When choosing screwdriver sets for your electrical business, material is one of the most important factors to consider. You’ll need to select the appropriate material for electrical work to keep your employees safe and to ensure your company meets industry standards and regulations.
Thankfully, this article is here to help! Below, we’ll talk about why handle materials matter, the importance of volt-rated insulated tools, and some of the most common screwdriver handle materials available today.
Why does handle material matter?
Handle materials matter for several reasons. For electricians’ screwdrivers, the main reason is safety—insulated handles offer a crucial extra layer of protection against electric shock and equipment damage.
The handle material will also affect the ergonomics and usability of the tool. Rubber handles, for example, offer a better grip than plastic varieties, especially when the user’s hands are covered in oil, water, or grease.
Insulation, volt rating, and safety
Insulated tools are crucial for safety when working on or around electrical equipment. It helps protect users from arcing and electrical shock while keeping the equipment safe.
All kinds of hand tools can be insulated, including pliers and cutters. In this article, however, we’ll focus on screwdrivers specifically.
A screwdriver must achieve at least a 1,000-volt rating to achieve insulated tool certification. Tools should also withstand extreme temperatures, live flame, and heavy use.
Interestingly, to achieve the 1,000-volt rating, third-party labs actually test tools up to 10,000 volts!
Tools that achieve the official International 1,000-volt rating will feature a symbol to reflect this on the tool. Many insulated tools are also colour-coded orange for easy identification—but always check for the symbol to be sure.
Most screwdrivers come with plastic handles, and insulated screwdrivers are no exception! The most common plastic manufacturers use to create these handles is cellulose acetate, thanks to its durability.
Plastic-handled screwdrivers are usually the most affordable options on the market, although prices will vary significantly depending on the type and size of the tool.
Generally, plastic handles come in an octagonal or tri-sided shape, allowing for easier grip and leverage.
You might also find screwdrivers with handles made from thermoplastic rubber. These varieties can improve grip and reduce the risk of slippage. They also may be more comfortable to hold.
Handle materials to avoid
When selecting screwdrivers for your team of electricians, make sure the handles are made from plastic or rubber. You should avoid any handle material that could conduct electricity, such as steel, aluminium, titanium, or brass.
Avoid any screwdrivers with non-insulated handles, even if they’re made from rubber or plastic. Insulation is essential for the safety of your employees and the equipment they work on.
Finally, wooden handles may seem safe, but they often feature metallic collars, making them incompatible with electrical work.
Conclusion and summary
With the information we’ve laid out above, you should have no trouble choosing a screwdriver set that meets your electrical business’s needs. To sum up, look for tools with insulated plastic or rubber handles that are at least 1,000-volt rated.