11 Not-so-Obvious Tools for the Weekend Warrior's Toolbox

A DIY-er using a hacksaw on PVC pipe.

For the typical DIY weekend warrior, the right tool for the project can save time and money, not to mention minimize frustration. However, assembling a tool kit is not as easy as it sounds, especially considering the variation of projects that crop up around the house. Keeping these not-so-obvious tools in your arsenal will help you tackle whatever weekend project comes your way.

1. Hacksaw

Many projects require cutting of some sort. Hacksaws are versatile cutting tools that can be used on wood, metal, and even plastic surfaces. Choose a saw with replaceable blades to avoid purchasing a new unit down the road.

2. Clamps

A good clamp is useful when you need to glue two objects together or need another set of hands to keep an item in place. C-clamps and bar clamps work for the majority of jobs around the house, while plastic hand clamps are great for smaller projects.

3. Duct Tape

A roll of duct tape against a white background.

Duct tape, also referred to as Duck tape, is an essential component for any tool kit. This versatile material is both strong and durable and can be applied to an assortment of tasks. Whether it’s for securing objects together or temporarily repairing a broken item, you should always keep a good supply of duct tape on hand.

4. Staple Gun

Staple guns are great for fastening all sorts of materials in various projects, whether it’s a home construction job or maintenance work. Models are either hand-operated or electric and can be used for installing insulation, repairing shingles, and even for carpentry.

5. Flashlight

You never know what kind of environment your next project will take you, and being able to see clearly in low light settings is essential to getting things done quickly and safely. Consider opting for a headlamp or freestanding work light over handheld lights, and select LED models for longer life.

6. Carpenter's Square

A carpenter's square laying on wood with a pencil next to it.

A carpenter’s square is great for ensuring accurate measurements and cuts. This L-shaped tool is commonly used in framing, stairway, and roofing projects, but is also a great straight edge for marking cuts and ensuring a surface is flat.

7. Locking Pliers

Adjustable pliers are ideal when working with metal surfaces. These pliers lock into place and act like handheld vises. They come in different shapes and sizes, including flat and long-nose varieties, with the typical design being straight jaws.

8. Leatherman

A multi-tool is great to have around for quick access to a variety of tools. A good Leatherman can act as a plier, knife, screwdriver, wire cutter, and even saw—all in the palm of your hand. They are especially handy for projects that take you outside of the workshop, where access to additional tools is limited.

9. Level

A level with a piece of lumber.

Say no to crooked projects. A simple level in your toolbox can ensure that your next wall decoration isn’t askew. Longer levels, like the four-foot variety, are great for bigger projects and can be used as straight edges. For a modern take, laser levels are just as effective as their traditional counterparts.

10. Safety Equipment

Safety should be a top concern whenever you tackle any project. To cover yourself and help prevent injury, your toolbox should contain safety goggles, rags, work gloves, ear protection, and respiratory masks.

11. Power Drill

A power drill is often one of the first things many DIYers purchase, and with good reason. These handy devices can save you an enormous amount of time on projects and have a lot of versatility. Make sure your drill is equipped with proper bits, but also consider adding sanding, grinding, and mixing extensions to your power drill arsenal.