Common American Names For Tools Translated

Going online is a great way to research DIY projects before you start, but the use of different terminology between the US and Australia can make the results confusing. Here’s a list of common tool names you might encounter and their local equivalents.

Yes, in practice, many a hardware store will know what you’re after whichever term you use, but it doesn’t hurt to be fully informed. Most of the commonly used names in Australia derive from British usage.

Wrench: Spanner. The descriptive adjectives used for these are often the same, but we’ve listed some exceptions below.

Box-end wrench: Ring spanner

Flare-nut or tube wrench: Crow’s-foot spanner

Lug wrench: Wheel brace.

Spud bar: Crowbar.

Hex key: Allen key (aka that little tool you always find in self-assembly furniture packs).

Upholstery hammer: Tack hammer.

Boxcutter: Utility knife/Stanley knife.

Miter saw: Mitre saw.

Vise: Vice (I realise no-one will appreciate the difference when you’re speaking with the last two).

Wire wool: Steel wool.

Hand pruners: Secateurs.

String trimmer: Whipper snipper.

Hand truck: Trolley.

Got any other tool or hardware names we should add to the list? Tell us in the comments.

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