Top 10 Low-Cost Handy Church Tech Tools

02.02.22 10:25 AM By Alex
In our time working as tech leaders for some of the largest churches in the world, we ran into an extremely common frustration.

We knew what we needed to do, and we even knew how to accomplish it. But we didn’t have the right tool for the job. Sometimes we’d try to use a similar device and cause unnecessary wear and tear on both our tools and system (not to mention our brain). Other times we’d attempt a workaround and see if we could MacGyver things into working. When they did, we felt amazing. When they didn’t, we wanted to pull our hair out due to all the wasted time and energy.

And honestly, sometimes we’d leave the situation be and beg our pastor for more money until we got what we needed.

Over time, however, we got a bit older. A bit more experienced. Maybe even a bit wiser. We realized that many of these problems could be avoided if we built up our ensemble of tools. We also learned quickly how expensive that can be, causing us to understand which tools are essential… and which are more of a “nice-to-have.”

Today we want to share that knowledge with you, discussing the handiest tools we found during our tech directing careers. As we searched, we struck a balance between performance and affordability because we know all about the budget constraints common to our profession. So, all these tools (except one) can be found for under $100.

In this article:

​1. Precision Screwdriver Kit

We know what you might be thinking, “I already have a screwdriver. Great list, guys.”

Yes, but you don’t have this screwdriver. In our time, we found that we often didn’t have the right bit for the job. And as far as those tiny precision screws? We were lucky to have anything close. So, we recommend getting something with a plethora of shapes and sizes, capable of handling any job you throw at it. The magnetic socket helps a ton, too.

​2. Magnet Back (For Your Labels)

Having a label maker is all well and dandy, but these magnet backs will take it to the next level. When you attach a label to a metallic surface, it becomes challenging to remove without scraping the material it’s connected to. What’s more, it will leave behind a sticky residue. Nobody wants that.

These magnet backs solve the problem. You can attach them to any magnetic surface and place the labels on them instead. They can save your life during installs and complex setups… or when you tuck everything away into storage.

​3. Cable Crimper

The following few entries have to do cable termination and wiring. In our time working at some of the largest churches in the world, cable termination came up… surprisingly often, actually. But we were surprised at how few people knew how to do it. So, we recommend investing in this skill and the gear you need to do it, starting with a crimper.

Line the wires up with the guide on the tool, attach a pass-through RJ45 connector, and crimp the wires perfectly flush to the connector. Easy as that.

​4. Separator Tool

As mentioned before, the ability to terminate cables comes in handy surprisingly often in the tech world. This separator tool makes CAT6 terminations much easier. Sometimes people try to cut corners by using a razor blade or (god forbid) a box cutter for a job like this.

Besides being dangerous as all get out, it’s simply not the best tool for the job. Do yourself a favor and round out your cable kit with one of these.

5​. Spike Tape

Blocking is a vital part of delivering exceptional live and live-streamed services. People can feel awkward standing on a stage and have a natural impulse to step back into the shadows. So, get color-coded spike tape and mark down every spot. This will enable you to have everyone stand where the lighting is best for them.

Additionally, make sure to put down a spot for everything on your stage – at least, everything you don’t want to move. We admit we may have gotten a bit… overzealous in our day, but at least everyone knew where each instrument, stand, musician, fixture, driver, amp, personal mixer, and pulpit needed to end up.

​6. Gaff Tape

Gaff tape is like the hybrid cousin between spike tape and duct tape… but you probably already knew that. What else is there to say? You probably have a roll or two of this stuff stashed away in your car as we speak. The brand we linked is a perfect intersection between price and quality.

7. Audio Cable Tester

This little guy is a godsend. If you’re anything like us, you have 50 or so old XLRs tucked away in a closet, and you’re not sure whether they work or not. So when something goes wrong on stage, it’s plug-and-pray time. Test those XLRs, plus phone, speak-on, USB, and ethernet.

Best of all? It’s battery-powered, and batteries ARE included.

​8. Coaxial Cable Stripper

Instead of ethernet cable, this tool prepares coaxial cables for termination. During our time working as church tech directors, many people wanted us to help fulfill some of the IT responsibilities as well. This makes sense because many churches rely on a smaller staff than similarly-sized businesses around them.

Whether someone’s moving offices or you need to set up a monitor relying on HD/SDI, you’re going to need one of these.

Note: Make sure the cable isn’t live before stripping it.

​9. Cable Crimper For HDTV Cables

This one is a general-purpose cable crimper. It will last you forever, or 50,000 crimps. Whichever is shorter. It’s also adjustable, allowing you to remove and swap the die inside of the jaw for whatever you need to get the job done.

​10. Label Maker

This is the label maker to end all label makers… and amazingly, it’s also the most expensive item on the list. If you’re questioning how helpful something like that can be, take it from us – proper labeling and organization changed the game for us.

We labeled all the equipment we could and also labeled the spots where they go after service. This eliminated so many hiccups and confusion, not spending time looking for anything. It also set everything up nicely for our volunteers so that they could plug n’ play without missing a beat during a hectic Sunday morning.

That’s why we recommend going with something on the high-end. It’s durable; it’s easy to use, and

it won’t have to be replaced. Plus, you can probably get another ministry in your church to chip in and share it, like Children’s ministry or the admins.

Any of these tools stand out to you?

If some of these items seem appealing to you, but you’re not sure if you can make the investment… we’ve got you covered.

For all of these items, we can get them for you for cheaper due to our existing relationships with tech distributors. Not only that, but we’ll ensure that everything you buy comes with training and ongoing support. There are no stupid questions here.

If you have any tech questions or want to know how to get the tools you need for cheaper than Amazon prices, book a meeting with us today!