Top 10 Essential Tools for DIYers:
This is our starter basics list of essential tools and accessories that we believe every DIYer should own. Whether as a homeowner you plan on completely renovating your house or just doing a few touch-ups there will be tools and power tools on this list that are absolute must haves. We have also given you our recommendation on the top products to buy to provide you with the best starting basis of tools. Watch our YouTube Playlist for a review on our top picks.
1. Screwdriver Set
There’s a reason that it is number 1 on our list, screwdrivers might be the most useful tool for any home owner and are definitely a must have. For small repairs and common tasks, a screwdriver will more often than not come in handy so you will want to make sure you have a comfortable screwdriver.
Screwdriver heads come in many different shapes and sizes:
The flat/slotted is the most popular type of screwdriver and is the most versatile, it is best to keep several sizes so you are prepared to handle a variety of tasks. This screwdriver is most common in construction and industrial job sites.
The Phillips screwdriver is recognisable by its flared head and is most commonly used in construction and woodworking.
The Hex Key screwdrivers are most commonly found in different type of household hardware and mechanical installations. Hex Key screwdrivers include Allen keys which are often used in construction.
Robertson screwdrivers are designed with reducing slipping in mind, they are commonly used in construction and remodelling projects and are great for installing a subfloor.
Check out our blog on sub-floor levelling: Click Here
The Torx screwdrivers 6-point star design helps to reduce the chance of slipping and as such is popular for structural framing and wood-to-concrete fasteners.
Any good screwdriver set should contain at least both a crosshead (Phillps) and a flat head for use with different screw types, the other screwdriver head types are still useful but won’t be as necessary for a DIY user.
Our recommendation: Sealey Gearless Ratchet Screwdriver Set 34PC
A hammer is without doubt one of the most essential tools and if you are just buying the one hammer, we recommend that you start with a claw hammer. A hammer’s most obvious use is hammering nails and with the addition of the claw is handy for removing nails and prying things off of walls. Instead of settling for a wooden handled hammer which transfers all the shock and vibration into your hand we advocate for a rubberised grip to reduce vibration and the chance of slip.
Even though we suggest starting with a claw hammer you may want to familiarise yourself with the different types of hammers:
The Ball Peen hammer is most widely used in workshops, it has on one end a plain face and on the other a pane of ¾ like a round ball. It is used for setting the rivet.
The Sledge Hammer is mostly used by blacksmiths to straighten round rods and iron bars. It has a similar shape to a double-faced hammer.
A Tack hammer, also known as an Upholstery hammer, consists of two long claw like heads with one of them magnetised. It is used for holding and controlling tacks.
The Rubber Mallet has a rubber head that allows for a soft bang and is commonly used on sheet metal, wood working and filing.
For a DIYer the claw hammer is the best first hammer purchase as it is the best option for general purpose use.
Our recommendation: Stanley FatMax Anti-Vibe Steel Shaft 16OZ Claw Hammer
A drill is a massively useful tool when it comes screwing things together, making holes, stirring paint, grinding metal and much more. In the debate of corded vs cordless drills, we edge to the side of cordless. It is a question of power vs convenience and for DIY use we think convenience is the more important aspect for beginners. The compact and versatile nature of a cordless drill makes it indispensable for any DIY enthusiast.
There are different cordless drills each more suited to certain tasks; an impact drill is ideal for driving nuts and bolts and therefore is suited for changing tyres and not so good at boring or drilling holes.
Hammer drills are however ideal for boring holes, they are made with the tough jobs in mind as they provide more torque and power. They are mainly used for construction projects and offer more durability compared to other cordless drills.
A cordless drill-driver is the most common type of wireless drills on the market and is perfect for maintenance and light construction jobs. The combi-drill can drill through wood, metal and masonry making it ideal for a variety of jobs around the house. And is our suggested drill for the first-time buyer.
A wireless compact drill is a miniature version of drill drivers and is perfectly suited for drilling in confined spaces, they are the most portable and convenient type of drill but its user friendliness does mean it suffers on power and performance.
Our recommendation: DeWalt 18V Brushless Hammer Drill
Check out our blog on the top 5 cordless drills: Click Here
Check out our recommended drill bits: Makita Trade Power Tool ACC Set 100 Piece
A handsaws most common use is quickly rough-cutting boards to length or width when a power saw isn’t needed. If you are into your woodworking then you will definitely want to add a handsaw to your toolbox.
There are three types of hand saws: Panel Saws, Back Saws and Frame Saws.
Panel saws have thin flexible metal saw plate with no rigid back or frame and have larger teeth. They are most often used for rough quick cuts into wooden boards.
Back saws have thin metal saw plates with a rigid brass or steel back to keep the saw plate from bending and fine teeth. They are most commonly used for making precise and accurate cuts into wood.
Frame saws use a tighten blade between two saw arms. They come in different shape and sizes, with small teeth used for fine work and large teeth for more rough-cutting.
There are two types of hand saw tooth shape: Rip Saw teeth, Cross-Cut Saw Teeth.
Rip saw teeth will cut along the length of a board with the grain, cross-cut saw teeth will cut across the grain of the board.
The Panel saw is the most appropriate for a DIY buyer and is a great all-purpose cutting tool.
Our recommendation: Irwin Xpert Fine Handsaw
Out of all the electric saws on the market we suggest the jigsaw as your first purchase, this is due to its affordability and versatility. Using a jigsaw, you can achieve 45° cuts, straight line cuts, curved cuts and even more intricate cuts as well. Although the jigsaw may not produce the most professional results compared to its other more expensive counterparts, the jigsaw is the one-tool-does-all king.
The circular saw is a great alternative option, it can be used to cut through wood and soft materials as well as metals if using a suitable saw blade. This saw has many applications such as flooring, roofing and fence making.
Other saws such as chop saws and reciprocating saw are more useful for specific tasks, but they do not offer the same multi-purpose use as the jigsaw.
The chop saw is specialised to cut through tough materials like brick, metal and concrete, the jigsaw cannot match its sawing power but it is unlikely as a DIYer that this saw would get much use.
The reciprocating saw works by pushing the saw blade forward and backward repeatedly at a fast speed. This saw like the jigsaw is portable and versatile but lacks the accuracy and safety of the jigsaw, two characteristics we think are important for DIY users.
Our recommendation: DeWalt 18V Premium Jigsaw
Watch our YouTube Playlist for in-depth reviews on all our recommended products:
Pliers can be used for a variety of tasks from gripping to cutting. They can be used to loosen and tighten bolts, hold objects still and remove pins, nails or other fasteners. We suggest buying a pair of pliers that feature a small scissor like section for cutting wire. Pliers can also be used for bending or straightening.
Pliers are one of the most useful tools out there and come in different styles suited to different uses. The most common pliers are; Crimping Pliers, Diagonal Pliers, Needle Nose Pliers and Tongue ad Groove Pliers.
Crimping Pliers are used similarly to a nutcracker. Pressing together the handle breaks through the plastic coating and causes the two sections to crimp together such that data can pass through them.
Diagonal Pliers jaws have an angled edge with the purpose of cutting through thick wire, their strength also means that they can cut through nails. As such they are used by carpenters and electricians regularly.
Needle Nose Pliers have an elongated nose designed for precision and they contain a cutting edge at the base. They are commonly used to bend, shape and cut wire and are employed by a wide range of trades.
Tongue and Groove Pliers are an adjustable type of pliers with a toothed groove long the upper handle, this allows for the lower jaw to be locked into a number of different positions. This angled jaw makes this tool ideal for turning nut and bolts.
The pliers we suggest are the Combination Pliers, these are the most general-purpose pliers. Not only do they have serrated jaws for gripping objects they also have integrated side cutters.
Our recommendation: Stanley 3 Piece Plier Set
7. Utility Knife
Utility knives are definitely essential for every household and can do much more than open up your mail. They can be used to strip wires, cut shingles, cut through carpet and underlay, remove caulk and grout, score soft metals and much more. Most utility knifes are compact and lightweight so can be conveniently stored for quick everyday use, you could even keep one about your person possibly in a utility belt.
Our recommendation: CK Folding Utility Knife
8. Tape Measure
A quality tape measure is not only indispensable for nearly every DIY task but will come in handy more often than not for general house-hold up-keep. They are useful for measuring up both household and garden projects, estimating material quantities, figuring out the placement of objects and calculating floor plans.
This will likely be one of, if not your most used tool and will want one with easy-to-read markings and a secure locking system to ensure the tape doesn’t creep maintaining the accuracy and precision of your measurements. You should definitely always keep a tape measure close to hand and we recommend that you find space on your utility belt for one.
Most DIYers shouldn’t need a tape longer than 25ft, this should more than manage most of your home projects.
TIP: Measure twice and cut once – double check your measurements before making your cuts
Jobs used for: Tiling a wall – check out out relevant blog: Click Here
Our recommendation: Stanley Powerlock Tape Measure
9. Spirit Level
This is another invaluable tool to add to your toolbox. Even the most experienced tradesman/women or DIYer who can mostly eyeball if something is level or not still use a spirit level to take away the guesswork.
Only the slightest error in levelness can drastically alter the look and finish of a project. They are used in relatively simple tasks such as hanging up photos on the wall, putting up shelves as well as more complicated jobs like tiling a wall. They also provide a straight edge as which to mark and cut against.
Our recommendation: Stabila Double Plumb Spirit Level
10. Orbital Sander
An orbital sander is a convenient, one-handed tool that can restore and repair surfaces, remove imperfections from wood and remove paint and rough edges. It is a very easy to operate and quick to learn tool that can save you countless hours compared to sanding by hand. A random orbital sander is the best choice in our opinion as it does not leave any circular marks on your wood surface.
TIP: For the best results you should maintain constant pressure level on the surface in which you are sanding.
It is also very important to choose the right sandpaper grade for your project. A general rule is the lower the number the coarser the sandpaper and the higher the number the finer the sandpaper.
|24-39||Extra Coarse||For use removing that stubborn paint and varnish that you think might never come off.|
|40-59||Coarse||For shaping wood and stripping previous finishes and built-up surfaces.|
|60-100||Medium||Primary sanding of wood and removal of surface imperfections.|
|120-239||Fine||For creating a surface ready for the first coat.|
|240-599||Extra Fine||For creating a final surface ready for the final coat.|
|600-1000||Finishing||For polishing wood and final sanding of finishes.|
Our recommendation: Makita Random Orbit Sander 240V
Jobs used for: Laying Laminate Flooring – check out our relevant blog: Click Here