Best Electrical Engineering Books: Our Top 7 of 2020

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A good electrical engineering book will jump-start a beginner’s journey into learning electrical and electronics engineering.

The best electrical engineering books cover a wide variety of electrical engineering topics, are easy to understand, and cover both theoretical and practical applications.

On the other hand, it’s easy to lose interest in textbooks that are boring and hard to understand. Too many skip the basics and leave you frustrated and confused.

So to help you separate the good from the bad – we’ve reviewed the Top 7 Electrical Engineering Books of 2020.

Buy with the confidence that you’re purchasing one of the best electrical engineering textbooks on the market. Let’s jump straight into the reviews.

best overall rating
Electrical Engineering 101
  • Explains fundamental electrical theory
  • Great for beginners and non-electrical engineers
  • Lots of real world examples
premium choice rating
Standard Handbook for Electrical Engineers
  • Fantastic reference guide for electrical engineers
  • Covers both theory and practical engineering
  • Includes definitions and unit conversions
great value rating
Basic Electricity (Dover Books)
  • Fantastic value for the money (cheap)
  • Great pictures to guide explanations
  • Very easy to read (great for beginners)

Top 7 Best Electrical Engineering Books

Electrical Engineering 101 – Best For Beginners

Electrical Engineering 101: Everything You Should Have Learned in...
  • Amazon Kindle Edition
  • English (Publication Language)
  • Newnes (Publisher)

Our best pick for beginners is Electrical Engineering 101 by Darren Ashby. This textbook covers the basic theory and practice of electrical engineering and electronics, starting by answering the basic question “What is electricity?”.

It goes on to explain the fundamental electrical principles and electronics components and continually relating them to real-world examples.

We like that unlike other beginner electrical engineering books that simply describe electronics and provide step-by-step build instructions, Electrical Engineering 101 delves into how and why electricity and electronics work, giving you the tools you need to take your electronics education to the next level.

The sections on tools and troubleshooting give beginner engineers a deeper understanding and the know-how to create and maintain their own electronic design projects. If you read this and want to get stuck into a project, we’d recommend starting with a good Arduino starter kit.

Perfect for beginners: this textbook is written in a down-to-earth style. It explains all the electrical jargon, technical terms, and electrical schematics as they arise. Darren Ashby (the author) builds a genuine understanding of the basic fundamentals and then goes on to show how they can be applied to a range of electrical engineering problems.

Some of the topics covered include:

Overall, Electrical Engineering 101 lives up to its name. It provides you with basic electrical engineering concepts that can help jump-start your journey into learning electrical engineering. Although it doesn’t provide any complex mathematics, it is a good beginner’s guide to electrical engineering.

Recommended for beginners who want to grasp the electrical and electronics engineering basics in an easy-to-understand manner.

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What We Like
  • Covers basic electrical theory
  • Lots of real world examples
  • Very well priced
  • Great electrical engineering book for beginners
  • Very easy to read
What We Don’t Like
  • Too basic for those in University or existing Electrical Engineers

Standard Handbook for Electrical Engineers – Premium Choice

Standard Handbook for Electrical Engineers, Seventeenth Edition
  • Amazon Kindle Edition
  • English (Publication Language)
  • McGraw-Hill Education (Publisher)

If you don’t mind paying a little extra, the Standard Handbook for Electrical Engineers is a fantastic purchase (both the 16th and 17th editions are great).

This textbook caters more to those who are past the beginner stages of their electrical engineering journey and want more of a deep dive into multifarious electrical engineering topics.

The Standard Handbook for Electrical Engineers contains in-depth discussions from more than 100 internationally recognized experts. The book discusses generation methods, transmission methods (such as transmission lines and transmission line towers), distribution, various types of electrical switchgear (such as medium voltage switchgear), and many more electrical engineering concepts.

The 17th edition even contains brand-new sections on smart grids and microgrids, measurement and instrumentation, interconnected power grids, wind power, solar cells, power system analysis, electric machines and transformers, and the electricity market.

The front of the book also has a handy section on electrical symbols, units, constants, definitions, and conversion factors. This is super handy to have with you in the workplace or at home when you need to double-check a unit conversion or the definition of an electrical engineering concept.

While it may be a little more expensive than your average electrical engineering textbook, this is an invaluable reference guide that you can use for many years to come. The fundamentals won’t change, so there is no need to update this textbook every year.

Overall we highly recommend Standard Handbook for Electrical Engineers for students past their beginner stages of learning, or existing electrical engineers who are looking for a fantastic reference textbook.

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What We Like
  • Fantastic reference guide for electrical engineers
  • Covers in-depth electrical theory whilst remaining practical
  • Includes a huge number of definitions and unit conversions
  • Contains in-depth discussions from more than 100 internationally recognized experts
  • Great guide to have with you on the job or at university
What We Don’t Like
  • Not as cheap as some alternatives

Basic Electricity (Dover Books on Electrical Engineering) – Excellent Value

Basic Electricity (Dover Books on Electrical Engineering)
  • Amazon Kindle Edition
  • English (Publication Language)
  • Dover Publications (Publisher)

An oldie but a goodie Basic Electricity has been expanded and revised. This textbook provides thorough coverage of the basic theory of electricity and its applications. It is one of the best books of its kind for beginners looking for a basic understanding of the electrical engineering fundamentals.

It is divided into 21 chapters and an extensive section of appendixes. Chapters cover safety, fundamental concepts of electricity, batteries, series direct-current circuits, network analysis of direct-current circuits, electrical conductors and wiring techniques, electromagnetism and magnetic circuits, introduction to alternating-current electricity, inductance, capacitance, inductive and capacitive reactance, fundamental alternating-current circuit theory, direct-current generators, direct current motor magnetic amplifiers, and synchros and servomechanisms.

Appendixes acquaint lay readers with common terms, abbreviations, component color-code, full load currents of motors, and cable types; they also supply trig functions, square and square roots, basic formulas, and laws of exponents.

Thus the reader is supplied with a complete basic coverage of all important aspects of electricity. The book is also filled with dozens of illustrations that help guide the explanation of electrical concepts.

This is an excellent text for classroom use or for home study. Students will also find it a valuable supplement to courses in which theory is emphasized while little attention is paid to its application. In addition, Basic Electricity serves the lay reader who simply wants knowledge of fundamental concepts of electricity before studying more advanced concepts and applications.

Basic Electricity is great for beginners and non-electrical engineers who want to learn the fundamentals of electricity and electrical engineering. At an extremely low price, this is the best budget option for beginners.

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What We Like
  • Fantastic value for the money (cheap)
  • Dozens of illustrations that help guide the explanation of electrical concepts
  • Very easy to read – great guide for beginners and non-electrical engineers
  • Excellent text for high school classroom use or for home study
What We Don’t Like
  • Too basic for existing electrical engineers
  • The print writing is a bit too small for our liking

Power System Analysis and Design – Best Power System Engineering Book

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Power System Analysis and Design
  • Hardcover Book
  • English (Publication Language)
  • Cengage Learning (Publisher)

Power System Analysis and Design by J. Duncan Glover, Thomas Overbye, Mulukutla S. Sarma is an absolute must-have for power system engineers. This book is THE reference guide when it comes to university courses on power systems analysis (note: anything past the third edition is sufficient).

This book covers both the theory and practicality of power system analysis and design. The topics include:

  • Power system fundamentals (complex power, 3 phase power, phasors, etc.)
  • Power transformers
  • Transmission line parameters (i.e. ABCD parameters)
  • Power flows
    Symmetrical and unsymmetrical faults
  • Short, medium, and long transmission line models
  • System protection

And much, much more. If you are considering studying power engineering or are a power systems engineer, this is the textbook for you.

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What We Like
  • Best power system engineering textbook
  • Covers in-depth power systems theory
  • Plenty of example problems
  • Relates power systems theory to real world examples
What We Don’t Like
  • Not suitable for beginners
  • Slightly pricey

Practical Electronics for Inventors – Best Electronics Engineering Book

Practical Electronics for Inventors, Fourth Edition
  • Amazon Kindle Edition
  • English (Publication Language)
  • McGraw-Hill Education TAB (Publisher)

Practical Electronics for Inventors is the top choice for those looking for an electronics engineering book.

Advance your electronics knowledge and gain the skills necessary to develop and construct your own functioning gadgets.

Written by a pair of experienced engineers and dedicated hobbyists, this book outlays the fundamentals and provides step-by-step instructions, illustrations, and schematics.

Discover how to select the right components, design and build circuits, use microcontrollers and ICs, work with the latest software tools, and test and tweak your creations.

This easy-to-follow textbook features new instruction on operational amplifiers, voltage regulators, semiconductors, digital electronics, power supplies, programmable logic and much more.

Some of the topics included are:

  • DC motors, RC servos, and stepper motors
  • Resistors, capacitors, inductors, and transformers
  • Microcontrollers and prototyping platforms
  • Diodes, transistors, and integrated circuits
  • Sensors, GPS modules, and touch screens
  • Op amps, regulators, and power supplies
  • Digital electronics, LCD displays, and logic gates

And many more electronics topics. If you are looking for a book to help you become a master electronics engineer, Practical Electronics for Inventors is the textbook for you.

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What We Like
  • Best electronics engineering textbook
  • Great choice for both new and existing electronics engineers
  • Covers the A to Z of electronics
  • Practical guide with lots of examples
What We Don’t Like
  • Slightly pricey
  • Might be a bit hard for beginners to grasp

Beginner’s Guide to Reading Schematics

Beginner's Guide to Reading Schematics, Third Edition
  • Amazon Kindle Edition
  • English (Publication Language)
  • McGraw-Hill Education TAB (Publisher)

The biggest missing piece in many university courses on electrical engineering is reading schematics. Too often, student engineers leave university without ever having been taught how to read an electrical schematic.

Complex electrical magnetic theory, power system design, and control engineering are all important – but so is the ability to read (and sometimes, draw) electrical schematic diagrams.

Unless you want to be mocked by electricians and technicians when you first start in the workplace, it’s highly recommended you learn how to read an electrical schematic.

The Beginner’s Guide to Reading Schematics will help you with just that. With all-new art and demo circuits you can build, this hands-on, illustrated guide explains how to understand and create high-precision electronics diagrams.

This book includes detailed coverage of:

  • Schematic, block, and pictorial diagrams
  • Switches, conductors, and cables
  • Resistors and capacitors
  • Diodes, transistors, and logic gates
  • Voltage dividers and reducers
  • Inductors and transformers
  • Cells and batteries
  • … and much more

Find out how to identify parts and connections, decipher element ratings, and apply diagram-based information in your own projects. This book also contains valuable appendices covering electrical symbols and resistor color codes.

Overall if you’re a soon-to-be electrical engineer who wants to learn how to read electrical schematics, this is the book for you.

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What We Like
  • Great for electrical engineering students entering the workforce
  • The go-to guide for understanding electrical schematics
  • Great choice for beginners
  • Extremely practical guide
What We Don’t Like
  • Specific to electrical schematics – not useful for those looking for a broader understanding of electrical engineering

Basic Electrical Engineering

Basic Electrical Engineering
  • Amazon Kindle Edition
  • English (Publication Language)
  • S Chand (Publisher)

Last on the list is Basic Electrical Engineering by Mehta V.K. and Mehta Rohit.

Living up to its name, this textbook covers the basics of electrical engineering. Topics include:

  • Units (Work, Power, and Energy)
  • D.C. Circuits
  • Series & Parallel A.C. Circuits
  • Magnetism And Electromagnetism
  • Electromagnetic Induction
  • Network Theorems
  • Electrostatics
  • Capacitance And Capacitors
  • Phasor Algebra

Although a good textbook covering a wide variety of electrical engineering topics, it finds itself a strange place on this list. It is too advanced for non-engineers brand new to the field. And for existing electrical engineers, the Standard Handbook for Electrical Engineers is a better choice.

Overall we would only recommend this book to first or second-year university students who want to have a wide-ranging electrical engineering reference guide, or students about to enter an electrical engineering degree who want to get a headstart on the course content.

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What We Like
  • Great for first and second year university students
  • Well priced (relatively cheap)
  • A good reference guide
What We Don’t Like
  • Not suitable for absolute beginners
  • Outclassed by the 'Standard Handbook For Electrical Engineers' for existing electrical engineers
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