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Best Electrical Fish Tape of 2019 – Best Guide

Learn and know more about the best electrical fish tape of 2019, what they do, how they work, and how you can use these types for better work output. Here, we are covering all that you need to know about fish tapes and how well you can best utilize them for optimum output.

What Is A Fish Tape?

Also known as “draw wire” or electrician’s snake”, the fish tape is a tool electricians use to pull wire through walls, under subfloors, electrical conduit as well as other spaces that are difficult to reach. A fish tape is built to be guided through confined spaces like wall cavities.

It is a long, thin, flat steel wound up inside a donut-shaped wheel with a sturdy handle. The storage system of a fish tape has a natural curvature that enables electricians to guide it through tight spaces. This is a very handy tool that can be used for pulling wires through a pipe or putting wires from one end to another through a plumbing chase.

Types Of Fish Tapes

Fish tapes are made from three different materials, namely; fiberglass, nylon, and steel.

Fiberglass Fish Tapes

These fish tapes have a very high pressure-thrust, which makes it very much preferred materials when it comes to installations of telecommunication and data communication cables. A thick fiberglass fish tape has more pressure-thrust thus making it even much better.

The components inherent in fiberglass fish tape, reduce the friction resistance of the tape and when the tape is being used in an operation, pulling and pushing every sharp bend must be avoided as any excessive bending can tear down the tape.

Nylon Fish Tape

This type of tape is widely and commonly used all thanks to its cost-efficiency and universal applicability. This tape has an increased friction resistance with wear and tear that is higher than other kinds of fish tapes and they are highly recommended for occasional fishing operations.

Steel Fish Tapes

These are very robust, highly flexible and rigid fish tapes that are absolutely suited for operations that need heavy-duty pulling over long distances. The tape itself is made of steel, which makes it highly conductive. Note, steel fish tapes with live conductors must be avoided.

What To Look Out For When Buying A Fish Tape

Durability: This is one feature that cannot be compromised when you are buying a fish tape. This is because durability determines how long you can use your fish tape. The qualities of a durable fish tape are shockproof and corrosion resistance.

Quality: There is no gainsaying that you should spend your money on a quality that will reward you for your money. Thus you have to consider the brand, where it’s made from, what materials are being used to avoid buying a fish tape that breaks too early and easily.

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Quality and durability should be the two factors you should not ignore while purchasing a fish tape.

Tape Type:

Go for the type of fish tape that will serve you better. You can only do this if you know the type of fish tape you are buying and what you need it for. Thus check out the material the tape is made up of (i.e.) is it a steel fish tape, nylon fish tape or a fiberglass fish tape.

How To Use A Fish Tape

Fish tapes are designed in lengths of 50’ and 100’. To start using it, press the button or pull the lever near the handle, pull the tape out of the wheel and release it. This is to allow you simply pull it out of the wheel.

Once the tape unwinds from the wheel, you are to feed the tape into a conduit. As the tape emerges from the other end, a helper is to attach the wires to the end of the tape, then put the tape back through the conduit, towing the wires with it.

To wind up the tape back in the wheel, grip the center of the wheel with one hand and turn the handle with the other.

Southwire Tools SIMpull Fish Tape

This innovative fish tape by Southwire Company, Inc.(the largest manufacturer of copper and aluminum rod, wire, and cable in the U.S) is made of a non-conductive polymer that offers low coefficient of friction, that allows the tape to smoothly glide through EMT and PVC conduits with a more increased pace than steel and fiberglass fish tapes are accustomed to. The SIMpull fish tape is also almost unbreakable and bends resistant.

What’s to love about this tape

Swivel flexible metal leader/Non-conductive and glow in the dark leader: This fish tape comes in two kinds of leader types there is the swiveling flexible metal leader which makes the tape easily glide through EMT and PVC conduits. The Non-conductive and glow in the dark leader on the other hand, enables easy tape installation over existing wires.

Nice models: These models, offer solutions for different applications featuring two tape diameters and various lengths.

Faster and easier pulls: Offers faster and easier pulls with its low friction and spiral extruded polymer.

Flexibility: An extremely flexible tape that is made of non-conductive materials, which makes it corrosion resistant but durable and does not bend even though it’s lighter in weight than other fish tapes.

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Strong: This implies that this tape will not easily break or bent.

What’s not so good

  • This tape may only be good for simple applications.
  • It doesn’t go 100 inches through a plastic conduit with more than 2-3 sweeps.

Greenlee FTS438DL –250 SmartMARK

A laser-etched steel fish tape with Speed-Flex leaders and an over-molded grip handle. Produced by Greenlee Textron, this SmartMARK steel fish tape with speed flex leaders enables it’s the user to access farther into the electrical conduits. It also offers a viewport, which enables users to easily know how far they have gone fishing.

What’s to love about this tape?

Efficiency: There’s increased efficiency with its laser-etched foot and meter distance markings.

Speed flex leader: This enables the user to fish further.

Viewing ports: This intimates the user on how far they have fished, measured in both feet and meter.

Length of 250 feet: The tape’s length is 250 feet

Comfort grip: It has a rugged, advanced, no-bump and flared comfort grip that comes with superior rapid payout and reminds capability.

It is made in the USA.

What’s not so good?

  • Susceptible to corrosion because it is not made of stainless steel and users’ hands may get soiled.
  • A too-large end to fit in a ½ inch metal flex for a 30-foot wire pull.

Gardner Bender Carbon Steel Fish Tape

The Gardner Bender Carbon Steel Fish Tape is an ergonomic fish tape with an ergonomic handle, that secures the user’s grip at the strongest point, and enhances the productivity on the job.

This tool also offers comfort, as well as reduces forearm strain for users. The interior grip fits the user’s palm and reduces the number of pressure points that are associated with fish tapes.

This fish tape is also highly durable all thanks to it’s handled and the product housing which is impact modified and exceeds the 25 ft drop-test.

What’s to love about this tape?

Durable: Highly durable because of its impact-modified handle and housing.

Corrosion-resistant: All thanks to it’s plated steel wire, which gives users the toughest and most durable tapes which are perfect for long-lasting use.

Ergonomic handle: This gives users the comfort and security that some fish tapes don’t offer.

What’s not so good?

It can be hard to use because of its excessive curl.

Klein Tools Stainless Steel Fish Tape

This high depth finder with high strength 1/8 inch Stainless Fish Tape measures 240 feet long and features a permanent laser etched 1-foot increments on the tape. It enables the users to measure the depth of conduit runs and determine the length of the tape that is still left to payout.

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This tape’s polypropylene case and the handle make it durable also with a shock and impact resistance. The round inner ring of the case design gives off a smooth, consistent and comfortable surface for winding and rewinding of the tape. The slope handle features the optimization of the position of the user’s hand for quick hand-over-hand rewinds. It also allows for a more level payout of the tape on the backswing while feeding it in the conduit.

What’s to love about this tape?

The product determines the amount of tape left to payout.

Accurate depth: Which makes for the measurement of conduit runs.

Permanent laser: Which are etched 1-foot increments on it.

Finger grips: This, allows the user to transfer 100 percent of the winding power from their hands and fingers.

Round inner ring: Offers a smooth, consistent and comfortable surface for winding and rewinding.

What’s not so good?

The increment numbers are not bold, thus making it hard to read.

Safety Tips While Using A Fish Tape

Here some guide of proper usage when using fish tapes;

  • Ensure you pick a safe and comfortable work position and spot before using the fish tape to avoid loss of balance during the feeding or pulling the tape.
  • Maintain the tape by washing it with detergent and warm water. This is because dirty tapes can be difficult to retrieve. Inspect also the fish tapes for corrosion, cracks and other issues to avoid the tape breaking during pulling.
  • Make sure you wear protective eyewear when feeding, pulling and rewinding fish tape.
  • Before an operation, turn off all appliances close to the fish tape.
  • While using the fish tape coiled in it, don’t remove the screws on the winder reel.
  • Make use of heavy-duty gloves when fishing the tape to avoid sharp edges cutting your bare hands.
  • If you encounter insulation during the operation, try not to go through it, but around it with the tape.
  • If you are working near live circuits, non-conductive and non-corrosion, it is recommended that you use a fiberglass fish tape.

Conclusion

Now that you know what fish are all about, and the best offers out there in the market, you can go ahead and make the choice that best suits you and your work type.

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