Lineman tools every worker on the line needs

By Kevin Juhasz
For Huskie Tools

Lineman tools are as essential to a lineman on the job as education and training.

The list of tools that a lineworker will use over the course of their career is long. The wide range of work requires an extensive inventory of items. It’s impossible to list every single tool, but many are provided by companies, and if anyone had to read it, they may not have time for anything else.

Some workers will consider different tools important depending on what their work typically entails. These are some of the most common and frequently used tools that linemen need and use in their jobs.

Specialized Tools

Just as every industry has tools in common, many also have tools that are made just for their line of work. In linework, the specialized line tools will vary with the type of task you’re performing, but there are some tools that will be needed for many of the jobs performed.

Compression Tools

Compression Tools – There are a variety of compression tools available for a lineman. The type you’ll need depends on what needs to be done and where the work is being done. Some compression tools are designed for open spaces (pistol style) or streamlined to function better in tight spaces. In addition, the heads can be interchanged for easy switched between compression and cutting. 

Cutting Tools – Another of the valuable tools for lineworkers is a cutting tool. Many available today are designed to make cutting wire quicker, as well as reduce the effort needed by the operator to cut the cable. This helps reduce the risk of injury when performing work. Cutting tools and compression tools also have hydraulic models instead of battery-operated for jobs that require them.

Climbers and gaffs – Gaffs, spikes, hooks, irons, whatever you call them,  there’s no way of getting up the pole without a set of these on the boots.

And to go even deeper, here are 5 tools lineman must have to complete any given cable cutting or crimping task.

The Five Essential Lineman Cutting and Crimping Tools

6 Ton Compression Tool with 1.8 inch jaw opening:

“This tool handles all service entrance work,” according to Larry Kotars, Executive VP of Sales at Huskie Tools. 

6 Ton Compression Tool with 1.8 inch jaw opening

6 Ton Streamline Compression Tool With Changeable Head:

“This tool is streamlined, not pistol style,” Kotars said. “Good for tight area work.”

6 Ton Streamline Compression Tool With Changeable Head:

12 Ton Compression Tool with 1.65 inch jaw opening:

Designed for use in single-handed operations in overhead applications.


Gear Driven Cable Cutter with 2 inch jaw opening:

This cutter slices copper and aluminum cable with the touch of a finger


Gear Driven Cable Cutter With Notched Blade and 2-⅛ Inch Jaw Opening

A specific tool to be used on ACSR (aluminium-conductor steel-reinforced) cable.


“The five tools here handle 95% of what a lineman needs for day to day activity in our Huskie Tool world,” Kotars said. 

Here are other more general tools lineman use:

Safety Gear

When thinking about tools, most people aren’t likely to start naming safety equipment as part of their set of tools. With a job as dangerous as linework, safety is an absolute must, and any item needed to perform a task and prevent an injury or worse is an essential tool.

Hard hat – Everyone has several important body parts, but the brain is one of the really critical ones, so protecting the noggin is very important. This is a necessity for avoiding not just falling objects and blows to the head, it can also help avoid electrical hazards.

Insulated gloves – Always needed when working with electrical equipment, there are a variety of types of gloves that have been tested to handle higher volts. A pair of leather gloves is also needed to help protect the insulated gloves from damage.

Climbing belt – Not all work is done in a bucket, and there are plenty of instances where pole climbing will be required. The belt is critical to keep a lineworker safe while climbing and working with both hands.

Boots – Depending on the type of climbing, different types of boots may be needed, such as conductive ones that help provide safety on metal pole climbs or higher boots to provide protection for wood climbs.

Hot stick — Critical for any live-line work, these insulated poles also come with a variety of interchangeable tool heads needed to complete tasks for this type of work while helping to prevent an unwelcome shock.

Other safety gear – safety glasses, bucket harness, rubber sleeves, fire-resistant clothing, vest

Lineman Rodeo Pic.
Courtesy American Public Power Association.

General Tools

Every job that deals with construction and maintenance will have your basic set of tools needed to assist with tasks. Here are some important tools that every lineman uses.

Hammer – Obvious yes, but also essential. The type you need depends on what you need to hammer and the type of space you’re working in.

Wrench – Yet another item with a large selection of types that are dependent on the type of job, though many are designed to handle a variety of sizes.

Pliers – Not just a pair, but a set. Jobs might also require needle-nose or slip-joint pliers.

Skinning knife –  Needed for scoring and slitting of the cable jacket. There are also models designed with notches for scraping insulation, folding models and more.

Batteries and chargers – A large portion of the tools used are cordless and powered by batteries. If you don’t have the needed power, the job is a lot harder or just won’t get done. It’s important to make sure you have all you need and they’re charged.

Other tools –  screwdrivers, bolt cutters, volt meter, tool belt, equipment belt, tool pouch, ditty bag, hand line with pulley block and clips.

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