Whether you are a carpenter, a metal worker, an electrician or a craftsman in your field, you need proper tools to make your job easy and also help you work efficiently. Be it a small hammer or a large lathe or CNC Router, every tool is important for the job it does. Using a proper set of tools (and using them correctly) will help you work quickly, accurately and safely. There are hundreds of types of tools for different types of works/jobs. In this guide, we will take a quick look at some popular types of tools that we use frequently.
NOTE: We covered only the popular and commonly used tools in this list. Obviously, there are several more types of tools out there for different kinds of jobs.
Let us being the guide on common tools with a bunch of hand tools. These categories of tools are primarily designed to be used with our hands and we have to do the work with the assistance of the tool.
The first hand-tool or for that matter tool in general that comes to mind is probably a hammer. It is a very simple tool and also dangerous at the same time. You can use hammers to drive nails, hit an object with great impact, join two pieces of wood or dismantle an item.
There are several types of hammers such as a claw hammer, a ball-peen hammer, a sledge hammer, a mallet to name a few.
A very versatile tool is a plier. You can cut wires/metal, tighten or loosen nuts and bolts, grip an object, remove nails with the help of pliers. Needle-Nose Pliers, Electrical (Linesman’s) Pliers, Cutting Pliers, Slip-Joint Pliers are some common types of pliers.
One of the simplest tools are screw drivers. As the name suggests, they help you in driving screws i.e., you can insert (tighten) or remove (loosen) screws from wood, metal, masonry etc.
Phillips and Flathead Screwdrivers are very popular but there are other types of screw drives such as Torx (Star), Tri-Wing, Hex, Pozidriv etc. All these types actually refer to the shape of the screw head it can drive.
If you want to quickly cut a small piece of wood, then look no further than a simple hand saw. Even though there are power saws that can make the job easy, a hand saw comes very handy especially for small and quick cuts without relying on electricity.
Some common hand saws are Hack Saw, Back Saw, Pruning Saw, Jab Saw, Crosscut Saw, Pull Saw, Coping Saw etc.
With the help of wrenches, you can easily fasten and loosen nuts and bolts, turn pipes and fittings and also hex screws. Automobile industry is heavily reliant on wrenches and the SAE (Society of Automotive Engineers) is a popular standard for sizing nuts, bolts and wrenches.
An open-ended wrench is a basic type of wrench with two different size open ends. A ratchet wrench on the other hand allows you to tighten or loosen a nut or bolt without removing it. Other types of wrenches are Pipe Wrench, Combination Wrench, Adjustable Wrench, Allen Keys, etc.
If you want to hold two items (wood or metal or any other) together while you are working on them, Clamps are the tools for this job. They are relatively inexpensive and frees your hands by holding the objects as you work to attach, paint, glue or assemble the product.
A C-Clamp is an extremely popular type of clamp. Some other clamps are Toolmaker’s Clamps (Hand Screw Clamps) Sash Clamps, Spring Clamp, Pipe Clamp, Bench Clamp, Drill Press Clamp and a Bench Vice.
The job of an Axe is to cut/chop wood. It is yet another simple and dangerous tool. Whether you are a lumberjack, an outdoorsman or simple want to chop firewood, a good axe is an important tool.
Fitting Axe, Chopping Axe, Camper’s Axe, Splitting Axe, Felling Axe and a Hatchet are some common axe types. Axes come with wooden, steel or fiberglass handle.
Any carpenter’s best friends are chisels. It is a sharp blade that helps you in cutting, carving and shaping wood. Apart from wood, you can also find chisels for masonry and metal as well.
Bevel Edge Chisel is a very popular type of chisel. They are easy to work with and you can hit the head with a hammer or a mallet depending on the impact you need. Other chisel types are: Pairing Chisels, Mortise Chisels, Framing Chisels, Slick Chisels, Butt Chisels, Skew Chisels etc.
The saying “measure twice and cut once” is very important in woodworking and metal working. A measuring tape is one of simplest and useful tool to accurately measure the length of an object. A Level is another important tool that helps you set an object perfectly horizontal.
Some other measuring tools are: Calipers, Measuring Squares, Ruler, Protractor and Angle Locator.
A Ladder helps you reach high places with ease. Ladders are one of the simplest and very useful tools for electricians, painters, Maintenance Jobs and even for regular home owners. You can change a light bulb, fit a ceiling fan, clean gutters, paint ceiling with the help of ladders.
While there are tens of different types of ladders, some popular ones are: Step Ladders, Straight Ladders, Extension Ladders, Multipurpose Ladders, Telescopic Ladders, Platform Ladders, Trestle Ladders etc.
A workshop or garage is incomplete without power tools. While hand tools are relatively cheap and get the job done, a power tool can accelerate the speed of job in multiple folds with great accuracy and precision.
Electric Power Tools are a popular choice be it corded or cordless. But you can also find gasoline powered and pneumatic tools as well.
When we say power tools, the simplest tool that comes to mind is a Drill. It helps you easily drill holes in wood, metal and masonry. You have to use the right set of Drill Bits to do a proper job.
Drills are available as both Corded and Cordless Drills. A Cordless Drill with Brushless Motor offers you the best efficiency as well as runtime. But they are slightly expensive that corded counterparts.
While a hand saw is useful in emergency case or if you need to make quick and small cuts, a power saw is much more useful for complex jobs. There are several types of saws such as: Circular Saw, Table Saw, Miter Saw, Reciprocating Saw, Jigsaw, Chainsaw, Tile Saw, Band Saw etc.
An impact driver is power tool that helps you drive screws and bolts even into the toughest materials with ease. They are not intended for drilling holes as drills are there to do that job.
Now-a-days, cordless impact drivers are becoming very affordable and popular even among home owners.
While we use impact drivers primarily to deal with screws and medium bolts, an impact wrench on the other hand provides you with very high torque to fasten or loosen large nuts and bolts.
If you are into automotive repair and maintenance, then you must be familiar with the importance of an impact wrench. They are available in electric as well as pneumatic power options.
Orbital Power Sanders help you easily sand the surface of the wood. A Random Orbital Sander is probably the most popular type of sander but there are other sanders as well such as a Belt Sander, Palm Sander, Detail Sander and Inline Sander.
Apart from wood, you can also use these sanders on metal to polish or strip the paint. But the main job of a sander is to help you get that premium finish.
An Angle Grinder is an excellent power tool to grind that extra material or any sharp edges. You can use them to smoothen any rough edges in case of wood, metal or even masonry. They are also useful in removing the excess metal from welding joints.
Apart from grinding, you can also use angle grinders to precisely cut metal, wood and masonry. If you fit it with a sanding disc, you can even use it for sanding.
As the name suggests, a nail gun helps you quickly and precisely drive a nail with very little effort. Whether you are installing a new drywall or tacking a new roof or installing a baseboard, you can use nail gun to drive nails.
A stapler or a staple gun is a simple version of a nail gun. You can use stapler with plywood, sheathing and other similar delicate materials. It is also very popular in upholstery to hold the leather (or other upholstery material) to the main surface (primarily wood).
A power ratchet set helps you fasten or loosen nuts and bolts very easily. If you own/operate an automotive workshop or garage, then having a power ratchet set will definitely make your job simple.
Cordless Power Ratchet Sets are becoming very affordable and they have decent torque and runtime.
One of the oldest and very popular power tools are lathes. We use them for both woodworking as well as metal working. A common job of lathe is to rotate the workpiece at a very high RPM while a cutting object trims out unnecessary parts. It essentially reduces the size/diameter of wood/metal.
Lathes are relatively expensive tools. But if you have the workload that demands a lathe, then investing in one will definitely be a good decision.
You can inflate a tire, operate a nail gun or other pneumatic tools, use paint sprayers with air compressors. It consists of an electric motor (or a gasoline engine) that drives a piston to store compressed air into a tank. This air is at very high pressure and you can drive all sorts of power tools with it.
There are several types of air compressors such as Pancake Air Compressors, Hot Dog Air Compressors, Twin Stack Air Compressors and Wheelbarrow Air Compressors.
The term fastener usually refers to connecting devices such as bolts, screws, nails etc. Main purpose of any fastener is to hold two objects together.
Nuts and Bolts
Bolts are threaded fasteners that usually work with a similarly threaded nut to couple two objects. We usually make holes (plain or threaded) prior to inserting bolts. After inserting bolts, we secure them with nuts.
There are many types of Bolts but the popular ones are: Hex Bolts, Anchor Bolts, Carriage Bolts, Lag Bolts and Eyebolts.
One of the simplest types of fasteners are nails. You simply place the sharp edge of the nail on the surface and hit the head with a hammer to drive the nail. Common Nails have a heavy shank so that they provide the strength to hold bulky objects.
Box Nails on the other hand have a slightly thinner shank. They are not that strong but due to their size, they do not break or damage thin pieces of wood. Other types of nails are: Brad Nails, Finishing Nails Drywall Nails, Roofing Nails, Framing Nails, and Flooring Nails.
Another type of threaded fasteners are screws. But unlike bolts, screws d not need a coupling/mating nut to secure them. The action of driving the screw into the object will cause a mechanical joint that strongly secures the objects.
So, you don’t need to drill holes prior to driving screws as they can essentially make holes while we are fastening them. Wooden screws are very popular and simple types of screws. Some other screw types are: Sheet Metal Screws, Machine Screws, Thread Cutting Screw etc.
If you are in the automotive world, then you might be familiar with lg nuts. They are a type of fastener that secure the wheel to the hub. The bolts are usually a part of the wheel hub and we have to insert the wheel through these bolts and secure it with lug nuts.
Technically not a fastener, a drywall anchor is a special tool that helps you drive nails or screws into drywalls with crumbling them. A drywall anchor will hold the fastener (nail or screw) in place and also distributes the pressure to the back and side of the drywall.
In this guide, we have seen some common and popular types of tools that we use regularly. There are several other tools that we need to cover. So, in the future we will update this guide with more types of tools and also tools specific to different jobs.