15 Essential Tools For DIY (Do It Yourself) Projects
Working at home can be a unique experience. You find out there are many things you can do with your own skills and time that you just can’t stop doing them.
From woodworking to repairing stuff, modifying your furniture, and much more – DIY projects at home are always amazing.
But these projects can’t be possible if you don’t have the right tools. Whatever the plan or job you want to get done, it is always necessary to have the right tools or else you won’t have it easy. That’s why it is always recommended to have essential tools at home – no matter the project or endeavor.
Here we’re going to tell you all about fifteen of the most useful tools that are essential for any household or DIY workshop.
If you are eager to learn more about them, then follow this article until the end – you won’t be disappointed!
15 Indispensable Tools for Do It Yourself Projects
So you are starting a new woodworking project at home, and you need all the tools necessary for it. Well, don’t worry. With all the following essential items you’ll have everything you need and more!
Needing to nail something to the wall? Then you need a hammer. Want to attach two pieces of wood together? Then you need a hammer. Looking to get a nail off a piece of wood to reuse? Then, of course, you need a hammer.
A hammer is probably the most essential tool in the whole list, but also one of the most versatile and useful out there. If you need to whack something or get a nail out of anywhere, then the tool to go for is a hammer.
Types of Hammers
While hammers tend to be simple, there are a few options you need to consider before getting one.
For hammers you can find regular ones with a typically small head for whacking nails or any other stuff. And of course, the claw head that helps to get nails off of wood or other materials.
- Heavy-Duty Double Head
You may also find heavy-duty hammers with double whacking heads that work mostly for the heaviest operations such as nailing big bolts into metal and so on. They are instrumental on construction sites.
These are the best ones for bringing down walls and entire houses. If you need to remodel your home or do any type of similar work, then a demolition hammer is the product to go for.
Attaching screws is probably the most important thing to do when doing any kind of woodworking. This is what eventually keeps things together, and what gives more reliability to any project or furniture you’re making.
Sometimes, screwdrivers can also be useful for piecing together or disassembling any kind of item. From small devices to large tools, all have screws to keep them together, so having a screwdriver is undoubtedly critical for any situation.
Whether it is to fix, to assemble, to disassemble, or just to piece two or three things together – a screwdriver is a tool to do so.
Types of Screwdrivers
The most basic types of screwdrivers are the flat head and the Phillips’ head. Both are pretty useful depending on the kind of screws you’re using, or the item has. But they are also unique in that you will need them in different situations accordingly.
- Flat Head
These works really well for small screws in woodworking. Most of the screws with flat heads tend to be small and thick. This means you won’t need as much turning force to get the screws out, thus the flat head.
Most screws in the world come with this pattern. They can be small, thick, large, thin, and so on. With the Phillips’ head, you get a little more grip than with a flat-head, making them better for turning them out of the holes.
If you don’t want to get many different screwdrivers, you can instead pick an interchangeable one. You’ll just need to change the heads or bits every time you want to screw with a different pattern.
For those projects with small screws or when you need to screw things really deep down in objects, then a magnetic-bit screwdriver is the best choice. They make screws more easily to manage, as they stay attached to the head of the driver until you pull them off or screw them down.
3. Nails & Screws
You wouldn’t be able to use most hammers or screwdrivers without having nails or screws. They are essential for most projects at home, and the most useful tool pieces you can find on almost any workshop.
The whole purpose of nails and screws is to piece things together. There’s nothing else there. Some of them are large while others are small, and some of them come in special materials, others very thin or thick, and so on.
The main difference between nails and screws, though, is that nails are almost always the same, just varying in size and thickness. But screws don’t only differ in size and thickness, they also vary in pattern (either for flat or Phillips bits), and in purpose as well – you may find them for wood, for metal, for drywall and so on.
Types of Nails & Screws
If you want to build the perfect box filled with nails and screwdrivers, you will need as many classes and options as possible. Especially if you are a woodworker or someone who loves DIY projects – you’ll need all the following types;
- Finishing Nails
Very small and no longer than 1.25 inches, these are handy for most repairs. They also work really well for hanging small and regular sized stuff on walls.
- Vinyl Sinker
The vinyl coating in these nails makes them a little stronger than others. This means they are handy for construction operations and holding together pieces of wood. They tend to be thin and large.
- Drywall Screws
The black phosphate in the coating of these screws attach more easily to the studs in drywall. They also work for many different types of indoor jobs without problems.
- Galvanized Nails
For any outdoor application, galvanized nails have no competitor. If you are making a wooden object that’s going to be exposed to humidity, then a galvanized nail will be a perfect choice.
- Outdoor Screws
Similarly to galvanized nails, outdoor screws come with a weather-resistant coating that protects them from most weather conditions including humidity & hard sun rays. They are typically made of stainless steel for superior results.
All these nails and screws may come in all kinds of sizes and thickness. It is up to you to find the right ones according to your needs.
4. Adjustable Wrench
When a piece of metal, plastic or wood is not put together with other pieces using nails or screws, it ends up using nuts and bolts. To attach these nuts and bolts, you won’t find any other product as useful as an adjustable wrench.
Wrenches come in all lengths and sizes as well, and they work for all types of nuts and bolts accordingly. The adjustability options make them hugely reliable and useful for most operations, so having one at home will be enough, but two will be ideal for more applications.
Types of Adjustable Wrench
While it may look like an adjustable wrench doesn’t have many things to change, you can actually encounter several types of wrenches out there. Here are four of the most common:
- Crescent Wrench
You can use this for all kinds of plumbing operations, including fastening faucets, pies, elbows, and more. They come in all sorts of sizes, but they usually are medium-sized, so they can work for both small & large scale works without issues.
- Monkey Wrench
This one comes with serrated jaws that hold things together really well, and really long handles. You will find a monkey wrench in construction sites and mechanic workshops especially, as they work really well for large-scale jobs due to their strength & grip.
- Pipe Wrench
You can find a pipe wrench handy for small plumbing jobs with metal pipes. It stands out for its medium or small design, very similar to a monkey wrench with jagged jaws & long handles, but way lighter to use.
You can use an adjustable wrench for all types of jobs so they can be essential for at least half of all possible DIY projects. They can also be useful for large scale jobs, construction, fixing vehicles, and much more. We recommend having at least two types of wrenches at home of different sizes, for the most convenience.
5. Utility Knife
Whether it is for cutting wood, trimming paper, or even just marking things, a utility knife does it all. It is the ideal alternative to scissors for big jobs, especially when you pick something strong and very sharp.
Not only it is a useful tool, but it is also one of the safest to use. Most utility knives come with a folding or sliding mechanism that hides the blade whenever it is not being used. This way you can use it comfortably and easily while reducing the possibility of cutting yourself.
You can do a wide array of things with one, adding notches, pinches, shaving, and even sharpening pieces of woods and more. With the right utility knife, you’ll achieve several jobs without problems.
Types of Utility Knives
There are three main kinds of utility knives you can consider. They work for different stuff, but generally, they are the same.
As its name says, it folds open and closes the same way. This helps to make it safer when you’re not using it to hide the blade inside the handle. You may be able to use it with only one hand without cutting yourself. The edge on this one tends to be strong and reliable.
The mechanism works with a handle & a slider that you bring up and down to hide the blade accordingly. This protects you from cutting yourself and offers the chance to use with only one hand while the other is occupied. You may find sliding knives with thin but very effective blades.
- Pocket or Multi-Tool
This one comes typically with a folding mechanism, but instead of having only one blade, it may come with several ones or additional tools. If you are expecting a more versatile operation, this type will offer the most convenience.
With any DIY project that involves cutting, a utility knife will be your best option. Make sure it offers a sharp-enough edge for better results.
While many people don’t think clamps are useful in most situations, in woodworking, there’s nothing more helpful in keeping things unmovable than a good pair of clamps. You can use them to hold pieces of wood with glue together, to anchor pieces of wood you want to cut, and more.
But clamps may also work for plumbing and regular construction jobs. If you pick the right models and construction, you may end up with a very reliable & useful product entirely.
Types of Clamps
There are several types of clamps you can consider for most homemade jobs, here we explain the most common ones:
This is the perfect option for woodworking. But it actually works for all kinds of operations and jobs as it is easy to use and highly reliable in every way. This one mostly comes with iron construction for the most strength possible.
If a C-Clamp doesn’t open enough for your job, then you have the F-clamp. It is a variation of the previous one but much more opening capacity. Instead of one sliding mechanism, it has two so you can hold things together with more versatility & larger capacity.
- Pipe or Bar Clamp
This is the perfect choice for any big operation. If you need to hold something like a metal piece of large tube, then this clamp will be your best choice. It usually works as a horizontal clamp in a workbench, especially for heavy things you want to hold.
You will find many other kinds of clamps out there, but having one or two of the previous ones will be enough. If you pick yours according to material & size, you will have the perfect option for your needs.
Cutting wood is not easy, especially if you don’t have the right tool. Luckily, there’s nothing more useful for that than a handsaw, so you should always get one for your workshop or home toolbox.
Especially for thick pieces of wood, you may find it difficult to cut with any other unpowered tool that’s not a saw. While a power or circular saw offers an even better result, you may not need to spend that much money to get the same results, primarily as a DIYer.
So if you just need it for small or large operations by cutting regular sized & thick wood, a handsaw is your best choice.
Types of Handsaws
They come in three main types, so you’ll have to pick the one that best fits with your needs.
- Traditional Western
This is the most common type out there, and it works with at least a two or three-foot blade with a triangular design. The blade is commonly serrated and offers different thickness and width according to the type of wood you want to cut. It cuts by pushing it forward through the piece.
- Japanese Pull
You won’t have to push forward to cut with this one. Instead, it cuts when its saws pass through the material going backward with pulling force. These look similar to a cleaver or butcher knife but thinner and with a longer handle.
This one is mostly used to cut by pulling, but it may come with a curved blade instead. It is perfect for cutting thin pieces of wood, twigs or small logs without precision. Most of the time, these come with a folding design for easy storage.
Make sure you pick the right saw according to the number of teeth it offers. The most teeth it has, the better for cutting with precision. If it has fewer teeth per inch, it works for trimming & cutting harshly instead of accurately.
And for even better results, make sure you can replace the blade. The teeth and the metal tend to wear down with time, so it is ideal for getting one you can fix whenever the blade doesn’t work anymore.
8. Circular Saw
While a handsaw will work wonders for the small and medium size projects, it is a circular saw that will make even the hardest wood break without issues. If you need to cut several parts of a thick or very strong wood piece, nothing like a circular saw will help you this much.
The spinning power of the circular saw blade is merely unbeatable by any type of handheld saw. So only for that, you’re getting a significant advantage. Apart from that, they cut more effectively, accurately and faster, so they are just better for large jobs.
Types of Circular Saws
There are two main types of circular saws in the market. One is the Sidewinder, and the other is the worm-drive saw. Here’s what you need to know about them:
The motor tends to be on the side of the tool, making them lighter and usually way easier to use than any other kind. Sadly, it is not the most powerful, so for the largest applications, this one won’t work. This one, however, is best for beginners & DIYers.
It is compelling as the motor goes directly behind the blade. The consistency it offers is outstanding and cuts through harder & thicker materials. This makes them perfect for heavy-duty operations, and for beginners, they can be dangerous or just overwhelming.
You’ll find them in corded and cordless versions, but surely the corded one is the more powerful. Also, a cordless version tends to drain batteries fast so it can be frustrating to use one. To make them even worse, cordless designs tend to cost more over time. Luckily, the versatility & flexibility of a cordless is unmatched.
When you need to grab something well enough, and a clamp is too uncomfortable to use, and an adjustable wrench is just too large, then you can get a pair of pliers.
It works exactly like the other two but with a way smaller design you can use for grasping onto things effectively with one hand. Whether it is to keep things in the desired place, to bend or twist something, or kist to pull things together effectively, pliers are always the most convenient small tool to have.
The metal teeth on its mouth make it easy to grab things. With the long handles, you’ll be able to apply a lot of strength, even with both hands. Pliers are the best tool for loosening nuts that are too tight, pulling nails or screws that don’t get out, or even to bend wire, removing fixtures, and much more.
Types of Pliers
You’ll find many kinds out there for different results. However, the most common and most useful are these:
- Basic Pliers
They work for most job and come with the basic design with teethed jaw and long handles you can grab with one hand. You may find these in different sizes, sometimes in boxes with three or five options for various applications.
- Needle Nose Pliers
If you need to handle wires and other electrical things, then you need to use needle-nose pliers. They are generally small and comfortable to use in one hand. The head is usually pointy and the teeth very small for grabbing tiny wires effectively.
- Locking Pliers
These are the most useful for plumbing jobs especially. You can also find them as vise grips for their design, but they usually work with a locking mechanism so you won’t have to pull the handles while using. You could say they work exactly like clamps, but with the design of pliers.
If you want the best pliers at home, make sure to have one set with all the previously mentioned types. You may think it is not necessary, but having all of them will be very useful for most DIY projects.
10. Tape Measure
When you’re working at home, especially with wood or metal, having the right measurements can be essential for total functionality and looks. You won’t like the furniture or equipment you’re making to either look bad or just don’t work as you want.
That’s why a tape measure is always useful and something that can’t miss in your toolbox. Most tape measures come with both inches and centimeters. They are typically made of a thin metal sheet that can be handled easily, and with a visible color for measuring more accurately.
You will find them in all classes and lengths, so make sure you pick the right one according to your needs. Focus on durability and ease of use over anything else, but focusing on the right length depending on your desired projects.
Types of Tape Measures
While they may look simple, there’s actually a wide array of tape measures to pick. Here we focus on the two most common ones:
As its name says, this mechanism makes the tape measure come back to the case whenever you touch a button or stop holding the tape. This will help to work less when using one, adding extra convenience.
The locking mechanism will instead hold the tape measure on a place without having to do it with your fingers or hands. This is very practical if you need to spread the tape in a long distance or around stuff without it retracting itself.
You may find models with both the retracting and locking mechanism, but they may be way more expensive. Of course, the ones with both designs are the most useful of all, so don’t hesitate and get one if you want.
There’s no better product for leveling things than a level. Seems obvious, but it is something many people overlook. If you want every project to be well-made, there’s nothing more useful than a level, especially if it something that depends heavily on stability.
This product focuses on a small bubble inside a liquid vial. You need to place the level in a flat surface, and the position of the bubble will tell you how flat the surface really is. If this bubble is not in the middle of the vial, then you need to make some fixes.
Types of Levels
Most levels come with horizontal designs, but they can also be found in many different shapes and sizes depending on your needs. Here’s a few of them:
- Carpenter’s Level
It is the typical type of level you find on the market. This one typically looks like a ruler with one or two vials that show the flatness of the surface. A carpenter’s level tends to be no larger than 72 inches.
- Line Level
Similar to a carpenter’s level but instead of looking like a ruler, it seems like a large roller with a liquid vial inside. It usually comes with two hangers so you can use it on electric or cord lines.
- Plumb Bob
It looks like the head of a bullet and comes with a string behind that you attach to high things to measure either depth or vertical level of stuff. Most of the time a plumb bob is made of metal with a nylon cord.
- Laser Level
This is the perfect option for advanced users who need the most accurate results in large operations. You’ll find laser levels of all sizes and sometimes with multiple lines.
Always choose a level depending on what you’re going to use it for. But for standard DIY projects, a carpenter’s level will be enough.
Lighting your way in difficult places at home or just working with low light can be difficult. That’s why a flashlight or a headlamp can help you a lot.
Sometimes, working with full light daylight is difficult outside, or you need to head to the basement but the only light bulb is broken, or you just end up working on a project, but power is out. In any of these situations, one of these lighting devices will work like a gem.
For us, there’s nothing more useful than a LED flashlight or headlamp for your DIY projects. They are small and easy to use, but always providing a top-notch capacity to light up even the biggest of jobs. And what’s even better, they tend to be very long-lasting & efficient with energy.
Types of Flashlights
You will find several models out there for flashlights, so it is essential to know which ones will offer the best experience.
Some models are utterly rechargeable by connecting them to an outlet or a USB charger. This way you won’t have to buy batteries and just charge the device whenever its power runs out.
As you know, all headlights go attached to the head of the user for superior convenience. You won’t have to place it anywhere or move it with your hands. Just wear it on your head, and it will light up in front of your without issues.
- Workshop Lamp
The workshop model is similar to the desktop lamp you find in offices & homework desks. It comes with attachments or clamps so you can put it close to the place you’re working and that’s it.
With the right model, you can achieve exceptional results under furniture, in difficult dark places or rooms, and whenever the lights are just too dim, and you need more illumination. Pick the perfect one according to your needs and get the best results.
Many projects with either plastic or wood are typically put together using tape. Even some metal projects don’t need screws, nails, bolts or nuts – just using the right type of tape you can make it work.
Even though it is not the best option for holding things together, it is always useful for repairs or small operations that don’t need to be hugely reliable. Especially when you’re working with thin wood or cardboard, a tape will be an ideal choice.
Types of Tapes
Tape is probably one of the most different tools out there, and you’ll find different types according to its use. Here are the most useful & common ones:
- Duct Tape
The most common option for most people, it usually comes with a gray or brownish color and tends to be very flexible for easy handling. The holding strength tends to be high, and it works for a wide array of projects. Sadly, it is not useful for places with humidity or too much temperature.
- Electrical Tape
If you need to insulate or protecting wiring, electrical tape is the option to go for. It is not the strongest out there, but its heat resistance makes it perfect for electrical connections. You may even use it to as an isolator to prevent damage or accidents with electrical components.
- Plumbers Tape
This one is also known as Teflon. It mostly works for covering the thread of pipes connections to make them more resistant and prevent leaking. However, they also work to seal leaks and many other things thanks to their waterproof & long-lasting construction.
- Painting Tape
As its name says, it’s the perfect option for painting stuff. Whether it is a wall or roof, a vehicle, or small object, this one work to protect or separate sections while painting. It doesn’t leak paint and doesn’t have too much stick strength so you can get it off easily afterward.
We recommend having at least three of these options if you want a decent availability at home. Getting all of them will make your DIY projects way easier & more convenient in every way.
When you get a drill, there’s practically nothing you can’t do with wood or even concrete. The opportunity to drill holes and opening spaces for different applications makes a drill essential for any workshop or DIYer toolbox.
Most drills are comes with drill bits and offer the performance of a power driver and impact driver as well. You can use this to open better holes even in the hardest surfaces. Sometimes, a drill works just to screw things down as well, and also offer the chance to unscrew things.
The more powerful and easier to use the drill, the better it will be for your toolbox. We recommend taking into consideration different speeds and drilling/driving methods for the best results.
Types of Drills
There are two major types of drills out there: the corded and cordless ones. They work for different things, so you must be careful before choosing.
They come with a power cord that limits comfort and space you can work with. However, they offer the most consistent and powerful drilling out there. If you need to drill in hard materials such as concrete or thick wood, then you need a corded one.
The opposite of a corded one. It comes with a rechargeable battery and no cord so you can use it wherever you want without issues. They tend to be pretty decent in power and consistency, but nothing compared to a corded model.
You will also find hammer, power, and driver drills out there. Each one works for a specific type of operation, but the whole purpose tends to be the same. Apart from that, make sure to choose according to power & sturdiness. The more resistant & durable the product, the better it will be in the long term.
15. Oscillating Tool
Even though it’s another powerful tool to consider, an oscillating tool offers the chance to do things that no other device provides. Most DIYers tend to overlook this one because it is not the most useful for cutting, scraping, sanding, grinding, or drilling – but you can do all of them, so having this tool is not a joke.
To use it, however, you must be very experienced with DIY projects already. You just need the right attachment, and you’ll be able to achieve outstanding results with the right oscillating tool.
Types of Oscillating Tool
Similarly to drills, oscillating tools only come in corded and cordless designs.
It comes with a wire that connects to an outlet. This gives the tool more power but makes it hard to move around. It is ideal for workshops & offices. But it’s not too useful in outdoor projects.
Will work like a gem for any job that you need to move around a lot or just work far from any outlet. It mostly comes with a rechargeable battery instead of a power cord.
Remember that an oscillating tool can work with all types of materials including wood, metal, drywall, tiles, and more. So make sure to get the right heads or accessories for it to work correctly, always according to your needs.
So you are now familiar with the many tool options a DIY enthusiast has. Whether you want to build one from scratch or just complete the one you already have – this article will come like a gem to know which tool you’re missing.
There are many other tools you can add here as well, but with these fifteen you’ll have more than enough. Just make sure to pick as many of them as possible for the most complete and enjoyable experience.