Your Tool Kit Needs a Magnetizer

Your Tool Kit Needs a Magnetizer

If you’ve ever opened up an appliance, you’re probably familiar with the frustration of screws and small parts rolling away or falling inside an opened-up machine. And for working on cars, magnetic bits and wrenches can help you keep from dropping parts into your engine. If you’re thinking of tackling a repair project that has lots of small screws, a magnetizer might be for you.

How do magnetizers work?

A tool magnetizer uses a magnet with positive polarity to rearrange the electrons in the metal of a tool to align with the magnetic field of the tool magnetizer. This increases the strength of the magnetic field in the metal of the tool, thus “magnetizing” it. A demagnetizer uses a magnet with negative polarity to rearrange the electrons in the metal of a tool to align with the magnetic field of the demagnetizer. This decreases the strength of the magnetic field in the metal of the tool, thus “demagnetizing” it. A magnetizer can use either a built-in magnet, arranged so that the tools will be ideally positioned when placed in the slot or hole, or it can use electricity to generate a magnetic field in order to change the magnetic polarity of your tool. Magnetizer/demagnetizers only work on ferromagnetic metals like iron, cobalt, nickel, and some steel. A magnetizer won’t work on non-ferromagnetic metals like aluminum, copper, brass, or stainless steel.

What can you use a magnetizer for?

A magnetizer can be helpful when you’re dealing with small hardware like screws from an appliance or nuts and bolts under the hood of your car. Magnetizing your screwdriver or wrench can help you to keep from dropping parts while they’re being installed or removed. A magnetizer can also be used on bits for an impact driver or drill, allowing you to work with screws and nuts on a ladder without needing to hold onto hardware as much. You can also magnetize the ends of tweezers to hold onto really small parts. A magnetized tool can be used to help retrieve dropped parts, especially smaller parts that are hard to grab with your fingertips.

What can you use a demagnetizer for?

A tool demagnetizer can be useful to use on tools before you work on electronics that can be damaged by magnetic fields like hard disc drives, electronics with magnetic sensors like laptops, or older style monitors with cathode ray tubes. To avoid damaging your electronics, you can demagnetize your tool before using it on these items as well as around vintage media recordings on cassette or video tape.

How to use a tool magnetizer

A tool magnetizer will have slots or holes labeled either “magnetize” or “demagnetize.” You can also use a larger, plug-in model that will accommodate slightly larger tools if you plan to use your magnetizer on wrenches or other larger tools. Just put the tool through the slot with the label that corresponds with the function you’re trying to use. Once you pull the tool out, it will be properly set up for your task. You can reverse your magnetization when you’re done, if you don’t want magnetic tools all the time.

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