Complete Guide to Tools in Chinese (Names & Vocabulary)

tools in Mandarin Chinese

Want to learn all the different kinds of tools in Mandarin Chinese? Then you’ve come to the right place.

In this article, we will give you the most comprehensive list of tools in Chinese, from the most common ones used for jobs around the house leading up to specific tools and hardware for gardening, cooking, camping, and so on. We will present the tool names in Chinese characters and Pinyin to help you pronounce them, as well as a list of verbs that are used when using tools in Chinese. At the end of this post, you’ll find some example sentences to put the vocabulary to use.

But first and foremost, let’s learn how to say “tool” in Chinese.

Tool in Chinese

The word for tool in Chinese is 工具 (gōngjù). If you break the word into characters, 工 (gōng) stands for “work”, and 具 (zuò) means “implement”. Together, they express the concept of “tool”.

It’s a good idea to add 工具 (gōngjù) to your staple Chinese vocabulary, as many other tool-related terms in Chinese are built around this word. For example,

  • toolbox – 工具箱 (gōngjù xiāng)
  • toolkit – 工具包 (gōngjù bāo)
  • toolbar -工具栏 (gōngjù lán)

Quiz: Do you know what 工具人 (gōngjù rén) – “tool person” means in Chinese? Check out our list of common Chinese slang words to find out.

Just like in any language, you have to learn the individual name for each Chinese tool separately as the word 工具 (gōngjù) is not attached to any of them. Don’t worry – we’ll cover them all in this post.

A Grammar Note on Tools in Chinese

Every object requires a measure word when counted in Chinese. For example, you wouldn’t just say “a hammer”, or “two nails” in Chinese, you would say “a [measure word] hammer” and “two [measure word] nails”.

The measure word for “tool” itself is 件 (jiàn) in Chinese. For instance, you say 一件工具 (yí jiàn gōngjù) for “a tool”.

However, different tools require different measure words that speak to the shape or feature of that specific tool. For example, for tools with handles (e.g. hammer, ax), you can go with the measure word 把 (bǎ), and for tools that are long and thin, 根 (gēn) is the proper measure word to use.

To help you fully master tools in Chinese, we include the corresponding measure word for each tool in our list.

If the concept of measure words sounds alien to you, we have this entire article dedicated to explaining how Chinese measure words work. If you don’t know how to count in Chinese yet, you might want to start with our Chinese number tutorial first.

Complete List of Tools in Chinese

tool names in Mandarin Chinese

There is a huge range of tools and they all perform different functions, so there’s a lot of ground to cover. To help you out, we’ll start with a list of Chinese names for the most common tools that can serve as a launching point before moving on to more specific vocabulary.

Most Common Tool Names in Chinese

Here’s the list of the 15 most common tools in Chinese to give you a foundation. The words are in alphabetical order on the English side, complete with Pinyin Romanization and corresponding measure words.

English ChinesePinyinMeasure Word
ax斧头fǔtou把 (bǎ)
brush刷子shuāzi把 (bǎ)
duct tape胶布jiāobù卷 (Juǎn)
electric drill电钻diàn zuàn把 (bǎ)
hammer锤子chuízi把 (bǎ)
knifedāo把 (bǎ)
nail钉子dīngzi根 (gēn)
pliers钳子qiánzi把 (bǎ)
saw锯子jùzi把 (bǎ)
scissors剪刀jiǎndāo把 (bǎ)
screw螺丝luósī颗 (kē)
screwdriver螺丝刀luósī dāo把 (bǎ)
tape measure卷尺juǎn chǐ把 (bǎ)
tweezers镊子nièzi把 (bǎ)
wrench扳手bānshǒu把 (bǎ)

Carpentry Tools in Chinese

Can’t find the Chinese word for your tool? Then let’s get started on the extended tool lists.

If you’re in China and need to do some home repair work then you’ll find the following carpentry tool vocabulary to be very useful!

EnglishChinesePinyinMeasure Word
bolt螺栓luó shuān颗 (kē)
chisel凿子záozi把 (bǎ)
file锉刀cuò dāo把 (bǎ)
glue胶水jiāo shuǐ瓶 (píng)
level水平仪shuǐpíng yí个 (gè)
mallet锤子chuízi把 (bǎ)
nut螺帽luó mào颗 (kē)
paint油漆yóu qī桶 (tǒng)
plane刨子bàozi个 (gè)
rope绳子shéngzi根 (gēn)
rulerchǐ把 (bǎ)
safety goggles护目镜hù mù jìng副 (fù)
sandpaper砂纸shā zhǐ张 (zhāng)
scraper刮刀guā dāo把 (bǎ)
utility knife工具刀gōngjù dāo把 (bǎ)

Gardening Tools and Farming Tools in Chinese

Now let’s get you fixed up with all the Chinese vocabulary on gardening and farming tools that you’ll need.

English ChinesePinyinMeasure Word
broom扫帚sàozhou把 (bǎ)
buckettǒng个 (gè)
dustpan簸箕bòji个 (gè)
trowel小铲刀xiǎo chǎn dāo把 (bǎ)
hoe锄头chútou把 (bǎ)
hose水管shuǐ guǎn根 (gēn)
gardening gloves园艺手套yuányì shǒutào副 (fù)
ladder梯子tīzi架 (jià)
lawn mower割草机gē cǎo jī台 (tái)
pitchfork铁叉tiě chā把 (bǎ)
rake钉耙dīng pá把 (bǎ)
scythe镰刀lián dāo把 (bǎ)
shovel/spade铁锹tiě qiāo把 (bǎ)
watering can喷壶pēn hú个 (gè)
wheelbarrow手推车shǒu tuī chē辆 (liàng)

Kitchen Tools in Chinese

Now let’s learn the Chinese names of common 厨房用具 (chúfáng yòngjù) – “kitchen tools” that are used for food preparation. 

EnglishChinesePinyinMeasure Word
bowlwǎn个 (gè)
can opener开罐器kāi guàn qì个 (gè)
cup杯子bēizi个 (gè)
cutting board切菜板qiē cài bǎn块 (kuài)
frying pan煎锅jiān guō口 (kǒu)
kitchen knife菜刀cài dāo把 (bǎ)
oven烤箱kǎo xiāng个 (gè)
peeler削皮器xiāo pí qì个 (gè)
potguō口 (kǒu)
spatula锅铲guō chǎn把 (bǎ)
spoon勺子sháozi把 (bǎ)
tray托盘tuō pán个 (gè)
whisk搅拌器jiǎobàn qì个 (gè)

Further Reading: All the Kitchen Vocabulary in Chinese

Survival Tools in Chinese

Now, we’re going to look at those must-have wilderness survival tools in Chinese. These words will be especially vital if you’re camping in China.

EnglishChinesePinyinMeasure Word
candle蜡烛là zhú根 (gēn)
compass指南针zhǐnán zhēn个 (gè)
emergency whistle求生口哨qiú shēng kǒushào个 (gè)
first aid kit急救包jíjiù bāo个 (gè)
flashlight手电筒shǒu diàn tǒng只 (zhī)
headlamp头灯tóu dēng盏 (zhǎn)
lighter打火机dǎ huǒ jī个 (gè)
match火柴huǒchái根 (gēn)
sleeping bag睡袋shuì dài个 (gè)
Swiss army knife瑞士军刀Ruìshì jūn dāo把 (bǎ)
waterproof bag防水袋fáng shuǐ dài个 (gè)
water purifying bottle滤水壶lǜ shuǐ hú个 (gè)

Chinese Verbs Related to Tools

Verbs are perhaps the most important part of Chinese learning for beginners. Let’s explore some common Chinese verbs associated with using tools.  

English ChinesePinyin Pronunciation
to chop (with axe)kǎn
to cut (with knife)qiē
to cut (with scissors)jiǎn
to drillzuàn
to hammerchuí
to hitqiāo
to measureliáng
to paint
to saw
to screw拧紧níng jǐn
to sweepsǎo
to tiekǔn
to unscrew拧开nǐng kāi
to useyòng
to waterjiāo
to wrapbāo

Example Sentences with Tools in Chinese

Now is the time to use the Chinese tool vocabulary in context. Practice the following sentences and you’ll develop your knowledge of Chinese grammar and gain confidence in speaking Chinese in simple conversations.

  • 你有没有工具可以…?
    Nǐ yǒu méiyǒu gōngjù kěyǐ …?
    Do you have any tool for …?
  • 我需要一件可以…的工具。
    Wǒ xūyào yí jiàn kěyǐ … de gōngjù.
    I need a tool to …
  • 你知道这东西怎么用吗?
    Nǐ zhīdào zhè dōngxi zěnme yòng ma?
    Do you know how to use this thing?
  • 请问附近有五金店吗?
    Qǐngwèn fùjìn yǒu wǔjīn diàn ma?
    Excuse me, is there a hardware store around here?
  • 你见过我的工具箱吗? 我好像找不到了。
    Nǐ jiàn guò wǒ de gōngjù xiāng ma? Wǒ hǎoxiàng zhǎo bú dào le.
    Have you seen my toolbox? I can’t seem to find it.
  • 你有锤子吗? 我需要在墙上敲几根钉子。
    Nǐ yǒu chuízi ma? Wǒ xūyào zài qiáng shàng qiāo jǐ gēn dīngzi.
    Do you have a hammer? I need to hit a couple of nails in the wall.
  • 我能借一下你的卷尺吗?我想量一下这张桌子的高度。
    Wǒ néng jiè yíxià nǐ de juǎn chǐ ma? Wǒ xiǎng liáng yíxià zhè zhāng zhuōzi de gāodù.
    Can I borrow your tape measure for a sec? I’d like to measure the height of this table.

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We hope you enjoy our lists of Chinese tool words and phrases.

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