What are the tools that every Do-it-Yourselfer must own?

55

68

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

Instructions:

  • One item per answer (so they can be voted on - answers with multiple items will be voted down)
  • Clear formatting like this:
    [ITEM NAME]
    [Reason why item is essential/useful/good]
    [Photo / other info]

Mike Sherov

Posted 2010-07-21T19:41:24.867

Reputation: 1 069

Can you ever have enough? – Richard Tasker – 2010-07-22T12:08:19.623

Answers

93

A cordless drill
No doubt about it. I bought a DeWalt 14.4V three years ago, and it's been invaluable to me. alt text http://www.homedepot.com/catalog/productImages/300/34/34c4b1f5-f4c7-465c-b9bb-f0a9ba2cd2ef_300.jpg

Doresoom

Posted 2010-07-21T19:41:24.867

Reputation: 12 659

4

LOL! That just begs for a link to this: http://www.joke-archives.com/dating/mengifts.html

– Vilx- – 2010-08-08T06:47:10.903

+1. It's definitely worth paying extra for: SDS fitting, a light, 18V (these last longer), light weight, and a spare battery. Or two. – Jeremy McGee – 2010-08-08T20:41:19.200

1I've got a Hitachi 18v Lithium with spare battery. The batteries hold a charge practically forever, and recharge in less time than it takes me to drain the other one. I also have a Black & Decker 14.4v drill that came as part of a kit, but don't really use it. The kit had a light, saw and some other stuff that I use more regularly. – GalacticCowboy – 2010-08-12T16:33:38.890

Does the cordless one emit emf? – Larry Morries – 2011-11-30T01:53:52.530

@Larry: I don't think cordless/corded would affect EMF emissions. As for the question if drills in general do, I'd assume so, unless they're shielded. – Doresoom – 2011-11-30T14:44:41.773

I recently purchased a house and bought the 18v cordless dewault. That thing is a beast and I want to marry it. – Joe Phillips – 2012-07-27T01:43:51.023

5Why cordless? I'm assuming your home has outlets? – Joe Phillips – 2010-07-21T19:45:20.533

Cordless drills have basically replaced hammers in this day and age. Not that you'll never need a hammer, but the times I find myself using one are getting fewer and further between. – jessecurry – 2010-07-23T13:34:23.737

11@Joe - everything is easier with a cordless drill. I have a very nice corded drill and I probably use it twice a year. The cordless one I use all the time. – Eric Petroelje – 2010-07-21T19:46:27.630

6Cordless is nice, but I never get much use out of them. Since I work only intermittently on DIY projects I find the batteries brick out on me after only getting to use them 2-3 times. – JohnFx – 2010-07-21T19:47:40.887

3My Dewalt 14v cordless sits around for months at a time and still holds a charge. It's a beast. – Adam Robinson – 2010-07-21T19:48:52.117

I must say, DeWault makes nice cordless drills. – Joe Phillips – 2010-07-21T19:53:24.260

I have a Ryobi 12V cordless, and my corded drill has gotten very lonely. I keep one battery on the charger, and a fresh battery will last me for a few weeks of intermittent work. – Jared Harley – 2010-07-28T22:04:26.760

I have a DeWalt cordless drill and circular saw 18V XRP. They hold a charge well and are good for anything which is not a huge job. Because the batteries are interchangeable, you can always keep them charged pretty easily. – Cade Roux – 2010-07-21T20:35:34.703

1I have a cheapo 14v cordless ($40) and a cheaper corded hammer ($15). The corded one gets used for hole-sawing, wood-spading, and big holes in hard stuff that would drain the battery of the cordless. Otherwise the cordless is easier (I end up using it mostly for quick screwdriving) – MGOwen – 2010-07-29T05:30:18.033

I have an amazing AEG BS 12; it's tiny and remarkably powerful, I used it to drill all the holes for shelves in our house in brick walls. Battery lasts ages (it comes with 2), and rechanges in 30 minutes. And it looks like a StarTrek raygun :) – Joel in Gö – 2010-08-05T11:28:44.287

67

A good weight crowbar
Use it for lifting, prying, removing, bashing, demolishing and most importantly, against zombies and headcrabs.

Crowbar vs Headcrab http://db.tt/F4NCQj

Ates Goral

Posted 2010-07-21T19:41:24.867

Reputation: 282

We all Gordon Freeman. – Soner Gönül – 2011-08-07T14:45:20.787

26+1 just for the Halflife reference, though it's headcrabs. – Adam Robinson – 2010-07-22T12:06:26.243

Ah! My sleepy head made a headcrab/facehugger hybrid. Fixed. – Ates Goral – 2010-07-22T12:43:02.800

I would add prybars, large and small, used more often than a crowbar on interior work. – bib – 2012-07-15T13:54:52.247

7I can't help but wonder if this is so high in vote counts just because of the Half-Life reference. – Doresoom – 2010-11-18T13:29:28.407

1

I prefer a Fubar, purely for the name :) http://www.homedepot.com/h_d1/N-5yc1vZ1xgg/R-100488979/h_d2/ProductDisplay?langId=-1&storeId=10051&catalogId=10053

– ManiacZX – 2010-07-28T14:42:07.560

60

A good, stiff measuring tape

Adam Robinson

Posted 2010-07-21T19:41:24.867

Reputation: 526

6Measure twice, cut once, swear thrice! – Ates Goral – 2010-07-22T07:36:03.927

For distances less than two meters, I prefer to use a measuring stick (http://www.paintbrushesandrollers.com/images/products/630200.jpg).

– Vebjorn Ljosa – 2010-07-22T19:23:24.397

Just don't cut the measuring tape. That really doesn't make the day any better. – BLAKE – 2011-02-21T03:15:23.717

12Measure once, cut twice! – Joe Phillips – 2010-07-21T20:28:35.610

3@Joe, something's off about that... :-) – Mike Sherov – 2010-07-21T20:39:22.137

48

Utility Knife

For about $10-15 USD you can get 100 utility knife blades, so you don't have to worry about sharpening your knife/breaking the blade (except your eyes of course!).

I use mine for all sorts of stuff.

Wayne Werner

Posted 2010-07-21T19:41:24.867

Reputation: 640

I prefer this one: http://www.milwaukeetool.com/hand-tools/utility-knives/48-22-1901. Beefy in the hand unlike the Kobalt folder, but because it does fold it's more compact. The gut hook, wire cutters and the one-handed flick open/close mechanism all make it a great general utility knife (though check your jurisdiction; the mechanism may make it illegal as a "switchblade" or "gravity knife".

– KeithS – 2013-05-03T19:15:16.773

47

A first aid kit

...that is easy to find!

Walker

Posted 2010-07-21T19:41:24.867

Reputation: 3 782

25...and can be used with one hand – Adam Robinson – 2010-07-22T12:07:03.840

I love how Adam's comment has more upvotes than the answer ;) – Wayne Werner – 2010-07-23T03:41:19.473

1Nah, masking tape is all you need. – Vebjorn Ljosa – 2010-07-28T18:44:33.633

2Super glue will hold way better than masking tape! – Doresoom – 2010-07-29T21:10:58.750

Super glue is amazing liquid skin. – Wayne Werner – 2010-08-02T02:41:18.160

Does a box of bandaids qualify as a "kit"? – Stephen – 2011-07-07T19:45:04.173

46

A multimeter

a multimeter (licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.5 Generic license)

(Image licensed under the Creative Commons)

Brad

Posted 2010-07-21T19:41:24.867

Reputation: 118

I've had mine for a number of years, and lost one of the lead wires. However, I had a wire with clips on both ends. Clip a 16P nail into each clip; one in the socket, the other as your tip. Don't use for anything over 12V, of course! – GalacticCowboy – 2010-08-12T16:37:35.847

Does it also include function to detect emf? – Larry Morries – 2011-11-30T01:54:42.717

1I'm giving this a downvote. I don't think every DIYer needs one of these. I have no idea what one of these even does. – samthebrand – 2012-03-27T17:26:10.683

I disagree; this is a good tool to have if you're doing electrical work. The thing you'd use it for most is to check continuity of wire joins, but checks for proper voltage are useful too. – KeithS – 2012-04-11T20:53:54.970

I've got one of these and never really learned to use it. Mostly I just stick to a voltage tester with an LED. – JohnFx – 2010-09-27T01:11:53.053

Yes, the picture is of a multimeter, not any tester. – XTL – 2010-11-28T11:38:29.070

13Typically referred to as a Multi-meter. – Brad Gilbert – 2010-07-24T03:27:30.003

45

Needle-nose pliers

enter image description here

These are the most often used tool in my toolbox, not that they ever make it back into the toolbox.

jacobsee

Posted 2010-07-21T19:41:24.867

Reputation: 826

I think I saw mine migrating through the bathroom yesterday...can't remember how they got there. – Doresoom – 2010-07-22T13:23:04.413

4My wife has requisitioned a few pairs over the years as weed pullers for the yard. Nothing like finding my pliers caked with dirt... thanks, dear! – Jared Harley – 2010-07-28T22:06:14.903

4I'm sure she says the same thing about her good fabric scissors when she finds you've been using them for home improvement tasks, Jared ;) – Wayne Werner – 2010-08-05T15:31:16.590

42

Hammers and screwdrivers.

You aren't going to get much done without them...

A good jigsaw can be very helpful for many tasks as well.

Josh Goldshlag

Posted 2010-07-21T19:41:24.867

Reputation: 826

-1: This is two answers – Novelocrat – 2010-08-05T19:46:52.117

What type of hammers? What type of screw drivers? – Joe Phillips – 2010-07-21T19:53:52.543

2@Joe Phillips - given your name, I assume you were fishing for a specific kind of screwdriver....

I have made do with one simple claw hammer for years now. Screwdrivers really should be bought in bulk, I seem to lose/break them a lot. – Josh Goldshlag – 2010-07-21T19:56:37.480

Wasn't actually fishing but you raise an interesting point. Phillips screwdrivers are the best! But seriously, I don't think it's necessary to have a sledge hammer which is why I asked. – Joe Phillips – 2010-07-21T20:28:09.557

42

Speed square

alt text

spoulson

Posted 2010-07-21T19:41:24.867

Reputation: 605

You can get them for about $3 ($1 if you wait for a sale) at harbor freight. The measurement markers aren't as nice as the more expensive variety, but they're just as square. – Wayne Werner – 2010-07-23T03:36:13.267

These come in different sizes, but I like a small (7") one in my back pocket. – Jay Bazuzi – 2012-11-04T22:54:21.173

You can use it quickly cut a straight cut on a 2x4 with a circular saw. Any other uses? – Greg – 2010-11-22T21:53:56.313

Pardon the ignorance, but what do you use this for? – Portman – 2010-07-29T19:22:25.173

3@Portman: It's like a protractor for DIY projects/construction in general. – Doresoom – 2010-08-03T19:21:41.160

38

Locking pliers
Commonly known by the genericised trademark "Vise-Grip"

enter image description here

I find that I use it one way or another on every project I do.

bengineerd

Posted 2010-07-21T19:41:24.867

Reputation: 296

Aka mole grips - superb name. – Umber Ferrule – 2011-12-13T13:13:16.413

This tool can do everything...but usually it breaks something in the process. – Malfist – 2012-06-26T12:09:14.067

Also called "the wrong tool for every job". – XTL – 2010-11-28T11:39:18.600

I deliberately bought a small vice-grip to stop me over-using it. – staticsan – 2011-01-04T23:46:51.843

36

A power miter saw (compound if possible).

It will cut anything you'd cut with a circular saw (other than large sheets), and you'll also be able to cut any trim pieces you'll ever need. Adding and replacing trim is a relatively easy thing to do and can quickly add value and better the appearance of a house. Few things come as close the a bang-for-the-buck arena.

alt text http://www.besthometoolsale.com/images/dewalt-miter-saw-dw717.jpg

Adam Robinson

Posted 2010-07-21T19:41:24.867

Reputation: 526

Does the cordless one produce emf? – Larry Morries – 2011-11-30T01:55:33.713

2Sure it's on the must-have-list, but as a replacement for a circular saw? That's just crazytalk. The two saws have totally different uses. – Commander Keen – 2010-10-06T12:33:28.480

@Commander Keen: I'm not so sure that they're totally different. Yes, you can do things with each that you can't do with the other, but a miter saw can do just about anything that a circular saw can (save for, as noted above, cutting large sheets like plywood). Is there something I'm forgetting? – Adam Robinson – 2010-11-01T18:35:32.730

@Adam: What else do you use a circular saw for? I prefer a plunge saw, and have sold my circular saw though. – Commander Keen – 2010-11-03T13:32:01.703

You can get an el-cheapo miter saw on black friday for ~$50. Perfect for light duty use. – Greg – 2010-11-22T21:59:02.647

4This is next on my wish list... – Doresoom – 2010-07-21T21:15:14.557

If you don't have the room for a drop-saw, a jigsaw can do many of the same jobs. – staticsan – 2011-05-23T01:05:48.100

Next to my cordless drill, this is probably my most used power tool. The disadvantage of course is that they are big and expensive. Can't beat them for framing or trim work though. – Eric Petroelje – 2010-08-04T15:28:22.800

33

Non-Contact Voltage Tester.
This comes in very handy to make sure you turned off the correct circuit breaker before doing any electrical work. And really helps if you have some funky wiring in your house and not everything in a single box is on the same circuit.

Non-Contact Voltage Tester http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/2149063ZRQL._SL500_AA300_.jpg

Jeff Widmer

Posted 2010-07-21T19:41:24.867

Reputation: 6 971

Actually most aren't that sensitive, unfortunately. I have one of the ones in the picture, and you have to pretty much stick it into the plug to get it to light. – KeithS – 2013-05-03T18:39:17.427

2Or even just checking to see if there's an electrical cable inside the wall where you're getting ready to drill... – Jared Harley – 2010-07-28T22:08:30.690

30

Screwdriver set

screwdrivers http://img339.imageshack.us/img339/7803/31032044.jpg

Your exact types will differ by country, but you likely want:

  • Slot-head (2 or 3 sizes)
  • Phillips (atleast size #3, maybe #2 and #4)
  • Robertson (atleast red, green, and black)

Rubber handles will save your hands after a bit of use. Also, try to find black tipped drivers, as this means they're hardened and shouldn't wear down as quickly.

Steve Armstrong

Posted 2010-07-21T19:41:24.867

Reputation: 563

And perhaps a flat-head that doesn't slip out of the screw. – Adam Robinson – 2010-07-22T12:05:20.597

Screw Driver Tips: Look for ones with a softer rubber handle. Your hands will thank you when you are trying to drive in several screws in quick succession. Also, look for ones with the black tips, as these are hardened and less likely to get chewed up from regular use. – myron-semack – 2010-07-26T13:06:09.707

Thanks for the links (Doresoom) and the advice (msemack). I'll roll it into the original answer. – Steve Armstrong – 2010-07-26T21:03:36.523

What is a Robertson screw driver? – Joe Phillips – 2010-07-21T20:41:18.030

@Joe : Robertson heads have square sockets http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_screw_drives

– Doresoom – 2010-07-21T21:59:07.883

Add a flexible shaft, and ratcheting screwdriver that takes different heads, and you sold me. – JohnFx – 2010-07-21T22:11:25.937

28

A reciprocating saw (a.ka. sawzall) -

  1. Makes short work of any tearout job.
  2. Gets into places that other saws can't.
  3. Great stand-in for a chainsaw outside (for small stuff)

Eric Petroelje

Posted 2010-07-21T19:41:24.867

Reputation: 8 593

best. tool. evar. – dave thieben – 2010-08-05T17:48:14.660

2A poor man's version would be a jab saw - I picked one up for $10 or so when I needed to put a junction box in my ceiling. – Doresoom – 2010-07-22T15:05:43.077

The more HP the better, and get good, appropriate blades (wood for wood, metal for metal, etc). – BryanH – 2012-07-14T02:15:21.733

This, and a good drill, are the two must-own power tools for any homeowner. The last point on the list is critical; a nice long wood or demo blade will make mincemeat of that dead branch in your backyard, and the "trash tree" saplings that have gotten beyond the ability of your bypass loppers. – KeithS – 2013-05-03T19:21:15.987

28

Quick clamps.

alt text http://www.diyskate.com/img/ramps/tools/quick_clamp.jpg

about a million times better than these:

alt text

MGOwen

Posted 2010-07-21T19:41:24.867

Reputation: 459

28

spoulson

Posted 2010-07-21T19:41:24.867

Reputation: 605

True. There are those edge cases where you need to disassemble/reassemble something and having an organized (and sturdy) set of allen keys can save the day. – spoulson – 2010-07-22T19:03:20.167

1The cheap ones that come with Ikea furniture slip and get rounded too easily. They are also too short to be comfortable. I am glad I have one that is longer and of better-quality steel. – Vebjorn Ljosa – 2010-07-22T19:15:38.347

If you can, get the "tamper-proof" set, because they work on both "tamperable" and "tamper-proof". I've run into tamper-poof torx screws in the wackiest places, like the coffee maker(!), kids toys, etc. These are also good for getting into the forbidden area of your phone junction box and looking for things that don't belong th--$#(@& NO CARRIER – BryanH – 2012-07-14T02:11:43.813

1These seem to be useful for grinding down into other, more useful, tools – Joe Phillips – 2010-07-22T21:41:39.037

The Ikea ones are cheap, but then I have 500 of them so they are pretty much disposable. – JohnFx – 2010-07-23T04:01:46.800

I have bought them too. But no use till now. – Shiplu Mokaddim – 2013-01-19T18:10:19.297

You mean NONSTANDARD and metric. :) – Kaz – 2013-03-01T00:26:54.010

I think you mean imperial and metric – MGOwen – 2010-07-29T05:32:18.497

We are not imperialists! – spoulson – 2010-07-29T11:36:38.753

I have a folding "grip it" set like this that covers all of the assorted sizes. I own three of them: Imperial Allen/Hex, Metric Hex, and Torx. http://www.homedepot.com/Tools-Hardware-Hand-Tools-Hex-Keys/h_d1/N-5yc1vZas0v/R-100549112/h_d2/ProductDisplay?langId=-1&storeId=10051&catalogId=10053

– myron-semack – 2011-05-25T14:24:26.083

10Frankly, I've never had a job where I needed an allan wrench that didn't come with one. I have a drawer full of these from buying cheap furniture. – JohnFx – 2010-07-21T22:12:23.770

Allen keys are probably my most used tool! Look at your bike! – sixtyfootersdude – 2010-08-05T14:42:33.303

27

A circular saw of course.

And don't skimp - you'll use it enough that it's worthwhile to spend the money and get a decent (and light) one.

Eric Petroelje

Posted 2010-07-21T19:41:24.867

Reputation: 8 593

How would you respond to the "power miter saw" answer that suggests it can do the job of a circular saw for many projects? – myron-semack – 2010-08-04T15:00:19.630

2@msemack - I would agree. I have a 10" sliding compound miter saw that I use FAR more than my circular saw. But a good miter saw is big and expensive. A circular saw has more utility than a miter saw, and is much cheaper and smaller (easier to store). The disadvantage of the circular saw is speed and accuracy. Much easier and faster to make nice cuts with a miter saw. – Eric Petroelje – 2010-08-04T15:25:57.027

27

Good levels of different sizes

user45

Posted 2010-07-21T19:41:24.867

Reputation:

I have a 4' level, 2 different 2' levels and a couple of bullet levels (4", 9"). And they all get used pretty regularly. – GalacticCowboy – 2010-08-12T16:50:12.850

+1 I just put in shelving in my pantry that's exactly 47" in width. Too bad all I had was my 48" level and a 12" level. :/ – Doresoom – 2010-07-26T14:41:39.600

25

A good set of channel lock pliers (multiple sizes).

Use them on almost every job, especially plumbing.

alt text http://img294.imageshack.us/img294/6085/39540403.jpg

JohnFx

Posted 2010-07-21T19:41:24.867

Reputation: 2 699

6And never buy just one - especially for plumbing. Seems like if you need one you always need two (one to turn something and the other to keep the opposite side from turning) – Eric Petroelje – 2010-07-21T22:20:02.093

22

5-in-1 Tool:

5-in-1 Tool http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/31p1ZesJSlL._SL500_AA300_.jpg

Great for scraping, pealing, poking. I use it all the time (and it is stronger than a putty knife).

Jeff Widmer

Posted 2010-07-21T19:41:24.867

Reputation: 6 971

1So that's what that half round is for! I rather like mine, and I found it on the road so that was an even better deal ;) – Wayne Werner – 2010-07-23T20:38:46.953

1Is the half round for cleaning off a paint roller? – dotjoe – 2010-08-05T13:48:05.653

1That is what I have used the half round for... cleaning paint off a roller... but I bet there are other uses too! – Jeff Widmer – 2010-08-05T13:58:59.237

22

A dremel with various bits: cut-off wheel, stone, sandpaper, polisher, etc.

alt text

spoulson

Posted 2010-07-21T19:41:24.867

Reputation: 605

I have two... well three Dremels. I got my first one when I was 16, and it's still going strong. One tip - buy the $13 Harbor Freight rotary accessory kits when they go on sale - it comes with more cutting wheels and they're almost as good as the Dremel ones. Plus it comes with a ton of other accessories. – Wayne Werner – 2010-07-22T03:08:12.863

1Just heed the warning sticker about "...not for home dental use." Unfortunately, I have a friend who actually used one to buff a chipped tooth D-8 – Jay – 2010-09-06T20:59:42.647

What are some things you use it for? – Vebjorn Ljosa – 2010-07-22T19:10:30.543

After cutting something metal, such as carpet threshold trim, you can use it to deburr and polish up the edges. – spoulson – 2010-07-23T11:59:06.900

+1 Love the dremel. When I first bought it I walked around the house LOOKING for projects to use it on. – JohnFx – 2010-07-21T22:09:51.540

Does this overlap with the oscillating tool suggestion? Would a dremmel be better/worse? – myron-semack – 2010-08-04T15:31:15.950

21

Rubber mallet - good for things where a hammer will just dent things - also good for adjusting things with taps.

Cade Roux

Posted 2010-07-21T19:41:24.867

Reputation: 256

@mwolfe02 See this answer, maybe you won't need the mallet so much.

– Tester101 – 2011-11-16T17:11:28.463

Usually called a "deadblow". – lecrank – 2012-01-10T22:27:21.620

The deadblow and rubber mallet are slightly different; they do mostly the same jobs, but a rubber mallet is solid rubber and can bounce back when you're really pounding on something. Hence the deadblow, filled loosely with lead shot and thus it has all the bounce of a sandbag. Because the deadblow has a hard shell, though, it can be more damaging to the surface being struck than a solid rubber mallet. – KeithS – 2013-05-03T18:47:52.193

I use mine far more than I use my hammer... – mwolfe02 – 2011-05-06T20:55:40.900

21

Fire extingusher

http://a.imageshack.us/img291/47/firekz.jpg

I have something similar to this Kiddie Single-use from Home Depot because of its ABC rating:

Suitable for use on Class A (trash, wood, & paper), Class B (liquids & gases) and Class C fires (energized electrical equipment). The Full Home unit is fitted with a pressure gauge that provides at-a-glance status, is manufactured from lightwieght aluminum and a tough nylon valve assembly.

  • Mult-Purpose Dry Chemical
  • UL Listed / Rated 1-A, 10-B:C
  • Suitable for use on most common fires

Better to have it and not need it!

Jared Harley

Posted 2010-07-21T19:41:24.867

Reputation: 1 188

A lot of insurance companies give discounts if you've got one of these in your home. – Doresoom – 2010-07-29T16:48:05.230

21

Complete socket wrench set for 1/4", 3/8", and 1/2" drives and box/closed end wrenches. Should include shallow and deep sockets. Places like Sears will carry an affordable portable fitted toolbox with all the sockets and wrenches.

alt text

spoulson

Posted 2010-07-21T19:41:24.867

Reputation: 605

3more for fixing cars then normal DIY – Walker – 2010-07-22T08:36:02.863

2There are plenty of hex bolts around the house that need sockets and wrenches: Decks use lag bolts and carriage bolts. Some water and gas line fittings need box end wrenches (sometimes an adjustible wrench won't cut it). etc. – spoulson – 2010-07-22T14:21:39.593

1+1 on the need for shallow and deep sockets. Some things to look for in a socket set: Extensions for all of the ratchets (1/4, 3/8, 1/2). Also, I recommend getting 6 point sockets versus 12-point. I've stripped too many bolts with a 12-point socket! – myron-semack – 2010-09-08T02:08:46.493

2

Use case: Toilet base bolts http://diy.stackexchange.com/questions/279/how-do-i-secure-a-toilet-bowl-to-a-tile-floor/297#297

– spoulson – 2010-07-22T15:51:32.897

Most important reason you need a good set of socket wrenches is for assembling and tightening all your power tools! ;-) – Bryce – 2012-06-21T17:28:00.733

2Yes, 12 point sockets are typically for engine building and specialty. Emphasis is on obtaining 6 point sockets. – spoulson – 2010-09-29T11:56:28.147

7Image is overkill - a couple of adjustable ones have done all I need around the house so far... – MGOwen – 2010-07-29T05:40:08.547

Agree with @MGOwen, I think a socket set is important, but mine just has 8 or 10 standard sizes in each US and Metric and that's plenty for me. If I didn't own autos with metric bolts then the US set would be enough for around-the-house stuff. – cori – 2010-07-29T12:26:21.433

18

A Block Plane

Fits in a toolbelt or toolbox. Comes out every time something almost fits. Saves eight million trips back to the table saw. Handles simple rounding and shaping.

alt text

Rod Fitzsimmons Frey

Posted 2010-07-21T19:41:24.867

Reputation: 2 397

18

I'm surprised no one has mentioned them but I think a good set of chisels are invaluable. Any time you're working with wood, a sharp set of chisels can be the key to getting a good fit and finish.

alt text http://www.homedepot.com/catalog/productImages/400/bb/bbd57c9f-731a-4157-a906-88f6437204b9_400.jpg

Cody C

Posted 2010-07-21T19:41:24.867

Reputation: 2 583

a good set of chisels is worth its weight in gold. I use mine all the time – Wayne Werner – 2010-08-01T04:18:47.613

17

Safety Glasses

alt text

Not really a "tool" per se, but one thing I ALWAYS and is stress ALWAYS make sure I have in my tool box and wear all the time.

Had a friend that got metal in his eye and had to have the metal drilled out, creeped me out so much that I now wear safety glasses anytime I do any kind of work around the house.

user45

Posted 2010-07-21T19:41:24.867

Reputation:

1It took a trip to the emergency room (brake cleaner blowback) to cure me of "I don't need no stinkin' sissy eyewear"-syndrome forever. I'm so very lucky I didn't blind myself, and I'm never taking chances. Also, hearing protection, gloves and appropriate shoes :) – BryanH – 2012-07-14T02:17:37.397

17

Adam Robinson

Posted 2010-07-21T19:41:24.867

Reputation: 526

never had luck with the "tapping" method. I usually end up with 3-4 holes instead of 1. – dave thieben – 2010-08-05T17:49:24.723

1http://xkcd.com/952/ – Doresoom – 2011-09-16T16:38:14.093

1Yeah, can someone recommend a specific model of stud find that performs well? I have tried a few and they are pretty in-exact. – myron-semack – 2010-07-23T15:06:41.550

5how does one identify a good stud finder? I have two and neither are that great at finding studs. tapping on the walls is usually more effective. – mmccoo – 2010-07-21T20:00:52.197

8i've bought about a dozen stud finders in my lifetime. in my experience, zircon stud finders are the most reliable, consistent and accurate. the big home improvement places usually carry 2-4 different kinds. make sure to buy one that has an LCD display to show you the strength of the reflected signal. – longneck – 2010-07-28T14:19:22.030

I've had good luck finding studs with strong magnets which are attracted to the nails or screws in the stud. – jacobsee – 2011-02-12T06:30:35.200

15

A small pancake compressor. You can easily borrow / rent the tools, but having the compressor for so many jobs comes in handy. Can also be used without a tool to blow stuff off, fill tires, etc.

mohlsen

Posted 2010-07-21T19:41:24.867

Reputation: 4 819

2I have a cheap $40-60 Harbor Freight 3 gallon oil-free compressor. I think I've probably used that more than any other single tool I've purchased - I fill tires, exercise balls, drive my nail/staple guns, airbrush... it's quite excellent! – Wayne Werner – 2010-07-23T03:44:55.760

14

A Good Multi-tool

enter image description here

My personal favourite tool was my Gerber - though I know some people also like/prefer Leathermans. This is one thing where going cheap is not worth it. Anything Gerber, -Leatherman, -SOG, or any other quality tool brand really shines when compared with a cheap $10 variety. Seriously - save up for a few months and buy a good one. You'll be very glad you did.

I used mine almost daily until I lost it :'(

I'm saving up for a new one :D

Wayne Werner

Posted 2010-07-21T19:41:24.867

Reputation: 640

1I routinely cut down 1-3 inch thick trees/weeds with the mini-saw on my leatherman. – Yitzchak – 2012-06-10T15:31:18.103

That or a swiss army knife. I can't live without it anymore. – Toon Krijthe – 2010-10-04T11:00:19.183

3Multitools are useful because once you're up the ladder/stuck in the crawlspace, there's always that one extra tool you didn't bring with you. Sure, the screwdriver might suck, but at least it's there. – Alex Feinman – 2010-07-28T21:09:07.633

11

A ratchet with a gator-grip head. That is, unless unlike myself, you really like digging through a toolbox full of sockets for every job and can't identify the sizes on sight.

BTW: I have no interest in the company that makes Gator-grip, I just didn't know the generic name for this type of tool (if there is one).

alt text http://img651.imageshack.us/img651/4903/gatorgripwrench.jpg

JohnFx

Posted 2010-07-21T19:41:24.867

Reputation: 2 699

That actually looks pretty spiffy--never seen that before – Michael Haren – 2010-08-05T17:01:51.347

+1 Good advice for a home DIYer, because it's so space-efficient. – Bill Karwin – 2010-09-26T16:25:26.310

1I will warn though. That a regular driver socket properly sized is much better at getting tough bolts off. This one will work, but sometimes it doesn't get as much traction. It is darn handy though. – JohnFx – 2010-09-27T01:09:33.827

For home improvement tasks, I wouldn't say that a ratchet is actually that important. It's definitely a must-have general DIY tool, but not a whole lot of things in the house are going to present an opportunity for use. – Adam Robinson – 2010-07-21T19:52:35.027

I'll echo @JohnFx and also mention that in my experience the Gator-grip can round or otherwise damage bolt heads. – Zeke – 2013-04-11T00:17:45.713

1I use mine on almost every project for something or another. For Home improvement tasks I find it handy mostly as a meta tool (removing blades from my circular saw, for example). – JohnFx – 2010-07-21T22:09:21.523

11

A hack saw.

alt text

Umber Ferrule

Posted 2010-07-21T19:41:24.867

Reputation: 192

10

A Good Flashlight

Regular and Small versions are good to have - I'm constantly looking for one when trying to fix something.

Steve Tranby

Posted 2010-07-21T19:41:24.867

Reputation: 101

A headlamp might be a good alternative so you can use both of your hands still. – Greg – 2010-11-22T22:01:31.270

Also a hanging lamp is useful, or a snake light that can wrap around, otherwise the headlamp is great advice – Steve Tranby – 2010-11-30T18:16:28.070

Not sure why this got downvoted - I think a good flashlight is indispensable. There are always nooks and crannies that are too dark to see into, screws that have been lost in the shadows, etc. – Rod Fitzsimmons Frey – 2010-07-29T21:00:55.280

9

My outlet tester; beats sticking a paperclip in the outlet to see if it's live...

alt text http://www.acmehowto.com/howto/homemaintenance/electrical/images/no/outlettester.jpg

gnome

Posted 2010-07-21T19:41:24.867

Reputation: 215

plus it tells you if you wired the darn thing correctly. Incidentally it's also a tool that every (performing) musician should own. Also I tend to carry mine in my backpack to check outlets @ hotels, etc. to make sure it's safe to plug my laptop in. – Wayne Werner – 2010-08-09T10:12:08.093

Oh.. yes... that that correct wiring thing you mention ;-) Thanks for the tip. I'm going to throw my spare one in my pack as well. I tend to work from coffee shops and it would really ruin my day if a poorly wired outlet blew my computer. – gnome – 2010-08-10T05:30:06.920

9

alt text

I love Japanese saws. They cut on the pull stroke and leaves a very narrow kerf (the channel that it cuts). I find that it cuts through wood a lot easier. Cutting on the pull stroke means that the blade won't bend. For saws that cut on the push stroke (most western saws), the blade might bend as you push.

I have this all purpose one, Japanese Modern Ryoba Saw, at home. One side is for ripping (cutting to a certain width) the other is for cross cutting (cutting to a certain length)

milesmeow

Posted 2010-07-21T19:41:24.867

Reputation: 2 112

9

alt text

A straight edge is really important. I actually have a 48" long aluminum ruler/straight edge that has a significant depth. It's great for drawing long lines and I sometimes use it as a guide for a circular saw or router.

milesmeow

Posted 2010-07-21T19:41:24.867

Reputation: 2 112

9

A decent table saw

After getting a cordless drill and a power miter saw.

BrianK

Posted 2010-07-21T19:41:24.867

Reputation: 4 073

8

A collection of good-quality clamps of different sizes, including some that can be tightened with one hand.

Vebjorn Ljosa

Posted 2010-07-21T19:41:24.867

Reputation: 6 844

+1 - It's often like having an extra hand (or two, or three) – Eric Petroelje – 2010-07-28T17:23:19.217

You can never too many clamps!! – Craig Trader – 2010-08-05T15:19:30.510

8

Adjustable Spanner (Wrench)

enter image description here

Can be used on a wide variety of nut sizes.

Mike Perry

Posted 2010-07-21T19:41:24.867

Reputation: 1 688

7

Lineman's Pliers

Lineman's pliers are a sort of heavy duty combination of wire-cutter and pliers. A pair of lineman's pliers accompanied by a pair of wire strippers is about all you need to do just about any home wiring project. I've also used it to pull out staples and nails, bend sheetmetal, cut open tubes of silicon, and even as a light-duty makeshift hammer when I didn't want to walk all the way back to the garage.

alt text

Shane

Posted 2010-07-21T19:41:24.867

Reputation: 476

The only gripe I have about mine is that you need room to work; I have Kobalt's middle-of-the-road 8-inch linesman's pliers, and they're rather bulky for average household electrical work. I prefer my needle-nose pliers, which have all the same features including the "nutcracker" behind the hinge, but the longer nose makes working inside a J-box easier.

– KeithS – 2013-05-03T19:34:14.917

7

A hammer drill

Something you'll definitely want if you're doing any kind of drilling into masonry or stone. A bonus is that these can typically be used as just a regular drill by turning off the hammering action, so it's basically a 2-in-1 tool. Some even let you turn off the drilling action so you can use it like a small jackhammer.

alt text

gnovice

Posted 2010-07-21T19:41:24.867

Reputation: 376

1Installing a flat-screen TV over the fireplace, something like this is mandatory. :) – GalacticCowboy – 2010-08-12T16:55:13.280

I've used mine for things like installing a garden hose reel on a brick wall and drilling holes for cane bolts for my backyard gate. – gnovice – 2010-08-12T18:02:55.673

7

Workbench with a Vice

This may not count as a "tool", but not having one can make DIY projects difficult. I don't have one, and trying to sharpen a mower blade on your kitchen table is sub-optimal. Then there was the metal bracket I needed to drill a hole into... holding it with my hand...

I've had my eye on this bench from Home Depot. I like the steel work surface. I will need to drill holes to bolt the vice to the top, though.

alt text http://www.homedepot.com/catalog/productImages/300/82/82549c7e-6099-4381-84be-7b72a7c3afd4_300.jpg

Update: Last weekend, I bought this bench along with a 6" vice. My dad and I assembled it as a weekend project. We drilled holes for the vice and secured it with 1/2" bolts. Overall I am pleased with it. It did require a drill for assembly, which was a little unexpected. Here are the photos. (Sorry for the poor lighting, a good workshop light is next on my list!)

myron-semack

Posted 2010-07-21T19:41:24.867

Reputation: 3 115

If you don't have room for a whole workbench, you can still get a small vice that screws onto an existing table or desk. That's what I'm using right now, and while it's not as sturdy as a bench vise, it has helped me cut through some metal pieces and hold some other things securely. – geerlingguy – 2012-11-29T13:12:05.537

I'm actually working on building my own work bench. It's too darn hot outside, though - and since we're renting a small duplex that's the only place I have to work... – Wayne Werner – 2010-07-23T20:33:52.283

In our house, workbenches ARE a vice!!! – Craig Trader – 2010-08-05T15:21:11.680

7

Gloves. A good pair will save you several trips to the first aid kit.

enter image description here

BMitch

Posted 2010-07-21T19:41:24.867

Reputation: 38 597

7

Cordless Impact Driver

alt text http://www.lcdpayless.com/images/ryobi/RyobiOnePlusImpactDriver1.jpg

The ultimate compliment to your cordless drill - it does everything my cordless drill sucked at doing!

  1. Drives in screws without mangling the fastener head (phillips head screws anyone?)
  2. Removes rusted/stuck items like you wouldn't believe (Read: no rounded out screws or rounded off nuts/bolts)
  3. Cordless Drill will not drive a 3" screw into a stud - Impact Driver doesn't break a sweat.
  4. Compared with cordless drill, much less torque transferred to your wrist makes it more comfortable to operate

kkeilman

Posted 2010-07-21T19:41:24.867

Reputation: 3 103

Not on the one I own - you vary the torque by how far you squeeze the trigger on the tool. – kkeilman – 2010-08-05T18:44:02.503

Mine now gets way more use than its cordless drill brother – mac – 2012-11-20T22:50:53.390

@kkeilman - What you refer to with the downward impact stroke is a hammer drill, meant mainly for heavy drilling e.g. concrete. An impact driver adds rotational power with its impacts; it's the motorized version of you putting a box wrench on a bolt and hitting the other end with a mallet to loosen or tighten it. As far as use, I mainly use mine outside, for fencing, deckwork, swing sets, and other situations involving lag bolts and long wood screws. – KeithS – 2013-05-03T19:00:53.420

Is the impact driver a superset of a normal drill? Can it do everything a drill does? Or is it something you only use on special occasions? – myron-semack – 2010-08-04T15:25:14.250

I really wouldn't call it a superset of a drill - the force delivered by an impact driver is a downward strike (like hitting the fastener on top with a hammer) in addition to the high rotational torque.

It's something I use to insert and remove screw-type fasteners with - which is quite a lot on projects I work on, so I wouldn't classify it as "special use" - I use it all the time.

Drill holes with a drill - insert screw(s) with an impact driver. Your hand, wrist and arm will thank you – kkeilman – 2010-08-04T18:51:29.593

Is it OK for general purpose philips screw driving? Or is it only appropriate for "big/tough" screwing (e.g. into a stud)? – myron-semack – 2010-08-04T20:49:47.503

Most definitely OK for general purpose work. Just be careful when driving the screws back in - you can apply a lot of torque in a big hurry. – kkeilman – 2010-08-04T21:14:26.320

Can you dial back the toque like you can with an electric screwdriver? – myron-semack – 2010-08-04T21:31:59.950

5

Jeremy McGee

Posted 2010-07-21T19:41:24.867

Reputation: 1 664

And you can beat the heck out of it and it'll shrug it off. I have the model with the cloth pockets below, which is handy for catching all of the wood shavings, nails, screws, etc so they can go in the trash instead of on the garage floor. – BryanH – 2012-07-14T02:20:36.363

5

Oscillating tool

Those cheapo harbor freight version of the Fein Multi-master et al. are nearly as good but much lighter on the pocketbook:

alt text http://www.harborfreight.com/media/catalog/product/cache/1/image/370x/9df78eab33525d08d6e5fb8d27136e95/i/m/image_5662.jpg

Wayne Werner

Posted 2010-07-21T19:41:24.867

Reputation: 640

Ditto on the dremel multi-max. Great tool. – Mike B – 2010-09-26T18:02:54.223

Great suggestion. I'd like to add my 2 cents about quality: From my experience (particularly with tools) you get what you pay for. Sometimes buying something that costs twice as much will be cheaper because you only have to buy it once. – mattz – 2010-12-22T20:10:45.657

I got one of these (Craftsman) as a present. I've used it a few times for making small "plunge" cuts, particularly in tight spaces where a saw didn't fit. It cuts slowly, but it gets the job done! – myron-semack – 2011-05-25T14:30:43.063

1I have the Dremel Multi-Max - far less expensive than the Fein, but has 85% of the capability at 1/3 the price (even cheaper if you buy a refurbished one). – kkeilman – 2010-08-03T23:49:03.360

Does this overlap with something like a Dremel? Or do they both do different things? – myron-semack – 2010-08-04T15:19:26.267

If you're referring to the Dremel rotary tool, yeah they do different things. But they sell the multi-max: http://www.dremeloscillatingtool.com/ that's something completely different. Youtube "oscillating tool" and you'll find all sorts of great info.

– Wayne Werner – 2010-08-04T18:16:54.873

5

You'll definitely need a torpedo level. I don't have a lot of storage space, so I just have one of these torpedo levels.alt text

milesmeow

Posted 2010-07-21T19:41:24.867

Reputation: 2 112

Duplicate post. Someone already mentioned levels. – Mike B – 2010-09-26T18:04:41.303

The laser level is not really the same thing...it creates a leveled line...great if you need a really long leveled line. A torpedo level is a lot better for checking the level quickly and easily of a surface. The laser level takes a lot of time to setup and calibrate. Sometimes you just need to quickly check if something is level. If you have the money, you can invest in both. – milesmeow – 2010-09-26T18:12:14.360

5

Aviation shears (tin snips)

enter image description here

These are like giant wire cutters. They are designed to give you a massive amount of leverage from a squeeze of the hand. They're great for cutting anything that will fit in the jaws : wire, nails, sheet metal, conduit, doweling, and corner beads.

Moyersy

Posted 2010-07-21T19:41:24.867

Reputation: 84

5

Head lamp

Much easier than having someone else hold a flashlight, or trying to balance the light against the tool box.

head lamp

BMitch

Posted 2010-07-21T19:41:24.867

Reputation: 38 597

If you're a baseball cap wearer, I recommend getting one that clips to the brim of your cap. – lecrank – 2012-01-10T22:31:31.273

I used one of these when blowing in insulation for my attic. It would have been a lot trickier without it. I could hold on to a rafter with one hand and operate the blower hose with the other without having to worry about losing my balance and putting a foot through the new ceiling I had just installed. – Doresoom – 2011-07-06T16:13:24.000

5

A decent quarter-sheet, general purpose palm sander. Especially one with decent fastening capabilities.

Bosch 1297 http://www.plumbersurplus.com/images/prod/5/Bosch-1297DK-rw-80730-148351.jpg

cori

Posted 2010-07-21T19:41:24.867

Reputation: 335

"Palm Sander" is pretty open-ended. Quarter sheet? Detail Sander? Random Orbital? Which one would you recommend for the average home owner, and why? – myron-semack – 2010-08-04T15:21:59.323

I currently own this Black and Decker 4-in-1 power sander, but I'm not happy with its performance. http://www.blackanddecker.com/ProductGuide/Product-Details.aspx?ProductID=21418 Can anyone recommend a better one?

– myron-semack – 2010-08-04T15:23:32.037

Good point. I am partial to the quarter-sheet and for the general purpose usage that I view it as a necessity for I don't need detail-level or random-orbit features. One could say, though that it's must-own *because it's general - you "must own" whichever one will get the most use in your workshop.

with respect to your other question I am very happy with the one pictured above, but that doesn;t have all the features of the one you;re looking to replace.... – cori – 2010-08-04T20:01:05.963

The B&D one I have looked appealing because it can switch to the various modes, but it doesn't seem to remove material very evenly. (I tried to use it to sand/repaint my grill, and it took forever.) So, I've been looking at getting a quarter sheet sander as a secondary option. – myron-semack – 2010-08-04T20:36:41.103

5

Watchmakers Screwdriver Set

It seems like more and more things around the home use those pesky little screws. Also don't forget all those kids toys, electronics, etc that like to use those same little pesky screws.

Mike Perry

Posted 2010-07-21T19:41:24.867

Reputation: 1 688

I bought a set at Radio Shack about 15 years ago and they're still going strong. Only the tiniest flat head driver broke. Great for jewelry, computers, electronics, and tight spaces. Sometimes I use a needle noses pliers around the handle of one for extra leverage. – geerlingguy – 2012-11-29T13:17:05.230

5

Am surprised that no one has mentioned Duck Tape (Duct tape?) and 3 in 1 oil.... :)

t0mm13b

Posted 2010-07-21T19:41:24.867

Reputation: 101

-1: This is two different items. – Novelocrat – 2010-08-05T19:50:41.313

Ducttape is not a tool. – Toon Krijthe – 2010-10-04T11:01:08.650

4

Brian

Posted 2010-07-21T19:41:24.867

Reputation: 2 374

1I got a cheap one - wish it had the clamps like this! – GalacticCowboy – 2010-08-12T16:57:14.400

I've had good experiences with this thing. I don't do a lot of precise wood cutting, so I don't have much need for an expensive power miter saw (nor do I have the room). This thing is small and light, so it can go on a shelf when I'm not using it. You can also bolt it to your workbench for a permanent installation. – myron-semack – 2010-09-27T13:06:53.407

I have the older incarnation, where the back saw goes into a plastic piece to steady it, and that piece clamps to a post that has the angle adjustment. The box-jig design above is so much more elegant in its simplicity. – KeithS – 2013-05-03T19:04:53.750

4

A slide gauge

enter image description here

If you want to know what size bolt you're supposed to use, how deep a hole you need to drill or whenever precise measurement is needed.

JochemKempe

Posted 2010-07-21T19:41:24.867

Reputation:

2also called calipers. The cheap(est) kind mean you need to learn how to read a vernier scale, o'course (unless you're old enough to have learned on a slide rule ;) – Wayne Werner – 2010-08-09T10:13:52.057

4

A good solid 3-4 pound drilling hammer

...because regular hammers can chip when struck against hardened steel (i.e. chisels, star drills, hardened nails, etc.).

drilling hammer

gnovice

Posted 2010-07-21T19:41:24.867

Reputation: 376

4

A good knife.

Always in my pocket when working on something. (Knives like the one pictured seem impossible to find in hardware stores in the U.S. Where are they sold?)

knife

Vebjorn Ljosa

Posted 2010-07-21T19:41:24.867

Reputation: 6 844

You could probably find them online - but I wouldn't hold my breath for finding one elsewhere. – Wayne Werner – 2010-07-23T03:47:44.700

1I'd say a Stanley knife. – Umber Ferrule – 2010-07-29T22:18:51.210

Why this particular style of knife over a regular utility knife? – myron-semack – 2010-08-04T20:39:01.910

4@msemack, the long, strong blade is helpful when whittling a piece of wood (e.g., to make it fit around an unevenness in my old house) or when cutting something thick, like styrofoam or fiberglass. Also useful for stabbing building inspectors. – Vebjorn Ljosa – 2010-08-04T22:47:08.787

4

Tester101

Posted 2010-07-21T19:41:24.867

Reputation: 110 876

Newbie question... how does this tool differ from the "Non-Contact Voltage Tester" that was mentioned on the previous page? – Mike B – 2010-10-04T23:44:12.993

@Mike B: This tool is used to trace lines back to the breaker. The part that plugs into the receptacle also tests the receptacle and can tell you if it is wired properly. A non-contact voltage tester only tells you if the line is hot or not. – Tester101 – 2010-10-05T11:45:02.517

@MikeB - An NCVT is a safety tool; it lets you know if the switch you're about to open up is still live because you turned off the wrong breaker. A breaker finder does exactly that; plug it into the piece you need to work on and scan the panel switches for the correct breaker to throw. – KeithS – 2013-05-03T19:07:04.553

Good one. A tool that I don't have. My dad had something similar from his days as a cable guy and it was the only way to find the right coax wire at the junction box. – mmccoo – 2010-07-28T20:44:39.440

4

A Picquic.

enter image description here

[I would have left this as a comment on the screwdriver-set answer, but I don't have sufficient rep.]

If you're in Canada, the one tool I'd recommend above any other is the standard Picquic combination screwdriver. Canadian Tire's page is probably the best example -- judging by the reviews, I'm not the only one who loves it. :)

I've used mine for years, on almost every job I've done around the house. In a pinch, the bits also fit well into a cordless drill. There are probably good equivalents in other countries, though I've not run across any myself.

Gordon Brandly

Posted 2010-07-21T19:41:24.867

Reputation: 11

4

Snake Light

alt text http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41n6iyi-55L._SL500_AA300_.jpg

Stop holding a flashlight in your mouth.

dotjoe

Posted 2010-07-21T19:41:24.867

Reputation: 374

4

(Medium to Heavy Duty) Extension Lead/Cord

Leads on corded power-tools aren't always long enough to reach from power-outlet to working area.

Mike Perry

Posted 2010-07-21T19:41:24.867

Reputation: 1 688

3

(A high quality) Combination Square

enter image description here

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

Mike Perry

Posted 2010-07-21T19:41:24.867

Reputation: 1 688

3

Chalk Line

enter image description here

Snapping, setting out straight lines.

Mike Perry

Posted 2010-07-21T19:41:24.867

Reputation: 1 688

3

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

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

JohnFx

Posted 2010-07-21T19:41:24.867

Reputation: 2 699

definitely not a must own. I've got one and I've never used it. – cori – 2010-07-29T12:24:25.900

2I'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 – 2010-08-04T15:16:13.617

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 – 2010-08-04T15:17:30.917

2

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.

Martin

Posted 2010-07-21T19:41:24.867

Reputation:

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. – None – 2010-08-06T08:24:52.097

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 – 2010-08-05T15:34:30.003

2

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

Chad Cooper

Posted 2010-07-21T19:41:24.867

Reputation:

2

(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.

Mike Perry

Posted 2010-07-21T19:41:24.867

Reputation: 1 688

1

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

Craig Trader

Posted 2010-07-21T19:41:24.867

Reputation: 101

1I've wondered about power issues for the cordless versions. Anyone know about this? – Doresoom – 2010-08-05T18:00:58.260

2A 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 – 2010-08-30T19:10:29.640

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 – 2011-05-06T21:02:02.643

1

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.

jlpp

Posted 2010-07-21T19:41:24.867

Reputation: 1 124

May want to merge your answer with kkeilman's. – myron-semack – 2010-08-13T12:41:33.170

1

A good Do-it-yourself book.

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

Tester101

Posted 2010-07-21T19:41:24.867

Reputation: 110 876

My favorite is the Home Depot 1-2-3 books; one for general repair, another for plumbing. – geerlingguy – 2012-11-29T13:22:18.700

1

(A good quality) Handsaw

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

Mike Perry

Posted 2010-07-21T19:41:24.867

Reputation: 1 688

0

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

Zepplock

Posted 2010-07-21T19:41:24.867

Reputation: 245

1Duplicate. Adam already beat you to this one. – Doresoom – 2010-07-28T14:41:11.273

maybe merge your answer into his? (You have a picture with yours, so you answer is a bit cooler.) – myron-semack – 2010-07-28T17:29:04.590

0

Toolbox

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

Mike Perry

Posted 2010-07-21T19:41:24.867

Reputation: 1 688

0

Plumb-bob

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...

Mike Perry

Posted 2010-07-21T19:41:24.867

Reputation: 1 688

0

Nail Pincers & Nail Bars

enter image description here

Makes pulling out nails a breeze.

Mike Perry

Posted 2010-07-21T19:41:24.867

Reputation: 1 688

0

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.

Mike Perry

Posted 2010-07-21T19:41:24.867

Reputation: 1 688

0

A Diamond Sharpening Stone

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

Mike Perry

Posted 2010-07-21T19:41:24.867

Reputation: 1 688