Any ideas for a saying that means the opposite of using a sledgehammer to crack a nut? Basically I need something that means if the problem is big, then don't underestimate it, and make sure you have the right tool

  • Are you asking for a term meaning the use of enough tool, or, simply the right tool?
    – J. Taylor
    Commented Jan 22, 2018 at 21:19
  • Using the right tool (basically, I'm trying to explain why email is not always the right channel to reach employees). That sometimes you need to consider bigger, better, more visible ways to get employee attention
    – Susan B
    Commented Jan 22, 2018 at 21:25
  • Use the right hammer!!
    – Hot Licks
    Commented Aug 2, 2020 at 16:48

5 Answers 5


The answer is in the question : 'the right tool for the job' sometimes (as in the question) stated as 'the right tool for the right job'.

One of my grandfather’s favorite sayings was “Use the right tool for the job”—common-sense advice that applies to a wide range of situations.

Dr Dobbs

Relevant to the context of the question is :

Communication : Choosing the right tool for the job

Automation World


If your only tool is a hammer, every problem looks like a nail.

From Quote Investigator; also Wikipedia.

The implication is that different problems require different solutions (or tools).


"Don't bring a knife to a gun fight."

  • This might benefit from a little more explanation. Commented Feb 5, 2020 at 7:02
  • Please add references.
    – CJ Dennis
    Commented Feb 5, 2020 at 12:17

I've used "Horses for courses" in this context, but it also means something more like everyone has their calling. It's pretty loose though, and I think it can be used to mean the same as "to each their own" too.

Horses for courses - Cambridge English dictionary


Go in loaded for bear

loaded for bear phrase [North American] [informal]

Fully prepared for any eventuality, especially a confrontation or challenge.

‘as my ancestors were wont to say, watch out, John Bull, I'm loaded for bear!’


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