Home Power Tools

Do's and Don'ts: Using Power Tools at Home

13 min read

What To Do & Not Do

Do Don’t
Wear safety goggles Forget to wear safety goggles
Check power cord for damage Plug cord into wall before checking
Read and follow instructions Use tools without training
Use the right tool for the job Spray electric tools with water
Wear the right clothing Tilt cord away from saw blade

man using power tool in a power tool closet

What We’ll Cover

Our goal is to give you a comprehensive list of dos and don’ts for using power tools safely at home.

We’ll cover topics such as which power tool is appropriate for each job, how to safely handle tools, and any equipment needed for safe operation.

We’ll also discuss other important safety issues such as clothing and protective wear, as well as how to prevent incidents from happening.

By following these tips, you can make sure that you’re using power tools responsibly and safely.

Common Mistakes

Common mistakes when using power tools include not wearing protective gear, like eye and ear protection; not reading the instructions before use; using tools for tasks outside of their intended use; not having a clear mental plan before beginning the job; and not disconnecting the tool from the power source before changing blades or saws.

New users often don’t realize that blades should be kept sharp or that the tool needs to be checked for faulty parts before use.

Relying on the wrong type of power source is another common mistake.

But by thinking about these mistakes in advance, you can be aware of the risk and avoid these problems.

Guidelines for Safety

To help you stay safe, consider these guidelines.

  • Wear safety glasses and always follow manufacturers’ instructions.
  • Never wear loose clothing or jewelry when operating tools.
  • Keep your hands away from rotating or cutting parts of the machine.
  • Do not stand on uneven surfaces or ladders while operating tools.
  • Only plug tools into grounding outlets.
  • Unplug tools when not in use.
  • Do not use tools in wet environments.
  • Keep tools in dry and secure places.
  • Read the manual before using any power tool.
  • Use caution and ask for help if you are unsure of anything.
  • Never push a tool beyond its capacity.

General Do’s

Read the Manual

Reading the user manual before you use a power tool is a must! Always take the time to look through the book and become familiar with how to use the tool properly.

Understanding the power tool will help you save time and protect against accidents.

Make sure to read the warnings and safety instructions and re-read the manual if you are ever unsure of how to use the tool.

Following directions will help you get the best results without any unnecessary risks.

Inspect Tools

Before using your power tools it’s important to inspect them.

Start by looking at the blade or bit and verify that it’s tightly secured.

If the blade is loose, tighten it before going on.

Look closely at the cord and make sure it shows no signs of fraying or damage, and there’s no exposed wiring.

Test out the switch to make sure it’s turning the tool off and on.

Give the tool a general check-up to make sure it’s clean, the handle is secure, and there aren’t any pieces missing.

Finally, check the labels and instructions to see if the tool is being used properly.

Use Proper PPE

Wear close-fitting clothing: no baggy pants or loose jewelry.

Cover up with closed-toe shoes or boots, safety glasses, a hard hat, and hearing protection.

Make sure to wear gloves and long-sleeved shirts.

Don’t forget a dust mask, too.

Keep hair tied back. If it’s long, tuck it away.

Watch out for strings or ties that can get caught in moving parts.

Make sure you have adequate Fall Protection if you’re working on something high up.

Be sure to inspect your PPE before using it.

General Don’ts

Never Bypass Safety Features

Never bypass safety features like on/off switches, blade guards, or triggers.

These are all designed to keep you and surrounding objects safe.

Tampering with them can be hazardous to your health and the well-being of those around you.

Without a safety feature, you could be in danger of physical injury or even death if anything goes wrong.

It’s not worth the risk - make sure all safety features are working properly before using a power tool.

Avoid Distractions

Stay focused when using power tools! Distractions are dangerous for several reasons.

They can cause you to lose control of a tool, making it more likely that you’ll hurt yourself or somebody else.

They can also prevent you from noticing changes in a tool’s performance, ensuring a job isn’t done correctly.

And they can lead to mistakes that’ll cost you time, money or worse - injury.

Keep away from phones, music and conversation when using power tools, and just stay focused!

Don’t Use Damaged Tools

It’s always a bad idea to use tools that are damaged.

Not only can they be dangerous, but they can cause serious injury.

Damaged tools can also cause a project to take a lot longer, or even fail completely.

Damaged tools can be worn-down, warped, cracked, or otherwise compromised.

Avoid using these tools – if you notice any signs of wear and tear, take the time to replace them.

Furthermore, be aware of how they should be used and take care to operate them safely.

Not only will following these guidelines keep you safe, but they will ensure the job is done correctly.

Electrical Safety Do’s

Use GFCI Outlets

When working with power tools at home, make sure to use a GFCI outlet.

GFCI, or Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter, outlets monitor the current going in and out of a power tool and help protect you against electrocution.

GFCI outlets are computers that shut off the power when electricity does not follow its intended path.

By using a GFCI outlet, you can avoid electric shock, burns, and even death.

Plus, GFCI outlets can provide reassurance that your tools and equipment are safe in the event of a short circuit.

Bottom line: using GFCI outlets is a great way to stay safe when working with power tools.

Check Cords and Plugs

Always make sure the power cords and plugs of power tools are in good shape before using them.

Look for frayed wire, loose connections, and damaged plugs.

Pay extra attention to power tools that have been used for a while; if cords are worn, replace them before using the tool.

If the plug gets hot to the touch, unplug the tool and seek a professional’s help.

Make sure that the cord and plug are rated correctly for the tool.

Test the insulation by looking for any discoloration or signs of age and damage.

Follow these quick tips whenever you’re powering up a tool.

Electrical Safety Don’ts

Don’t Overload Circuits

Never plug too many things into one outlet.

This can overload the circuits and increase the risk of an electrical fire.

Never use extension cords if it creates too many power sources at once or if you can feel it heating up.

Avoid plugging expensive tools or electronic items into one outlet.

Never use outlet adapters, either.

Unplug power strips and tools when not in use.

If you notice sparks coming from the outlets, don’t use them or those around them until inspected by an electrician.

Beware of circuit breakers being tripped - if they are, unplug equipment and tools to avoid damage or fire.

Never Use Wet Electrical Tools

Never use wet electrical tools.

Water and electricity don’t mix.

If your tools get wet, make sure they are dried off completely before plugging them in.

If your tools touch water, this could cause a dangerous electrical shock.

It can also cause the tools to break down or stop working.

When using any electrical tools, make sure that you are in a dry area and that your hands and tools are not wet.

To be safe, always wear dry shoes and clothing when using electricity and make sure you are not working in a puddle or in wet weather.

Workspace Do’s

Maintain Clean Workspace

Keep your workspace clean for a safe and efficient work environment.

Clear away all clutter - tools, supplies and unfinished projects - to reduce the risk of safety hazards or accidents.

Having an organized space also helps you find the tools and supplies you need quickly.

Making sure your workspace is neat can also help you save time because you won’t waste time looking for misplaced items.

Taking a little extra time to keep things neat and tidy will make power tool use easier and more enjoyable.


Construction projects and power tools create a lot of dust and fumes, so make sure you’ve got some good ventilation going while you work.

Open a window or two, put on a fan, or even turn on the exhaust fan above your stove to help keep the air fresh.

You should also try to avoid breathing the fumes from whatever chemicals you’re using.

You don’t want to be breathing in drywall dust or paint fumes for too long! Good ventilation is key to help keep you healthy and keep your workspace comfortable.

Workspace Don’ts

Don’t Leave Tools Unattended

Don’t leave tools unattended.

Leaving power tools on can cause serious injury and damage.

Unplug tools before you leave and make sure cords are out of the way.

Don’t leave tools on the ground where someone could trip over them.

Don’t leave anything loose on the workbench – keep it secure.

Pay attention while using tools.

Be alert and make sure that tools don’t touch anything that shouldn’t be touched.

Make sure cords are tucked away safely.

Power tools should never be left running.

Avoid Loose Clothing and Jewelry

Wearing loose clothing and jewelry can be dangerous when using power tools.

Clothing and jewelry can easily get caught in moving parts, such as blades and drill bits, and cause you to get cut or burned.

Make sure to wear close-fitting clothing with no dangling jewelry while using power tools.

Avoid wearing any loose items that can get snagged on the tools.

Take off scarves, long necklaces, and loose-fitting jewelry.

Secure long hair with a band or a cap, and make sure to tie up any baggy clothing or sleeves.

Taking these steps can help keep you safe while using tools at home.

Tool-Specific Do’s and Don’ts


  • Always wear eye protection and closed-toe shoes when working with saws.
  • Make sure the blade is sharp for a straight, smooth cut.
  • Secure the material you’re cutting to avoid injury.
  • Be aware if the saw is meant for a left or right handed user.
  • Unplug the tool when making adjustments or changing blades.
  • Test the blade guard for proper movement.
  • Be mindful when pushing or pulling the saw.
  • Use small strokes to avoid splintering and rough edges.
  • Take your time when cutting.
  • Keep your hands away from the blade’s path.
  • Always keep the blade clean.
  • Do not use blades that are broken or damaged.
  • Do not force the tool or blade.
  • Never leave a running saw unattended.
  • Never stand directly in line of the blade or your path of motion.



  • Wear safety goggles when using power drills.

  • Use the right kind of drill bit, based on the material you’re drilling into.

  • Have a firm grip on the drill’s handle while drilling.

  • Find the spot on the material you want to drill and mark it with a pencil.

  • Apply enough pressure to the drill to do the job.


  • Use force or bang the drill, as it could break the drill bit.

  • Work with the drill on any wet surface or near water.

  • Put fingers near the bit while it’s spinning.

  • Change the bit without unplugging the drill from its power source.

  • Use the drill when it’s faulty.


When using a sander, always make sure to wear protective goggles to protect your eyes from dust and debris.

Use a proper respirator if sanding for an extended period of time.

Make sure your sander is secured firmly onto the surface you are sanding.

A moving sander can cause damage to the surface and to yourself.

Take your time when sanding and use a slow and steady action during the process.

Make sure the sander is moving in the same direction as the grain of the material you’re sanding and avoid moving it back and forth.

If the material is bumpy or uneven, slowly move the sander in concentric circles to work down the bumps or remove the unevenness.

Special Considerations

Multi-User Households

In households with multiple people, it’s important to have a conversation about how the power tools will be used.

Everyone should have a basic understanding of the tool and safety information.

It’s good to designate a place to store the tools so they’ll always be accessible.

A lockable storage chest helps protect tools from damage and misuse.

It’s a good idea to have more than one person with knowledge of the tool.

That way, different people can use it without the need for instruction each time.

Everyone should be aware of the control switch location so they can quickly and easily turn the tool off as needed.

Children and Pets

Never leave children or pets alone with power tools.

Keep children and pets away from the work area.

Make sure young children understand that they should never be allowed to use any power tools.

Don’t let pets near power tools while it is being used.

Teach children to always keep a safe distance away from the work area.

When a power tool is not in use, keep it away from children and pets, preferably in a locked area or toolbox.

Don’t let children near extension cords.

Make sure pets can’t get close enough to chew on them.

Be sure to store sharp tools in an area that is out of reach from both children and pets.



It’s important to remember the do’s and don’ts of using power tools.

Make sure to read all instructions and safety guidelines before using any tool.

Wear protective gear like gloves, masks, and goggles when working with power tools.

Don’t force a tool and always unplug all tools when not in use.

Only use tools approved for home use.

Don’t overload a tool, keep it dry, and don’t use it for cutting and grinding.

Be sure to store power tools away from children to keep them safe.

Lastly, always use the right tool for the job.

By following these tips, you can safely use power tools in your home.

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