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13 Essential DIY Tools for Completing Home Projects

After you finish planning your grand DIY project, it can be daunting knowing where to start. The last thing you want is to begin working, only to realize you don’t have the right tools for the job.

Luckily, many jobs can be done with just a small selection of DIY tools. Once you have these you’ll be ready to get to work.

Essential DIY Tools for Completing Home Projects
13 Essential DIY Tools for Completing Home Projects

13 Essential DIY Tools for Completing Home Projects

Read on to discover the 13 tools that will help you complete your next project in style.


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  1. Tape Measure – The Most Essential of DIY Tools

Regardless of the DIY project that you are trying to complete, you will need a tape measure to help you get the job done. Put simply, a tape measure allows you to measure specific lengths, as well and ruling lines at 90 degrees from your edges.

The secret to the tape measure’s effectiveness is that it has a lip on the end of it, which allows it to sit flush with a surface. This guarantees that it will produce accurate straight lines which run parallel to the surface.

The good news is that that tape measures are probably one of the cheapest and easily accessible DIY tools available. Pop into any hardware store to pick one up.

You can expect to pay between $5 and $25 for one.

  1. Hammer

Right behind the tape measure on the essential DIY tools list comes the hammer. Even if your home improvement or gardening project required only the most basic of tools, you’d still be reaching for a hammer to help you out.

A sturdy hammer will allow you to nail things into place, and also prise nails out using the claw on the backside of the head. Many jobs require a bit of brute force, and this is where the hammer comes into its own.

In terms of size, look out for either a 12-ounce or 16-ounce hammer. These should be available for under $15. Investing a little bit more for a long-lasting hammer won’t hurt though.

  1. Standard Level

This simple and effective tool allows you to see if the furniture you have assembled is running horizontally to the ground. The last thing you need after spending an afternoon creating furniture is to discover that it’s wonky!

A standard level contains one or more air bubbles suspended inside of a liquid. Once the air bubble settles perfectly into the middle of the liquid, your frame or furniture is correctly leveled.  It includes a series of lines to help you measure how far much adjustment you need to apply to the surface.

A standard level is also helpful for putting up frames and photos. This is also essential for installing shelving, especially if you plan to store crockery or other precious materials on it. It would help out with any home organizer products as well.

Spirit levels can be had for as little as $6 dollars at a local hardware store, but it’s probably best to get one in the $40-70 range. This will get you a multi-spirit level, for the best accuracy.

  1. Screwdriver Set

As ubiquitous as the hammer, screwdrivers will be a must for many jobs inside your home. It truly is one of the essential tools for all job types.

You will need a good set of screwdrivers to cover all the bases. There are two unique types of screw, and the diameter of the screw itself will vary depending on what it has been used for.

Philips head screws have a cross in the middle of them, whereas the simpler flat head screw is a simple slot design.

An acceptable set of screwdrivers can be found at any DIY store, but I suggest paying around $50 for screwdrivers with magnetized heads. This will be a big help with small screws especially.

  1. Power Drill

A drill will allow you to drill holes into wood to create joints. Many of the newer drills can now be used as a screwdriver.

This is handy as it saves you from screwing in screws all day, which can be time-consuming as well as tiring. When you manually screw in screws it can lead to the wood splintering and cracking, which can cause a real headache.

Drills can be purchased from a hardware depot for about $60, but it is definitely worth paying in the $150-$200 range to get a good one.

  1. Handsaw

If you’re creating a workbench or shed in your garden, you’ll likely need a handsaw to help you cut wood to size.

These simple toothed cutting blades have a comfortable handle that allows you to do this quickly and easily. There are several types of handsaws. I would suggest sticking with the western-style variation though. This large version is the largest type, featuring a two-foot blade.

These small saws can be had for $30.

  1. Power Saw

Depending on the size of your project, a handsaw may not be convenient. If you have significant amounts of wood to cut to size, a circular power saw is recommended.

If you are decking out a garden at home, or for a client, the circular saw is perfect for your needs. A reputable saw can be yours for between $100 and $150.

As we approach the more robust tools, it’s best to begin thinking about safety and storage. Equipment like this must be kept out of harm’s reach, and that is why I suggest using one of these reliable workbenches.

A workbench like this allows you to keep everything in one convenient location, without cluttering your work area.

  1. Palm Sander

Depending on your project, a palm sander could be a useful investment. This handheld device allows you to work on rough surfaces and smooth them down.

Whether you use it for decking, or to finish a new wood surface in your hobby room, a palm sander is very versatile.

You can find them for between $30-$75.

  1. Speed Square

Useful and effective, a speed square is a simple stencil tool which will allow you to draw lines and make measurements on the fly.

They can be helpful for those times where you don’t require the extra length of a tape measure to complete the job.

Squeed Squares are one of the cheaper DIY tools, costing between $5-$20.

  1. Nail Gun and Air Compressor

Similar to the power saw, a nail gun will help you with the big projects where a hammer would be too laborious.

For a garden shed or raised patio, you could spend days hammering in nails and still not finish the job. Combined with an air compressor, a nail gun will save you hours of hard work.

The good news is that prices have fallen significantly. You can get a quality nail gun for under $100 these days.

  1. Paint Sprayer

This will really depend on the size of your project. Either a paint sprayer will be total overkill, or will save you hours of hand painting wardrobes, cupboards and other furniture in your house.

The good news is that smaller machines are available now. These take masonry jars, and so aren’t as big an investment as you would think.

  1. Clamps

With DIY projects you’ll often need to glue pieces of wood together. This requires clamps to hold the two pieces tightly in place while they set overnight.

Clamps will also allow you to push two pieces together whilst you hammer nails into them.

I would suggest getting a set of various clamps so that you can adapt to the situation.

  1. Safety Equipment

Many of the items listed above can cause real damage if not used carefully. For this reason, you should limit your risk by using safety equipment.

A set of gloves will protect you from any risk of electric shock. They will also help protect you from bumps and scrapes, as well as electric shock.

Googles are essential from protecting your eyes as you use DIY tools. Wood chips could fly into your eyes as you sand or cut, for example. Similarly, use a mask with a respirator if you are spraying paint or using other chemicals like white spirits.

Take Control of Your Next Project

With a few simple tools, you will be ready to take your home to the next level. Whether you plan on re-decking your back garden or reinventing your lounge with new shelving, a few simple DIY tools will help you complete the job.

If you have any questions about the tools listed above, please feel free to send me a comment.

Also, check out my guide to projects on a budget if you need a bit of inspiration.


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