handyman’s handbook: the essential tools of diy
family, carpentry, woodwork and people concept - happy father and little son working with work tools and wood planks at workshop

If you’re someone who loves getting your hands dirty with DIY projects, you’ll know how important it is to have all the necessary tools in your arsenal. Unfortunately, with so many tools available on the market, it can be incredibly confusing as to which ones are essential and which ones are just novelty items. Well, to make things a heck of a lot easier for you, today we bring to you a helpful list that goes through the top 10 essential tools of DIY. Read on to find out more!

  • Electric Drill

An electric drill of any sorts, whether it be a large one or simply a small cordless drill, is essential in any DIY toolbox. A drill is a perfect tool for any project that requires you to handle a large number of screws and will make the entire DIY process a lot faster than if you were doing it by hand. Perfect for installing wall shelves, assembling bookshelves or any other large item, a drill is something that you certainly cannot go without if you’re an avid craftsperson! 

  • Various Screwdrivers

You probably already have a couple of screwdrivers hanging around the house, but ensuring that you get yourself both a flat head screwdriver and a Phillips screwdriver is the best way to prepare yourself for any DIY project. A flathead or straight screwdriver is invaluable and we suggest starting with at least a set of three (small, medium and large). When it comes to the Phillips, opt for a handle that accepts interchangeable tips which will help you cover a wide range of screw types and sizes.

  • A Set of Wrenches

Wrenches come in all shapes and sizes, ranging from monkey, pipe, torque, socket and spud. We recommend investing in a set of wrenches as they are incredibly versatile tools to have then you’re embarking on any DIY project. A great tip is to always keep your wrenches well organised so that you’ll never have to scramble looking for exactly which one you need. 

  • Spirit Level

The last thing you want to do is install a bunch of floating shelves on the wall only to realise that they aren’t sitting perfectly straight. The best way to avoid this is to purchase a spirit level. A spirit level contains a bubble in a fluid vial which sits between two markers and helps to check that your surface is sitting perfectly straight. Spirit levels range in length from 20cm to 180cm, so depending on the size of your projects, you’ll know which one is best for your individual needs. 

  • Putty Knife

A putty knife is another must-have and is the perfect tool when you’re scraping off wallpaper, reglazing a window and spreading spackling compound. We recommend opting for a set that offers you various sizes in order to ensure that you have the perfect sized knife for various jobs. 

  • Carpenter’s Pencil

You may currently be using any old random pencil to help mark your projects, but we highly recommend that you make the switch to a carpenter’s pencil. Using an actual carpenter’s pencil can truly make a world of difference due to the size and density of lead that is used. High-quality lead found in a carpenter’s pencil can help you make wide and easily distinguishable marks on a myriad of different surfaces including stone, concrete and wood. Trust us when we say you’ll never go back to your run of the mill pencil! 

  • The Humble Hammer

Of course, no DIY toolbox is complete without a quality hammer. One thing to note is that there are many different kinds of hammers that are meant for handling various tasks. The best way to know which hammer works best for you is to actually try it out in person. Pay attention to the grip, feel and weight of the hammer when selecting the one that suits you best. Do keep in mind that if you’re planning on using your hammer on the surface of a finished product, we highly recommend opting for one with a smooth face.

  • Tape Measure

Another essential in any toolbox is a tape measure. A tape measure is indispensable for measuring items, estimating material quantities and figuring out precise placements of objects. It’s safe to say that every project stands to benefit from a tape measure and most beginner DIYers shouldn’t need more than a 300in long tape. 

  • Speed Square

If you’re building any type of box or frame that involves 90 degree angles, you’re definitely going to need a speed square. Aside from ensuring that all your corners are at 90 degree angles, a speed square is also fantastic for marking angles and guiding saw cuts.  Check out some amazing ways to make use of your speed square here.

  • Utility Knife

Last but not least, the humble utility knife. Having one in your toolbox is perfect for situations in which you need to score plasterboard, trim the edges of carpet or even cut paint around windows. It also comes in handy when you need to cut cords, tape, strapping or even cardboard, so having one definitely outweighs not having one! 


And there you have it — 10 tools that no DIY toolbox should live without! We hope that this article has given you some insight into some of the things that may be lacking in your toolbox, so head to your local DIY to stock up as soon as possible. We promise that your projects will love you for it!