I'm in the process now of finding my first HVAC job with my 1 year of school and EPA 608 certification. I was wondering what kind of tools should I be compiling to get started in this field, I would like to start collecting them as soon as possible so in a few years I'll have a broad array of them.
Also which brands should I stick to for each type of tool, I'd prefer to spend more money on quality tools that last rather than something cheap that will wind up being replaced often.
Whatever you get, make sure it's quality stuff. Buy american made when possible. I prefer to stay away from gimmicky new designs. Good tools are not cheap, cheap tools are not good. Fluke meters and thermometers, Channel-Lock (US) and Knipex (Germany) are good brands for pliers, Klein is the standard for electrical tools. All of my adjustable wrenches are Kleins, but other guys like Irega (Spain) and Bahco (US). The old-school original Craftsman sockets, wrenches, and ratchets have served me well for a long time. Ridgid makes the best pipe wrenches anywhere.
The key to happiness is lower expectations.
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X2 could not have said it better myself..
Originally Posted by Tech Rob
Also I used to buy a tool a week when starting out. If your have to borrow a tool from your journeyman more then once go buy it. Before you know it you'll have what you need to start doing some small jobs yourself.
This is great advice. Every apprentice I have ever worked with I have given this advice to. (including our mutual buddy) Stay within a budget. Sometimes just a small hand tool and sometimes something bigger. You will accumulate tools very quickly. As far as what to get and what brands I'd say get basic hand tools and a cordless drill. Search this site and you will find some very detailed lists. Good luck and remember, as Mr Pascone says "GOTTA HAVE THE RIGHT TOOL FOR THE JOB!"
Originally Posted by Pascone10
You need to put the phone down and get back to work!
The experts on here will lead you well but in the end you have to get what fits your liking and needs. I work for a college and they will not let me use my own tools, therefore I have a large selection of tools and generally high quality. Working on different equipment every day requires a lot of different tools. good luck and all ways remember quality over quantity.
I've been doing residential installs as an apprentice for roughly a year now and this is what I have in my bag of hand tools.
Red & green snips
Philips & flathead screwdrivers
Malco hole cutter
Assortment of open/box wrenches
Schrader/ thermostat scredriver
Insulation staple gun
Sheet metal hammer
Impact / drill combo
That's the stuff I pull out of my trunk and put in the work truck every morning.
My company provides a torch, vacuum pump, right angle drill, hole saws, nitrogen tanks, etc..
Buy the best quality you can because at the end of the day you get what you pay for, and also
MARK EVERY TOOL YOU OWN!!! I learned the hard way that tools tend to grow legs!
I recently got a new helper for installs who went to lowes and bought kobalt tools and a bag and he pretty got most every hand tool you could need for under 200 dollars. Now that being said they are not of great quality but as far as screwdrivers and random things like that that don't really need to be dependable they work fine. As far as duct tools malco and Midwest is my preference. I have craftsmen sockets and wrenches that hold up great. Invest in a good drill/driver set. I would recommend dewalt or Makita. if you need other things as the job requires, just post a thread asking opinions or what brand or type you should get. There are plenty of members here who are quick to help and share opinions. x2 on the klein tools. wire strippers, nut drivers, side cutters, cable cutters(for large wire) and crimpers are very nice and you will not be disappointed in the investment.
I'm going to come at you from a different angle. When you first start out, it is best to just have the tools. You can buy the quality as you can afford it.If you can afford it now, all the better. Personaly, The only cheap tools I own are ones I found, but I undertand the need for some of the younger guys to budget their money. Stay away from battery operated Crafstman tools. Their batteries are garbage.
My brand preference for hand tools are: Craftsman, Klein, Channel Lock and Crescent
battery and electric powertools: Milwaukee
A meter and a 6&1 can get you started
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I agree with 2sac craftsman klien channel lock and crescent hand tools but im a fieldpiece guy when it comes to meters and i will only buy yellow jacket guages and micron gauges and scales uei makes a good dual input manometer and i love my supco megaohmmer
Start small and build your tool collection as you can afford it.
I started with a few Craftsman wrenches, a Craftsman socket set, some WalMart Screwdrivers that I was given for Christmas, a YJ41 manifold set and a Fluke 52.
My current tool inventory would stock TWO trucks better than my first truck was stocked with tools and probably start stocking a third.
A thing that I do to afford tools even today is to deposit a small amount of money each pay cycle into an account. This is my tool fund.
On the first of every month I would go to Johnystone and get the circular ad. Most of my hand tools are from there. Trutech tools online have some good deals and you get them quicker sometimes that when you order from the supply houses.
Another source for tools you don't need "right now" are flea markets. I've collected several Rigid pipe wrenches and other old name American made hand tools at bargain prices. Just need to know what they cost new and what they are worth to you before buying. I've seen some people overprice stuff, but I don't have to buy it if I don't want to. Good Luck in your career. John