It is best to build up a household toolkit according to need, but having a small collection of basic handtools provides a good foundation for beginners or professionals alike. The quality of a tool is often reflected in its price and buying cheap tools can be a false economy, as they may not be as sturdy or long-lasting as more expensive ones. Cheaper tools can be useful for light work, or if you only use them infrequently. Below are a selection of tools that will allow you to do many DIY jobs around the home.
|Toolbox – the size you choose could be dependent on how much DIY you do or intend to do. See my guide ‘Buying a toolbox’.
|Spirit level – even a short spirit level can deal with most household levelling requirements, although levels of all lengths are available. See my guide - ‘Buying a spirit level’.
Panel saw – the most multipurpose and accurate wood cutting hand tool. See my guide ‘Buying a handsaw’.
|Hammer – claw hammers are the most useful as you can remove nails as well as knock them in. See my guide ‘Buying a hammer’.||Screwdrivers – a set of different sizes of slot-head and Posidriv screwdrivers is ideal. See my guide ‘Screwdriver sets’.||Chisels – a set with a good size selection allows you to deal with most wood shaping requirements. See my guide ‘Buying a chisel set’.|
|Tape measure – vital for all measuring requirements. See my guide - ‘The best tape measure’
|Craft knife- perfect multipurpose cutting tool. Have a good supply of new blades handy.
|Junior hacksaw – ideal all purpose tool as it can cut metal, plastic and small sections of wood. See my guide buying guide ‘Junior hacksaws’.|
|Combination pliers – good tool for gripping as well as cutting.||Adjustable spanner – eliminates the need to have several different sizes.||Cable, pipe and stud detector – helps find pipes, cables, or wooden studs, before using fixings.|
|Scraper/filling knife – for removing decorative surfaces and mixing fillers.||Nail punch set – for knocking in nail heads below surface level before filling and decorating.||Bradawl – can mark and provide pilot holes for fixings.|
|Extension cable – helps with access to all areas when wired tools or extra lighting is needed.||Pencils – always good to have a selection of pencils in the toolbox, ready for marking off requirements.||Torch – even a small one is useful for getting a better view into inaccessible areas.|
As well as having the basic tools, you must have the basic protective equipment. Always follow instructions from manufacturers regarding the use of their products.
|Eye protection – essential to protect from flying debris. See my guide ‘Eye protection’.||Protective mask – different types of mask will protect you from dust or fume inhalation.||Knee pads – Sensible protection when doing a lot of work on your knees.|
Disposable gloves – really useful when decorating.
|Heavy-duty gloves – will offer some protection when carrying out more manual jobs. See my guide ‘Workgloves’.||Ear defenders – essential when using noisy equipment.|
Cordless drill drivers
The most useful of all the power tools available is undoubtedly the cordless drill driver, and it really is an essential part of any toolkit these days. The type you choose will depend on what amount and level of DIY you wish to tackle. Consider the voltage of the tool as the higher it is, the more powerful it will be.
Cordless drill/driver (no hammer action) – this a lighter tool than the hammer action drill/driver, it cannot drill into masonry, but it is till useful for many drilling and screwdriving requirements. See my guide ‘Buying a cordless drill’.
|Cordless drill/driver (with hammer action) – this will drill and fix into masonry and wood. However if you are going to do a lot of drilling into masonry consider buying a separate hammer drill, or SDS drill which requires the use of SDS (special drive system) bits. See my guide ‘Buying a cordless drill’.||
Bit selection box – its always good to have a selection of the most commonly used drill and driver bits.
- Take time to read a manufacturer’s guidelines when using a new tool, especially a power tool.
- Consider what sort of access equipment you may need for a job when you working in out-of reach areas. A stepladder is sufficient for many situations, but for higher level work a ladder or combination ladder (one that can convert from a stepladder to a ladder) may be more suitable.
- If you require large or expensive tools for a job, such as a heavy -duty drill, pneumatic breaker, or roller, it may be worth considering hiring rather than buying outright.
- Good maintenance is important for hand and power tools. For example, items such as chisels need regular sharpening, tools left outside will quickly corrode so always put them away, and power tools should be serviced to keep them in good working order.