Whether you are a contractor, apprentice carpenter, or someone looking to complete a DIY home project, you need some essential construction tools. Construction tools have been a vital part of building from ancient days to perform activities faster and precisely.
Unless you are a skilled handyman, chances are there are some construction tools that you are not yet well-versed in. This article is a reference guide on the different construction tools and safely working with them.
Table of Contents
What is a construction tool?
A construction tool is an instrument used to increase a person's speed, power, accuracy, and efficiency in construction. In construction, tools are functionally grouped according to the kind of trade they are used in. The common types of tools are:
- Hand tools
- Power tools
- Machine tools
- Storage/ Utility tools
- Safety tools
Construction tools are standard in construction, and their use heavily impacts the time and quality of a project.
60 common construction tools
Construction tools are essential for building trades such as masonry, carpentry, painting, and plumbing. Below is a list of the necessary tools you might need for your construction project.
1. Adjustable spanner
An adjustable spanner functions as a regular grip spanner, but it has an open-ended wrench with a moveable jaw. This makes it convenient because one can adjust the opening and use the spanner on any fastener size.
2. Air compressor
An air compressor is a power tool for blowing out sawdust and other debris from surfaces. Road cleaning machines also use air compressors to clean the debris from road surfaces.
A bolster is a hand tool with a beveled edge and a handle, and it is used to break hard materials such as stone, metal, and brick in construction. It is usually used in conjunction with a hammer or mallet.
4. Boning rod
A boning rod is a T-shaped tool used for leveling excavated trenches along their length. A minimum of three boning rods are used to level a trench surface.
5. Bump cutter
A bump cutter is a construction tool with a sharp straight edge used to remove the high spots (bumps) and fill the void areas in concrete after leveling.
A construction calculator helps you perform calculations on different project components such as materials and equipment. If you do not perform accurate calculations in your project, you might incur huge losses
7. Caulk gun
Caulk is an adhesive or sealant used to seal gaps between window frames, sinks, or cracks. A caulk gun is used to apply caulk effectively on these open gaps.
A chisel is a common cutting tool in construction, especially for woodworkers. It is used to cut, carve, shape, or sharpen materials such as cement, wood, or metal. Like the bolster, the chisel is commonly used with a hammer.
9. Circular saw
A circular saw is the most popular saw used in construction today. It has a round metal blade with sharp teeth and cuts metal, wood, fiberglass, concrete, plastics, and bricks.
10. Claw hammer
A claw hammer is a hand tool with a large cylindrical head and claws on the opposite side of the head. The hammer is used to drive in nails, and the claws are for prying up nails.
11. Concrete mixer
A concrete mixer is a cylindrical device that homogeneously mixes sand, cement, aggregates, and water to form a concrete mix.
12. Concrete sander
A concrete sander is a leveling tool for smoothing out concrete surfaces. Even if you use screed for polishing your concrete surfaces, you might need a concrete sander for harsh concrete grinding.
A crowbar is a long tool mainly made from steel alloys. It uses leverage principles and length to lift heavy objects or pry tightly fastened objects open.
14. Digging bar
A digging bar makes the work of creating and digging holes easier. It helps you clear rocks, dirt, and debris when making holes on the ground.
15. Disc grinder
A disc grinder or an angle grinder is a handheld abrasive cutting tool. It is used for cutting concrete, building materials, bricks, and natural stone at an angle.
16. End frame
End frames are small L-shaped frames that function similarly to lines and pins. They are used to hold threads around corners in place for bricklaying.
A float is used to remove surface imperfections on concrete after screeding the surface. It is also used to compact the screed finishing on concrete.
Construction buildings are often cut off from the power supply. Power generators provide a temporary solution to give power to equipment that needs power on site.
Construction gloves are among personal protective equipment worn by construction workers to protect hands from splinters, cuts, heat, chemical hazards, and other construction-related injuries.
20. Hand saw
A handsaw is a construction tool used to cut the wood into different shapes and sizes. It can also be used to make indentations into the wood.
21. Head pan
A head pan is a tool made of heavy gauge iron, steel, or plastic and is used to lift concrete, cement, or excavated soil to the site.
A hoe is a tool used for small excavation works in construction. It is made of a metal plate attached to a long metal or wooden handle.
A jackhammer is a construction power tool used to demolish old concrete and break wooden walls and hard surfaces.
A ladder is a portable vertical or inclined structure with rungs to help you extend your reach. Ladders are made of wood, metal, or fiberglass.
25. Line and pins
Line and pins are hardened steel pins and string used by bricklayers to create even courses along a wall. The line is tied around the pin and used as a reference line for laying bricks.
26. Mason's square
A mason's square is an L-shaped tool used for achieving right angles on the corners of masonry walls. The first course of bricks is first laid out then the mason's square is used to ensure that the bricks are set out in the proper position before proceeding with the following courses of bricks.
27. Measuring tape
A measuring tape is more of a flexible ruler used to measure the lengths and sizes of various construction elements.
28. Measuring wheel
A measuring wheel is used in construction and landscaping to measure lengths of flat surfaces such as plots and fields. The tool takes measurements by counting the number of revolutions the measuring wheel makes.
29. Nail gun
A nail gun is a form of a hammer that uses compressed air, electromagnetism, or highly flammable gases to drive nails into wood or other construction materials.
A pickaxe is a hand tool with a hard-pointed edge attached perpendicularly to the handle. The pickaxe breaks concrete surfaces or other hardened surfaces such as dried earth.
This is a construction tool with jaws, pivot points, and handles. They are used for gripping, cutting, loosening, or tightening objects in construction.
32. Plumb bob level
A plumb bob level is one of the oldest construction tools used since medieval times. It is a weight with a pointed tip attached to a string to help establish a vertical datum.
33. Plumb rule
A plumb rule is a narrow strip of wood that carpenters and builders mostly use. It is used with a plumb bob to check a structure's vertical datum.
34. Power drill
A power drill is a commonly used tool in construction. It is used to make holes and small drill-bit attachments and tighten or loosen fasteners.
A rake is a tooth-like crossbar attached to a pole-like structure. Rakes are used in construction to spread and push grass, loose soil, debris, and gravel. They are also crucial for leveling aggregates before compaction.
A rammer is a hand tool that is used to compress and compact soil. The soil is compacted to achieve an ideal hard and flat surface for construction activities.
37. Rubber boots
Construction sites are a hazardous environment, and rubber boots are personal protective gear to ensure foot safety on the job. They protect feet from slipping, falling objects, burns, water, and high temperatures.
38. Safety glasses
Safety glasses are worn to protect the eyes. Hazards in construction can lead to serious eye injuries such as punctures and abrasions. Routine activities such as machining, masonry, riveting, and grinding result in large chips and fragments flying around, and these may strike the eye, causing injury.
39. Safety helmet
A safety helmet is a commonplace protective gear in construction. It protects the head and brain against debris, falling objects, rain, and electric shocks. They also provide adequate protection against over-exposure to the sun.
40. Sand screen machine
A sand screen machine is used for sieving sand in a construction site. It has a mesh with vibratory action, thus allowing fine grain sand to go through and bigger grains to remain. Sand screen machines come in different sieve sizes depending on the quality of sand needed.
A sawhorse is a simple construction tool that provides additional support for cutting wood. It can also function as a makeshift bench or be used with support planks to form a scaffold.
Plastering of surfaces is done chiefly layer-wise. A surface needs at least two coats of plastering. For good adhesion between the two coats, a scratcher is used on the bottom layer to scratch and improve the bonding.
A screwdriver is a tool with a handle and a shaft. The shaft ends in a tip fitting into a screw head. The screwdriver is used for turning screws to insert or remove them. Screw drivers' blade tip sizes vary depending on the screws used.
A shovel is a tool similar to a spade used to move loose material such as dirt or snow from one spot to another. It is also used for trenching and digging. The shovel has a grip that is attached to a shaft which is attached to a kickplate.
A sledgehammer is a heavy-duty hammer with a mallet-like head. It is designed to be handheld by both hands. It is designed to deliver an amplified force and is used for breaking stones and demolition tasks.
46. Spirit level
A spirit level is a tool used to determine whether a surface is genuinely vertical or horizontally relative to the earth. It has an air bubble trapped in a mineral spirit solution inside a curved glass or tube.
47. Straight edge brush
A straight edge brush is a simple tool with a handle and firm bristles for finishing plastered surfaces, especially the edges of walls and corners.
48. Stud finder
A stud finder is a handheld tool used to locate framing studs or wood behind drywalls. They also detect metals, and modern stud finders can detect the density of the materials behind walls.
49. Survey rope
A survey rope is an ideal measuring tool with a handle and a cord for taking rough measurements between different points on the ground. The numbers are calibrated from the handle to the end of the rope.
50. Tile cutter
A tile cutter is a simple hand tool that scores a tile using a small blade. It is used for cutting straight lines in porcelain, ceramic tiles, cotta, terra, and glass tiles.
Many construction workers work using several construction tools. A tool belt makes their work easier as it is worn around the waist to make it easy to carry construction tools around. The belt has retaining pockets and loops for carrying tools and equipment.
52. Torpedo Level
This type of spirit level combines a line level and a spirit level. The level body is made from plastic or metal, and it is used to define surface profiles.
A trowel is a construction handheld tool with a flat blade used to apply and mix mortar and for smoothing and patching concrete. It is also used for shaping concrete in brickwork.
54. Utility knife
A utility knife is a popular construction tool that encloses a blade in a handle to provide a handgrip. It is used to cut and trim various building materials such as rope, fiberglass, plastic sheets, and drywall.
55. Utility vise
A utility vise is a mechanical tool with two parallel jaws, fixed and moveable. It is threaded to improve the grip and is used in construction to hold workpiece materials such as wood and metal to perform the work on the fabric.
Vibrators are essential in construction as they help consolidate freshly poured concrete to release excess water and trapped air from the concrete to allow it to settle firmly in place on formwork.
A wedge is a tool with two inclined edges used to lift heavy objects or separate objects from a resting surface. Wedges can also be used as fasteners or stoppers.
58. Welding tool
A welding tool uses an electrode holder and a stick weld to connect metal members such as I-beams, columns, and trusses. Welding uses heat to join two or more metal pieces to make them one.
A wheelbarrow is a construction tool used to haul away sand, aggregates, debris, and other heavy materials in a construction site. Wheelbarrows are also efficient for mixing concrete.
A wrench is a mechanical tool with an open end and a box end and is used for fastening or providing grip to prevent nuts and bolts from turning.
Proper use and maintenance of construction tools are pillars of a healthy construction site. People using hand tools are susceptible to falling, flying, or splashing objects, electrical hazards, fumes, and harmful dust.
Below are some tips that allow for safe and efficient working using construction tools.
1. Maintain your equipment regularly
According to the International Journal of Engineering and Science, maintenance of construction tools accounts for about 40% of overrun costs. Failing to maintain your construction tools can stall your project progression and have a ripple effect on your other projects.
The more regularly you inspect your equipment, the less likely they will fail. Combining working tools with safe work practices ensures a lower risk of injury on the construction site. A safe construction site is profitable as there are lower legal costs and compensations. There are also fewer delays in such a site.
2. Adequate training
The users of construction equipment should be appropriately trained to avoid unnecessary injury and accidents. They should follow the manufacturer's instructions to prevent the early breakdown of equipment or safety hazards. The supervisors also need proper training to be effective and competent. Knowing which PPE to use is also a part of construction work training.
Proper training boosts workplace productivity as workers will work more seamlessly and effectively on the site. Staff members who are constantly unsure of what to do on-site have low productivity levels.
3. Keep an organized and clean construction space
A construction environment cluttered with construction tools and debris exponentially increases the risks for accidents. Nails and power cords can be stepped on and cause serious incidents at work.
A clean and organized workplace is also more productive as workers waste less time looking for work tools. Some activities such as painting also require a clean surface. Regular cleaning ensures there is no delay in such activities.
4. Unplug and disconnect power tools
Ensure you unplug and disconnect power tools when they’re not in use. You should also disconnect when replacing bits and blades for safety purposes. Unattended tools can cause injury to untrained workers. When moving tools to a new location, you should disconnect them to prevent accidental electrical discharge.
5. Proper tool handling
You should handle tools properly to minimize incidents. Do not toss equipment to a coworker or use electrical cords to lower or lift tools to your workspace. It is best to carry your tools around using a tool belt and avoid shoving tools in your pockets as it might lead to accidental injuries. Keep your finger off the power tool triggers to prevent unintentional discharge when moving around.
Ensure that you have enough working space to operate safely and avoid coming into contact with objects or workers obstructing your work. If you are working at a height, ensure there is no one beneath you if you drop a tool.
Do not alter or remove safety guards on your tools. Avoid painting them, too, making it hard to recognize cracks and chips in your devices. Do not try to repair on the spot if you lack the right tools.
6. Wear PPE
All construction workers should wear PPE for their safety. These include safety boots, safety goggles, earplugs, hard hats, and face masks. One should also avoid wearing loose clothing or jewelry that might impede the work.
When buying construction tools, the best manufacturers have repeat customers. Good construction tool brands sell reliable tools at a reasonable price.
Finding the best tool brands is sometimes a daunting task for contractors or homeowners.
Construction tools make work easier and faster. You, however, do not want to end up with equipment that breaks down consistently. This is the main reason for choosing a reliable tool brand. There are so many brands claiming to be the best, but which ones are the most reliable in the industry?
Below are the most popular brands used in construction:
- Metabo HPT
- Black and Decker
- Klein Tools
- Ingersoll Rand
- SK Hand tools
When searching for a brand that suits your needs, you have to consider a company's reputation, affordability, and quality of tools. Having a thorough understanding of the power tool you need helps you identify the brand that will meet your needs.
As seen above, construction tools play a critical role in making projects easier for homeowners, contractors, and construction workers. No one should lack essential tools such as hammers and screwdrivers. You now know the tools that best suit your needs, and you can start building your collection today.