The arrival of smartphones signalled a new era for the average tradie's toolkit. These days, there's a purpose-built mobile solution for the quirkiest business problems -- here are some of our favourites.

There are countless free spirit level apps across Android and Apple devices and apps to turn phones into a flashlight or a compass, greatly reducing the weight of a toolkit. Android devices have trigonometric functions that allowed app developers to create Smart Measure. Useful for any tradesman; it measures the distance, height, width, and area of any target or object using the phone’s camera.

I got 99 problems, but calculating baluster spacing ain’t one.

Something a little more specific is the Baluster Pro, a calculator for carpenters to measure spacing between handrail balusters easily and quickly. Designed for electricians, Conduit Runner Pro helps with the very specific task of calculating conduit bends and fills.

Dodgy knees give dodgy weather advice

Uncontrollable factors can influence the workday of commercial fisherman. With the Tides Planner app, fishermen no longer need to rely on superstition to determine the tides, their depths, the currents, or the sunrise and sunset times. It’s all there, and the app has its own database in case a connection fails.


Did you know that fishermen use GPS?

GPS systems and mapping are fully utilised with Boating Australia and New Zealand by Navionics which provides fishermen with sonar charts and route trackers. It even helps them find fish. Here in Australia, some fishermen who wanted to avoid a brush with the marine cops created Marines Zones. It uses GPS to alert them when they’re in a no-fish zone, avoiding hefty fines.

Everybody’s replaceable

The old management trope “everyone’s replaceable” doesn’t help when your bartender hasn’t shown up and you’ve got 15 orders for cocktails you’ve never heard of. Someone in hospitality made an app for that! Mixology is free on Android and iPad; it has over 8000 recipes with detailed instructions on how to make them. If the chef’s a no-show too, there are countless recipe apps like Food Network or Allthecooks. And if the chef did show up but isn’t much good, SteakMate helps monitor all the steaks on the grill to make sure they’re cooked to perfection. Yep: there’s now a steaks app.

Farmer needs an app

As it stands, there are no apps to help farmers find wives (or husbands). Tinder doesn’t help when there are no eligible love interests within a radius of several thousand hectares. Thankfully, a TV show has been made to fix that problem; and these apps are designed to help farmers with their work-related challenges.

The State Government of Victoria Crop Disease app helps farmers identify and map crop diseases to help protect their yield and prevent the spread. GEOSYS CROPtical uses satellite imagery to monitor daily changes in the farm crops’ growth, health, and yield.

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Camilla Gulli


Camilla Gulli,

As Editor at Red Wire, Camilla is particularly passionate about diversity in tech, content marketing, social media, and disruptive platforms.