All aspects of the construction process require precision. Everything from calculating supply amounts to the placement of materials has to be carefully planned and executed. That’s why it’s so important to use tools that help you achieve the most precise results possible. Conduit benders are deceptively simple items that are actually a vital part of any major construction project. Because conduits are vital to a building’s electrical system, it’s important that installers accurately shape each portion of conduit to accurate angles. A conduit bender makes it possible to execute perfect 90 degree stub-up, offset, back to back, three point saddle bends, and more.

Conduit Bender Basics

A conduit bender is a handheld tool a little more than a yard in length. The bender itself is a carefully shaped piece of curved metal placed on the end of the handle. This metal head bends the conduit into the correct shape while the user controls the process with the handle. Conduit benders often feature clearly marked angles on the bender head; this provides the user with an easy visual guide to refer to when they’re working. On one end of the bender head is a curved channel and on the other is a flat shelf. The channel is where the straight conduit will be placed when you’re preparing to make a bend; you’ll place your foot on the shelf to provide the power necessary to shape the metal.

Shaping Conduit With a Bender

To use a bender, first pass a length of conduit of the appropriate width through the channel on the head. The bender’s handle will be at an angle to the straight conduit. Grasp the handle and place your foot on the shelf on the opposite end of the head. Apply appropriate pressure and guide the handle through the bend. The marks on the head will help you spot when the curve has reached the correct position. If necessary, check the angle with a level before installing.

Shopping for a Bender

When you’re shopping for a bender you’ll need to take a close look at the product specifications on the package. Because consistency and accuracy are so important to electrical work, conduit benders come in a range of sizes that accommodate all standard conduit widths. The nature of the conduit bender doesn’t allow for one head to be used on conduit of any other size. Instead, it’s possible to buy bender heads separate from the handles so an interchangeable tool is created for less than the cost of purchasing an entirely new item.

Handheld conduit benders are reasonably priced and cost anywhere from around $30 – $80, depending on whether you purchase the bender head by itself or a unit that includes the long handle. Electronic benders exist and can cost several thousand dollars. These have the advantage of repeatedly bending extensive lengths of conduit with perfect accuracy every time. However, unless you’re likely to be installing a considerable amount of electrical conduit on a regular basis, a handheld bender will be adequate to your needs.

If you need a conduit bender for a single project, consider renting one instead. GTI has benders in every size and will be happy to assist you in choosing the one that’s right for your project..