by Meridith Levinson

Top 10 Non-Tech Gadgets IT Pros Can’t Live Without

Nov 23, 2009
IT Leadership

IT professionals need a lot more than a computer and a smartphone to get their jobs done. Here are 10 mostly non-tech tools they can't function without.

The Leatherman

Andrew Magill, who took this photo (and whose discussion on Flickr inspired this slide show), says he never goes anywhere without his Leatherman. “I’ve fixed so many things with my Leatherman, it’s crazy,” he wrote on Flickr. “I rewired my parents’ new house for phone and Ethernet with nothing but my Leatherman and a crimping tool.”

LED Flashlight


Super-bright LED flashlights come in handy when systems administrators need to inspect the wiring in the darker corners of server rooms and when PC technicians have to add more memory to the cramped quarters of a computer.

USB Drive


O.K. So the USB drive is technically a tech tool. But we have to cite it here because it’s absolutely indispensible to tech professionals, who often keep one on their key chains (along with an LED penlight and a small Leatherman or Swiss Army Knife). The IT worker’s 30-Gig USB drive has saved many an end-user from losing important files during PC upgrades.

20 Goofy USB Gadgets and Gizmos You’ll Love

20 USB Gizmos That Have No Place in the Enterprise But You’ll Love Just the Same

Nail clippers


When it comes to personal grooming, programmers take special care with their fingernails, as long nails get in the way of coding. (Of course, some developers use their Leatherman or Swiss Army Knife to trim their nails.)

Digital Multimeter


Electrical engineers, hardware engineers and telecom technicians are just a few of the professionals who use these instruments to measure different attributes of electricity, such as voltage, resistance, current and frequency. Any geek who likes to tinker will have a multimeter. In this photo, Stephen Holiday used a multimeter (the black object with the digital screen near the upper left corner of the photo) while making a portable battery pack for an MP3 player and a wall charger.

Slideshow: Evolution of the MP3 Player



Among the tools and gadgets clunking around inside an IT guy’s messenger bag, you’ll find a crimper for wiring Ethernet cables.



Tech workers will always have on hand a couple of screwdrivers: small ones, large ones, flat heads and Phillips heads for, among other things, disassembling and reassembling PCs. They’ll also have T8 Torx screwdrivers for repairing Macs, along with extra screws.

Gerber Gear


No, we’re not talking baby food. We’re talking about yet another multipurpose tool, like the Leatherman or the Swiss Army Knife. Gerber Legendary Blades makes a variety of knives and gadgets that IT professionals (and our men and women in uniform) swear by. One techie claims he’s used it for everything from wiring outdoor speakers to minor surgery.

Pocket Knife


Razor sharp pocket knives like this model by Benchmade make opening boxes of hardware and software a cinch. They also come in handy when IT professionals need to defend themselves against overly aggressive software vendors.

Wi-Fi Sniffer


We know: The Wi-Fi sniffer is a tech tool. But no self-respecting IT professional would be without one these nifty little devices, which detect wireless hot spots.

Check out the discussion on Flickr that inspired this slide show.