physical item that can be used to achieve a goal

Tools are things used to make tasks easier. Tools have changed over time. The first tools were made in the Stone Age and Bronze Age. Throughout history, people have made many new and more complicated tools.

Knives were some of the first tools developed by humans. The image at the top shows a dagger dated to about 2900 BC. The one at the bottom shows a modern (20th century) one.

Some examples of tools that are often used today are the hammer, the wrench (also called a spanner), saws, shovel, telephone, and the computer. Very basic things like knives, pens, and pencils are also tools. The bludgeon (a stick or rock used as a weapon to smash things) was one of the first tools made by humans. The knife is also one of the first tools humans made.[1]

A hand tool is powered by the muscles of the person using it. Most hand tools are hand-held (small enough to be carried and used in the hands). Hammers, wrenches, and knives are examples of hand tools.

A power tool is powered by another source of energy like electricity. A power tool is otherwise similar to a hand tool. Most power tools are also hand-held or portable (small enough to be easily moved). Hand-held electric drills and chainsaws are examples of power tools.[2][3]


  1. Singer, Charles Joseph; Holmyard, Eric John; Hall, A. Rupert (1954). A History of Technology, Volume 1. New York and London: Oxford University Press. pp. 128–143, 154–168. ISBN 9781258215583.
  2. "Hand and Power Tools" (PDF). Occupational Safety and Health Administration.
  3. "Hand tool | Britannica". Retrieved 2024-03-10.