The Ultimate List of Hand Tools
Looking for a hand tool? At Wonkee Donkee we have got you covered. We love hand tools, they’re critical for most contractors and DIY enthusiasts. We’ve tried to cover everything from angle grinders to table saws. Check out our “best of” hand tools guides complete with the latest deals and prices.
Allen wrenches or Allen keys are small hexagon-shaped tools that are usually bent into an L-shape.
There most common usages are on bolts or screws that have hexagon-shaped heads. They’re pretty limited to that. They do come in hand when putting together furniture or kids’ toys sometimes so it’s always handy to have some around, especially as they cost too much.
Also known as a sealant gun, the caulk gun is the best tool to seal up anything from a pipe to a window. You will mainly use this in the bathroom as it is what is used between ceramic tiles in order to keep them in place. Most models come with sealant tubes included, but if not you can easily find them in any hardware store.
The caulk gun works simply by holding the sealant tube in place and applying force to release the sealant via the nozzle. This is controlled by the easy to use trigger and allows you to seal areas without getting your hands dirty.
C-clamps or G-clamps are generally made from steel or cast iron, with some of the smaller clamps being made from what is known as pot metal. They’re called C-clamps or G-clamps due to the shape. At the top of the “C” is usually a small flat edge. At the bottom is a threaded hole through which a large threaded screw protrudes.
When you close the clamp completely, the flat end of the screw should be in contact with the end of the frame, although of course there is normally something placed between the two.
The claw hammer can be your best friend due to its versatility. Made up of a long end which you hold and a head built for impact it is easily one of the most recognizable hand tools. The claw hammer is an even handier tool as it gives you two uses instead of just one.
The flat end is built for impact and pounding, whilst the other side is designed to grip and pull out nails without damaging the surface.
Well you might argue that duct tape is not actually a tool, however, at Wonkee Donkee we think it is a must have in any tool box. Duct tape does exactly what you need it to do, being super sticky and very tough there is a long list of things it can keep together, cover or just mark.
It may not be able to permanently fix everything but it offers a great temporary solution whilst you get everything together that you need.
Although most hand tools on this list are manual and do not require electric, an extension cable is always a handy piece of equipment to have around.
Allowing you to use power tools in more places as well as have somewhere to plug the radio in an extension cord will always be of use somehow.
Again, gloves might not be the first thing you think of when it comes to hand tools, but they are a real must have. Safety gloves can protect you against accidental injuries as well as give you a better grip on the hand tools you are using.
A good pair of safety gloves should always be in your hand tool collection, ready to keep you away from accidents.
Handsaws are a must have for any home, van or toolbox. If you use a saw specifically for one use then there are a range of purpose built saws which will be more suited. If you don’t use a handsaw often then a standard handsaw will be the best option for you. Able to cut through a range of materials such as wood, plastic and even metals.
The ladder is always useful whether you are changing a light bulb, cleaning the windows or cleaning out the gutters. There are a range of different ladder designs that you can buy from little step ladders to full extension ladders to get that extra height.
Pliers are useful for a range for a range of different tasks, from delicately pulling out components to cutting materials. You can get specific pliers for certain tasks such as mole grips, circlip pliers, electrical pliers and many more. To start you off a standard set of pliers will do you fine, but if you find yourself needing specific pliers you won’t regret buying yourself a full range of pliers.
Most commonly associated with robbers the pry bar or crow bar is a great hand tool to have in your arsenal. One of the strongest tools that you will come across pry bars are made from heavy-duty metal and will never break.
To use a pry bar you simply hook the V-shaped claws into or behind the materials and pull. This will dislodge the material allowing you to pull it away. Perfect for removing things like floor boards or dry walls.
If you do not have the space for a workbench then a saw horse is a great alternative because it can be easily stored when not in use. It is built in an A-shape that collapses down and can hold a piece of ply wood making it easier to cut.
It can also be used as a temporary table to work on when you need too. So you get two tools for the price of one.
Everyone needs a good screwdriver set. When you buy one it will probably travel with you from house to house becoming something you always know where it is. You will use screwdrivers for everything from putting furniture together to removing a wall fixture. It is worth to buy a set as this will include a range of different sizes and designs which means you will never get caught short.
You might not think of a shovel as a hand tool but you will need one as part of your armoury. You never know when you need to dig a hole or move a pile of material from one place to another.
Socket sets are a key hand tool if you ever find yourself working with nuts or bolts. Whether you are trying to tighten or loosen bolts then no other hand tool does the job quite like a socket.
It is normally best to buy a full set and to do this you will have to decide between metric and imperial measurements. To help you decide which socket set is best suited for you we have written a best socket set review.
Spirit levels are a dream to anyone who like everything to look perfectly straight. Whether you are ensuring that a surface is flat or that the picture you are hanging is straight then a spirit level is a hand tool for you.
Spirit levels are made up of a long body which holds a small glass tube which is filled with liquid and a bubble. This bubble moves around depending on the surface it is placed. To ensure whatever you are doing is perfectly flat the bubble needs to sit in the center of the glass area.
The stud finder is one of the most under rated hand tools available. They are invaluable tools if you are hanging heavier items on your walls as you need to ensure that the nail you are putting in goes into a stud. By doing this it will hang much more securely.
There is the common tap test where you knock on a wall until it does not sound hollow but this is not always accurate and can lead to unnecessary extra holes in the wall. Simply slide the device against the wall and it will indicate when a stud is found.
Often overlooked when it comes to the best hand tools the square is such a vital part of any ones collection. Built in an L-shape with a 90° angle you can use it to ensure what you are doing is perfectly square. Add to this the ability to take quick measurements to mark as well as being able to draw straight lines ready to make cuts, you have an extremely versatile hand tool.
Just because tape measures have become a common household hand tool don’t underestimate how handy they can be. Suitable for any type of measuring from sizing up a room to marking out points to drill the tape measure can be your best friend. Extending out to provide extra reach and retracting back into the easy to carry unit that can clip on to your belt means that you will never be caught short again.
More often referred to as a retractable trimming knife or a stanley knife the utility knife is just another hand tool that you need close by. These tough little knives are made up of a casing which protects a sharp blade. Simply slide the blade out in order to cut whatever material you need and then slide it back down. This is such a handy tool to have around to make quick cuts whilst working.
If you have an outside space then a wheel barrow is a must to transport anything about easily. Usually built from metal or plastic these heavy duty tools allow you to move heavy things around easily by using the pivot on the wheel. So whether you’re moving around soil, debris or even other hand tools a wheel barrow is a great thing to use.
Don’t let their name fool you as wire cutters can do much more than just cut wires. They are also great for trimming off nails, putting up fencing and a whole range of other tasks. There are also task specific wire cutters such as side cutters and top cutters which are specialised to complete different tasks. What is great is that you can get a set for relatively cheap so you can be tooled up without spending a lot.
You also might know these more commonly as spanners, but a wrench it slightly different. The beauty of these hand tools is that they act like spanners but the distance between the head can be adjusted. This means that you need less tools and less for you to carry around. Adjustable wrenches are great for tightening or loosening bolts and nuts on anything.