We periodically receive tools from different brands and not all of them make it to the front of the line for a potential review on HomeFixated. A couple years back, The Nonconductive Tool Company (NTC LLC) sent us a couple of their products to check out. For a while, these sat on the back-burner. I simply didn’t see the use for them. “I have fingers, so if I need to bend or push wires, I’ll use those” was my mindset. I also had some concern people might decide using these tools eliminates the need to shut off the power first (it DOES NOT). So, let me preface this review by saying, no matter what tool you may or may not be using, ALWAYS shut off the power, and then verify the power is indeed off with a voltage detector before working on said wiring. This dynamic duo of the Volt Claw 12 and the Volt Claw Multi-Gauge are setting out to bend electrical wires to your will. Read on to find out how the Voltage Claw made it from a neglected shelf into my Veto tool bag geared up for electrical work.
Let’s kick things off with a brief video from NTC:
The Volt Claw 12
Designed to work on 12 and 14 gauge wires, the Volt Claw 12 turned out to be my favorite between the two tools. Three bumps on each side of the tool make for a very ergonomic grip. One end of the Volt Claw 12 is designed for bending and pulling, the other for pushing hooking. In between the two sides is a wire nut wrench. Although I used the wrench for testing purposes (and it works), I find using my fingers far more practical for this. Using the Volt Claw wrench requires that you have clearance for both handles to spin around the wire connector – and clearance is something of a rarity in electrical work.
The Volt Claw Multi-Gauge
While the Volt Claw 12 is essentially dual gauge, the Volt Claw Multi-Gauge is designed for 6 to 14 gauge wire. The Volt Claw Multi-Gauge is even more ergonomic than the Volt Claw 12. The Multi-Gauge has a contoured grip and a thumb-slide that activates the sliding wire grip at the front of the tool. This sliding mechanism provides a more precise grip on individual wires than the other tool and is also very useful for bending wires to lay less obtrusively in a junction box, switch box or our outlet box.
How These Tools Bend Wires to Your Will
Even if you have dainty fingers, both Volt Claw products provide a far more precise ability to manipulate wires than your digits can deliver. That’s even more true if you have meaty fingers that press more than two letters on your smartphone screen no matter how hard you try to aim for only one. If you have ever used a screwdriver or linesman pliers to push and pull wiring, you know that’s a recipe for destroying insulation. Since insulation is the stuff that tends to thwart things like shorts, faults, electrical shocks or fires, it is best left undisturbed. The relatively smooth contours of the Volt Claw let you push, pull and direct wires without ripping off their insulation in the process.
Overcrowded boxes are also a common problem, and the Volt claw can help you more surgically route wires to occupy less space. Once I started using the Volt Claw, it became a frequently reached-for tool among my electrician’s tools.
In case you missed my initial “turn off the power before you work on it” warning at the beginning, it’s worth sharing the extensive safety information the NTC company has on its website:
To avoid possible electric shock or personal injury, follow these guidelines:
• Always turn off electricity before working on electrical circuits.
• Always wear gloves and eye protection when working with tools.
• Use these wire management tools only as specified in this instruction sheet or the protection provided by the tool might be impaired.
• Do not use this wire management tool if it is damaged, broken, cracked, or shows any signs of physical defect.
• Do not use this wire management tool if it is wet or damp.
• Not recommended for voltages over 600 volts.
• Always discharge any high-voltage capacitors before working on electrical systems.
• Do not use as a hammer or pry-bar.
• Comply with local and national safety requirements when working in hazardous locations.
• Use proper protective equipment, as required by local or national authorities when working in hazardous areas.
• Avoid working alone.
With all those warnings reiterated, I say go grab yourself one or two of these handy tools. If you’re working on typical residential wiring and only want one tool, I recommend the the Volt Claw 12. I found it to be the most versatile and useful for pushing, pulling and bending. The Multi-Gauge is handy as well, particularly if you are trying to grip an individual wire. If you get both tools, you can actually use them both at the same time, if you are so inclined. Finally, if some wingnut decides to restore power while you’re still working on it, the Volt Claw might keep you safer than working without it.
Volt Claws are reasonably priced and available on Amazon for around $15 each:
Or, just under $30 for the combo pack of both the Volt Claw 12 and Volt Claw Multi-Gauge: