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Leslie Gilmour

I write for a living, mostly about travel, business, and DIY.



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20 DIY Tools That Should be in Every Toolbox

If you want to complete any job around the house, you will need a well-equipped toolbox. Whether it’s hanging a picture frame or putting your brand-new fabulous furniture together, you should be in possession these basic tools. No matter if you’re a beginner or an experienced DIYer, these items will prove invaluable for any project around your house.

1. Tape measure - a basic tape measure is crucial when it comes to any DIY project around the house. It’s better to measure twice before you cut anything during your work. This tool will help you check if your furniture fits in a room or if the curtains you’re about to purchase in a store are of the appropriate length. There is a wide range of widths to choose from, but a 16-foot long and ¾-inch wide tape measure is the most popular and useful option for nearly every project.

2. Philips screwdriver - presumably, this one is already in your toolbox. An X-shape screwdriver is one of the most urgent tools, as it appears essential in most DIY projects. This screwdriver has a four-star point at the end, and it’s best to have more than one of these, preferably in varying sizes.

3. Flathead screwdriver - also referred to as a straight screwdriver, it’s an irreplaceable tool that helps in most jobs. This one has a single blade and it is invaluable not only for screwing but also in conducting works such as scraping, prying or nudging.

4. Level - it’s close to impossible to accurately hang frames or photos without a level. This basic tool will help you install or hang anything incredibly quickly, with no fear of ending up with crookedly-hung paintings or pictures. Aim for a 3- to 4-foot metal level, but if you like to work with your hands-free - a laser one will come handy. 

5. Utility knife - this one is irreplaceable in any DIY project - whether you need to open a box or sharpen your pencils, the utility knife is an essential component of any toolbox.

6. Hammer - the best hammer is lightweight but also long - it will be extremely helpful in pulling and pounding nails or tapping anything into place. There is no way you can do anything around the house without a hammer.

7. Nail set - speaking of pounding and pulling, nails should be present in every house. You need these when you aim for hanging a photo or a frame, but if you want to avoid making ugly dents while using your hammer - this is a way to go. You can easily sink your nail head below the surface of the wood.

8. Putty knife - use this one when spreading spackle or paste. Spreading aside, the putty knife is of paramount importance when it comes to scraping dry paints and glues. For scraping, it’s recommended to choose a 1½-inch size, but the best putty knife for this activity will be a 5- or 6-inch one.

9. Combination square - if you want to scribe a straight line or verify a 45- and 90-degree angle for miter cuts, this tool will do the job. In addition, measuring short distances and depths with a combination square is anything but troublesome.

10. Pliers - this tool will assist you with holding any object firmly.  Since it locks in place, you can use it as a clamp. Also, a plier will allow you to bend, pull, or pinch metal.

11. Adjustable crescent wrench - it’s simply a wrench with a screw fixed to its head. You can compare it to having 50 different-sized wrenches in one. Moreover, its width is adjustable, so it proves versatile for different size of bolts or nuts.

12. Allen key (hex key) - this one is for driving screws and bolts with hexagonal sockets in their heads. A hex key is not only simple but also light, small, and helpful in fastening or loosening bolts.

13. Power drill - this one will help you rest your hands while turning screws. You can use it in most projects around the house that require drilling holes. Keep in mind not to go overboard with this tool, so you don’t strip the head of your screw!

14. Wire stripper - it’s made for crimping insulated connectors and stripping wires, which makes it one of the most useful items in your toolbox. A wire stripper will also allow you to cut your wire to the desired length.

15. C-clamp - this one is perfect if you want to glue or file plastic, metal or wood, as it holds the pieces together. It’s recommended to put a thin shim between the object and the clamp while working.

16. Electrical cord - we all know the pain of having a tool with too short a cord, but have no fear - this one will allow you to extend it to the desired length so that you can finish your project anywhere around the house.

17. Flashlight or work light - sometimes, unexpected things can happen in the dark, so it’s best to keep this one in a toolbox for the times when the power is out. Don’t forget about the batteries, too.

18. Step stool or ladder - it’s hard to imagine changing a light bulb, painting walls, or hanging curtains without a ladder. You’d better keep it around the house for your handiwork.

19. Pick up tools - these are extremely handy when you drop a bolt, screw or any other metal object. You can either use a flexible magnetic pick-up tool or a mechanical grabber claw. The second one pairs well with LED light to help you see the objects you’re in search of.

20. Broom and dustpan - last but not least, you always have to clean up after DIYing around the property, so it goes without saying that equipping your house with a dedicated set for this job is a must.

Leslie write for Midland Stone a garden DIY provider in Ireland.

Do you have any favorite tools in your arsenal? What DIY projects are you most proud of? Share your stories with me!


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