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can amish use power tools

Can the Amish Use Power Tools?

If there’s one thing everyone knows for sure about the Amish people, it’s this; they’re very industrious. They build their own houses, barns, and even schoolhouses. And what do they furnish those buildings with? You guessed it - furniture and decor items that they made themselves. 

They’re certainly very talented, but how do they do it without electricity? Can the Amish use power tools? Or do they manufacture everything the old-fashioned way, by the sweat of their brow? 

Find out in this guide about the Amish and the tools they use to build and sustain their communities. You may just be inspired to do some creative DIY projects of your very own.

What this article covers:

Why Do the Amish Use Electricity Selectively? 

Before we discuss the various tools the Amish use, let’s address the issue you’re all wondering about. Why do the Amish use electricity so selectively, and in some conservative communities, not at all? 

The Amish have no real issue with electricity, itself. They understand and appreciate its usefulness. However, they’re also aware of how small allowances today can lead to larger ones tomorrow. They’ve worked hard for centuries, to resist succumbing to an over-reliance on electrical appliances.

do amish use power tools

This is mostly due to their work ethic, which they believe is demanded of them by biblical teachings. By doing manual labor, working with their hands, and getting in touch with nature, they feel closer to the Creator of all things. This is a central tenet of the Amish faith, and they wish to keep it that way.

That’s why it’s rare to find Amish with cell phones or Amish watching TV. However, if needed for work, some Amish communities allow cell phones that aren’t smartphones. 

In more liberal communities, like certain New Order Amish villages, you may find Amish with computers and Amish internet users. These are used to run businesses, and may even be used for leisure purposes on rare occasions. But emails and video calls just aren’t typical Amish communication styles

How Do the Amish Use Power Tools?

As you can see, there are instances when power tools and mechanization are allowed in Amish communities. It’s rare, but it does sometimes happen. Most of the time, Amish people avoid electrically powered tools and devices. 

We’ll deal with the alternatives to power tools that the Amish use, in a moment. But first, let’s examine what they may use power tools for when they’re allowed to do so.

amish power tools

Despite the ban on electricity and labor-saving devices in general, exceptions may be made for construction, farming, and other activities necessary for community development and sustainability. In cases where using non-electrical tools won’t work or aren’t available, electrical appliances may be used.

However, it needs to be said that this is quite rare in the more conservative Old Order communities. Amish men do their utmost to perform their tasks without resorting to power tools.  

What Other Tools Do the Amish Use?

Most Amish communities, particularly Old Order communities, have sworn off secular ways. The avoidance of technology is usually part–and–parcel of the Amish lifestyle. Thus, the Amish that use electricity is rare. 

However, there are many other possibilities outside the realm of conventional electrically-powered tools. Here are just a few tools and systems that make up the Amish technology employed in their carpentry, construction, and agricultural pursuits. 

Pneumatic Tools

Pneumatic tools are sometimes used by Amish men instead of electrical power tools. They are powered by the force of compressed air supplied by an air compressor.

Although they don’t use electricity to power them, pneumatic tools offer the same type of operation as electrically powered ones. This makes them the perfect alternative to electrical power tools for Amish men to assemble furniture, secure roof shingles, and work with metals.

can amish use gas powered tools

Gas-Powered Tools

Gas-powered tools are another option for the Amish. Many Amish also use gas for cooking and lighting. Certain gas tools are also used for construction, but they’re generally cumbersome to work with. 

Gas tools are usually used for outdoor work, like agricultural, landscaping, and gardening chores. And after their hard labor is done, they eagerly await the fruits of their labors, gathering them in their handcrafted harvest baskets

Hydraulic Tools

Whereas pneumatic tools are powered by pressurized air, hydraulic tools are powered by pressurized oil. Because oil (like all fluids) is not compressible like air, they offer more force, higher pressures, and more control than pneumatic tools. 

As they aren’t electrically powered, Amish men may use hydraulic tools. These are not commonly used in Amish villages but are sometimes useful to them, particularly for construction. 

do the amish use power tools

Hand-Operated Tools

Hand-operated tools are ideal for carpentry and because many Amish men have chosen this profession, they’re very familiar with them. Hard work through manual labor is a common work ethic in most Amish communities, in both Old Order and New Order settlements.

When their work for the day is done, they retire to their modestly furnished homes, eager for good home-cooked meals. Accompanied by rustic bread baskets full of freshly baked bread, of course, a staple in any Amish kitchen.

Horse-Driven Equipment

Farming is another main occupation of the Amish. Do Amish use tractors on their farms? Sometimes they do, but not often. They use mostly traditional methods of plowing fields, sowing crop seeds, and reaping their harvests. 

can the amish use power tools

Horses are already used for transportation in the traditional horse-and-buggy. They play a major role in farming too, pulling plows through fields.

Alternative Energies

You may be surprised to hear about the Amish using solar panels and other alternative power sources. But it makes sense that alternative energies are a hot commodity amongst the Amish. 

Not only do they offer a means to live off the grid to a people dedicated to self-sufficiency, but they also use nature as a means of power. Amish people are big nature lovers and try to stay connected to nature as far as possible.

amish people  power tools


Can the Amish use power tools? If strictly necessary, yes, they can use power tools, and they can even use electricity if really necessary, although it’s quite rare.

However, they try to avoid reliance on these labor-saving devices, working harder if need be, to get the job done. One can only admire the strong work ethos and core values of the Amish. It helped to create the firm foundation on which their beautiful culture is built.

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