If it’s called a tool, and you’re into home improvement, then you want it. So for the hands-on, do-it-yourself home improver, it’s hard to narrow a list of tools down to just twenty. The thing to remember is that there are a wide variety of home improvement projects and an even wider variety of tools with which to do the job. So this list is made up of those tools you’ll likely need for every project…across the board (pun intended). For those experienced DIYers, most of these may be obvious but they make a great starting point for the new homeowners out there, or those of you just looking to get your hands dirty.
- Hand tools. These are a no-brainer so they’re grouped together:
Paint Brushes/Rollers Framing Square Levels of assorted sizes—torpedo (12” or less), 2, 4, and 6 feet should do it. Glue gun/Caulking gun Chalk line/Dry line. From concrete forming to drywall to flooring…straight lines are key. Screwdrivers Pry bars. Make demolition easier while saving your hammer for years to come. Reciprocating saw (Sawzall). Great for two things: demolition and fast fixes. Worm-drive, circulating saw. Everyone loves their power saw, but don’t ignore the hand saw either. Utility knife. A very useful tool, from scoring drywall to sharpening your pencil. Drill. Worth every cent you might pay. There’s hardly a home improvement project that won’t go smoother with an electric drill by your side. Air compressor. Now you’re hitting the Big Time (at least 100 psi capacity). Nail guns. What good is a compressor without a framing gun, finish gun, stapler, brad nailer? Drywall (T) square. So much material (plywood, drywall, etc.) comes in 4’x8’ sheets; this square comes in quite handy for scribing lines and expediting work. Pliers/Vise Grips. You just never know when, but you know you’ll want ‘em. Socket Set/Crescent Wrenches. Not just for mechanics, nuts & bolts hold the world together these days. Shovel/Rake. Can’t ignore gardening and landscaping! Sooner or later every homeowner has to dig a ditch. Stud Finder. Just so excellent for everyday projects like wall-mount TVs and towel racks. Safety Gear! This should be #1 but look at it this way, safety is 20 times more important than any tool you want to use. Wear safety goggles, gloves, respirators (when necessary), and ear protection when using your power tools. If you want to keep using your tools, then use them safely!
- Tape measure (try the FatMax line by Stanley, a bit bulky but durable with a long stand-out)
- Pencils (and lots of ‘em)
- Speed Square (a carpenter’s favorite tool)