Tools Every Homeowner Should Have to Up Their DIY Game

– iStock 857057458 – Tools Every Homeowner Should Have to Up Their DIY Game

You’ve got the basic tools every homeowner needs, but now you’re ready to up the ante. These 16 tools belong in the garage or shed of every homeowner who wants to build, fix and create around their home.

Putty knife

Great for spreading spackle, putty or just about anything, putty knives also are handy for scraping away dried glue, paint and other residue. They are available in different sizes, so you could even have two on hand–a smaller one for scraping jobs, a larger one for spreading.

Nail set

Want to sink those nail heads to give your project a more polished look? You need a nail set. Use one to sink the nail below the surface of the wood and then fill in with wood putty. Grab your sander (see below) or a square of sandpaper and smooth it out and the nail will never be seen.

Combination square

Get your angles and cuts just right with this versatile tool. It can verify 45- and 90-degree angles, get accurate depths and distances, and ensure your lines are straight. Combination squares also include a vial to ensure your work is level, which means you don’t have to grab your level if you’ve got the square out for your current project.

Wire stripper

Cut your wire with the cutting blade or score the wire coating so you can strip it away. This tool will save you time and help make your connections easier.


Hold wood, metal, plastic or whatever you’re working with together and in place without glue, nails or screws.


No home should be without one. Change a lightbulb, reach the gutters, get to the roof, clean away the cobwebs in those high, hard-to-reach corners… If you want to tackle any tall tasks, you need a ladder.

Compound miter saw

Trim crown molding, baseboards, 2-by-4s–you name it. This saw is the tool you need for making precise, against-the-grain cuts. With a miter saw, you can bring that perfect touch to angles, bevels and cross cuts. Or you can think bigger and frame your next house; with this saw, you can do it.

Circular saw

You need this workhorse in your tool collection. It will cut nearly anything–soft or hard woods, glass, ceramic tiles, stucco, glass, metal and brick. Cut holes in the wall for windows or a hole in the ceiling for a skylight. The key to using this saw is ensuring you have the right blade for your project. Blades include abrasive, steel, diamond, high-speed steel and carbide, and one is perfect for whatever you want to cut.


Got a curve to cut? Get a jigsaw. Redoing the bathroom? The jigsaw can cut the sink hole in your countertop. Need to run a cord through the back of a wooden cabinet? The jigsaw is perfect for creating those precise circular openings. Want to get fancy? Use your jigsaw to scroll or add fretwork details.

Table saw

Great for bigger pieces of lumber, a table saw cuts lengthwise along the grain, and also can make angled cuts and chop cuts. An adjustable guide ensures your cuts stay straight.  Because it’s portable, you can use a table saw just about anywhere, like your workbench or even the ground.


This is the tool you need to tackle big jobs. Cut through drywall or metal, tackle those low-hanging branches, cut off those nail heads. Versatile, but heavy, this saw is essential for bigger tasks.

Palm sander

More convenient than sandpaper, or even a larger belt sander, a palm sander typically includes a bag to catch your sawdust, too.


Get your surfaces perfect with this tool that shaves off thin slices of wood. It also is great for adjusting doors and windows that don’t quite close right anymore, can remove thick layers of paint and can cut corners off wood.

Air compressor

Pump up bike tires or camping mattresses, power your nail or staple gun, blow away sawdust, and power up your power washer. An air compressor is a versatile addition to your tool collection.


Use this tool to finish edges, shape wood, cut holes and make contours and grooves. Routers feature a spinning bit that works as the blade, and come with a variety of bits to ensure the right size and scope for any project.

Work light

While it’s not likely you’ll be diving into projects in the dark of night, don’t underestimate the value of a little extra light even in the middle of the day. A well-lit work area is must for accurate and quality work.

Some of these tools are inexpensive, while others might require more of an investment, but you can build your inventory gradually as time and money allow and before you know it, you’ll have everything you need no matter or how big the project.

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