Ideal Tools Electrical Testers
Next to Klein Tools, the name “Ideal Tools” is probably one of, if not the most trusted names in the electrician’s trade and like the distinguished competition of Klein, Ideal Tools has a wide variety of electrical testers that you can rely on to test the many issues you’ll come across as an electrician or handyman. Knowing your job well and what you need out of a tester will help you be successful in choosing the right one, but what options are even out there?
Probably the most basic tester will help you test if a given electrical outlet is grounded or not. Ideal’s 61-501 Receptacle Tester w/GFCI has all of the possible test results on the actual tester, making it pretty much idiot proof. We hope. Another “idiot proof” tester is the Ideal 61-035 Check Circuit Tester which checks for correct wiring, open ground, reverse polarity, open hot, open neutral, hot on neutral, and lastly hot and ground reversed with open hot in 3 wire. Again, test results are on the tester meaning that the test results will never get lost or require a trip back to the truck for a manual that may no longer exist to interpret the test results. Lastly, the Ideal 61-534 will help you, by means of a combination of lights, to identify all the different switches in your circuit breaker and comes with the ability to check GFCI for proper function. Pretty good choices for basic testing.
Moving to a completely different tester, the Ideal 61-795 allows you, in conjunction with the TL-795 test leads, to test the insulation in a given wire. The 61-795 is designed for use at 250, 400 and 1000 volts and tests to ensure that the insulation in the wiring hasn’t broken down. For other wiring problems, you can use Ideal 61-164 to “look” into the walls and troubleshoot wiring issues that can be potentially hazardous and can/should be used in conjunction with the 61-183 test leads. The 61-164 tests: GFCI & EPDs for proper operation, voltage drop under load (with 12, 15 and 20 amp load tests), line & peak voltage, verification of isolated grounds, ground impedance and more. Loaded with all of these features it’s definitely worth investing in.
The last group of testers are what’s known as “clamp meters” because they feature a clamp that opens and closes around an electrical wire/cable. When used, the clamp apparatus measures the current running through the wire it surrounds and eliminates the need to cut a line and splice into it ensuring a safe method of testing and preventing damage and repairs just for a simple test. Clamp meters also add efficiency as you don’t need to shut the circuit off to test it.
The most basic clamp tester is the Ideal 61-744 which measures up to 600A. This tester measures AC amperage, continuity and more. If you need a little more from your clamp tester though, Ideal’s TightSight series offers a few options. The Ideal 61-763, 61-765, 61-773, and 61-775 are True RMS testers which measure AC/DC voltage, AC current, resistance, capacitance along with many other helpful features like high frequency rejection, large jaw diameter, broad current range for multiple applications, and a carrying case with leads depending on the model. They also each feature a number of different settings and modes controlled by a knob to make multiple tests easy to run on the same device.
Lastly, Ideal makes a couple higher end testers, the first being the Ideal IC-958 (aka 61-958) Inductive Clamp is used in place of transmitters to identify downstream loads from circuit breakers, trace wirers, cable and more. It’s quite handy, helping you find the location wires underground and in other hidden places. This tester is used in conjunction with a replaceable battery pack. The Ideal 61-959 uses a transmitter and receiver and works in a similar way, but has other options like efficiently identifying open and closed circuits which is a different and far more accurate way to identify a circuit breaker. The readout also gives a far more accurate read out as opposed to the lesser models and lastly, the 61-959 offers probably the greatest amount of sensitivity in a circuit tester.
These Ideal testers run from simple to complex and can be used in many different situations and are a great investment for any handyman or electrical testing needs you might have. Depending on the complexity of the job, there’s an Ideal tester that’s perfect for your needs.