HVAC Technician Tool List for Beginners

portrait of Nalea J. Ko
by Nalea J. Ko
Published on September 23, 2021

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Want to begin a career as a heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) technician? Demand for these professionals has increased as greater focus has been placed on renewable energy. Additionally, the COVID-19 pandemic has put more emphasis on the quality of indoor air.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects 4% job growth for HVAC mechanics and installers between 2019 and 2029, with companies forecast to add more than 15,000 new positions. Job programs have been created in cities like Charlotte, North Carolina; Austin,Texas; and Albuquerque, New Mexico. These HVAC programs have been promoted to fill in-demand jobs with qualified technicians. In some cases, incentives like hiring bonuses have also been offered.

HVAC technicians learn through apprenticeships, on-the-job-training, and certificate and two-year programs offered at community colleges. While employers may provide pricier equipment like vacuum pumps and cylinders, many HVAC technicians need to purchase some of their own tools.

Read our HVAC technician tool list for beginners.

Must-Have HVAC Tools:

HVAC technicians need insulated screwdrivers of various sizes and types to prevent electrical shocks and damage to equipment. Flathead and Phillips screwdrivers help HVAC technicians remove screws from thermostats and units. HVAC technicians use pliers to bend, cut, strip, and hold wires. A tool bag should contain linesman, channellock, long-nose, and needle-nose pliers. Most HVAC technicians carry a lightweight standard hammer. However, they also may need an assortment of dead-blow hammers and ball-peen hammers. A tinner's hammer also helps install UV lighting. A tape measure allows HVAC technicians to make accurate measurements. This helps when installing air conditioners, furnaces, and outlets. HVAC technicians use aluminum and steel pipe wrenches to connect HVAC units to plumbing and install furnaces. Because they work with different sizes of pipes, HVAC technicians may need 8-inch, 10-inch, and 12-inch pipe wrenches. The digital multimeter is among the most important HVAC tools. This device allows HVAC technicians to test systems and diagnose problems. Multimeters can measure alternating and direct current, resistance, and voltage. The convenience of a lightweight cordless drill enables HVAC technicians to reach parts and systems in cramped areas like basements or attics without weighing down their tool belts. A heavy-duty cordless drill allows HVAC technicians to drill into materials like stucco or masonry. Industrial extension cords used in HVAC work must be able to withstand high-powered electrical loads without shorting or causing a fire. Technicians should get an extension cord at least 50 feet long that can endure harsh outdoor elements. Tin snips work much like scissors, but they can cut through sheet metal without leaving jagged edges. Workers can buy different gauge tin snips, depending on their work and the thickness of metal they need to cut through. Aviation shears also can help HVAC technicians make precision cuts. If you are an HVAC technician, you probably don't have a fear of heights. HVAC technicians use 6-foot and 10-foot step ladders on many jobs. Reaching compressors on rooftops may require using an extension ladder. Technicians often prefer ladders that easily open and close. Reciprocating saw blades and handheld saws known by the brand name Sawzall allow HVAC technicians to cut through pipes or drywall. Handheld saws, however, do not have the same power as corded saws. They also use a lot of batteries. Tubing cutters help HVAC technicians cut the copper lines typically attached to pipes without creating burrs, or jagged metal edges, which could cause system problems. The adjustable cutting wheel allows HVAC technicians to cut various diameters of pipe. Hand seamers let workers shape the ductwork and sheet metal used for HVAC systems. Hand seamers feature straight jaws that come in various widths. HVAC technicians join round sheet metal ducts using crimpers, which may feature two, three, or five blades. This HVAC tech tool helps workers reduce the diameter of the duct and create a flush connection. Staple guns come in handy when HVAC technicians need to secure insulation to ducts.

Frequently Asked Questions About HVAC Tech Tools

true What is an awl tool?

The sharp point of an awl tool, also called a scratch tool, lets HVAC technicians puncture holes or score lines on sheet metal. HVAC technicians can purchase awl tools in different sizes depending on the job.

true How much do HVAC tools cost?

It takes time to get all the tools you may use during your HVAC career. Buying basic tools as a new HVAC technician could cost $200-$500, according to some in the field. Some new technicians may spend more.

HVAC technicians will add to their tool kits over time. They will likely start buying tools while in school or during initial training. They may also need additional equipment to start as apprentices. More tools will be needed once these technicians become licensed or certified. Employers typically provide pricier equipment like vacuum pumps and Sawzalls.

true Are HVAC apprentices expected to have their own tools on the first day?

Check with your apprenticeship program if you're unsure, but apprentices are often expected to have at least some of their own tools on the first day. Having HVAC tech tools like flashlights, screwdrivers, hammers, and cordless drills on your first day can give you the freedom to work on your own. The tools you need as an apprentice depend on your specific program and work setting (commercial or residential).

In an age of climbing tuition costs and unpaid internships, can provide an accelerated, comparatively affordable alternative to a college education. Skilled trades offer rewarding career options for those looking... According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), HVAC technicians earned a as of May 2020. For those who enjoy problem-solving and helping others, entering this field can be a... Completing HVAC technician training can enable you to secure a lucrative and in-demand career. According to the (BLS), as of May 2020, HVAC technicians made a median annual salary of...

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