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Few things are as satisfying as building or fixing something on your own. But most people are under-equipped and under-prepared to handle even the most basic of tasks. So to get you started, here are 11 tools that every homeowner or DIY’er should own to complete almost any project around the house!

And as with most things, you should always look for quality over quantity when it comes to tools. A good-quality tool can last you a lifetime, and is typically lighter, more ergonomic, more powerful and of course more durable. But you don’t have to fork over a ton of cash to get quality! Most big retailers have huge sales, particularly on power-tool combo-kits, with the steepest discounts during major holidays such as Father’s day, Black Friday and Christmas. So if you can, hold off on your purchase and you might be surprised to get one heck of a deal on your brand-new tool!

1. A Pencil

…Wait, a pencil? Yup, and before you exit out of this article for fear of wasting your time, hear us out! A pencil is an absolutely essential piece of kit for any DIY task. On virtually every project you’ll likely be measuring, marking, or taking notes and the last thing you’ll want is to be stuck up at the top of a ladder without anything to mark you surface with. A pencil is also great because unlike a pen or a scribe, you can erase your markings if you make a mistake!

Pro tip: Get one with a string attached so it is easy to find and you don’t lose it!


2. A Utility Knife

A good, sharp utility knife is one of the most versatile tools you can own and will make any project run just that much more smoothly. The key is to get one with replaceable blades so that it is always sharp and ready to go. Just get one with a retractable or fold-able blade so your don’t cut yourself.

Pro tip: A utility knife can act as a scribe or hole punch in a pinch when you have nothing else to use.


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3. A Drill/Driver

Cordless drill/drivers are a staple on any job site. They are excellent all-purpose tools used to drill holes and drive screws into everything from wood to concrete. Not only are they precise and powerful, but being cordless you can take them anywhere. If you’re willing to splurge a bit, we suggest getting a combo drill and impact driver set so that you’re fully equipped to handle any DIY project.

Pro tip: To prevent your drill bit from skipping around, use the tip of your utility knife (or just any sharp point) to create a small indent where the hole will go.


4. A Circular Saw

To a newcomer, the world of power saws is vast and confusing. But if you were to have just one saw in your toolkit for the rest of your life, get a circular saw. It is by far the cheapest and most versatile option. It’s mobile, powerful and can cut through just about anything. If you want even more mobility, opt for a cordless version, just make sure to spring for a higher-end model with some serious battery power in order to get the job done (5ah or more).

Pro tip: Use your speed square to make perfectly straight cuts on smaller pieces of wood.


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5. A Hammer

Similar to circular saws, there’s a hammer out there for just about every type of task. So if you’re just starting out, and have no idea what types of projects you’ll be getting yourself into, opt for a 16oz general-purpose claw hammer. Make sure to get one made from a single piece of forged steel, with a comfortable shock-absorbing handle. Especially for beginner, a metal hammer is great for handling any type of abuse you might throw at it, so there’s no risk you’ll break it if you swing hard and miss!


6. A Speed Square

You’ve probably seen one of these little triangles before but weren’t exactly sure what they’re used for. What you’ve stumbled upon, my friends, is a speed square. It combines numerous functions into one and can be used, as the name suggests, to square up joints, make basic measurements, mark lines on wood and act as a saw guide for both 45 and 90 degree cuts. They are small, portable and rugged and make an excellent addition to any tool kit!


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7. A Tape Measure

A tape measure is just a tape measure, right? WRONG! As with a lot of tools, quality is king here. A good quality tape measure is both extremely durable and accurate and can make solo tasks on the job site immeasurably more easy. Look for one that is 25 feet (or 8 meters) long, around an inch thick, with clear, accurate numbering and a solid hook.


8. A Pair of Pliers

A good handy-man or handy-woman never goes anywhere without a solid set of pliers. These fantastic little tools will get you out of a bind almost every time. They are used for gripping odd ends, tightening screws, prying, bending and cutting/stripping wire. You can also buy a pair for next-to-nothing, so might as well get a few different kinds and be prepared for whatever problem is lurking around the corner.


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9. A Chalk Box

No, we’re not talking about sidewalk playtime here. Despite it’s playful name, a chalk box (or chalk line) is actually essential for carpentry and is used to mark long, perfectly straight lines. Whether you’re looking to square off a room or create an outline for a wall, a chalk line will make the task significantly more easy. Make sure when selecting a chalk box that you pick the right colour chalk – blue will be a lot easier to remove from surfaces than red or black.

Pro tip: A chalk box can also be used as a plumb bob. By hanging it vertically you’ll be able to tell if something is vertically flush, or not.


10. Safety Glasses

Safety first! Or in this case, better late than never! All joking aside, it’s important to invest in a proper set of safety protection for your eyes. Whether your cutting, hammering, sanding or painting, you should always be wearing safety glasses. Accidents happen frequently on construction projects and all it takes is one small misstep and your eyesight is lost forever. Don’t take the risk! Get a comfortable pair of glasses that can be used indoors/outdoors and if you need to, get a pair that fits over your prescription eye glasses.

Pro tip: Do NOT use normal glasses in place of safety glasses as they can shatter on impact.


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11. A Tool Belt

Once you’ve assembled a proper arsenal of tools for your next DIY project you might be thinking where do I store all of this stuff? That’s where a good quality tool-belt comes in handy. Whether you go with nylon or leather, don’t cheap out as a good tool-belt is not only more comfortable and easier to work with, but can last you a lifetime.


Here are a few additional tools you might want to consider:

  1. A multi-head screwdriver (this didn’t make the top 11 only because most people already own one. But if for some reason you don’t, do yourself a favour and go pick one up today, you’ll thank us later)
  2. A quality level (2-4 feet long is the ideal length)
  3. An impact driver (it just makes your life easier)
  4. An oscillating multitool (It cuts, trims, sands and grinds)
  5. A 5-in-one tool (one of the most useful tools ever)
  6. A cordless jigsaw (for those more complex and curvy cuts)
  7. A chisel (great for everything from fine woodworking to bashing on concrete)

Hopefully this list will help you get started on your DIY journey. If there are any other tools that you just can’t live without, please let us know in the comments below!


Disclosure: Please note that this post may include affiliate links, which means we may receive a small commission (at no additional cost to you) if you choose to purchase through them. We only recommend products the we would use and any income received goes towards keeping this community supported and open to all.

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