Animal Crossing: New Horizons | Beginner’s Tool Guide

If you want the best island possible, this guide will help you get every tool in Animal Crossing: New Horizons. Along with that, you will learn all about the upgrades and what that means for each individual piece of equipment that you will either obtain a recipe for or purchase in the store.

Selecting one of the several tools in Animal Crossing: New Horizons

There’s a lot of new content is in Animal Crossing: New Horizons. To get through all of your duties on your island, you do need quite a bit of gear to help you achieve everything you want to do. In this guide, we will go through every tool in Animal Crossing: New Horizons.


Screenshot of fishing in Animal Crossing: New Horizons

The Fishing in action

Obtaining a Fishing Rod will be one of the first tools you get in Animal Crossing: New Horizons. Once you finish the tutorial and start your first day of freedom, give Tom Nook a call and go to him in the Residence Services tent. He will offer you a job from his DIY Workshop, where he will want you to gather five tree branches.

Now you have the Flimsy Fishing Rod, which will break after catching ten fish. After you pay off your tent, you will unlock the Nook Miles Store. Here you can purchase the recipe guide for better tools to get the regular Fishing Rod. The improved rod will break but has many more uses than the first one you get.

Now you are set to find any pond, river, or beach to start catching some fish.


Screenshot of bug catching in Animal Crossing: New Horizons

Catching bugs in Animal Crossing: New Horizons

You can get the Net right after the Flimsy Fishing Rod. Tom Nook will give you a recipe that requires five tree branches. It is the same as the rod in that you get a Flimsy Net, then can purchase an upgraded version.

The Net will let you catch insects in the air, on the floor, and the surface of the water. 


Screenshot of the slingshot getting used in Animal Crossing: New Horizons

Aiming the Slingshot at a floating present

Once you get to Timmy, you can purchase the Slingshot from him for 300 Bells. Just switch to the miscellaneous section of his goods.

The Slingshot will help you shoot down presents that are tied to balloons. It will break, but it does last a while. Unlike the previous two tools, this cannot be upgraded.


Screenshot of the axe in use in Animal Crossing: New Horizons

Chopping down a tree with the Axe

Once you have your Fishing Rod and Net, Tom Nook will want you to show off what you have caught with your new items. Give him two fish or bugs and he will reward you with a recipe for the Flimsy Axe. Then head to the store and open up the Better Tools guide to get your new and improved Axe. 

You have two choices here: the Iron and Stone Axes. The Stone cannot chop down a whole tree, so we suggest aiming for just the regular Axe. Both will last you a while before breaking like the other upgraded tools.

Use the Axe to chop down trees, gather wood, and chip rocks.


Character selecting the watering can in Animal Crossing: New Horizons

Selecting the Flimsy Watering Can

Once you have your Rod and Net, Tom Nook will want to see four bugs and/or fish. He will give you the recipe for the Flimsy Watering Can. From there, go to the Better Tools recipe guide in the Nook Miles Store to get your regular Watering Can. Now, you can water for a wider range, hitting multiple flowers at a time.

With the Watering Can, you can use this to increase the blooming rate of flowers. Along with this, you can grow more unique ones that cannot be purchased in a store.


Screenshot of a character using the shovel in Animal Crossing: New Horizons

Shovel in hand with a hole and rocks laid out

Everything previously in this guide for tools in Animal Crossing: New Horizons takes place early on. To get the Shovel, you will need to get Blathers, the museum curator, to join you on your island. Give Tom Nook five unique bugs and/or fish then contact him, which initiates a place for his tent. The next day you two will meet up, and he will give you the recipe for the Flimsy Shovel.

Head over to the Nook Miles Store and get your improved Shovel, which will last longer as you dig and strike rocks.

The Shovel is used to uncover items, plant trees and flowers, and hit rocks.


Screenshot of vaulting in Animal Crossing: New Horizons

Vaulting over a river

The same process for the Shovel applies to the Vaulting Pole. Once Blathers is on your island and he gets his bugs/fish, then you will have this new tool at your disposal. 

The Vaulting Pole is an unbreakable item, meaning there is no upgrade for it. Use it to cross large rivers.


Screenshot of ladder climbing in Animal Crossing: New Horizons

Climbing a ladder

For the finale of our guide to the tools in Animal Crossing: New Horizons, the Ladder requires you to progress through Tom Nook’s jobs to pay off your first loan as you build your home, Nook’s Cranny, and a bridge that leads to placing down the lots for three villager homes. Tom Nook will tell you that to collect the flowers high up on the island, you will need a ladder, which he will give you the recipe for. 

Like the Vaulting Pole, the Ladder does not upgrade as it does not break. Now you have an easier way to climb up higher elevations across the island.

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