Unless you’re sticking to macaroni art, most people will need tools to accomplish the DIY’s of their dreams. Some of us have every tool imaginable and could basically build a house on our own. This article isn’t for those people.

This article is for people just starting out on their DIY journey, new homeowners, or anyone just looking to assemble a basic tool kit. When you are just starting out, it can be frustrating reading articles online about projects and realizing you don’t have the basic tools. And even for experienced DIYers, the hardware store can be overwhelming with options when you are trying to find a specific tool.  

This guide to basic tool ownership will leave you well equipped to handle most small home repairs, DIY projects, and minor fixes around the yard.

Tool Box

DIY people generally prefer heavy duty plastic tool box models to metal because they won’t rust. Make sure that whatever model you select has sturdy hinges and closing locks so that it candle the weight of the tools. 


The most useful of multi-tools
Multitool Tested

Hugely popular with everyone from EMT’s to fishermen, the multitool is great “all in one” tool for small jobs. Usually including pliers, knife blades and screwdrivers, a good multitool can be purchased at most national retailers for under $20.

Claw Hammer

Claw hammers, the basic tool of the carpenter
The hammer Satyam Tool

Get a basic claw hammer and you’ll never regret it. Useful for everything from hanging pictures to drywall demolition, this simple and effective tool is a must have for every tool kit.

Adjustable Wrench

Adjustable wrenches: the plumber's go to
Wrenching good use Ridgid

Another must have because of it’s versatility and ease of use. Get a sturdy, all metal model in a medium size. Wrenches are particularly useful for TV wall-mounting bolts, vehicle projects and plumbing repairs.

Combination Pliers

Pliars can pull out the most stubborn of wires as every electrician knows
Sturdy pliers HSS Tool Shop

These are a handy all-around tool, especially for DIY crafts. Models with a wire cutter just below the grip plate are best, because they’re useful for clipping floral wire or even heavier gauge baling wire.


Today’s modern flashlights are small, bright and long lasting. A decent LED super bright model can be picked up for less than $20, or you could go with the old reliable MagLight.


The awl: not just for decoration
Awl Fine Leather Working

This icepick-looking item is useful for getting holes for nails started into studs. It’s also dead useful for leather working projects, as an awl and a light hammer strike will make a clean hole in even the heaviest hides.

Flat Head Screwdrivers

No toolbench is complete without a few flathead screwdrivers
Flathead Turbo Squid

Get two or three different head sizes to give yourself the best chance of matching any screw you meet. We recommend flathead models because they can be used with Phillips head screws, but the rule is not reciprocal.

Utility Knife

This thing has so many uses I couldn’t list them all if I tried. A quality utility knife will run you less that $15, and replacement razors are cheap as well.

Scraper/Putty Knife

A few scrappers will come in handy some day
Different styles and shape Rural King

It’s basically just a flat piece of metal with a handle, but it’s so much more than that! The humble putty knife can scrape off old wallpaper, spread putty and caulking, and get under edges of old laminate flooring.

Tape Measure

You don’t need a fancy digital one, just make sure you get one that extends to at least 7 feet and that it has a lock feature built in.


Make sure everything is even with a level
Make it perfect Amazon

Crucial for getting pictures and wall art to hang straight. Levels are also useful for DIY tables and anything else that needs to be perfectly flat. You can find very nice kits like this one!

Variety of screws, nails, etc

You can pick up an assortment at most hardware of national retailers. Often they’ll even have pre-packaged assortments that include picture hanging wire and other useful odds and ends.


Duct and electrical tape should cover all your needs. Feel free to get tape with fun patterns or colors.

Stud Finder

Find the stud to mount your frame
Stub finder Do It Yourself

When you’re mounting heavy things like TV’s or large paintings to the wall, it’s important to make sure you’re mounting it to a stud. Otherwise the weight of the object combined with the law of gravity will rip a large hole in your pretty wall! Stud finders are an easy way to avoid that disaster

Safety Gear

Gloves, impact-resistant glasses and face masks. This stuff is crucial and can be the difference between a successful DIY or a disastrous visit to your local ER!

We left out some project-specific gear such as brushes and paint trays, but this list will give you a great starter toolbox good for any need. Feel free to add any specialized items that might be useful to you, but try not to clutter your kit with unnecessary junk. Having the essentials will not only leave you well equipped for basic DIY’s and repairs, it will also give you a good building block for building a custom kit suited to your pursuits!

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