Basic Tools Every Labourer Should Have

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There is a skill shortage in the UK’s trade industry, and one which isn’t being plugged any time soon. The country is crying out for skilled labourers of all kinds, as wait times continue to rise for basic household jobs like electrics or joinery repairs.

This shortage is a golden opportunity for the shrewd handyfolk amongst you, as demand makes for good rates and better long-term prospects. But becoming a labourer requires more than the knowledge. You also need the tools of the trade – but what are they?

The Van

Before we get into the nitty-gritty of quintessential labouring tools, we need to acknowledge what is perhaps the single most important piece of kit in a tradesperson’s arsenal: their van. The van is a crucial element for any labouring business, whether you’re a self-employed freelancer or part of a larger contracting business. It is vital not just for the carrying of your actual tools, but also for the procurement and transport of raw materials – from wood batons to flags and beyond.

Of course, a van is a major investment, and also requires ongoing investment to properly maintain. Your van tyres need to be checked regularly and replaced if your tread looks to be wearing a little thin; likewise, you’ll need to budget for a new battery and for replacing your fluids, outside of regular service and maintenance checks.


No labourer is complete without a cordless drill hanging from their belt. Drills come in a great many different shapes and sizes, and you should probably have a few of them as a labourer – but many are good all-rounder models, and can handle a lot of things you throw at them. Make sure all your cordless drills are of the same brand, so you can use battery packs interchangeably between them!

There are some tasks which are beyond cordless drills, though, and which you should prepare for. Many cordless drills with hammer-drill functionality can happily handle masonry, but not on a sustained basis; for this, you might want a corded masonry or SDS drill specifically to use on brickwork.

Claw Hammer

Another universal necessity presents in the form of the claw hammer – the poster-child hand tool for any labouring work, and an iconic one to boot. Claw hammers are a blunt instrument, but also a precise one; they are essential for both creating and destroying.


Personal protective equipment, or PPE, is a vital investment for labourers – and not just as a result of health and safety law, either. PPE is the last line of defence between you and an accident waiting to happen, so invest in some protective goggles and steel toe capped boots before you hurt yourself!

Spirit Level

Most labouring work, if not the controlled demolition of interior walls and old installations, involves the building of new stud walls or hanging of cabinets and shelves. In all such instances, a spirit level is a crucial measuring tool, that allows you to keep some horizontal perspective as you build up.

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