Over the past year, I’ve been getting into more and more projects which require actual manual and power tools.
And I also hear this question a lot: What basic tools should I have?
So today, I’m sharing the must-have tools for beginner DIYers. This is also a great basic toolkit list for new homeowners or renters.
Since I’ve just completed my small bedroom makeover, I’m sharing the 12 tools I reached for time and time again.
These basic tools (including a few power tools) are great to have in your arsenal, even if you’re renting or aren’t really into DIYing.
(The post contains some affiliate links, which means I may earn a small commission on qualifying purchases. Read full disclosure here.)
Basic Hand and Power Tools Every Homeowner Should Have
Quick Links to Information in this Post
If you’re in a hurry, I also prepared a list of the tools on Amazon for easy browsing.
Read on for details on why I think they’re pretty useful for a starter-kit.
Manual or Hand Tools
A clawfoot hammer is one of those hand tools that’s such a staple, it almost seems unnecessary to list it. But I will lol
2. Tape measure
A good tape measure is a pretty handy thing to have. I have several types, including a cute mini tape measure like this one attached to my car keys for use on the go.
Pretty much everything requires measuring at some point in time so for me, having several tape measures around the home means you’ll never be hunting it down when you need to measure the size of something.
A level is particularly useful for hanging pictures and shelves perfectly straight. You can use a basic level like this.
You can also get a laser level which is far easier (and more practical) to use for aligning chair rails and wainscoting around a room or if you want to paint an accent wall with horizontal stripes. This tool would also make hanging a gallery wall easier.
4. Screw driver set
If you’ve assembled any kind of furniture (or needed to take it apart), then you already know the importance of a screw driver set. I have a couple of types on hand.
Ok, this set of four adjustable bar clamps was a game changer for me! I used to use small clip clamps before really getting into DIY projects.
But if you really want to clamp items in place, say for a woodworking project, bar clamps are a must have. I even use them to hold fabric and other items in place.
6. Speed Square
This handy tool is commonly used as a guide for cross-cutting lumber at an accurate 90° or 45° angle. By firmly holding the fence (or lip) of the speed square against the edge of a board, you can use the other right-angle or 45° angle edge as a fence for your hand or circular saw to get perfectly angled cuts every time.
7. Utility Knife (and Cutting Mat)
Trust me, you NEED a utility knife, mkay? From cutting boxes and packages, foam core board, sponge, contact paper, dried paint – an X-Acto blade or utility blade makes DIY projects and some everyday tasks much easier.
If you want to cut out stencils, contact paper or foam core board, I recommend picking up a rubber self-healing cutting mat as well to protect your tabletop and other surfaces while cutting.
8. Miter Saw and box
A miter saw and box are great for small woodworking projects, especially if you don’t have a lot of space. Miter boxes can be clamped to a dining table, for example, and the saw used to cut down wooden dowels or lengths of pine lumber that fit within the width of the box.
I used the miter saw and box to cut down the frame for my DIY channel tufted headboard.
9. Staple gun
A staple gun has so many uses in the home! Whether you need to reupholster a dining room chair or make an upholstered headboard, a manual or powered staple gun will do the job. A staple gun can also be used to make a basic picture frame, frame your own canvas artwork, and for gardening projects.
I own a few manual staple guns which are great for smaller projects that don’t require tonnes of stapling.
For my DIY headboard, I ended up purchasing this pneumatic (air-powered) staple gun (which is a power tool and requires an air compressor).
A good set of pliers will make removing anything that requires a firm grip an easy task.
I recently moved my curtain rod higher and the old wall plugs were coated in paint and not budging from in the wall (we have concrete walls here in Trinidad). A quick twist with the needle nose pliers and they were out in two seconds.
11. Tool Kit
An all-in-one tool kit is a great way to boost your tools supply with a lot of the tools listed above. They make great house-warming gifts for new homeowners or beginner DIYers as well. I’ve linked to 2 great kits below
Beginner Power Tools
12. Power Drill
I’ve had a battery-operated power drill for over 5 years and I’m almost ashamed to admit that I’ve only started using it over the past year. For some reason, I was really afraid of it (and most power tools tbh) because I thought I wouldn’t be able to control it.
This was not at all the reality!
When I was finishing up my headboard and had to screw on (what felt like) 10,000 screws, I knew there was no way I was going to do that manually with a screwdriver. The drill made that process soooo much faster. That’s the point, isn’t it?
The battery on the one I have has lasted a pretty long time because I haven’t had to recharge yet and I’ve been using it on multiple projects.
I have read though that corded ones like this tend to be more powerful and versatile, but for the ease of movement and not having to think about extension cords, I’d still go for the battery-operated drill any day.
Want to see some of these tools in action?
I used most of the tools listed to make my Channel Tufted Headboard.
Read the post here: DIY Channel Headboard
So there you have it – my list of must-have basic tools for DIY beginners or new homeowners!
What would you add? Let me know in the comments
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