There two main types of magnetic tools, the permanent and the electromagnetic tools. Both types have advantage and disadvantages. An electromagnet requires electricity for it to generate magnetic power. A permanent magnet does not require electricity which helps in lowering the cost of operation. The problem with a permanent magnet is that chips and fragments from iron and other metals can stick to the magnet and become very hard to remove because its magnetic force cannot be turned off.
In order to further understand the main difference between the two, it is important to learn about the basics of magnetism. During the ancient times, man discovered a special type of rock called a lodestone that pulled other types of rocks and materials such as iron towards it. The pulling force is called magnetism. The objects that exert this type of force are called magnets.
Permanent magnets are materials that maintain their magnetism regardless of the surroundings. A magnetic force constantly exist between permanent magnets.
Temporary or soft magnets are materials that are attracted to magnets but are not permanent magnets themselves. An example is iron. Non-magnetic materials are materials that does not react to magnet. Examples include wood, paper and plastic.