Fluke, a company well-known for their high quality digital multimeters and other test equipment, has come out with a new line of premium insulated hand tools.
Fluke says that their new insulated hand tools are designed to keep workers safe near potentially hazardous areas, and are rugged enough to be used in the toughest environments.
The new hand tool line includes screwdrivers and pliers, which will be available individually, in sets, or with select multimeters in “starter kits.”
Fluke’s insulated hand tools are rated to have 1000V protection, and are individually tested to over 10,000V. Fluke says the tools comply to globally-recognized safety standards.
There are 7 screwdriver sizes, slotted in 3/32″, 5/32″, 1/4″, Phillips #1 and #2, and square #1 and #2, and 4 pliers styles, combination pliers, diagonal cutters, long nose pliers, and adjustable water pump pliers.
Hands-On and Discussion
It seems to me that Fluke has put a lot of thought into their new insulated tools, and especially their storage pouches and roll-up. I really like the pouch, and its double magnet hanger.
As for the tools themselves, they’re high-quality and made in Germany. Fluke kindly send over a set for review.
Even if you don’t recognize the screwdriver styling, the feel is a giveaway – these are made by Felo, at least with 99.9% certainty, and feature Felo’s iconic Ergonic cushioned screwdriver handles.
Fluke press materials say that:
Fluke Insulated Hand Tools are manufactured using state-of-the-art German steel to Fluke’s exacting standards for quality, ruggedness, and reliability.
Frankly, Felo Ergonic screwdrivers are pretty darned good. Tool brands don’t like talking about OEM relationships, and so we probably can’t ask if or how Fluke screwdrivers might differ from Felo’s.
Fluke is a recognized brand, and is a safe choice for pros and industrial techs.
I can’t quite identify the OEM for the pliers (yet), but they seem to be very well-made. I need more use with the tools for a proper review and assessment.
Not to mince words, I’m a little off-put by the pricing. A 7pc screwdriver set is $140 via Acme Tools, and only a little lower on Amazon. A 6pc Phillips and slotted Felo Ergonic set is $36 via Amazon. A Wera 6pc set is $29-32 via Amazon. To be fair, Klein insulated pliers aren’t much less expensive individually.
The pliers are a bit pricey too, starting at $65.
Fluke’s kits seem to be better options, especially for industrial buyers looking for one-stop solutions. The Fluke 87V, which I still consider to be the best handheld digital multimeter (at least for users with more demanding needs and corresponding budgets), is priced at $365 to $387. Fluke has an 87V plus hand tool starter kit bundle, currently priced at $589. For the $200 difference (compared to the average street price), you get 3 pliers, 5 screwdrivers, and a tool case.
If you’re a commercial buyer, these new Fluke hand tools are a safe bet, not to mention high quality.
But if you’re an individual user, and your tool expenditures affect your bottom line, you might want to look very closely at how these tools are priced.
Without a doubt these are good tools and worthy of Fluke’s name and stellar reputation. They’re priced a little higher than I would have expected, but for commercial customers this could be considered a convenience fee for being able to have one-stop shopping.
From a quality standpoint, as well as user safety, you can’t go wrong with Fluke tools.
Context and Details from Fluke
We reached out to Fluke with some questions, and they provided us with added information:
Fluke is known as the world leader in test & measurement safety and people trust us with their life every day when they are exposed to electricity. As a company, we continually reinforce the importance of electrical safety on the job. Insulated hand tools are an integral part of an overall safety program which is required by OSHA directive 1910.335. They are also, without exception, priced higher than standard hand tools. When viewing Fluke’s position in the insulated hand tools market, it is useful to consider:
- The safety element – certified to 1000 V ac and 1500 V dc, tested to 10,000 V – requires a far more stringent manufacturing process than other hand tools
- The design element, which also improves safety, and can be seen in the unique tapered shaft of the screwdrivers that allows customers to get access to hard to reach areas without needing to shave the insulation down (yes, users actually do this)
- The quality element, as reflected in the “feel” that you describe in your review, puts these tools in a higher category than many other insulated tools which don’t work as well in the user’s hand
- The quality element, as additionally reflected in the limited lifetime warranty, indicates a product which will be in the technician’s toolbox for a very long time, perhaps a lifetime
Overall, we feel the value offered through safety, usability, durability and warranty is more than commensurate to the price.
We are working closely with our tool suppliers, and we do offer certain insulated tool models with unique attributes not available elsewhere.