Thomas, Brad, and Eric unpack their toolbags and explain the tools they use on their market refrigeration jobs. Market refrigeration is a complicated branch of HVAC/R that requires several tools for a wide range of functions.

Perhaps the most diverse tool group is the wrenches. In market refrigeration, the Kalos techs use service wrenches, crescent wrenches, Allen wrenches, and ratchet wrenches. Service wrenches are critical for working on service valves, which are quite common in grocery refrigeration. Crescent wrenches are best for tightening objects; Thomas keeps two on him so that he can use one as a backup. Allen wrenches work well for some service valves, hand blades, electrical components, and valve orifices. Adjustable wrenches are excellent for adapting to various TXV sizes.

It’s best to have adjustable wrenches that can adapt to a wide variety of valves, as you will be working with lots of those in market refrigeration. Brad keeps 9/16” and 5/8” ratchet wrenches, which will work for almost all compressor head bolts and TXV screens, respectively.

When it comes to screwdrivers, Brad recommends keeping 8-in-1 or 10-in-1 combo pack screwdrivers with varied head sizes. The most common sizes you’ll probably need to use are 1/4” and 5/16”. Nut drivers, another important tool, also come in combo packs that contain various sizes. Those nut drivers go on an impact drill, which works for the relatively limited use of drills in grocery refrigeration. Brad also keeps 1/2” and 9/16” sockets in his toolbag; Eric keeps those two socket sizes, a 7/16” socket, and an 11/32” socket. Eric also keeps locking extensions for his drill.

Market refrigeration has quite a few electronic components, so our techs always carry a durable multimeter on them. Wiring is a major component of grocery refrigeration, so our techs also keep wire strippers, wire crimpers, and Channellock pliers.

We also keep cool technology in our bags, including thermal cameras. Those cameras can help us locate issues with the check valve and electrical components. Eric keeps a diagnostic toolkit in his bag, including the Fieldpiece Joblink set ( He also uses the Testo 605i (

Our cell phones also perform several vital functions for a tech, such as calling tech support and looking up manuals. Even though we want to avoid using cell phones for purposes that might distract us, they are the key to critical information about our work.

On top of tools, we also keep a few miscellaneous items in our bags, such as extra small parts or fasteners. These may include Schrader cores, screws, crimp connectors, cable ties, and caps. We also keep tape, jumpers, type K thermocouples, flashlights, and tape measures in our bags. Eric keeps valve stems in his bag, too, which are uncommonly used but VERY useful when they are needed.

All of those tools help our techs get through a vast majority of their diagnoses and small repairs.

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25 thoughts on “Market Refrigeration Tool Bag Overview

  1. Eassyheat/ Cooling says:

    I go with a 4way and channel lock pliers until I figure the job out.
    I carried bucket buddies & various bags for years and it all comes to a 4way and channel locks and a meter.
    Stay safe.
    Retired ( werk'n) keyboard super tech. Wear your safety glasses.

  2. Bayou Flats says:

    Was interesting. Would have liked explanation why they may have chosen Testo gauges over others and same with camera. I see old school has his lineman’s pliers sporting the purple insulation grips. Have had 1/2 dozen stolen over the years. 🤬😂

  3. Stuart Milne says:

    This was helpful. I have the DeWalt right angle adapter and that Rigid plumbing 45 degree wrench. I see they will be helpful. I want get that ratcheting crimp tool and the magnetic thin ratcheting bit holder.
    My Knipex adjustable pliers have a thin head and helped remove the spud connection for valves on radiators. They are very strong. I dulled the teeth on a pair after years of use. They help with refrigeration connections too. Thanks this video was clear and concise.

  4. Damon Price says:

    Nicely played. I created my bag to handle 90% of diagnostic calls. I prefer stubbies over a full manifold, personally. Every bag should have a thermal imager IMO. For the new techs, your bag will be different based on your path, refrigeration, commercial, residential, etc.

  5. Johnny SaltyAirCrabCake says:

    Gentleman #2 tools is just about everything… Dont carry in a full socket set when your only going to change an evaporator motor.. As a great mechanic i knew from the past would say… (he only brought in so many tools like guy #2) he said if i have to go to the truck for more special tools, They have a bigger problem. Although doing supermarket work, You have a shopping cart, no big deal to bring in more tools… Then again if your going up on a roof, avoid trips by thinking out what you need when your at the van.

  6. George W says:

    Always nice to see other techs tool bags. The last guy mentioned he had a nine mm. However my back was turned away from the screen at the moment. After my eyes got big when he said 9mm. I was wondering if he had a Smith and Wesson or a Barretta. So when I replayed that portion I seen it was only a 9mm combination wrench. First my thoughts were cool if the equipment is really bad one would just shoot it. Hope you get a laugh out it like I did. Thanks for sharing.

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