Every day our smartphones find ways to replace other physical items, such as music players and document scanners.
This is no different for the traditional tools used in daily life, DIY projects, and on contractor jobs. Apps have made our toolboxes lighter with their nifty developments. So don’t worry about finding that missing flashlight or your roll of tape measure.
Here are some of the best free apps that turn your phone into its own toolbox.
Distance Measurement and Digital Tape Measure Apps
Using augmented reality to provide measurements of everyday objects is a handy way to create a digital tape measure—and this is exactly what Google’s Measure app does. It’s one of Google’s great lesser-known Android apps.
With the app you can measure distance, length, and height using your camera. Trying to get AR measurement apps to work can be a hit-and-miss affair, but Measure is simple to use. Its tips and help section can guide you if you get confused, making it a user-friendly measurement app.
To get started, you need to scan an area with the app so it can detect the horizontal or vertical plane. Then select the measurement mode you would like to use (distance or elevation) onto the screen. You can adjust the lines to the desired points and the app will estimate the size of the object. Note that the app requires a well-lit and clutter-free area.
Download: Measure (Free)
2. Smart Ruler
This is as simple a tool as it gets. Smart Ruler acts as a digital ruler that you can use for small measurements. Put any object you want to measure on the screen of your Android device, then touch its corner to detect the width or length.
You’ll find a variety of ruler apps available, but we like Smart Ruler because it’s straightforward to use. It also allows you to set the start and end points of an object when you touch the screen, adding an extra element of ease.
Download: Smart Ruler (Free)
Other Measurement and Level Tool Apps
3. Sound Meter
This app measures the decibel values of surrounding environmental noise. To help guide you, Sound Meter also provides examples of equivalent noise levels for comparison. For example, the 30-decibel range is similar to the volume of a whisper, while 72 decibels is closer to loud music.
There’s no shortage of similar apps on the Play Store, but we found that this one had the best accuracy and detection of changing sound levels.
Download: Sound Meter (Free)
4. Laser Level
Laser Level is a leveling app for Android that includes an incredibly useful spirit/bubble level mode. This means that you can measure angles and whether a surface is level in multiple ways using the app.
It even has a built-in clinometer for those who want to accurately measure angles.
Download: Laser Level (Free)
Utility Apps for Android
5. Metal Detector
Metal Detector does exactly what the name states—it uses your smartphone’s sensors to detect the presence of metal based on magnetic fields. This can help you find metal studs in the wall or possible pipes in the ground.
Of course, it’s not as effective as an actual metal detector or stud finder. But it’s free and can help you get a better gauge on the presence of metal for the occasional odd job.
Download: Metal Detector (Free)
The Flashlight app by Ruddy Rooster isn’t the most popular app by download numbers, but its simple interface and useful tools make it one of the best flashlight apps for Android. It features a simple flashlight that uses your camera’s LED flash, but it also has Morse code and strobe effects. Like other flashlight apps, it includes a screen light function and a few other features.
It is our preferred flashlight app due to these features and its limited app permission requirements. If you already have a flashlight feature built into your phone, we recommend using that as most flashlight apps are a privacy nightmare.
Download: Flashlight (Free)
7. CalcKit: All-in-One Calculator
While CalcKit is not a traditional tool in the way a hammer is, it is an incredibly useful calculator and conversion app for contractors and artisans. It includes a large variety of conversion tools that make this app relevant to a wide range of professions. Even those in the science field could use it for simple, on-the-go calculations.
The app includes everything from basic mathematical equations (such as the area of a triangle), to more complex electronic calculations. It also has a range of conversion tools, spanning from shoe sizes to fuel efficiency volume metrics.
Download: CalcKit (Free)
All-in-One Toolbox Apps for Android
If you would prefer apps that include a suite of tools, rather than download individual apps for each tool, then all-in-one toolbox apps are a perfect choice. These apps aren’t very specialized, but have enough tools for most people to get through tasks that require them.
8. Smart Tools
Smart Tools has a somewhat unusual assortment of tools, but they are plenty useful in the right situations. It also has some unique tools not often seen in other toolbox apps, including a Morse code converter, a text-to-speech tool, and even a dog whistle.
The app also has a few fun tools that are more for curiosity than anything else, such as the age calculator and cryptography tool. But there are also plenty of useful, practical utilities such as a flashlight, bubble level, and audio recorder.
Download: Smart Tools (Free, premium version available)
9. Tool Box by Maxcom
The Tool Box app by Maxcom is a lightweight and simple collection of useful tools. The app includes features such as a leveler, decibel meter, magnifier, barcode reader, and protractor.
If you want an all-in-one toolbox app that isn’t too crowded, Tool Box is a good choice. Its tools are quite basic, but this means the app takes up less storage space on your phone.
10. Smart Kit 360
Smart Kit has an appealing look that makes it feel modern and sleek. But it’s more than just a pretty face. It has one of the most extensive collections of varied tools of the toolbox apps available for Android.
It includes traditional tool replacements, such as a leveler and a compass. But it also has some modern tools, such as a heart rate monitor (if your phone’s camera is compatible) and phone storage and management tools. Some unique tools you don’t often see in similar apps are the lux meter and vibrometer.
Download: Smart Kit (Free)
Your Smartphone Can Pack Many Useful Tools
These utility and measurement tool apps for Android can definitely come in handy in real-life situations, especially on older devices. But there are also tools you can use to improve your entire Android experience.
See our list of useful apps that will change the way you use Android to find out how to tweak and improve the operating system’s features.