5 Must-have Tools for the Advanced DIYer

A DIYer framing a house with his shadow cast on the plywood.
  • 1-6 hours
  • Intermediate
  • 100-5,000

Having the right tools for a job has often been said to be the difference between the amateurs and the professionals, but this is only part of the equation. The other part is that you have to have the knowledge and skill to use them and know what to use them for in the first place. If you've got that, then you have the power to accomplish any advanced do-it-yourself project.

These five tools below are must-haves for the advanced DIYer. They'll help get you through any project faster and easier with a high quality outcome.

1. Table Saw

A table saw.

One of the top tools used by those doing many advanced projects around their home is a table saw. If you're doing projects that are not always in one place, you can also purchase a table saw in a portable version as well, so don't let the "table" part scare you away from considering it. Portable models are often referred to as a contractor's saw since it is more easily transportable from site to site.

Either type of table saw, portable or stationary, will be extremely useful for better precision cuts in both large and small projects. Whether you're making your own cabinets or using it to cut plywood for a new addition to your home, the table saw will make the job much easier if you know how to use it. Keep in mind that a table saw is one of the more dangerous tools to use, especially if you don't know how to use it properly.

2. Nail Gun

A nail gun on a roof with shingles

A nail gun is a must-have power tool for the advanced DIYer who does a lot of nailing projects around their home. Air powered or electric, a nail gun will make any nailing job move along a lot faster than having to nail each nail in by hammer.

For most projects, an electric or battery powered nail gun to drive nails into walls or tack up paneling or molding with brad or finishing nails will be all that is needed. If you have larger projects to do and have an air compressor already in your tool arsenal, an air powered nail gun may be a better choice. They are often cheaper, lighter, and can be much more powerful than electric nail guns. Depending on brand and CFM (cubic feet per minute) rating, the air nail gun will definitely get you through jobs from small to large scale around your home, including being able to build walls or repair or add roofing shingles.

3. Reciprocating Saw AKA Sawzall

A sawzall.

The reciprocating saw, also known by its model name of Sawzall, is an absolute must-have power tool for any advanced DIYer. A reciprocating saw can cut through most anything like it's butter, making it the jack of all trades for a person that's also the jack of all trades.

A reciprocating saw can be used for multiple DIY purposes inside and outside of the home. In the home it's perfect for any demolition and remodeling needs in any area, but outside it's also a powerful addition to the tool chest of those with automotive do-it-yourself skills as it can cut through nearly any material, even metal. There are both corded and cordless reciprocating saws available; if you're cutting through large objects or materials, corded provides the most power.

4. Air Compressor

A mechanic working with a an air compressor and a tire.

An air compressor is one of the most versatile tools you can own. You could even consider it the heart of your tool shop if you have a lot of tools that require a compressor to power them. Not only will it power tools like a nail gun, die grinder, paint sprayer, or impact wrench, but it is also helpful for inflating tires of all sorts (automotive, bicycle, and wheelbarrows) or even as a way to blow dust off of your projects.

Another good reason for having an air compressor is that it can actually lessen the amount of money you spend on tools since air tools tend to be less expensive than electric ones. Air compressors are best for those that do a lot of projects, especially larger ones, but even a small air compressor can be of benefit to most DIYers.

5. Dremel / Cordless Oscillating Tool

A Dremel tool.

This power tool is one that is so versatile it can be used by both beginner and advanced user, however, it does have functions that really should be reserved for the more advanced DIYer. With an oscillating tool you can sand, grind, cut, scrape, and drill. It's truly one of those must-have tools that everyone should have, however, some uses should be left for those with higher skill range.

For the advanced user it can do all of those things mentioned above and more depending on the attachment. Cutting through glass or hard plastic, scraping paint off metal and wood, trimming drywall, grinding out old grout and even cutting tiles are just a few of the uses for which an advanced DIYer will find it handy.

Power Tool Cost

As you go about buying these power tools you may be concerned about the cost. It's true that the more advanced the tool the higher the cost will be, but one thing to keep in mind is that with your advanced skills in the DIY area, you're already saving yourself a fortune by not having to hire others to do the work for you.

Keeping that in mind, consider these tools an investment and buy them as projects justify the need for doing so. This will help you grow your tool cache, allowing you to one day have all the tools needed for just about any job you can think of. In the meantime, as you gather these tools in your arsenal, consider them a little bonus gift to yourself for a job well done!