The aim of the study was to identify predictors of comfort and discomfort in using hand tools. For this purpose, the comfort questionnaire for hand tools (CQH) was developed based on the results of a previous study. In the current study, four screwdrivers were evaluated on comfort (expected comfort at first sight and comfort after short time use) using the CQH and discomfort (local perceived discomfort). The results showed that expected comfort at first sight was predicted by aesthetics. Additionally, functionality and physical interaction, and adverse body effects were the major predictors of overall comfort after short time use. Discomfort was predicted by adverse body effects only. It is concluded that comfort and discomfort in using hand tools have partly the same underlying factors: discomfort feelings also affect the comfort experience. © 2005 Taylor & Francis Group Ltd.