How to Choose Ergonomic Hand Tools

There is probably an ‘Ergonomic’ hand tool section at your local hardware but have you ever wondered exactly what it means? Well, ergonomic tools are tools designed to increase a human worker’s efficiency while simultaneously reducing fatigue and risk of incurring injury.

Through angled handles, padded grips and non-slip coatings among other features, tools can be made to be more ergonomic. Because of the difference in human physiques, it is extremely difficult to make universally ergonomic tools.

Therefore, when choosing tools, you need to choose hand tools sited to your physique and the project at hand. You can use the following guidelines to choose more ergonomic tools:

No Finger Groves

Human hand sizes differ greatly based on factors such as gender, race and personal history among others. Therefore, when choosing a hand tool, you should choose one that has no finger groves or risk choosing a tool that you cannot use or cannot be used by anyone else.

Cushioned Handles

When choosing hand tools especially those that you will use repeatedly and for long periods of time, you should ensure that the handles are padded to reduce the adverse effects on your hands.

The tools should be padded with a soft material such as foam or soft plastic. Such handles not only make tools more comfortable but they also allow for a firmer grip and prevent the tool from slipping.

Wrist Position

When using hand tools, you will probably use them for long periods of time. Your wrist is the most crucial part of your hand in this regard.

You need to choose tools that allow your wrist to work in a straight position. Failure to do so leaves your wrist exposed to all forms of injuries or conditions such as carpal tunnel syndrome.


Hand grip is the most important factor when choosing ergonomic hand tools. Your grip will not only determine the quality of your work but also how the tool affects your body.

If you are choosing a tool for jobs that require a lot of force such as chisels, hammers and torque wrenches, the diameter of the tools should be large preferably between 1¼ inches and 2 inches. Large diameters on tool handles allow for better grip, reduce slippage and the impact of the force on your hands.

When choosing tools for precision work, smaller tools are advised preferably ¼ to ½ an inch in diameter. The smaller diameter allows for better grip and less exertion.

The grip span of double handled tools such as pliers is important in this regard. For open grip tools, the advisable span is about 3½ inches while that for closed grip tools is about a 2-inch span. The spans above will ensure optimal comfort and efficiency in your work.

Tool Length

When deciding the length of your tools the most important factor is the amount of space you have. Smaller spaces require shorter tools and vice versa.

When you choose excessively long tools you might hurt your entire body and not just your wrist as you may be forced to work in uncomfortable positions. Choose tool lengths that allow you to keep your wrist straight while working comfortably. Getting the right hand tools from reputable companies such as Marshall Industrial Supplies.