Whether you’ve been interested in giving a particular DIY project a try, repairing something at home, or planning a renovation – there are a few tools you cannot go without.
Some of them you might already have and others depending on your level of expertise or projects you’d like to tackle, you should consider adding to your home tools arsenal.
Let’s start with the basics.
Measuring Tape, Hammer & Level
isA measuring tape, a hammer, and a level are required in any repair, construction, and home DIY project.
Just hanging a picture on the wall wouldn’t be possible without a hammer. Similarly hanging a wall shelf would be twice as difficult if you don’t use a level to ensure everything is even. And imagine trying to install a kitchen cabinet without first measuring whether it fits in the space you have.
So these three little tools go a long way in ensuring any home project goes as planned, and should be the first ones you purchase.
How to make the best choice when shopping for a measuring tape, a hammer, and a level?
When you choose your measuring tape go for an easy-locking ¾-inch-wide model to start. Skinnier tape measures may fall out of place, and heavy-duty ones can be overkill.
Later on, you can add a smaller, pocket-size model to take with you on shopping trips.
When buying a hammer go for one that has a comfortable grip. Vibration-dampening rubber coatings on the grip can also come in handy. Choose a hammer that can serve a multitude of purposes from pounding a nail into a wall to the occasional demolition.
A model with straight or “rip” claws instead of a curved claw is a good option. In addition, look for a hammer with a smooth head to avoid surface damage and nail slippage.
The level is the tool that will help you find out whether your work surface is horizontal (level) or vertical (plumb). Without it, wall installation will look wonky, and your furniture piece won’t fit. So having a level in your home toolbox is a must.
You can start by purchasing the simplest of spirit levels, that have a bubble inside a liquid-filled vial. Or if you’d like to make things even easier to measure you can go for a laser level, but keep in mind that those are a bit more expensive.
The next tool, home construction, or any construction project for that matter, can’t be completed without is the screwdriver. Anything from cabinet hinges adjustment, to outlet replacements, to furniture assembly, woodworking projects are doomed without a proper screwdriver.
A good-quality screwdriver set should include a variety of flathead and Phillips head sizes. Go for 1/8-inch tip flat-head, 3/16-inch tip flat-head 0 Phillips-head, and 2 Phillips-head. Those are enough to handle most home projects.
There’s also the option of an electric screwdriver, a much more convenient and fast tool to have, which is also more expensive.
Have you ever tried to pull a nail out of a wall with your bare hands? Not fun, let me tell you. For those kinds of jobs and many more, you need pliers. The tool’s primary use is gripping. You can use it to hold a tiny bolt in place while tightening or loosening it.
Pliers are also ideal when you try to stabilize an object. They usually come with standard-sized flat jaws with teeth for gripping small objects- and are also known as slip-joint pliers.
Besides this utility type of pliers, there are the tongue-and-groove pliers that have longer handles and offset or angled jaws for greater leverage. They can open wider and grip larger diameter objects like pipes and large nuts.
Long-nose pliers, on the other hand, are both holding and cutting types of tools with longer tapered jaws with a pointed tip. They are ideal for reaching into small spaces where cables or other tiny objects hide.
When you start gathering your home tools ensure you have at least a pair of utility pliers. Once you start constructing more sophisticated projects you can move to purchase the other two.
Another essential tool to have at home is the utility knife. This little tool is powerful enough to cut through taped bags, boxes, carpenter edges, resin, and whatever else small cutting you need to make for things to fit in place.
Before you buy your knife, it’s important to know what you’ll be using it for. This includes what you will be cutting and how often it will be used. Those will determine what kind of blade you’ll need to ensure your knife can last without breaking and creating risks for you.
Consult with your local store sales representative before making a choice.
If you’ve started gathering home decor ideas, the chances are some of your projects will involve drilling your walls, and hanging decor and furniture on them.
To do that safely and securely you need a stud finder. A stud finder will help you determine where to place your screws and nails without having to drill holes in your entire wall.
A variety of stud finders are available with the most affordable option being the magnetic stud finder. If you’re looking for something more professional, go for an electronic stud finder.
Used in woodworking, metal, and masonry projects, a carpenter’s square, or combination square, is made up of a metal ruler. And it has interchangeable heads to ensure you measure right angles.
This tool can also check the depth, measure level, and plumb as well as the center of a circle.
If you plan on building furniture or anything else that requires gluing, or welding two pieces together you will need clamps. They’re the tools that hold constructions in place and are commonly used in woodworking.
There is a wide variety of clamps suitable for different purposes. The
screw clamps are the most used ones in woodworking. Angle bars, as evident by their name, are used when you have to keep an angled structure in one place. The locking clamps are mostly used in metalworks tasks, but can also clamp awkwardly placed pieces together.
All clamp types are relatively affordable and a great tool addition for the at-home carpenter.
When it comes to power tools, the drill is by far the most utilized. It’s ideal for any type of DIY, home decor, construction, and renovation projects. This is the first power tool you should invest in.
If you’re just starting as a construction enthusiast we recommend you go for a lightweight cordless drill with an exchangeable battery. The best drill for home use is likely one for light maintenance and repair. So choosing a drill with at least 9.6 V, or 12 V. This power range will be enough to handle any photo frames drilling and light-shelf project.
Along with the drill, you will need appropriate drill bits. It all depends on the material you’ll be drilling into, but it’s recommended you purchase a set of drilling tools that are fit for wood, metal, and masonry.
Once you get used to working with a drill and move to more sophisticated projects, you can get yourself a more powerful drill, or rent one for projects that come every once in a while.
The angle grinder is another essential home tool you shouldn’t forget about. The tool is useful for jobs like cutting and polishing, wood, metal, and porcelain. Before investing in an angle grinder, however, you should consider a few things.
Start by looking at speed and power. Consider the speed of the angle grinder, or how fast the disc will be rotating, and whether you’ll be able to perform the jobs you need it for. Small home projects will not require high-speed grinding but more sophisticated projects like wrought iron fences and gates will.
Next, think of how the angle grinder will be powered. There are several types of angle grinders- powered through electricity, petrol, and compressed air. Make a choice that takes into account where you’ll be working with the tool.
Another important thing to consider before purchasing an angle grinder is the grinding wheels you’ll be using. The more powerful the motor of the tool, the bigger wheel you’ll need.
Similarly, make your wheel choice based on the type of material you’ll be grinding or cutting through. There is a wide variety of grinding disks- like diamond grinding wheels, CBN grinding wheels, CDX grinding wheels, that will help you perform different tasks. Knowing what each can do and for which material is important to know before investing in them.
When we talk about essential power tools, we can skip mentioning sanders. They are a key element of many painting projects.
This tool will help you smooth surfaces for sealing and painting. As manual sanding is labor-intensive, we recommend you invest in an electrical sander.
Sanders are perfect for small-size renovation and woodworking projects, for smoothing fences and furniture. But you should keep in mind that they are not as efficient for larger jobs like flooring projects.
As a start, you can purchase an orbital sander. This tool is easy to use and will help you achieve a super smooth finish. An orbital sander features a circular pad that rotates and buffs the material and is usually attached to a ventilation system so you make less mess and you don’t inhale the dust.
A jigsaw is a powerful tool that only experienced woodworking professionals or skilled DIY-ers should use. Operating a machine that can cut through thick pieces of wood and metal sheet is no joke, so we’d advise you to withhold using one if you’re a beginner.
Instead, you can always take advantage of the woodcutting services of your local hardware store.
But if you already have some experience with metal and woodworking and want to purchase a jigsaw to use at home, here’s what to look for.
Begin by deciding what type of projects you need the saw for. If you plan to use it regularly choose a grip to fit you well. The barrel-handle and top-handle grip jigsaws are the most common and preferred choices and are comfortable over longer periods of work.
Adding a jigsaw to your home toolset is great for projects where you need curved cuts, circle cuts, and scribed cuts on walls. They can help you build furniture, renovate your interior, and work on a new landscape design.
To Wrap Up
It’s every construction’s buff dream to have fully-equipped storage of home tools and be prepared for any type of home construction, renovation, or DIY project.
But we would advise you to start slow and gradually build your tools collection, following your progress with tasks that require the use of specialized tools.
First, there are budget constraints, you may have, and some tools come with a steep price tag. Second, there is no point in buying a tool that is just going to hang in your garage and not be used.
Build your skills along with your toolset. This is the way to ensure you’ll have the best tools to be prepared for anything.