Hand tools buying guide
Find the right tool for the job
If you're going to do a job properly you'll need the right tool. Our Magnusson Tools are tough, durable, reliable, and cover all your needs - whatever your project.
Panel saws are very versatile, they are great for cutting sheet materials and timber. As with all saws, the more teeth per inch (TPI), the finer the cut. If you need a clean and smooth cut, choose a saw with 10 or more TPI. Saws with fewer teeth per inch give faster but rougher end results. The length of the saw should also be considered - longer blades provide more cutting length and are more efficient to work with.
Principally used for cutting metal, but you can also use hacksaws to cut wood and plastic. Use 24 TPI (teeth per inch) for fine cuts, or 16-18 TPI for coarse ones.
These take 6 inch blades, and as they can be used in smaller spaces, are ideal for plumbing tasks such as cutting plastic and metal pipes.
A full range of replacement blades are available.
A large frame and a very thin blade make it easier to cut intricate shapes or curved lines in thin (less than 1 inch thick) material. Coping saws are also great for cutting shapes into the middle of a piece of material.
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Jab saws have long, narrow blades so they're ideal for cutting holes in difficult to reach places. They are commonly used to cut plasterboard to make holes for electrical and plumbing projects.
Mitre boxes & saws
A mitre box is used to make 45-degree cuts and 90-degree cuts in wood, often used for coving and skirting boards.
A pair of lightweight plastic sawhorses will support materials while you cut them. Inexpensive and easy to store, they're a simple evolution of the traditional carpenter's wooden sawhorse.
Utility knives have many uses - such as cutting carpet and vinyl, dry lining, opening packaging and scoring plasterboard. They come with either retractable or fixed blades. For safety in your tool box, choose a knife with a retractable blade. Our range of folding knives are great space savers.
Craft knives blades are thin and sharp, making them suitable for cutting intricate shapes.
Carbide coated knife blades are sharper, stay sharper for longer and are stronger, so less likely to snap. Hooked knife blades are useful for cutting materials without cutting into the surface below.
Cutters & snips
Diagonal cutters are used for cutting wire leaving a flush finish - VDE versions should be used in electrical projects. Their small size makes them useful for reaching inaccessible areas.
End cutters (also known as Pincers) are used for cutting wire and small nails. The flat head allows a cut as close to the surface as possible.
Look out for long handles for high leverage (easier cutting) and two cutting blades.
The longer the arms the greater the strength for cutting through wire, chains and bolts up to 10mm thick.
Tin snips cut and trim sheet materials. The long blades make it easy to cut in a straight line and leave a smooth edge. Tin snips are also often used to cut plasterer's coil mesh.
Use wood chisels with a wooden mallet for a range of woodworking jobs, particularly fitting doors. B&Q's Magnusson wood chisels have CrV (Chrome Vanadium Steel) blades for strength and durability, and soft grip handles for extra comfort. They also come with steel strike caps meaning they can be used with both hammers and mallets.
Chisels need to be kept sharp so a sharpening stone is a must for regular use. Also, never use one to open a tin of paint (use a slotted screwdriver instead!)
For tidying and smoothing rough edges in woodworking and metalworking - made of steel for hardness and durability.
Rasps are for the same purpose but generally coarser.
Look out for different types of screwdriver head depending on what you're screwing in. Whether it's slotted, Phillips, Pozidriv or Torx, B&Q has the screwdriver for you.
Our range of Magnusson screwdrivers cover all head types, have plastic grips specifically designed for comfort, and the blades are made from durable S2 steel. Remember to always match your screwdriver to your screw, or you'll quickly strip the head from it.
VDE screwdrivers are recommended for working on electrical projects. Look out for red and yellow handles that indicate VDE specification in screwdrivers and cutters.
Sets with a convenient stand makes it much easier to keep everything organised and accessible when you need them.
To prevent wood splitting and to create a pilot hole in plasterboard or timber, use a bradawl.
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We offer a wide range of spanners for all your nuts and bolts. All Magnusson spanners are made of CrV (Chrome Vanadium Steel), providing greater strength and durability.
It's important to get the right size spanner to match the nut you are tightening or loosening to achieve the maximum grip. A spanner set is a convenient way of making sure you always have the right size spanner available.
Wrenches (adjustable spanners) have jaws that can be opened and closed as required allowing greater flexibility and meaning you don't need to carry around as many items. They're also useful for gripping a bolt while tightening the nut with a spanner. All Magnusson wrenches are made of CrV.
Often used in car repairs, socket cylinders attach to ratchet handles and come in a wide range of sizes. All Magnusson sockets are made of CrV making them durable and reliable. Our ratchet handles come in sizes of 1/4, 1/2 and 3/8 inches.
Socket sets include a range of different socket sizes which can be attached to a fixed rod or ratchet. Many of our Magnusson socket sets have ratchet handles included.
Used to temporarily hold items in place - particularly in woodworking when screwing or gluing two pieces of wood together.
Ratchet and spring clamps
Just as handy around the home as in the workshop, spring clamps can be used to hold smaller, light-weight objects in place. They can also be a good substitute for an extra pair of hands. Ratcheting spring clamps give a stronger hold.
Named after their similarity to the letter G - G clamps range from 25mm to 150mm and tend to be used for attaching items to a work surface.
F clamps come in a range of lengths from 150mm to 900mm and have a wider opening capacity for larger projects and holding several items together at once.
Bar clamps & spreaders
Look out for bar clamps with removable clamping pads that can be swapped to turn the tool from a clamping device to a spreading device when you need to keep objects apart rather than bind them together.
Attached to a workbench or table, a vice holds an item steady while working on it. For most DIY tasks a 150mm vice will be sufficient. The measurements given for B&Q vices are for the distance between the jaws of the vice when fully opened. Features to look out for include jaw capacity, swivel bases and multi-angled vices for greater flexibility.
The most important features to consider when using a hammer are the weight of the hammer and the object you are hitting. The heavier the hammer, the greater the hitting force, but this tends to come at the expense of some control.
If you need to protect the surface you are hitting, it may be safer to choose a mallet as they are made from softer materials than standard hammers, and with larger contact areas, they spread the force more evenly.
Ideal for knocking things together and apart, a claw hammer will drive in all but the smallest nails. The claw opposite the head can be used to pull out old and bent nails. Made from one-piece forged steel our Magnusson claw hammers are tough and durable and the soft grip handles offer comfort and greater control.
Pein hammers provide greater dexterity (for example when working with chisels or nail punches) and they tend to be lighter weight. They are ideal when you need to drive home lots of small nails - for instance, when securing hardboard to a floor or working on furniture projects.
Also known as lump hammers, club hammers are small sledge hammers that can be used one-handed for light demolition work. Use with brick bolsters for cutting stones, blocks and bricks.
Used for demolition jobs - the heavier the sledge hammer the greater the force you can exert when hitting an object. Our Magnusson sledge hammers are heat treated and tempered for greater strength and durability, they also come with shock absorbent soft grip handles for comfort during those heavy jobs.
Mallets have a larger head than standard hammers, helping to complete tasks more quickly but also, as our Magnusson mallets are made from rubber and wood, they are a little more forgiving than standard hammers, so are ideal for jobs where a little more dexterity is required, such as chiselling out timber and masonry.
Other projects where you may need to apply force to an object without damaging it including paving projects, timber projects or hardwood flooring.
These are generally lighter and softer making for a less impactful blow.
Used in wood-work and carpentry. As the striking face is made of a softer material than metal hammers, you are less likely to damage the object (such as wood chisels) you are hitting.
Wrecking & pry bars
Also known as crow bars, these are most commonly used for dismantling timber work, plasterboard and pulling up floorboards. Our Magnusson wrecking bars are made from hardened steel for extra strength. The curved end is usually used as a lever for greater efficiency.
Brick bolsters are used for cutting and shaping stone, blocks and bricks. B&Q's Magnusson brick bolsters are made from CVS (Chrome Vanadium Steel) making them tough and durable. Look out for the bolsters with hand guards for extra protection.
You'll need a tape measure more often than you think for a huge variety of tasks. The first thing you'll need to bear in mind is the distance you're measuring and we offer a range of Magnusson tape measures for all jobs (all our tape measures come in centimetres and inches).
Most tape measure blades are made of steel but look out for coated blades for greater durability - such as Stanley's Tylon range or the Fatmax Mylar coated blades. A wide blade allows for longer "stand-out" i.e. the length the blade stands out before it snaps - particularly useful if you're working on your own.
Also bear in mind the Locking Mechanism allowing you to mark to a specific point on the tape (don't forget your pencils) and the Hook - again useful if you're working alone. Double and magnetic hooks offer the most versatility.
Extra long tape measures
Up to 50 metres long, B&Q offer a range of extra long tape measures that are great for outdoor and garden projects.
Electronic distance measures use lasers for very accurate laser measurements over long distances. Generally, the more expensive products measure longer distances and come with more features such as water-proofing and area/volume calculations.
We stock a range of steel rulers from 300mm to 1000mm (1 metre) for accurate measuring and line drawing. Our steel rulers are made from stainless steel for extra durability. When marking out over greater dimensions, use a wooden batten as a straightedge. For longer measurements use a folding rule - they are up to 2 metres in length and easy to store away after use. Don't forget your pencils when you're marking out.
Measure 90-degree angles and straightness against corresponding surfaces.
Can be used for measuring as well as marking angles of 90-degrees or 45-degrees. They usually feature a small spirit bubble for levelling plus measurements in centimetres and inches. More flexibility can be achieved using Sliding Bevels and Angle Guides. Don't forget your pencils when you're marking out.
A good-quality spirit level shows you a true horizontal or vertical – essential when lining up shelving or cabinets on a wall. Our Magnusson Spirit Levels come in a range of lengths, from a 23cm Torpedo Level to 1.8 metres for larger projects such as brick laying or flooring. Look out for rubber end caps and anodised coating for greater durability, magnetic edges for hands free measuring and comfortable hand grips.
These are great for more ambitious projects as they cover greater lengths of up to 15 metres. They are a quick and easy way to give accuracy over longer distances
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Every fixing requires a specific nail, clip, screw or bolt - often in combination with matching plugs, washers and nuts. If you keep them sorted in storage drawers, they'll always be easy to find when you need them. Many tool boxes have combination tool trays, compartments and drawers. Tool boxes (or bags, belts or trays) make it easier to carry and protect your tools. Be particularly careful how you store cutting edges in a tool box - keep and use the plastic guards that are usually fitted to new saw and chisel blades.
A secure working surface is essential for many tasks. A portable workbench allows you to establish a solid platform in the house or garden.