The Essential Tool Kit for Home DIY

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DIY - Save Money and Do It Yourself!

So you want to start doing home maintenance to save money or you're fed up taking time off from work and waiting for tradesmen who don't turn up on time? Anyone can do basic DIY and whether you want to progress to more advanced DIY projects depends on how brave you are, your level of patience and if you are willing to learn by trial and error with a couple of disasters on the way! The info here describes the most common tools required for basic home maintenance.

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Choosing Tools for DIY

If you have limited experience of using tools, you could start with the basics:

  • Claw hammer for hammering nails, pulling them out and general bashing of stuff. A standard hammerhead weighs 1 lb, however you can buy lighter hammers for use with smaller gage nails
  • Various sizes of Phillips and flat head screwdrivers, large and small
  • Standard and long (snipe) nose pliers for holding, pulling, bending, twisting etc. They can also be used to undo small nuts
  • Hand saw for cutting lumber
  • Wire snips for cutting and stripping the insulation from wire
  • Set of wrenches (spanners) metric and / or inch. Combination wrenches with one end ring and the other end open are most useful. A socket wrench set is useful also.
  • Vise grips
  • Junior hacksaw for cutting small pieces of metal, plastic pipe etc
  • Measuring tape
  • Paint brushes
  • Stepladder
  • A head torch is extremely useful, I use it for all sorts of maintenance around the house when I need my two hands free
  • Utility knife

This would be sufficient for doing basic jobs around the home like tightening screws on cupboard doors, hanging pictures, tightening loose nuts, wiring mains plugs, tightening power sockets etc
You will also need some materials such as nails, screws, assorted nuts and machine screws, insulating tape, super-glue, epoxy resin glue etc.

From left to right, standard pliers, long (snipe) nose pliers, wire snips (side cutters)
From left to right, standard pliers, long (snipe) nose pliers, wire snips (side cutters) | Source
A hand saw is useful for cutting the odd length of timber, without the hassle of taking out power tools and an extension lead
A hand saw is useful for cutting the odd length of timber, without the hassle of taking out power tools and an extension lead | Source
Tape marked with inch and centimetre graduations. A 3 metre (10 foot) tape is nice and compact and fits in a pocket. A 6 or 7 metre tape can be used for longer measurements
Tape marked with inch and centimetre graduations. A 3 metre (10 foot) tape is nice and compact and fits in a pocket. A 6 or 7 metre tape can be used for longer measurements | Source
Junior hacksaw and vise grips
Junior hacksaw and vise grips | Source
Various screwdriver sizes
Various screwdriver sizes | Source
This screwdriver has a blade tip suitable for Phillips screws
This screwdriver has a blade tip suitable for Phillips screws | Source
Phase tester for checking whether power is present at a socket outlet
Phase tester for checking whether power is present at a socket outlet | Source
Combination spanners (wrenches)
Combination spanners (wrenches) | Source
A head torch keeps your hands free so you can use your tools more effectively  in badly lit locations
A head torch keeps your hands free so you can use your tools more effectively in badly lit locations | Source
Claw hammer (top) and builders (lump) hammer
Claw hammer (top) and builders (lump) hammer | Source

Tools for "Advanced" DIY


As you get more adventurous you could buy

  • Power drill
  • Set of HSS bits for drilling metal, and masonry bits if you want to mount anything on block or brick walls
  • A live wire/metal detector would be of benefit to check for live wires or metal plumbing buried in walls
  • A cordless drill is handy if you are driving a lot of screws
  • A jigsaw and/or circular saw would be useful for cutting plywood and other lumber.

For basic plumbing such as replacing faucet (tap) washers, you would need:

  • A suitably large wrench to remove the top of the faucet and possibly a water main key if the water has to be shut off at an inspection cover outside the house.

For electrical work such as replacing a broken socket , it is necessary to have:

  • Phase tester to double check whether the power is off when the breaker (MCB) is switched off at the breaker box.
  • Wire snips for cutting cable and also stripping wire.
  • Knife for paring insulation
  • A digital multimeter is useful for checking voltage, fuses, continuity of wires etc

If you are doing any garden maintenance you would need:

  • Spade
  • Shovel
  • Rake
  • Hedge trimmers
  • Loppers for cutting thicker branches from trees and shrubs
  • Bow saw for cutting branches off trees
  • A lump hammer or builders hammer has a heavy head, useful for breaking bricks or blocks, driving large nails, using with a chisel and any other application which requires brute force


A loppers can cut branches up to 3/4 inches thick
A loppers can cut branches up to 3/4 inches thick | Source
Digital multimeter
Digital multimeter | Source

While on the Subject.........

If you liked this hub, please take the time to rate it below. You may be also be interested in these related articles:

How to Cut Wood Square by Hand or With a Miter Saw

Buy Garden Tools - Get Ready for Spring!

Drilling a Wall

Working Safely at a Height

An Idiot's Guide to Power Tools

How to Wire a Plug

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