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Wiggy and Volt Stick


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Two questions:

I've never had a wiggy. Is it a brand or just a type of device? Any recommendations? The smaller the better.

Wiggy is a brand name for a solenoid-style volt meter. Read all about them here:


Pretty much every electrician out there owns & uses a wiggy for basic go/no-go testing of circuits. That's really all they're good for. I find them bulky, cumbersome and very primitive. I think I own one but I have no idea where it is and I'm sure that I haven't used it in over 20 years. I certainly don't carry one on inspections.

Some electricians I've known really love them because you can, literally, feel the electricity in your hand. If I recall correctly, Kurt Mitenbuler is a fan of wiggys. Maybe he'll chime in and give you a less biased view of them.

As far as I'm concerned, wiggys have only two virtues: they're nearly indestructible, and they pull a significant amount of current so they won't confuse you with induced current readings.

One place where a wiggy is indispensible is in troublshooting three-way or four-way switches. With a digital multimeter or, God forbid, a volt stick, you could chase phantom voltages around all day. With a wiggy, it would just tell you what was hot and what was not. If I were an electrician, I'd certainly keep one handy on every job.

Non-contact volt stick. I know I can get them anywhere but any recommendations? Again, the smaller the better (without sacrificing reliability.)

I like the Fluke best.

Just remember that those things give both false positive and false negative readings. I'd never trust one with my life.

- Jim Katen, Oregon

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