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The Wrong Tools for the Job: 6 Tools Most DIYers Aren’t Using Correctly

The Wrong Tools for the Job: 6 Tools Most DIYers Aren’t Using Correctly

Being a DIYer has a lot of benefits.  You can save money on repairs, get things back to working condition quickly, and feel the sense of accomplishment that comes with increased independence.

However, there is a common problem with the approach many DIYers take to their various projects, most commonly: using the wrong tool for the job. 

Here are 6 tools that most DIYers aren’t using correctly:


Cordless Screwdriver

cordless screwdriver

To the uninitiated, it may be hard to see the difference between a cordless screwdriver and a power drill.  After all, both are pistol-shaped tools that use electricity to turn a bit.

These tools are not the same!  If you have holes to drill, get a power drill.  A cordless screwdriver is meant for slower-speed tasks that require less torque and more precision.  They are normally considerably less powerful than a drill.

So why not just buy a power drill? 

While many DIYers use their cordless drill for turning screws, it is very easy to strip and damage screws and the object you are trying to repair by using a power drill.  Each tool has its own advantages.

Palm Sander

The common mistake people make when using a palm sander is that they do not select the proper sandpaper.  Sandpaper comes in different levels of coarseness - known as grit - and different projects require different grits.

Fine grit sandpaper is best for detailed finishing work.  Coarse grit sandpaper will more aggressively eat through wood and is better suited for rough, preliminary finishing.

And finally, sometimes a palm sander needs to be swapped out with a belt sander for heavier-duty jobs.



Many woodworkers are familiar with C-clamps and other wood clamps and vices.  These tools are indispensable for clamping pieces together when being glued, and they can also be used to hold items steady on a work bench while you are working on them.

The biggest mistake people make with C-clamps and vices is over tightening them and damaging the piece they are trying to clamp.  If you are using a clamp to hold a lawnmower blade steady while you use a file to sharpen it, this is probably not a big deal.  However, if you are using your clamps for some detailed woodwork, the clamp may damage your project.

Make sure you don’t use more pressure than is needed, and place soft material like rags between the wood and the clamp to prevent the metal from the clamp from digging into your woodwork.




There are so many different types and sizes of screwdriver bits that it can make you head spin!  If you are only aware of phillips and slotted, it may be a good idea to invest in a large bit kit and screwdriver that has an end for interchanging bits.

The two biggest mistakes DIYers make when using screwdrivers are that they use the wrong bit for the screw and they use the wrong type of screwdriver.  It is simple to correct the first problem: make sure you have a variety of screwdrivers and/or bits for your different applications.

As for the second problem, consider using a manual hand impact driver for tough jobs, long and thin screwdrivers for hard-to-reach areas, and studdy handles for precision work.




Just about everyone reading this article will be familiar with the humble hammer.  But did you know that this tool is one of the most frequently abused, and that there are different types of hammers?

Hammering tasks like setting tent pegs, using wood chisels, and driving nails into hardwood all require the different hammers/mallets.  If you are using your finishing hammer to bust holes in drywall, it is time to add some diversity to your hammer collection.


Wire Stripper and Crimper

Electrical work requires specialized tools.  Regardless of whether or not you are repairing electronic devices, working on automotive electrical systems, or doing homeowner work, you will need the right tools for the wires you are working with.

A lot of electrical work can be done in a pinch with makeshift tools.  For example, a pocket knife and lighter can be used to strip wire.  But using improvised tools for this type of work is a recipe for injury and frustration.

If you need to join wires together, not only do you need the right crimps you also need the right crimpers.  And if you have to strip the wire to prepare it for use, you will want high-quality wire strippers to do the job.

Another important point to remember about wire strippers and crimpers: wire comes in many different sizes known as gauges.  Like using the correctly-sized screwdriver as mentioned above, best results will be seen by matching the right wire to the right tools.



We hope you learned something from this quick article on using the right tool for the job. 

While we covered some of the most common mistakes made by DIYers, the most important takeaway from this article is that all jobs require the right tools and that there really isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach to DIY projects.

As the DIYer grows in their DIY abilities their need for the right tools grows too.  More complicated projects require a greater arsenal of tools, so don’t be afraid to branch out from what you know and have been using for a long time. 

New tools better suited to your projects will speed up jobs and reduce frustration - and maybe save some trips to the first aid kit too.

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