Stay Ready For DIY Electrical Projects With These Harbor Freight Finds - SlashGear (2024)

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Stay Ready For DIY Electrical Projects With These Harbor Freight Finds - SlashGear (1)

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ByJack Picone/

There are countless reasons why working on a DIY project can prove beneficial — it's a great way to pass the time, build your confidence, stoke your creativity, and foster self-reliance by helping you learn and hone useful skills that you can use around the house. However, electrical DIY projects can be a bit trickier (and more dangerous, if you're not careful). Electrical work is typically more complex, requires extreme precision, and — if you're customizing something at home — may require special permits, code compliance, or accessing hard-to-reach wiring within your walls and ceilings.

Additionally, DIY electrical projects often require specialized tools that may not come with a basic tool set. Before you start a new electrical endeavor, you'll want to make sure you've got the right equipment for the job. Fortunately, you can find many of these tools and accessories at Harbor Freight. The retailer offers plenty of options as well, often having several choices for a given item from several different brands. If you're worried you might be getting in over your head, you'll feel better knowing that much of the gear you may need for electrical work is relatively inexpensive. Plus, if you're purchasing the bulk of your tools at Harbor Freight, you can likely save even more money with a Harbor Freight's Inside Track Club membership.

Based on positive feedback from customers who've used them, here are some Harbor Freight finds that can help you stay ready for DIY electrical projects. More information on how these tools were evaluated can be found at the end of this list.

Doyle 9.5-inch Wire Crimping Tool

You're almost certainly going to need to join together two wires at some point during a DIY electrical project, which is why you'll need a crimping tool. Even if you don't know exactly what you're working on yet, you might as well add one to your tool collection, because you'll need it. A good option that you can find at Harbor Freight is the Doyle 9.5-inch Wire Crimping Tool. Doyle is a solid store brand that makes different quality tools and accessories for Harbor Freight, including this wire crimper. It's hard to find a product at Harbor Freight with better customer feedback than the hand tool — based on over 620 reviews, it has a near-perfect 4.9 out of five score, with 99% of Harbor Freight customers recommending the crimper.

It weighs less than a pound and has a 1-3/16-inch jaw opening, with induction-hardened cutting edges for smooth, controlled cuts. The high-strength 2-in-1 crimping die can handle both insulated and non-insulated 10-22 AWG solderless terminals and connectors, and has a high-leverage design for fast and more powerful crimping. Its tapered nose design works great in confined spaces, and its machined hot-rivet pivot joint prevents unwanted wobbling when using the tool.

Plus, its vinyl grips are oil resistant and feel comfortable to use. One drawback to using a manual handheld crimping tool like this one is that it lacks the force of a more powerful hydraulic wire crimping tool, such as Pittsburgh's tool that's also available at Harbor Freight. However, the Doyle 9.5-inch Wire Crimping Tool is considerably cheaper and costs just $17.99.

7-Function Digital Multimeter

Named by SlashGear as a Harbor Freight tool that every home mechanic will want, the 7-Function Digital Multimeter will also come in handy outside of the garage, as well. It can measure diodes, transistors, 1.5V and 9V batteries, AC voltage (250V max), DC voltage (250V max), DC current, and resistance. It updates 2.5 times per second, giving you a near real-time look at the important information you need when testing and working on an electrical DIY project.

The device is very lightweight and easy to grip, and is powered by a 9V battery, which is included. It includes two 24-inch, 18 gauge CCA test leads, and is internally fused for added safety. A low-battery indicator and over-range indicator are also included for added convenience, and it's equipped with automatic zero-adjust calibration. The multimeter's 3.5-inch digital LCD display is clear and easy to read, even in low-light conditions — after all, what good are accurate measurements if you can't see what they are?

Based on over 300 reviews, the 7-Function Digital Multimeter has an average 4.4 out of five user rating, with 90% of Harbor Freight customers recommending the product. While it doesn't have quite as many functions as the Harbor Freight's highest-rated 9-Function Digital Multimeter with Audible Continuity, you'll still get plenty of use out of this simpler (and cheaper) model. Harbor Freight sells the 7-Function Digital Multimeter for just $6.99.

Pittsburgh Cushion Grip Screwdriver Set

When you're putting together a set of fancy, specialist electrical tools, it might be easy to forget the simpler things, such as basic screwdrivers. You'll almost certainly need a screwdriver at some point during a DIY electrical project, whether it's to assemble casing if you're building something or to access wires by removing outlet covers or other pieces. The Pittsburgh Cushion Grip Screwdriver Set is one of several Harbor Freight finds that is under $25 and has great reviews, and it's easy to see why it does.

Each screwdriver is built from chrome vanadium steel and includes a magnetic tip for better gripping metal screws. Each has a ribbed cushion grip that's not just comfortable to hold but offers more control while you use it. The set includes both slotted and Phillips-head screwdrivers of various sizes: 5/16 x 8 inch, 3/16 x 6 inch 3/16 x 4 inch, 1/4 x 4 inch, 1/8 x 4 inch, 1/8 x 2 inch, and 1/4 x 1-1/2 inch (slotted), PH0 x 3 inch, PH1 x 3 inch, PH2 x 4 inch, and PH2 x 1-1/2 inch (Phillips), as well as a 5/32 x 4-inch screw holder.

Based on over 3,000 reviews, Pittsburgh's screwdriver kit has an average 4.5 out of five user rating, with 95% of Harbor Freight customers recommending the set. While a 12-piece collection isn't the most comprehensive screwdriver set you can equip yourself with, it'll be enough for many basic applications and won't take up much space in your garage. You're still getting a lot of functionality for a relatively small price — the Pittsburgh Cushion Grip Screwdriver Set is available from Harbor Freight for just $6.99 — less than $1 per screwdriver.

Hi-Tech Circuit Breaker Detective

The Hi-Tech Circuit Breaker Detective is a handy device that can save you a ton of time and frustration from trying to remember which circuit breakers are connected to which outlets in your home. This can be especially arduous if you're working alone or if there are certain appliances and other equipment that can't afford to lose power even for a moment.

The device weighs less than half a pound and is just 6 inches long, so it won't take up much space, and it's easy to carry back and forth. It comes with both a transmitter and a receiver. By plugging the transmitter into the circuit you want to find, you can then use the receiver at your breaker box to identify the correct breaker. It's fully automatic, and a clear-as-day flashing arrow indicator makes identifying the right breaker incredibly easy. Digital calibration also allows for easier, faster, and more reliable identification. It's powered by a single 9V battery, and an auto shutoff feature is built in to save battery life.

The device has an average 4.4 out of five user score based on over 1,200 reviews, and 89% of Harbor Freight customers recommend the product. Of course, if your project involves building some cool gadget that isn't related to your home power grid, you won't need to locate circuit breakers — but it's still a useful device to have for when you do need it. Harbor Freight sells the Hi-Tech Circuit Breaker Detective for $24.99.

Maddox 30-foot Retractable Test Leads

DIY electrical projects often take a lot of trial and error, and it's also important to test your connections and make sure everything is safe and working properly. The advantage to using Maddox 30-foot Retractable Test Leads is the long length of the 18 gauge copper wire, eliminating the need for a second person if you're testing something that's further than arm's reach. The two included wires are red and black and have insulated alligator clips that are color coded to help you keep track of what you're testing. They're standard 12/24V AC wires rated for 6-10 amperes.

Like a tape measure, the leads will stay at the desired length you extend them out to during testing. You won't have to worry about tangling, as they can easily retract back into its protective ABS case, which is durably built and has a small footprint. It's easy to see how such a product has earned a solid 4.6 out of five average user rating, which is based on over 270 reviews, with 95% of Harbor Freight customers recommending the test leads. It's hard to find bad reviews for the product, though the bulk of the ones that do exist mention that it can sometimes be hard to retract the cable back into the spool, for what it's worth. Maddox 30-foot Retractable Test Leads are available from Harbor Freight for $19.99.

105-piece Pittsburgh Tool Set with 4-Drawer Chest

Toolkits usually come in portable cases, but if you're working on an DIY electrical project, chances are you're doing it at home — so you might as well take advantage and opt for a more organized, larger capacity tool drawer chest. Named by SlashGear as one of the best Harbor Freight tool sets to keep your workspace organized, the 105-piece Pittsburgh Tool Set with 4-Drawer Chest has an average 4.4 out of five user rating based on over 1,500 reviews, with 92% of customers recommending the product. The four drawers will keep things neat and tidy as you work, but if you do need to bring the set somewhere, it's also built with an integrated handle and weighs less than 20 pounds.

The tools are designed with triple chrome plating to resist rust and corrosion, and the sockets and wrenches are made of tempered carbon steel, so they'll last you a long time. Included in Pittsburgh's 105-piece set are a ¼-inch and ⅜-inch drive socket set, six pliers, two locking pliers, eight combo wrenches, six screwdrivers, hex keys, insert bits, an adjustable wrench, a ratcheting driver, and a utility knife, as well as 30 terminals, a wire stripper/crimper, and a circuit tester.

Of course, you might not need all of these tools for an electrical project, but if you do decide to purchase the set, you'll probably find that they'll come in handy at some point with various other projects and tasks around the home. You can find the 105-piece Pittsburgh Tool Set with 4-Drawer Chest for $59.99 at Harbor Freight.

How these Harbor Freight tools were selected

Stay Ready For DIY Electrical Projects With These Harbor Freight Finds - SlashGear (8)

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To make sure that only products worth spending your money on have been included in this list of Harbor Freight finds for DIY electrical projects, the feedback of customers who've purchased and used them was extensively referenced. All of the tools and accessories included in this list have an average user rating of at least 4.4 out of five on Harbor Freight's website. Additionally, only products with a large number of customer reviews were used — the user score of every item mentioned is averaged from at least 270 customer ratings each, if not thousands more. This is to ensure that the feedback is accurate and trustworthy, since a larger base of ratings means that any outlier reviews made in bad faith, whether positively or negatively, won't significantly impact the overall score.

Rather than focusing on one specific part of electrical work, different aspects of the craft were taken into consideration when selecting products for this list, including tool storage, devices for measuring, testing, and finding electrical power, and hand tools for accessing and working with wires. While it's not a comprehensive list, it's a good start if you want to be prepared for your next DIY electrical project.


Stay Ready For DIY Electrical Projects With These Harbor Freight Finds - SlashGear (2024)


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