Whether your next DIY plans involve a simple repair, a hardware upgrade, or a full scale construction project, you'll need the right tools to put your skills to work.
Just like a first-aid kit has the basic items to take care of minor scrapes and scratches, your DIY tool kit should be equipped with the essentials.
Open Ended Wrenches
A set of wrenches, or a few adjustable models, will come in handy for a wide range of jobs involving bolts—from plumbing work to heavy carpentry.
These hexagonal wrenches are often used to assemble commercial furniture pieces that arrive in separate pieces.
Drywall and Putty Knives
Also referred to as taping or joint knives when working with drywall, these tools come in varying shapes and sizes and have multiple uses as scrapers, including removing or applying adhesive materials and thin coverings like wallpaper.
There are quite a few hammer types. For your basic kit, a claw hammer, club hammer, and a rubber mallet are good for starters.
This handy tool allows you to hammer a nail head further into a piece of wood than a hammer can, and it expedites repetitive projects like installing roofing shingles.
Pliers come in many shapes and sizes. The two most common are the needle nose and adjustable styles, also known as slip-joint pliers.
These heavy duty adjustable wrenches are used when working with threaded pipes and pipe fittings.
The most basic hand saws can handle a piece of wood with a little effort. To cut harder surfaces like some plastics and metals, you'll need something sturdier like a hacksaw.
Especially for large scale carpentry projects, circular and table saws can save you major time and energy by helping you cut large elements like sheets of plywood or thick beams. Power cutters with finer blades like jigsaws can also help you achieve greater control, facilitating finer work.
Set of Screwdrivers
Like hammers, wrenches, and pliers, there are different types and sizes of screwdrivers. The two most common are referred to as flat head and Phillips. The flat head is a single flat bar that fits into a single slot. The Phillips head fits into screws that have two slots in a cross design.
Caulking applicators are crucial for filling cracks and gaps, such as those around a bathtub, shower, or window. You can fill them with sealant substances—usually either latex or silicone—to prevent water and air from sneaking through tricky spots to cause damage.
Utility Knife/Box Cutter
From opening packaging to cutting thin construction elements, you'll want an easy way to slice precisely.
Used to cut a variety of materials such as steel, brass, aluminum, and copper, some of these tools have holes of varying size to strip the ends of different kinds of wire for electrical projects.
These classic implements help you keep things even, flat, and clean by measuring the angles of surfaces—relative to the center of the nearest available planet.
Awls can make marks into surfaces as a guide for cutting, and also feature in some finer leather and wood work.
Designed primarily to drive screws through assorted materials, handheld drills can be fitted with myriad tips for different purposes, from boring holes to buffing surfaces.
Sockets are designed to fit fasteners of different sizes for tightening or loosening.
Heavy-duty extension cords extend the range of your electric tools. They're usually a must.
Nails and Screws
These fasteners are the basic building blocks of most DIY projects.
Sharp pointed shovels are useful for digging holes. Flat edges can be more helpful for moving large amounts of dirt quickly.
From changing bulbs to fixing moulding and trim, you'll find many reasons to invest in a little elevation.
Available as an electric or magnetic tool, these nifty devices can locate studs and beams behind drywall so you know where to mount heavy elements.
The standard tool for measuring distances, measuring tapes are available in flexible cloth, foldable wood, or retractable metal models.
Along with tape measure, a 36-inch yardstick and a 12-inch ruler come in handy when measurements are needed, especially when you want to mark a line for cutting.
With every new project, your skill set will advance. Once you have a sense of the basics and you're ready to move on to some more complex projects, you'll probably want to scale up your arsenal to include some heavier tools.