Best of Cool Tools (and a few Goofy Ones) Spotted in 2021

For this roundup we’ll look at eight categories of tools: Hand tools, power(ed) tools, multi-tools, specialty tools. And also tools for moving stuff around, tools for getting you up, down or around, fastening devices and shop fixtures. Most are pretty cool, a few are goofy, and one or two are outright ridiculous.

Hand Tools

GearWrench’s Gimbal Ratchet for tight spaces

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Fujiya’s rapid-clutch adjustable wrench

Wera Tools’ color-coded, round-handled hex keys

ToughBuilt’s utility knife that transforms into a scraper

Different ways to undo zip ties

Equal space dividers: one tool that serves (at least) four different trades

Wiha’s insulated wrenches

Tool Design Quiz: Why do these locking pliers look like this?

John Economaki’s bananas precision pencil making system

Power(ed) Tools

The Wondercutter S: A handheld ultrasonic cutter that’s like a power X-acto knife

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The Rhino Hammer, a tool for quickly removing laser-cut parts from the sheet

World’s most popular power tool: The Bosch IXO

The Rotoshovel Max, a power shovel

When MIT Engineers design a power tool accessory

The Sandsall: A pair of strange power tools for sanding irregular shapes

A high-end hot glue gun: The FastenMaster HB220

A designey cordless hot glue gun


The survival knife that Mercury astronauts flew with in the 1960s

Image: Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum

What does a Swiss Army Knife with 73 functions look like?

Swiss Army Knife Mini Tools that tuck away inside the corkscrew

Form follows function with Gerber’s Shard Multitool

The Combar: A designey bushcrafting multi-tool

Specialty Tools

The Viking Arm for lifting, pressing, tightening and spreading

This German invention for fixing broken arrows

A variety of Mushroom Knives

A pair of antique tools used to perfectly transfer head measurements to hats

Inventions that make rewinding ratchet straps fast and easy

Malco’s Conformable Sander

An unusual hand tool for applying tape as if it were zip-ties

Quik Drive System lets you drive floor-level screws while standing

Snake Tongs

Tools for Moving Stuff Around

A simpler design for a stair-friendly hand truck

Mammoth Grips: Portable handles for add-on ergonomics

The Yard Glider: A smart alternative to wheelbarrows, carts and trucks

A simple tool for moving heavy furniture

A hilariously tiny mini excavator

Form follows function: Unusual-looking Japanese carts

The E-Cat: A retrofittable electric-powered wheelbarrow wheel

Bizarre object: A wheelbarrow for benches

A minimal exoskeleton for helping workers carry heavy loads

Tools for Getting Up, Down or Around

An upside-down hinged mechanic’s creeper, for working over tough-to-reach engines

Kneepads with wheels, for tradespeople who work on floors

A portable work platform with independently-adjustable legs

Alternative design for tall ladders: The Hasegawa Tripod Ladder


Nite Ize’s Figure 9 Carabiner lets you fasten ropes without tying knots

Andy Klein’s hidden-slot screw

Elegant design & engineering: The UKS Universal Chain Connector


Andy Klein’s Twin Turbo Vise

This morphing fractal engraving vise can hold any shape

A clever flip-top, dual-surface workbench design

Upside-down tool storage systems based on their connection points

A portable work table with a unique collapsing method

Source: core77

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