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Hand Tools Buying Guide

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Hand tools have become an important part of our work and personal lives. They are any type of non-powered tools which are used to make a task easy , safe and efficient. These tools are used not only in DIY (do-it-yourself projects) as in home repair services but also by professionals in various industries, construction, manufacturing, agriculture etc. There are different varieties of hand tools available in the market and used for various purposes. At times it becomes very difficult to make a purchasing decision on hand tools.

Proper evaluation of a hand tool depends on various factors such as:
  • The task
  • The tool
  • The workstation and
  • The end-user
Factors to be considered
The factors that are to be considered while selecting hand tools are as follows:
  • Properly designed hand tools: Do not go for hand tools which are poorly designed like as:
    • Poorly balanced
    • Too heavy
    • The grip of the tool too large
    • The wrong shape or
    • Slippery
    Such wrong designs can lead to various injuries of the hand, forearm, wrist, shoulder, and neck.

  • Grip: A well-balanced hand tool having the right grip on the handle feels very comfortable in the hand. If a tool is not properly designed, the grip also becomes bad and then it has to be held more firmly, at an awkward angle. A proper grip helps in the reduction of pain and fatigue while using the tool. First of all, consider whether the task requires a tool with a pistol grip or an in-line grip. When significant torque needs to be delivered, consider those tools that allow for a power grip. Tools that can be used by both the hands allow workers to alternate hands while working.

  • Handle size: The handle size plays an important consideration while purchasing hand tools. The handle of a hand tool is considered to be of the right-size if it lets the hand to go more than halfway around the handle without the fingers and the thumb meeting. The recommended grip diameter usually falls between 50 and 60 mm. To provide good control as also to prevent pain and pressure hot spots in the palm, handles should be at least 120 mm long. Handles for precision hand tools should be 8 to 13 mm in diameter and at least 100 mm long.

  • Grip surfaces: Another factor to take into consideration is the grip surface of the hand tool and it should be smooth, non-conductive, and also little compressible in order to dampen vibration and distribute hand pressure evenly. It is better to avoid tools that have grooves for finger. This is because for most users, the grooves are either too wide or too big or closely spaced. Moreover, though grooves are given in tools in order to prevent slippery, they can also cut into the hand and create pressure ridges. So when a grooved handle is the only choice available, it is necessary that they are narrow and shallow. Try a grip shape that is non-cylindrical.

  • Weight: Weight is often a problem with hand tools of large size such as axes, hammers, and saws. To prevent fatigue in hand, arm and finger, the ideal hand tool weight should not be more than 2.3 kg. If the center of gravity of a heavy hand tool is far from the wrist, then the maximum weight should be reduced. Research work has shown that hand tools weighing 0.9 to 1.75 kg feel "just right" for most users. For precision work where the small muscles of the hand support the tool, the weight should be far less. The more the lighter it is the more the better it is.
Tips to selecting hand tools: A summary
  • Look for a hand tool that requires less force to use it.

  • Look for a hand tool that is balanced so that it does not tip forward or backward when you hold it.

  • The handle should be comfortable.

  • Try to go for a non-slip handle. Prefer soft materials, like rubber or plastic.

  • The handle should be long enough for your whole hand if you need to use a lot of force on the job.

  • Thicker handles are recommended if you wear gloves when you use a tool.

  • A bent angle or adjustable angle on can help in keeping the user's wrist straight on some jobs.

Bulk purchase
For bulk purchase of hand tools, the buyers besides considering the above factors should also go for the following:
  • All hand tools must be given their required B107 standards under the ANSI procedure.
  • What is the manufacturer's or the supplier's feedback rating?
  • What do other buyers say in favor of them?
  • Guarantee period of the hand tool.
  • User's guide.

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