10 Products That Help Make Home Improvement Accessible to Just About Everyone

Home maintenance, woodworking, and DIY projects are not off-limits to people with mobility issues, limited dexterity, and other physical challenges. This gear will help everyone get the job done.

By Glenda Taylor | Published Jul 26, 2022 12:58 PM

adaptive tools for people with disabilities

Photo: istockphoto.com

In the past few decades, manufacturers have developed products to help people with impairments live active, varied lives. And the benefits from these innovations aren’t limited to daily household activities!

By equipping a home workshop or craft room with tools and equipment that simplify home improvement and maintenance projects, people with disabilities can take full advantage of their talents and creativity. Follow along to discover some of the most helpful disability-friendly tools that make DIY projects more accessible.

RELATED: How To: Store Your Tools in Your Workshop (and Keep Them Accessible)

1. Gripping Aid

adaptive tools for people with disabilities

Photo: activehands.com

Using some standard tools such as hammers, screwdrivers, or hand saws can be challenging for those who are unable to grasp objects firmly. With the Active Hands General Purpose Gripping Aid, users can get a firm grip on a wide range of items, including the handles of rakes, garden trowels, and shovels. Strong Velcro straps secure the desired tool in the user’s hand so it doesn’t slip, and the gripping aid is padded and comfortable so it won’t chafe skin.

2. Rolling Tool Cabinet

adaptive tools for people with disabilities

Photo: amazon.com

If navigating back and forth across a workshop to get the right tools is slowing down the progress of projects, a good-sized rolling tool box, like this Craftsman 9-drawer tool cabinet and chest combo, can be a boon.

The tool chest comes with four sliding drawers for storing various sizes of socket wrenches, screwdrivers, and pliers. Four larger drawers in the bottom cabinet can hold bulkier hand tools and power tools. Each piece helps keep all of a job’s necessary tools in one easy-to-access spot, and the chest can be moved off of the cabinet to any flat surface in a workshop.

3. Adjustable Work Table

adaptive tools for people with disabilities

Photo: amazon.com

When standing—or standing for any extended period of time—is out of the question, an adjustable work surface offers a viable solution. Being able to lower a work surface is essential for those looking to operate power tools like miter saws and table saws from a wheelchair or stool.

The Eisen ES8 Work Table, which lowers to a height of 34 inches, allows the user to work with tools or other materials while sitting comfortably. Plus, it supports up to 200 pounds of equipment and comes with a handy drawer for storing small tools.

4. Foot-Operated Power Switch

adaptive tools for people with disabilities

Photo: wenproducts.com

Tackling two-handed tool operation is simpler when the DIYer doesn’t have to let go of the tool to switch the power on or off. When utilizing a pedal power switch, such as the WEN Foot-Operated Power Switch, the user’s hands remain free to control the tool.

The 120-volt, 15-amp pedal can be used to power sanders, wood-turning lathes, rotary tools, and other corded tools. Power tools plug into the pedal switch, which plugs into an outlet, allowing tools to be activated and deactivated with ease.

5. Router Table

adaptive tools for people with disabilities

Photo: amazon.com

Routers are a woodworker’s go-to for creating rounded or sculpted edges along counters or shelving, but they can be challenging to maneuver, especially for those with limited gripping ability.

A cabinet-style router table allows do-it-yourselfers to install the router in an upside-down fashion and then use both hands to guide a board along the router table. The Bosch Cabinet Style Router Table accommodates routers of various brands, and it has an exhaust port where a shop vacuum can be connected to collect wood dust.

RELATED: How to Build a Wheelchair Ramp

6. Dust Collection System

adaptive tools for people with disabilities

Photo: jettools.com

When taking dust-producing tools like table saws, miter saws, or planers outside isn’t possible, the next best thing is to install a dedicated dust collection system that can be used with all of the power tools in the workshop.

Place a Jet Dust Collector in a central spot in a workshop, and attach its large vacuum hose to the power tool. The Jet’s powerful 1.5-HP motor draws in wood dust and chips, so the user doesn’t have to worry about inhaling dust or constantly cleaning their workshop.

7. Remote-Controlled Hoist

adaptive tools for people with disabilities

Photo: amazon.com

Lifting heavy items like lawn mower engines or automobile parts can make necessary maintenance challenging for mechanics with disabilities. This is where a remote-controlled hoist makes a world of difference.

A ceiling-mounted hoist such as the Partsam Electric Cable Hoist can be used to safely and efficiently lift and move heavy items. Its remote control allows the user to raise or lower the items with the push of a button.

8. Easier-Grip Scissors

adaptive tools for people with disabilities

Photo: amazon.com

For many DIY projects, cutting paper, foil, fabric, or other materials is necessary, but standard scissors can prove impossible to use for those with limited hand dexterity. However, loop scissors are self-opening, so the user doesn’t have to both open and then close the blades. This spring-like ability and wider grip simplifies the cutting process.

9. Remote-Controlled Outlets

adaptive tools for people with disabilities

Photo: amazon.com

Certain small tasks, like unplugging tools or turning lamps and fans on and off, can be challenging for some people with limited mobility. A simpler way to tackle these actions is to use smart outlets or remote-controlled outlets, such as the BN-LINK Wireless Remote Outlet. Just plug one into a standard outlet and then plug in a tool, lamp, or another item. As long as the DIYer is in range of the outlet, he or she can power items on or off just by pressing a button.

10. Adjustable Magnifying Lamp

adaptive tools for people with disabilities

Photo: amazon.com

Seeing clearly in low-light conditions is difficult for many, and that’s also true for people with visual impairments. This Gynnx LED magnifying lamp offers a bright solution. It attaches to any countertop or workbench and features an adjustable steel arm that allows the user to pull the lamp—and its magnifying lens—into just the right position for examining small crafts or woodworking details.

RELATED: Gardening in Place: How to Grow a Bountiful Harvest When You Have Limited Mobility