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35 Different Types of Hand Tools

Photo collage of different types of hand tools.

Even if you do not consider yourself to be handy, at some point, you will find the need to use simple hand tools. For example, you may have to tighten a screw in your table or hang a picture, and they will require some tools. You may have a basic tool kit at home that includes a small amount of essential everyday tools.

However, you may find the need for something more complex or come across it in your local hardware store and wonder about it. Here is a list of hand tools that may be useful to you, even if you do not currently know about them. Continue reading to find out more information about hand tools that can be useful to you.

What are Hand Tools?

Hand tools consist of different tools, including items like screwdrivers, pliers, hammers, and wrenches. You can use these tools with your hands and require nothing additional. This list does not include tools that include electricity.

Technically, those tools are considered power tools. In comparison, hand tools require no power other than the energy generated by your hand. These are also considered essential tools and can be used to repair or build just about anything.

Types of Hand Tools

1. Ax

Old rusty axe with wooden handle stuck in the stump.

An ax is a large hunk of metal with a sharp edge mounted on a handle. The handle is typically made from wood. However, it can be synthetic.

It usually requires a good amount of effort to use the tool. However, it can accomplish large tasks. Axes are used to cut wood, ice, and bones.

For example, a butcher uses an ax to cut bone. Different types of axes have different uses. Some other axes are called broad ax, carpenter’s ax, mattocks, pickaxes, and double-sided axes. 

2. Hatchet

Close-up shot of Hatchet.

A hatchet is a small ax that can be used in one hand. This type of ax is a portable option. 

3. Splitting Ax

Splitting Ax on a firewood.

This type of ax is used to cut down trees.

4. C-Clamps

C-Clamps on a concrete background.

A C-clamp is used mainly by woodworkers and welders. They often find that they do not have enough clamps at their disposal. There are numerous varieties, options, and shapes.

A C-clamp is a metal that is curved in the shape of a C. It has a screw at the bottom. The screw has a flat surface on the top to allow the clamp to be placed properly.

Once it is placed on the material, the screw is tightened to hold it in place. The flat surface prevents the screw from damaging the work surface. The clamp must be applied properly to ensure there is no unwanted movement. 

5. Chisel

Chisels on wooden background.

A chisel is a metal tool that has a beveled cutting edge. There are multiple types of chisels for different options. In addition, there are hot and cold chisels that are used for metalworking.

A chisel is a longer hand tool and often needs the assistance of another tool to work.  You can use a chisel to shave small amounts of material; you often use a hammer and a chisel together. 

6. Masonry Chisels and Stone Chisels

A sculptor at work 6.

These chisels are heavier and often used for demolition purposes.  

7. Crowbar

Crowbar isolated on white.

A crowbar is long, heavy, and has a rounded body. Other names you may hear for a crowbar are a wrecking bar, pinch bar, or gooseneck. This tool is typically used for demo work. 

A crowbar pries loose rocks, smashes walls or glass, and moves heavy objects. 

8. Hammer

Hammer on wooden background.

A hammer is considered one of the earliest tools that were created and used by hand. They have advanced over the years as technology has allowed them to become stronger and lighter. There are many different hammers from which you can choose. 

9. Ball Peen Hammer 

Close-up shot of Ball Peen Hammer.

The ball peen hammer is considered the hammer that everyone knows. It has two heads, one is flat, and the other is round. It is often used for metalwork. 

10. Claw Hammer

Claw Hammer on a white background.

The claw hammer is the one that most people have used and is a standard household tool. This hammer has one side used for hitting nails into something. The other side is used to remove nails.

The claw hammer comes in different sizes to remove different types of nails or other items. 

11. Sledge Hammer

An old Sledge Hammer close-up.

A sledgehammer is a heavy-duty hammer. It has a long handle and is used to break things. For example, it can break through brick, rock, and concrete.

12. Specialty Hammer

Worker hands installing bitumen roof shingles with hammer and nails.

There are many different types of hammers available for other uses. For example, a ripping hammer has a straight claw used for fast nail removal. They are primarily used for roofing.

You can also find hammers that have a grip to absorb shock. 

13. Hand Files

Iron file tool with blue handle on isolated white background.

A hand file is a metal tool often used to shape metal or wood. They each have different uses. For example, you will find files that are called round files, flat files, half-round files, and triangular files.

Typically, files have a wooden handle attached to them. This makes them easier to control. 

14. Hand Planer

A Hand Planer and shavings.

A planer is a tool that you drag across the surface of the wood to flatten and smooth it. You can also create rounded corners with a planer. Fore planes and smoothing planes are used together to remove wood.

There are also jointer planes that are longer and useful for straightening wood. 

15. Hand Saw

Hand Saw on rustic wooden board.

A saw has a serrated blade made of metal. Saws have many uses. The number of teeth on the serrated blade determines how it can be used best.

There are wallboard saws, folding saws, and keyhole saws. 

16. Coping Saw

Project sawing with Coping Saw.

This type of saw is used for more intricate work. They are small and bow-shaped with small teeth and a thin blade. A coping saw can be used for cutting shapes into the woodwork. 

17. Hacksaw 

Hacksaw on a white background.

A hacksaw is primarily used to cut metal. It has a curved body and a blade that is straight and thin. These blades dull quickly because they are so thin.

This blade can be easily removed to be changed. 

18. Pruning Saw

Using Pruning Saw on apple tree.

A pruning saw is ideal for landscaping, especially trimming small plants and trees. This type of saw is good for a tree that has limbs smaller than your thigh. You may need a smaller saw if your tree has really thin limbs. 

19. Ripping Saw

Ripping Saw isolated on white.

Ripping saws are used for wood. Most people think of this type of saw when they think of a saw. It often has a straight, tapered blade and a curved wood handle.

This type of saw usually has large teeth that make a rough cut.

20. Level

Close-up shot of bubble level.

A bubble level has a clear tube containing liquid and two lines marked. You know the item or surface is straight and level when the bubble is between the two lines. There are long levels and short levels that are ideal for any size project.  

21. Mallet

A close-up shot of Mallet tool.

While some feel that a mallet is a type of hammer, a mallet has a larger head made of rubber or wood. Different types of mallets can be used for different tasks. Mallets allow for the blunt force of a hammer while being more subtle.

As a result, a mallet is less likely to damage your item.

22. Measuring Tape

A standing Measuring Tape.

A measuring tape allows you to measure your work. They come in different sizes. For example, you can find a measuring tape from 12 inches long to 30 feet.

In addition, there are specialty measuring tapes that can be hundreds of feet long. A measuring tape has an internal spring that allows the tape to retract automatically. In addition, a lock holds the tape in place while it’s open, allowing you to measure easily. 

23. Pliers

Pliers held by hand on a white background.

Pliers are simple tools created when two pieces of metal are joined together at a particular point. Pliers increase the amount of pressure you can apply to an item with your hand. They are used for crimping and cutting.

 You can find adjustable pliers, also known as channel lock or needle nose pliers. 

24. Pry Bar

Removing old wooden board using Pry Bar.

A pry bar is a metal tool that is flat and used for prying. Typically, a pry bar has one curved end and one flat end. Each end has a claw on it to remove nails.

They are typically used in construction. Pry bars come in many sizes and are usually smaller than a crowbar. 

25. Scissors

Scissors isolated on white.

Scissors are a great tool for cutting items. However, specific scissors are intended to cut specific items. If you cut the wrong thing with scissors, it becomes damaged.  

The configuration and material of the scissor’s blade determine the purpose. The length of the handles also indicates the purpose of the scissors. There are safety scissors, pinking shears, cigar cutters, kitchen scissors, hedge clippers, surgical scissors, and pruning shears, just to name a few.  

26. Screwdrivers

Screwdrivers set on a white background.

A screwdriver is considered a labor saving tool. It seems to make everyone’s life better. Like most hand tools, a wide variety of screwdrivers are available for use. 

27. Phillips Head

Phillips Head on a red background.

The Phillips-head screwdriver is one of the most common types. It is easy to recognize with its head, which looks like a plus sign. The tip of the Phillips head has two blades that create right angles.

This allows the screwdriver to hold onto the screw better, so it does not slip.

28. Slotted

Slotted screwdriver reflected on a white surface.

The slotted screwdriver is commonly referred to as a flathead screwdriver. This is used almost as much as the Phillips head. It has a flat tooth on the tip that fits into the slot on top of the screw.

This allows you to turn the screw easily. 

29. Star

Star screwdriver isolated on white.

A star screwdriver is one that has a star-shaped head. It must be paired with a screw that also has a star shape on top of it. These are security type screws.

To unscrew them, you must use a star screwdriver, which prevents anyone from just removing them. Unfortunately, the average person does not have this screwdriver. 

30. Staple Gun

Holding Staple Gun on a white background.

Staples are much more difficult to remove than nails. This makes them the perfect choice for some applications, such as upholstery. The negative to using staples is they are often more visible than nails. 

A manual staple gun allows you to push staples into the material you would like. The manual option resembles the capital letter R. It uses a spring-loaded action to drive the staples.

They are often used in arts and crafts, roofing, insulation, and fencing. 

31. Utility Knife

An orange Utility Knife close-up.

A utility knife is also called a box blade or a box knife. These knives have a metal body that can be plastic, holding a retractable razor blade inside of them. They can cut through many items and are great for opening boxes. 

The blades for a utility knife are interchangeable, which is ideal when they become dull. However, when the blade becomes dull, the knives are inefficient.

32.  Wrench

Wrench isolated on a white background.

A wrench provides torque and allows you to turn or stop a nut or bolt turning. Wrenches come in specific sizes. They are not interchangeable.

They can cover more surface area and provide more torque than other tools, such as pliers.

33. Box-end Wrench

Box-end Wrench on a triple tree bolt.

A box-end wrench can hold a bolt or nut at 360 degrees and create a box, or really a circle, around the bolt or nut.

34. Open-end Wrench

Open-end Wrench tools and different sizes.

An open-end wrench allows you to grip a nut’s or bolt’s opposite ends. The wrench itself often has grippers on both sides of it.

35. Combination Wrench

Combination Wrench isolated on a white background.

This type of wrench has an open end on one side and a box end on the other. This is the most popular wrench option.