When you’re running wire through walls, attics or sub-floors, there are a number of cable fishing tools you can use. They’re a great time saver and will keep you from having to abandon a job because of wire snagging.
Fish tapes, rods and flex bits are all helpful cable pulling tools for electricians. They’re easy to use and come in different lengths.
Electricians use fish tapes to pull thin wires through conduits and walls. They also use them to route voice/data/video cable placed below subfloors or above suspended ceilings.
Today’s fish tapes don’t look much different than older models, but internal improvements make the tape pay out and reel in smoother. Some tapes also have LED lights or cameras on their tips to help locate the wire.
Fiberglass and steel fish tapes are available in lengths from 25 to 250 feet. Steel is the most widely used, but fiberglass fish tapes are preferred for jobs near live circuits or in wet conditions.
Regardless of what material you choose, the right fish tape will make your wire-routing project easier and less stressful. You should consider factors such as tape length and tensile strength, measurement markings and durability.
Fish Tape Alternatives
Fish tape alternatives are a great way to save money and time while working with cable. These alternative products can be made of various materials and have a wide range of features.
Generally, these alternatives are non-conductive or have glow-in-the-dark features to help you find them in dark areas. They can also be shaped to fit a specific job.
For example, if you need to run wires through plaster or lath walls, you can use mud rings to prevent marring the drywall as you pull the wire. These mud rings are usually less than $2 each at home centers.
Other options include a long roll of stiff steel that you can push wire through insulated walls, up wall cavities and down long lengths of joists. These tapes typically have a donut-shaped case and a handle for reeling the tape in.
Fish Tape Kits
Fish tape kits are available in several sizes to meet different cable fishing needs. For instance, some are perfect for working in narrow spaces and others can handle pulling thick-gauge wires.
These fishing kits also have other accessories that can make the job easier. They come with head tips that match the type of wire you need to pull and a fastener tool.
For instance, the MILWAUKEE(r) FUEL(tm) ANGLER(tm) Pulling Fish Tape Powered Base is equipped with three less-binding steel and non-conductive cartridges that can tackle any situation. It runs on an M18 REDLITHIUM(tm) battery pack and is protected by REDLINK PLUS(tm) Intelligence to ensure maximum performance and protection from overload.
Besides, this fishing kit has laser-etched markings on its body to show the ideal cable length and help you plan your next task. The housing is also slip-resistant to reduce the risk of injuries and damage. It also comes with an easy-carry handle that lets you roll the fish tape back in its case for easier handling.
Fish Tape Cases
Fish tape cases are a great way to keep your cable fishing tools organized and in good condition. The case should be made of quality steel and have an impact-resistant housing that protects the tool from damage.
Dan Pearson, product manager at Klein Tools, Lincolnshire, Ill., said a lot of factors go into selecting the right fish tape for your needs. Tape length, tensile strength and ease of payout and rewind are all important considerations.
For instance, if you’re pulling large wires through conduit, it’s helpful to choose a stiffer fish tape to prevent kinks and hang-ups.
Other features of fish tapes that make them useful include measurement markings, durability and ergonomic design. For example, the Southwire SIMpull series of fish tapes has a spiral extruded polymer design that reduces the strain on your hands when pushing and pulling it through conduit.
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