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This month, we’re going back to basics and uncovering the most popular hand tools among Canadian Electrical Contractors. Spoiler alert: there’s nothing futuristic about them. These classics have stood the test of time.
To help us identify the most popular tools, we spoke with Steve Jackson, a regional sales manager at EECOL — one of Canada’s longest-standing and most trustworthy suppliers to the electrical contracting industry.
EECOL: A Name Electrical Contractors Trust
The chances are good that if you’re an Electrical Contractor, you’ve purchased a tool or two from EECOL. With 100 years in business and over 50 locations across Canada, the company has helped to shape the electrical material supply landscape as it is today. They supply materials for a range of electrical applications including lighting, wiring and cabling, communications and renewable energy. They also supply tools to a lot of Electrical Contractors.
Jackson estimates that roughly 80% of EECOL’s customer base is made up of Electrical Contractors, and that number jumps to close to 100% when it comes to tools.
So why do ECs do so much business with EECOL? “I think it’s because we carry large and complete inventories,” says Jackson. “All of our suppliers are well-known, reputable brands. Quality brands. It’s a good solid basis for business.”
Special Features: cushion grip handle, precision-machined tip, heat-treated shaft
As an electrical contractor, “you need a screwdriver for almost everything you do,” says Jackson. One of the most common electrical applications for screwdrivers is securing electrical boxes to plates. “That’s a big one for every application you have, whether it’s commercial or residential,” explains Jackson. “You’re always putting boxes in the walls, putting the devices in there and then fastening them down with the plates.”
The most popular types of screwdrivers among EECOL’s customers are drivers with Phillips and Robertson heads, in a wide variety of sizes to cover any situation. And for many ECs, Klein is the way to go.
Says Jackson, “We carry the Klein brand, which is the most popular in Canada because it’s a well-known brand and they offer a lifetime warranty. When electricians are choosing between five or six brands, it just makes sense to pay a couple extra bucks for something that has a lifetime warranty.”
Special Features: 1000 volt insulation, flame-resistant outer coating, high-leverage design
When it comes to pliers, Jackson says, “It all has to do with gripping and wire.” And depending on the location and size of the wire, different types of pliers will work best in different situations.
“In some situations, you would need a high leverage, so you’ll need a longer handle. For other applications, you’ll need to be rated for a higher voltage,” he explains.
On of the most popular lines of pliers that EECOL sells is the high voltage line. That is, pliers with handles that are insulated to a higher rating – up to 1000 volts. Says Jackson, “For people who work on the overhead lines, the utility, you need 1000 volts.”
Special Features: corrosion-resistant finish, colour-coded handles, hardened steel with precision ground stripping holes
“In every application you have, at the end of your wire you have to terminate it,” says Jackson. That’s why every electrician and electrical contractor probably has a trusty fleet of wire cutters in their arsenal. While the size of wire cutter an EC needs will depend on the size of the wire, Jackson notes that the more popular wire cutters have curved handles. “It’s just easier for use, as opposed to a straight handle,” he explains.
Timeless Tools, Modern Execution
While Jackson asserts that the electrical tool industry is always looking for features to make life easier for electrical contractors, he acknowledges that there are only so many ways that a classic can be improved. “Basically these tools haven’t changed in the past 80 years,” he says. “It’s the same concept.”
What sets EECOL’s inventory apart isn’t gimmicky new features — it’s quality. “It’s not very sexy stuff to talk about,” says Jackson. But looking at a new Klein tool, many might beg to differ.
Looking to replace or upgrade your toolkit? Visit EECOL websiteto find the nearest location or shop online.