic

Felo: Yellow portion is hard plastic, black portion is soft rubber. If you squeeze tightly it compresses like a really hard stress ball.

PB Swiss: Like a softer bedliner coating.

Klein: Feels almost like tire rubber

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all my electrical hand tools are klein, made in america for electricians, all my klein screwdrivers are the insulated type, to help protect me and not causing shorts if you should happen to slip. as far as grapping the screw head, i never found anything better than my snap-on set, i dont use these on electrical work though, i dont know what the handles are rated at.

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Are those the older model? I think most(if not all) of the newer Milwaukee pliers have a solid red handle...I don't know about that particular pair. BTW, HD has clearanced out the older pliers so most likely if you find a pair with black and red handles, it will ring up cheaper than the red handled version. Remember you can use self-checkout as a price checker if you don't want to use the computer, just cancel the transaction by hitting the back button.

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Not sure. I know it's a newer version, an older version the lock was screwing up for a lot of people, breaking, getting stuck, etc.. Used to be plastic I think, can't remember, but the "newer" ones had a metal lock

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6 hours ago, BMack37 said:

Are those the older model? I think most(if not all) of the newer Milwaukee pliers have a solid red handle...I don't know about that particular pair. BTW, HD has clearanced out the older pliers so most likely if you find a pair with black and red handles, it will ring up cheaper than the red handled version. Remember you can use self-checkout as a price checker if you don't want to use the computer, just cancel the transaction by hitting the back button.

Those are the old model.  I've been using a pair for years (well actually on my second now).

 

I really like the design of those but the metal isn't very hard so they shouldn't be used outside of electrical work or really anything besides copper and aluminum.

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6 hours ago, jeffmcmillan said:

I really like the design of those but the metal isn't very hard so they shouldn't be used outside of electrical work or really anything besides copper and aluminum.

 

 

The pair at work stays locked in my tool bag when I'm not there, mainly because one of the guys used them to cut jack chain...

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For screwdrivers I pretty much only use Wiha and Wera anymore in my eletrical kit,I do have a few GreenLee ones i got from college electronic classes that are pretty decent too. 

 

For strippers and crimpers i have Klein,GB,Greenlee,

 

Insulated stuff i have Gearwrench,Klein,Wiha

 

 

21 hours ago, mohawkdec said:

all my electrical hand tools are klein, made in america for electricians, all my klein screwdrivers are the insulated type, to help protect me and not causing shorts if you should happen to slip. as far as grapping the screw head, i never found anything better than my snap-on set, i dont use these on electrical work though, i dont know what the handles are rated at.

 

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I have this same set of SnapOn drivers too,my favorite handles.

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