Whether it’s in commercial foodservice or HVAC, having the right tools for the job is a must. If you’re looking to put the right items in your tech tool bag, where exactly do you start? This list features the eight essential tools for a field service technician tool kit.
1. Nut & Screwdriver Set
Yes, technically this isn’t ONE tool. However, you likely need various nut and screwdrivers in your toolbox to tackle different projects in the field. You can have either a separate set for nut drivers and screwdrivers or a combo set with both options. Whichever you choose, make sure it comes with multiple bits to tighten or loosen any fastener.
Our Recommended Nut & Screwdriver Set: DeWalt 70-Piece, 1/4 in. Multi-Bit Driver Set ($28 at Home Depot)
2. Combination Pliers
We talked about the major difference between combination and linesman pliers not too long ago. Combination pliers offer outstanding versatility, allowing you to grip, bend and strip wiring as well as cut thin wires and cables. Many of these options feature a square jaw, which are easy to grip and perfect for compressing multiple types of materials.
Our Recommended Combination Pliers: Klein Tools 8-in. Universal Combination Pliers ($47 at Amazon)
3. Cordless Drill
From boring holes to driving screws through studs, a drill is an absolute must. We recommend cordless so you don’t have to drag around extension cords or search for outlets. With a cordless, you need to look at the voltage to ensure it can handle tasks in the field. Anything below 18 volts is usually for home repairs and DIY. A drill that is 20 volts or higher should be enough to provide ample power in quick bursts, making it ideal for multiple, heavy-duty applications.
Our Recommended Flashlight: Craftsman 20-Volt Max 1/2-in. Cordless Drill ($79 at Lowe’s)
4. Work Flashlight
Lighting can be an issue in different facilities, so having a flashlight on hand is crucial for any job. While some technicians carry portable work lights, these can be bulky and a hassle to carry every day. Instead, look for a flashlight that is small to fit in your tool bag and not take up too much room in tight or restrictive workspaces. Also, make sure it has enough lumens to illuminate the space and extended battery life to last long.
Our Recommended Flashlight: NICRON N7 600-Lumen, 90-Degree LED Flashlight ($17 at Amazon)
5. Claw Hammer
A claw hammer is a no-brainer for any technician’s toolbox. It not only can seamlessly drive but also can quickly pry out nails. While you can’t go wrong with many of the options on the market, there are a couple of factors to look for when find the right one. First, find a claw hammer with an ergonomic handle. Whether it’s made of wood, steel or fiberglass, opt for something with a grip. Second, make sure your hammer is between 16 and 20 ounces. It will be easy to use but still sturdy enough to deliver the proper blow or pry.
Our Recommended Hammer: Estwing 16 oz. Curved-Claw Rip Hammer ($21 at Home Depot)
6. Wire Cutters
While some combination pliers can cut or strip small wires and cables, there might be a job that requires a heavy-duty wire cutter. There are a lot of good options on the market, but you should choose a pair that has an ergonomic and easy-to-use grip. Also, look for one with gripping jaws that can cut or strip with precision.
Our Recommended Wire Cutters: Irwin 8-in. Vise-Group Diagonal Cutting Pliers ($20 at Lowe’s)
7. Tape Measure
From cutting wood or metal to marking spaces, a tape measure is a must-have tool for a wide variety of projects in the field. Even though it seems like any ordinary option will do, you certainly should look for the best possible choice. Make sure you pick something that has a long enough blade and features a locking mechanism that is simple to operate. Also, look for a tape measure that can easily rest on a surface, allowing you to get the most accurate measurement possible.
Our Recommended Tape Measure: STANLEY 25 ft. Steel SAE Tape Measure ($36 at Grainger)
8. Utility Knife
You can’t go wrong with most of the utility knifes you can find online or hardware store. However, there are plenty of enhanced options out there that are perfect for technicians in the field. Many newer knives not only feature quick knife retraction or handle storage for extra blades, but some also have a foldable design for easy storage.
Our Recommended Tape Measure: DeWalt Folding Retractable Utility Knife ($10 at Home Depot)
What Other Tools Do You Recommend?
If you have some handy tools you think belong in a field service technician tool kit, please let us know in the forum under Tools of the Trade.