Best Electrician Books for Beginners: Top 7 of 2020

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A good electrician’s book can easily be the difference between passing or failing an exam.

Look for a book that has NEC tables, detailed information on wiring, and a reference table for common equations and unit conversions.

On the other hand, a bad electrician study guide is worse than not having one. It will only serve to confuse you and make you feel like an idiot.

So to help you separate the good and bad study guides – we’ve reviewed the Top 7 Books for Electricians of 2020.

Buy with the confidence that you’re buying one of the best electrical reference guides on the market. Let’s jump straight into the reviews.

best overall rating
Ugly's Electrical References
  • Includes NEC table
  • Great for apprentices
  • Detailed information on wiring
premium choice rating
National Electrical Code (NEC Code)
  • Includes NEC Codes
  • Revised information
  • Tabs for chapter organization
great value rating
Wiring a House: Revised and Updated
  • Great price
  • Helps with DIY electrical work
  • Clear instructions

Top 7 Best Books for Electricians

Ugly’s Electrical References – Best Overall

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Ugly's Electrical References, 2017 Edition
  • Jones & Bartlett Learning (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 200 Pages - 11/29/2016 (Publication Date) - Jones & Bartlett Learning (Publisher)

First on our list is Ugly’s Electrical References. Its main purpose is to teach new and professional electricians the ins and out of the industry. For instance, it can be used as a reference while on the job and can answer the questions that most beginners and apprentices tend to have.

This book presents the most important information electricians need at their fingertips such as National Electrical Code tables, mathematical formulas, conduit bending, voltage drops, first-aid procedures, and wiring.

For electricians that are undergoing apprenticeship training, this is the right book for you. It includes charts to help you determine the right wire to use for a circuit. This helps you prevent house fires by using the wrong wire.

Another reason why consumers like this book are the quality of the information presented. It is compact and includes tables for electrical construction and commonly used electrical formulas. So, you won’t have any problem finding information based on your electrical project.

For exams, this book comes in handy. It features information based on Ohm’s Law and hints on how to use tools properly. It also has conveniently colored images to help with understanding difficult concepts.

Its compact size gives electricians another advantage. This makes it easier for them to carry the book around while they’re on the job. So if you’re ever in need of electrical code info while on the go, this is the right book for you. Whether you’re an apprentice or Journeyman electrician, Ugly’s is an essential textbook that serves as both a study guide and an industrial training handbook.

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What We Like
  • Textbook includes NEC tables
  • Essential book for electrician apprentices
  • Detailed information on wiring and electrical design
  • Fantastic 'how to' instructions
  • Straightforward instructions
What We Don’t Like
  • ENT Values need to be upgraded

National Electrical Code (NEC Code) – Premium Choice

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National Electrical Code 2017
  • Throughout the United States and around the world, NFPA 70: National Electrical Code (NEC) sets the foundation for electrical safety in residential, commercial, and industrial...
  • (NFPA) National Fire Protection Association (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)

For electricians, the National Electrical Code is a set of guidelines in regards to industrial, residential, and commercial occupations. The 2017 edition of the NEC Code provides information on installing equipment, grounding, overcurrent protection, and electrical wiring.

The book has a plethora of major revisions when compared to previous editions. The most recent additions include the recent growth of renewable energy technology amongst other things. There are also updates to the book that are meant to protect advanced electrical workers from potentially dangerous hazards in the form of tricky wiring and compliance solutions.

If you need to renew your electrician’s license or are studying to obtain one, this is the right book for you. The book was written to be understood at all levels, providing detailed information on most facets of electrical work.

Another reason why this book is sought after is due to its adherence to the NEC rules. This is the most up-to-date version of the NEC code because it is updated every 3 years. In fact, some consumers stated that it had more information than the previous 2014 version! So you’re getting the most relevant information needed to pass your exam.

Electricians wanting a review of electrical code should definitely grab this book. It provides coverage on high voltage systems that were previously in the utility domain. The book has enough information to keep as a reference guide while you’re at work.

The National Electronic Codebook is an important book for contractors, designers, AHJs, and engineers. It has tabs for each section, making it easier to find information on a certain topic. So consider getting this book if you’re ready to stay up to date with electrical safety.

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What We Like
  • Relevant Information on the NEC Codes
  • Revised information
  • Tabs for chapter organization
  • Can be used to study for electrician exams
  • Essential training book for apprentices and journeyman alike
What We Don’t Like
  • Text is too small for some readers
  • Slightly pricier (although well worth the cost)

Wiring a House: Completely Revised and Updated – Great Value

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Wiring a House 4th edition: Completely Revised and Updated (For Pros...
  • Wiring a House
  • Cauldwell, Rex (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)

Wiring a House: Completely Revised and Updated is a book created by an expert electrician with over 37 years of experience in the industry. It gives readers new methods on how to distribute low voltage power, making it easy to keep your home appliances and electrical equipment in line.

Rex Caldwell shares his experience with his reader in a simple and straightforward manner. For example, he covers basic advice such as how to keep track of your tools – to the technical concepts like wiring and other tested industry trips. 

The book comes with detailed pictures and explanations to help novice electricians get up to speed. With over 120 instructive illustrations, it helps you easily refer back to the book when you’re stuck or need help using the right tools. 

Safety is an important factor when it comes to electrical work, and this book has information for each occasion. Recently, the book has expanded its GFCI and AFCI protection information on homes, making it easy for you to wire your house without burning it down in the process.

There is additional information on inverters, lighting, and electrical vehicle chargers. Due to this, the book has enough information to help beyond just wiring your home. Grab this book if you want to know everything about electrical work without the extra industrial lingo attached.

The book’s new DC provisions are designed to help you retain energy after an AC transmission. Plus, its updated version has been released to meet the 2017 NEC guidelines. So if you want an affordable electrical reference book, consider getting this one.

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What We Like
  • Excellent price
  • Helps with beginner DIY electrical work
  • Provides information on wiring
  • Includes GFCI and AFCI protection information
  • Meets the NEC Guidelines
What We Don’t Like
  • Not to be used as an electricians study book
  • No practice tests

Journeyman Electrician Exam Questions and Study Guide

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2017 Journeyman Electrician Exam Questions and Study Guide
  • Holder, Ray (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 420 Pages - 02/15/2017 (Publication Date) - Brown Technical Publications Inc (Publisher)

Need help preparing for the exam? Then the Journeyman Electrician Exam and Study Guide is the best tool around. This book covers all topics in the Journeyman exams such as motors, transformers, over-current protection, conductor sizing and protection, and commercial and residential load calculations. 

The book can help you with studying and brushing up on general methods and calculations before testing in any state. Since it breaks down how to do problems, it gives you a detailed way to get future exam questions correct.

Additionally, it features practice tests to help you study for the exam. It has short examples of exam questions that will help you get prepared. However, this book is not necessary if you’re taking the E2 Exam.

The Journeyman Electrician Exam and Study Guide also covers renewable energy technologies. This book is up to date, giving you enough information needed to meet the NEC 2018 guidelines. The info in this book will definitely give you an edge on the exam.

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What We Like
  • Great electricians study guide
  • Describes renewable energy technologies
  • Includes 12 practice exams
  • Excellent textbook
  • Good for learning general methods and calculations
What We Don’t Like
  • Can’t be used for E2 exam
  • Bad page layout
  • Wrong code reference

Electrical Level 1 Trainee Guide

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Electrical Level 1 Trainee Guide (9th Edition)
  • NCCER (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 640 Pages - 07/08/2017 (Publication Date) - Pearson (Publisher)

Next on our list is the Electrical Level 1 Trainee Guide. The book gives information for basic level electrical examination, but is laid out with great examples. For novice electricians, this guide will help you get started.

This was designed to go with the NCCER’s Construction Site Safety Technician course. And it has a fully illustrated design filled with formulas, tables, and the information needed to pass your exam.

The content that’s provided in the book includes: electrical safety, raceways and fittings, electrical test equipment, conductors and cables, introduction to the National Electrical Code, electrical safety and more. So you’ll have enough material needed to ace the exam.

The only setback lies in the book’s binding. Consumers complained that the binding would fall apart in their hands after using it for a short time. Still, it’s a great book for electricians and is a great way to increase your knowledge of basic concepts.

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What We Like
  • Excellent electricians textbook
  • Illustrations for further explanation
  • Includes charts, formulas, and tables
  • Complements the NCCER's Construction Site Safety Technician Course
  • Good exam prepartion examples
What We Don’t Like
  • Weak book bindings
  • Limited notes

Ultimate Guide: Wiring (Creative Homeowner)

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Ultimate Guide: Wiring, 8th Updated Edition (Creative Homeowner) DIY...
  • Creative Homeowner
  • Editors of Creative Homeowner (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)

As a homeowner, you need to learn how to utilize electrical equipment. The Ultimate Guide: Wiring (Creative Homeowner) gives you detailed info on residential electrical systems with straightforward language, detailed instructions, and step-by-step photography.

The diagrams in this book are designed to help you wire electrical equipment properly. They are used to reinforce the procedures and safety methods, as well as add alternative approaches and variations. So you’ll get enough guidance on how to wire your home the right way.

In addition, the book teaches you about low-voltage lighting and outdoor power. This section helps electricians with installing outdoor electrical boxes, timers, switches, and even underwater lighting for your pool. For the outdoor DIY electrician, this is the best book available.

There is a minor issue with the book’s limited information on LED lighting. While it does include information on most electrical topics, some customers wanted more explanation on how to use LED equipment. So consider using this book when you want a simple guide to residential wiring.

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What We Like
  • Detailed diagrams
  • Helps with properly wiring a house
  • Informative tables and charts
  • Tools, equipment, and material lists
  • Clear photographs and instructions
What We Don’t Like
  • No reference to LEDs
  • Outdated pictures
  • Limited circuit diagrams

Dewalt Electrical Licensing Exam Guide

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DEWALT Electrical Licensing Exam Guide: Based on the NEC 2014 (DEWALT...
  • Holder, Ray (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 336 Pages - 12/22/2014 (Publication Date) - DEWALT (Publisher)

For years, both apprentice and professional electricians have turned towards the Dewalt Electrical Licensing Exam Guide. With a commitment to giving electricians valuable test taking strategies and up-to-date knowledge, this book is a thorough and comprehensive guide to mastering local and state electrician exams. 

Even though this isn’t a textbook, each of the test questions come with an answer and an explanation of the reasoning behind the answer. It comes with a one-user login to access online practice exams which include detailed answers and explanations.

Specifically, the book has a non-state approach to taking the exam. And it includes study aids and tips, references and formulas, sample exams with over 500 questions, and examination regulations. As a result, you’ll gain insight into what is needed to pass the exam and the right techniques to aid you when taking it.

There are some consumer complaints regarding the quality of the exam guide. Certain sections of the book appear blurry, which can be difficult to read. Check the book thoroughly before using it and get a replacement if this problem arises.

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What We Like
  • 500 question practice exams
  • Study guide included
  • Online practice exams available
  • Great for electrician apprentices and journeyman
  • Excellent electricians textbook
What We Don’t Like
  • Blurry pages
  • Limited drawings

About Blake Sutton

Blake has worked as an electrician for over 10 years, receiving his Journeyman Electrician license in 1998. Looking to take his professional electrical career further, in 2008 he received his Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering (BSEE) from the University of Texas in Austin. Blake now works full time as an electrical engineer, specializing in power systems.