Mueller Electric Blog

Government Sales Review: Mueller Alligator Clips: Over 100 Years of Higher Standards

Posted by Stephanie Ebel on Feb 21, 2017 9:24:55 AM
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Mueller’s biggest seller and claim to fame is the alligator clip invented by Ralph Mueller in 1908. Being the inventor of a device that is now so well represented in the electronic component market makes it hard to keep a reputation as being the “standard” for such an item.

When Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) standards were revised in 2014 to incorporate higher level standards in government solicitations, Mueller products were there to meet the challenge with our ISO 9001 certification, MIL-STD objectives and RoHS compliance in place.

Our BU-60 line of alligator clips are still our bestselling item in both the government and private sectors.

Do Mueller alligator clips meet military expectations?

In trying to ascertain if our clips could still stand the test for being the industry standard, I started with a review of Mil-Std A-A-59466 which encompasses the general specifications for electrical clips.

The spec for electrical clips encompasses power clips, power clips with lug, needle clips, mini test clips, crocodile clips, insulated clips, test clips with clamping ears, and battery clips. (And yes, it is true- Never once does it mention the original electrical clip AKA the alligator clip.)

However, In a bit of a revelation I found in the standard the following information:

 In the Mil-Spec each section (-1 thru -15) shows Mueller parts as the standard for these clips.


The chart above provides reference to the most significant clips that Mueller Electric invented and still manufactures today for use in both the government and private industry sectors.

  • The Mueller BU-30C clip is referenced in the TCM category. This is the mini-alligator clip.
  • The BU-60 series of clips are the original alligator clips whose specifications have remained standard since its invention in 1908. TC and TCI, insulated and non-insulated test clips.
  • The BU-70 adds the crimp tail to the original clip. The original Mueller Alligator Clips assure that the teeth bite, springs hold and the plating lasts.
  • The BU-85 gets the designation as a crocodile clip. These have a crimp or screw connection and provide solid contact from the nesting teeth along the entire length of the jaw.
  • The BU-45 is Mueller’s original PeeWee clip. The PeeWee is a scaled down multi-purpose clip which is RoHS compliant.
  • The BU-33 “Big Brute” is a welding grounding clamp with a lug for secure attachment. It is also RoHS compliant.
  • The other multipurpose clip on this list is the BU-27CG series of clip which in called the geophone clip. These consist of BU-27CG and the wider version called BU-27CG.  Its curved jaws clip securely onto seismograph rings.
  • The BU-48, BU-25 and BU-21are all automotive clips.
  • The BU-50 is a meter testing clip. It is a Solid copper clip with a beryllium copper piercing needle in the top jaw.
  • BU-41is our large battery clip.

The range of products referenced in this standard lists 15 of the original 18 clips that Mueller invented and still manufactures. It would appear that Mueller still retains the reputation for being the industry standard for alligator clips. Now over 100 years later we carry over 300 varieties of clips and insulators.

Mueller now offers a line of Marine Clips that should be of interest to government facilities that operate in coastal and marine environments

Salt water testing has shown that these clips will last up to five times longer than traditional steel or copper clips. These clips meet all Mil-Std specs of our original items and are available in the standard alligator clip, mini-battery clip, general purpose clip,and  micro-alligator clip. These clips are solid copper and stainless steel construction and provide excellent corrosion resistance.  If you are interested in testing one of these clips you can use the sample request form below. 

Sample Request Form

Mueller Products Simply Work for Government Applications

Mueller Electric now has 354 recognized National Stock Numbers which range from BNC Connector kits to our famous original alligator clip. We are an industry leader in the manufacture of electronic products and assemblies that include a wide range of clips, plugs, jacks, adapters, probes, plungers, grabbers. We also sell standard and custom test leads, patch cords and insulated test accessories. Along with a full line of OEM replacement probes, test leads and adapters. If your facility requires a custom cable assembly we specialize in building solutions to your exact specifications. We build our products to industry standards such as UL and CSA. You can use the form below to request an item from our sample assembly and prototype program.

At the present time the majority of our government sales are to the DLA Land and Maritime sector of the government with some sales to the Aviation Division. We are hoping to expand these offerings in the future and to solidify our commitment to providing these quality products to our government customers. Since 2015 Mueller has been concentrating on expanding the government sales division by showing that we can fulfill their needs on time and with the right products.

Mueller generously offers samples for testing or for help in making that final purchasing decision. Fill out the form below and one of our sales staff will be happy to contact you to discuss your requirements.



Sample Request Form


To learn more about different types of clips, check out our clip guide.