Most contractors keep a few essential tools on hand, no matter what— ammers, measuring tape, levels, and screwdriver sets.

Sometimes, however, you want something unusual. This tool may not be perfect for every job, but it can be very useful for particular tasks that more general-purpose items can’t handle.

These are six of the most unusual tools that come in handy for contractors. You won’t find them in every contractor’s toolkit, but they can be extremely valuable in the right circumstances.

1. Halligan Tool

The halligan tool or bar, also called a “hooligan tool,” is typically used by firefighters for forcible entry during an emergency. However, it also has some value for contractors.

At one end of the bar is a fork that can wedge open hoods, turn gas valves, or stabilize ladders. The other end features a pike and adz. This cutting tool is similar to an ax but with the head perpendicular to the handle. 

The adz can be used to smooth or carve wood by hand and the pike pries up floorboards or other objects.

The halligan bar is not a precision tool, but it can be helpful for contractors who need a little bit of force or something that can act as a wedge.

2. Pneumatic Denailer

Nail guns are a common jobsite tool, useful for various applications, and almost always straightforward to use. However, getting a nail out of a surface can be challenging and time-consuming.

For this reason, reusing or repurposing lumber can be difficult, even when the wood is in good condition. Before you can use the lumber again, you’ll need to remove any nails. Denailing the wood can be an involved process, requiring the use of pry-bars, hammers, saws, and other tools.

Pneumatic denailers, or nail kickers, use pneumatic pressure to drive a nail through a piece of lumber or other material, allowing it to be reused, recycled, or otherwise repurposed.

Denailers may be useful for removing nails from other construction materials, like kaolin-based gypsum wallboards, potentially reducing the size of the hole left behind and the work necessary to repair the board.

The tool is not one a contractor may use daily but can significantly speed up certain types of work—for example, denailing pallet wood for use in a future project.

Both handheld and stationary denailers exist. Stationary models are typically used for specific purposes—like pallet denailin —while handheld versions are more general-purpose tools.

3. Flashlight Gloves

Flashlights are essential tools for contractors. However, handheld flashlights may not be practical when using both hands for a task.

Flashlight gloves help solve this problem. Each glove comes fitted with two LED lights mounted on the glove’s index finger and thumb. These lights shine forward, allowing contractors to provide extra illumination by pointing or gesturing with their thumb and index fingers.

Will the LED lights in the gloves be as powerful as a heavy-duty flashlight? No. Can the glove material or wearer’s fingers get in the way of the light during use? Yes. However, despite these potential drawbacks, they offer a simple lighting solution when a held flashlight or lamp won’t work.

Other useful hands-free flashlights include headlamps, bendable work lights that can be coiled around the arm, and neck lights.

4. Triple Tap Tool

Triple taps are a handheld tapping tool used to create new machine screws in a material like metal or wood. It resembles a screwdriver and can form new threads, re-form burred threads, or clear out obstructions from a screw hole.

The three taps are arranged so the tool can rethread an existing hole to the next larger size if the existing threading has been stripped.

A more conventional tapping toolkit may be a good investment for contractors that regularly create new threads or re-form them. Still, the triple tap can be a good alternative for contractors who want an all-in-one tapping tool that is lightweight and compact.

5. Augmented Reality (AR) Measuring Tools

Modern contractors have access to a massive range of measuring tools—from simple tape measures to sophisticated laser devices.

The rise of augmented reality in construction provides contractors with access to AR measuring tools and software. They use augmented reality and a device like a smartphone to instantly measure angles or distances.

Contractors who have a smartphone can use AR measures to quickly estimate the size of a room or object, speeding up work.

6. Hydraulic Torque Wrench

Hydraulic torque wrenches offer the precision of a torque wrench and the power of a hydraulic tool.

The wrench is attached to a hydraulic pump and applies a specific amount of torque to a bolt to prevent overtightening.

The wrenches are used to tighten and loosen bolts in various fields—including heavy industry, construction, and manufacturing. Low-profile torque wrenches are available for work in tight or hard-to-access spaces.

These Unusual Professional Contractor Tools Can Save Time

The next time you need a new tool, you may want to consider something a little different.

Not every contractor will carry a pneumatic denailer or hydraulic wrench in their toolkit, but these items can make certain jobs a lot easier.

about the author

Emily Newton is an industrial writer who specializes in covering how technology is disrupting industrial sectors. She’s also the editor-in-chief of Revolutionized where she covers innovations in industry, construction, and more.