What are the tools that every DIY'er should have? This is a community wiki as there is no one right answer.


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77 Answers 77

A laser level (a cheap one will do just fine).

alt text http://img7.imageshack.us/img7/5220/straitlinelaserlevel150.jpg

  • definitely not a must own. I've got one and I've never used it. – cori Jul 29 '10 at 12:24
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    I've used mine a handful of times. They're really handy if you want to keep multiple items in a straight line, especially over a long distance. I found it really handy to do the line of wall anchors for a whiteboard, for example. – myron-semack Aug 4 '10 at 15:16
  • One follow-up question: Sticking it against a wall. The one I have has a little thumb tack "base" that you stick in the wall. Are there any with better mounting options? – myron-semack Aug 4 '10 at 15:17

Chalk Line

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Snapping, setting out straight lines.

(A high quality) Combination Square

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Transferring measurements, marking out 90° & 45° angles, scribing parallel lines...

Toolbucket. Love mine. It's amazing what all you can get into one of these.

(Sharp) Pencils

You need something to layout, set-out, all those cool DIY projects you are going to do.

Don't forget a pencil sharper, if you can't get a good sharp point via a knife.

Shrinking tube and hot glue - use them all the time.

The combination of shrinking tube and hot glue makes smooth, sealed and water-proof solids of any basic shape. Ideal to create custom-shaped plugs or jacks.

  • Something I discovered about hot glue - if you drill holes in both surfaces prior to gluing the strength increase is tremendous. I haven't done any scientific tests, but you probably get at least 3-4x the holding power (shear and normal) – Wayne Werner Aug 5 '10 at 15:34
  • The combination of shrinking tube and hot glue makes smooth, sealed and water-proof solids of any basic shape. Ideal to create custom-shaped plugs or jacks. – Martin Aug 6 '10 at 8:24

Cordless (circular) trim saw. Fits into tighter quarters, better for making short cuts than the full-size circular saw.

alt text http://www.blackanddecker.com//ProductImages/PC_Graphics/PHOTOS/DEWALT/TOOLS/LARGE/3/DC390B_1NB.jpg

  • 1
    I've wondered about power issues for the cordless versions. Anyone know about this? – Doresoom Aug 5 '10 at 18:00
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    A battery-driven saw with a smaller blade just won't have the torque and cutting power of a full-sized saw with a full-powered motor -- that's physics for you. That's why I have both saws. But the smaller one gets used 10 times more often than the larger saw... – Craig Trader Aug 30 '10 at 19:10
  • So much easier to slice up plywood sheets with a cordless circular saw. That said, the cordless one should be your second circular saw. – mwolfe02 May 6 '11 at 21:02

Cordless 18v lithium ion impact driver. Drives screws and bolts so smoothly, quickly, and without torquing your wrist. Also relatively light, small, hangs on a belt, and battery lasts a long time.

Makita BTD144 is one good example.

  • May want to merge your answer with kkeilman's. – myron-semack Aug 13 '10 at 12:41

A good Do-it-yourself book.

Reader's Digest "New Complete Do-It-Yourself Manual"

  • My favorite is the Home Depot 1-2-3 books; one for general repair, another for plumbing. – geerlingguy Nov 29 '12 at 13:22

(A good quality) Handsaw

Don't underestimate the usefulness of this old school hand-tool.

Stud finder.

In case you need to hang something that requires more support than a drywall has.

alt text http://www.homedepot.com/catalog/productImages/300/41/418f6e5c-a1ec-451a-8fc1-b3047f2a7559_300.jpg

  • 1
    Duplicate. Adam already beat you to this one. – Doresoom Jul 28 '10 at 14:41
  • maybe merge your answer into his? (You have a picture with yours, so you answer is a bit cooler.) – myron-semack Jul 28 '10 at 17:29


You need somewhere to store, organise and keep safe all those essential DIY tools.


Sure you can use a Spirit Level to check if something is plumb, but there are occasions when a Plumb-Bob just makes more sense...

Palm Router

Cheap enough for most DIYers, you can pick up a good quality one for around $100.

Has enough power (normally about 1HP) for most DIY jobs.

Can be used to make a variety of DIY projects around the home that much easier.

A Diamond Sharpening Stone

For honing and keeping those plane blades, wood chisels, knives, etc good n' sharp.

Nail Pincers & Nail Bars

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Makes pulling out nails a breeze.

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