This past weekend I was installing a couple of wireless switches that work in conjunction with my garage door opener. A fairly simple project and not the first time I used the Groundbreaker but it's the first project that unexpectedly required me to use much of the extra features of the Groundbreaker.
First, the switches came in that annoying plastic packaging that needs to be cut open and I used the Groundbreaker's utility knife to do that. I needed to strip a ground pigtail to connect it to the switches and the grounded outlet box. Always need pliers when doing electrical work and the Groundbreaker's plier jaws and wire bending loops worked perfectly. The switches have a wire antenna that needs to be fed down the wall and I was able to use the drywall saw on the Groundbreaker to slightly enlarge the wall opening around the bottom of the outlet box to feed the antennas through. The only thing I didn't use was the hammering surface. I really tried to think of a way to use them on the project too.
The saw, driver and utility knife are located on the handles and can be used with the handles still on the Groundbreaker. If you find that a little too cumbersome for some work, the handles are removable.
More importantly. Everything was right on my belt within easy reach when I needed it. I didn't have to waste time running around looking for a half dozen different tools that are in various locations as I realized I'd need them. Seems like have the time I work on any DIY projects I'm running up and down stairs or out to the garage looking for a tool.
Not only the tools that are part of the Groundbreaker but other tools that are important when doing electrical work. A loop on the bottom of the sheath can hold a couple of rolls of electrical tape. A tool holder on the right can hold a screwdriver or a pencil and the pocket on the left is the perfect size for my Milwaukee Non-Contact Voltage Detector. In addition to being a voltage tester it has a little flashlight on it so I could have a good look inside the box when I needed to. I also keep a philips head screwdriver in the pouch but I use the Groundbreaker's screwdriver for slotted screws.
Everything I need to do some electrical work around the house is right there in one place ready to go when I need it. The belt loop unsnaps so you don't even have to take off your belt and a flap on the back of the sheath slips in your back pocket so it doesn't flap around as you move.
This is how I normally keep the Groundbreaker sheath set up. Non-contact voltage detector in one pocket, philips screwdriver in the other, a pencil in the main pouch and a roll of electrical tape on the loop. It's always ready to go.
But still.... It's expensive. At first look I thought it was neat but I don't think I would spend that much for it. As luck would have it, I needed a new set of wire strippers at the same time the Groundbreaker was made available to me for free so I could review it. The more I used it the more I appreciated the multitool aspects of it over individual tools. It has saved me quite a bit of time. So let's look at what it would take to create a Groundbreaker experience with individual tools and how much it will cost.
Multifunction Strippers $22.76 -- The Klein 1001 Multipurpose Electrician's Tool has similar features to the Groundbreaker as far as wire stripping, cutting, terminal screw cutting and crimping goes.
Pliers $29 -- Klein Tools 9" High Leverage Side Cutting Pliers.
Screwdriver $16.99 --Milwaukee 10-in-1 ECX Multibit screwdriver.
Utility Knife $5.97 -- Stanley Quick-Change Retracting Utility Knife.
Drywall Saw $7.97 -- Milwaukee 6" Fixed Jab Saw
Pouch $29.98 -- Dead On Tools HDP222496 Electricians Professional Pouch
The price of the Gerber Groundbreaker doesn't seem too high anymore when you compare it to individual tools of similar quality. Plus you get everything in a smaller package that doesn't take up a lot of space or weight on your belt, toolbox or drawer.
For me, I just like having a small compact set of tools I can grab and go when I occasionally need to do electrical work. I don't know about you but I've tried to set up individual tool kits in the past and it never pans out. If I did build the electrical tool kit above it wouldn't be long before everything went missing. If I needed a utility knife, screwdriver, pliers, or drywall saw and my electrical pouch was closer than other tool kits, I'd grab it from there. Slowly the tools would make their way to other areas and tool storage cases, defeating the whole purpose of being able to grab one set of tools quickly to get the job done fast.
Is the Groundbreaker worth the high price? Yes in my opinion.
At first I thought the Groundbreaker was overpriced and a bit gimmicky. The more I've used it the more practical I realize it is. It's also a very well made tool with a Lifetime Limited Warranty. Gerber is one of Fiskar's brands. You probably know them from the high quality scissors and outdoor cutting equipment they make.
See more info and current pricing at HomeDepot.com.