Tools for Women Make Home Repair Easier for the Handy Ma’am

If you've been struggling with tools that are too big for your hands, try these options made specifically for women

Credit: Apollo Tools

Apollo Tools’ cordless screwdriver has a beefier handle for a firmer grip

Tools built for women take differences in size and strength into account

Doing home repairs is rarely fun, but when the tools are made for bigger, stronger hands, it can make the work a lot harder than it needs to be. And while we’ve come a long way, baby, most hardware stores have not. But several tool makers have seized the opportunity to offer tools made specifically for women.

The three leaders in this field are Apollo Tools, Tomboy Tools and Barbara’s Way, a line of ergonomically sensitive hand tools designed by former contractor Barbara Kavovit and manufactured by industry stalwart Stanley Tools.

How Tools for Women are Different

Women have less upper body strength, smaller hands and a shorter arm reach than men. Products aimed at the female market have been designed by women for use by women with these differences in mind.

  • Weight: The average home hammer weighs 16 ounces. Tomboy’s equivalent weighs 13 ounces. The average cordless power drill weighs a bit over 3 pounds while Tomboy’s cordless drill is half that largely because its lightweight lithium-ion battery is built right into the handle rather than hanging from it like a brick.
  • Size: Women’s tools are designed to fit the female hand. Consider the common utility knife manufactured by Stanley and selling for just under $6. Stanley’s female version has a shorter handle and its purple grip is coated in a rubber-like compound rather than hard plastic. Tools made for women are more compact and easier to handle.
  • Torque: Driving a screw into drywall with a standard hand tool can be hard work. Apollo’s screwdriver not only has a beefier handle for a firmer grip but the shaft includes a ratchet that increases its efficiency.
  • Colour: Colour distinguishes women’s tools from men’s. Barbara’s Way products are grey and purple; everyone else favours pink.

Where to Purchase Tools for Women

Barbara’s Way tools are available at Wal-Mart or online. Other brands can be purchased directly from the manufacturer or from Amazon. Tomboy Tools also organizes house parties, selling its tools like Tupperware along with practical advice on DIY jobs like caulking and basic plumbing. 

Female-friendly tools are only marginally cheaper than regular tools though, and so far the selection consists of hand tools only. Outside of Tomboy’s one power drill and Apollo’s cordless screwdriver, there are no female-friendly circular saws, jig saws or routers on the scene. However, manufacturers have glommed onto the small is beautiful idea by putting female-friendly tools into canvas totes and selling them as kits for crafts, gardening and auto maintenance.

Images by John Thomson