Steel Erector Tools: What Equipment Do You Need?

Success in steel construction can be pinned down to a few major points:


-Making sure that you are able to perform as many tasks as possible for clients

-Being sure to stay compliant with any existing regulations and provide a safe environment

-Marketing your success in both areas to potential customers


The first two points, the foundation of steelworking success, can be bolstered by having the proper construction tools on hand. Think of it this way: expanding your arsenal of ironworker tools makes it possible to perform more types of services. In addition, the better quality the tools and PPE that you have in place, the safer your construction teams will be.  


So, with that said, here are some of the key steel erector tools you need in order to keep your business properly equipped.


steel erector tools

Photo By fuyu liu


Variable grip wrenches:

These are one of the standard steel erector tools, required to install and remove different bolts.


Cordless drill w/screwdriver bit:

Just like variable grip wrenches, this is a basic tool you’ll need on just about every steel construction site.


Flame-retardant pouches:

Welding steel or working with steel out in the field means fire exposure. Naturally, PPE is a major part of this, but you want to make sure your tools and other equipment are protected as well. These pouches are a great option.

Hex connectors:

These are useful to supply added leverage when you’re putting bolt holes in alignment or moving steel beams into place. 


Steelworkers use these to twist and snip rebar wire into place. They are generally designed to make it easier to twist and turn. This makes it easier to manipulate wire without putting too much stress on the hands and wrists.


Tool Tethers:

Falling objects are among the most common causes of workplace injuries that cause disability. A tool tether is a useful safety measure to ensure a tool doesn’t fall from a height after you drop it.


Bull pins:

Klein steel bull pins are designed to stay connected even at greater heights. This means you can help attach and manipulate your steel structures more effectively and safely.



These are generally used to tighten up bolts, but there are a lot of different wrenches out there. Depending on the job you may need a:


-Pipe wrench

-Impact wrench

-Socket wrench

-Crescent wrench


Be sure that you know well ahead of time what wrench your job requires.


Cordless drill:

This makes sure that you are covered when it comes to self-tapping screws. Be sure to have the appropriate drill bits for the job as well.

Long leveling tools:

These are essential when setting up steel to make sure that everything is straight. There are a few different options you have to choose from here, but any style of level can be used. It may be a good idea to make sure everyone on your team is using the same type, though. This way, all measurements will be uniform.



This electric metal cutter is needed to cut across various roof and wall panels.


Tape measure/chalk line:

These are essential to mark and keep track of different measurements while you are installing steel.


Rivet gun:

This allows for quicker and more uniform installation of steel rivets. There are a variety of different sizes and grips you can use to fit any installation or personal preference.



Sometimes, you may need to do a small climb to reach a part of a structure, so you want to have a ladder on hand.


Utility knife:

This is a basic tool that any construction worker should have on them. This can replace another tool in a pinch or provide an added safety measure.


Industrial lifts:

This larger-scale equipment is going to be necessary to move items like an ironworker connector or steel beams into place. Generally, unloading equipment should be able to lift 5,000 pounds minimum, and you’ll also need nylon slings to offload the materials. For larger buildings, you’ll need to move to a crane with a spreader bar.


In some cases, you may be able to use a rental forklift or loader to handle your lifting needs. Naturally, though, this only works if the maximum height is the same height as the structure.


Blocking materials:

When it comes to steel erector tools, these are key for preventing any damage to the slab or splice plates while unloading. Essentially, they make it possible to slip slings around parts for lifting.



Ideally, you would be able to put all your raw materials and ironworker gear under a roof. However, in some settings, that isn’t possible. The next option is going to be putting all the different items on a plastic ground cover and keeping them covered with a waterproof tarp.


Safety gear:

Any construction crew member on-site needs proper safety equipment. This isn’t negotiable but required by OSHA rules. Some of the key pieces you want to have for all steel erector sites include:


-Heavy-duty work gloves

-Proper sturdy work boots, ideally steel-toe

-Hard hats

-Safety goggles

-Safety harnesses for any work done above the ground.


There are also some things that you should have on hand at every construction site. These include fire extinguishers, a stocked first-aid kit, and the latest safety guidelines.


steel erector tools

Photo By SasinTipchai


As a final note, let’s talk about another type of steel erector “tool” that should be a part of any ironworker tools list: project management software. For steel construction, being able to scale up your operations is key for success as an overall business. However, the more the operation grows, the greater the risk of mistakes and inefficiency. 


Construction steel management software like eSUB is the perfect way to avoid this scenario. Send notes directly from the office to the field so everyone knows the latest developments. Chart and audit everyone’s work schedule to keep track of irregularities. Get daily reports to provide essential info to management and leadership teams. eSUB provides all of this in one package.