Essential List of Must Have Hand Tools For DIY [2023 Update]

Whether you’re renting or have your own place, after some time you quickly realize the number of odd jobs that begin to crop up. Even the simplest of problems can become a glaring issue when not taken care of. Having a collection of tools on standby will allow you to tackle these unexpected jobs immediately, keeping your place in tip-top shape, saving you money, and learning a new skill in the process!

So which hand tools do you need? Fortunately, we have put together this list which features 20 hand tools that will cover any DIY job that happens to crop and catch you by surprise, enjoy!

1. Screwdriver Set

No household is complete without a complete screwdriver set. Long gone are the days of spending 30 minutes looking through every drawer in your house, searching for that mini screwdriver you got in last year’s Christmas cracker. When shopping for a screwdriver set, make sure it includes both flat and cross head drivers in a variety of sizes.

2. Hammer

Many believe the hammer to be the first hand tool made by humans. If that doesn’t prove their effectiveness I don’t know what will. Of course, they have come a long way since the cavemen times with the many types of hammers available today.

A trusty claw hammer is recommended which features a standard face for hammering in nails and a curved claw to pry and remove nails.

3. Tape measure

Tape measures prove incredibly useful through the entirety of a project. From sizing up material or a specific area before starting to performing quick checks mid-way through, they are an invaluable tool to have. A good quality metal tape measure will last you for a very long time, definitely a worthy investment!

4. Spirit Level

There aren’t many DIY jobs that won’t require the use of a spirit level. If you are going to invest your own time into a project you want it done well, else what is the point? Avoid wonky pictures and sloping floors by having a spirit level as part of your arsenal of tools! A torpedo level is a great smaller alternative if you don’t require a full-length level.

5. Hacksaw

When you need to make a quick cut but don’t have the time or the need to pull out a power tool, you use a hacksaw. These mighty hand-held saws can cut through a variety of materials such as wood, plastic, metals and more. Lightweight and quick to pick up, their usefulness cannot be overstated, get one!

6. Pliers

Pliers are perfect for grabbing hold of objects in hard to reach places and to ply material. They are also great for keeping your hand away from danger, for example during metalwork.

7. Adjustable Wrench

Although owning a full wrench set is a good idea, some people just don’t want excess tools taking up space and would much prefer an all in one kind of tool. When it comes to wrenches, an adjustable wrench is the one to get. It will save you having to own varying sized wrenches and with the easy to adjust mechanism, switching between jobs is a breeze.

8. Multi-Tool

As the name suggests, a multi-tool will cover you for several small DIY jobs. As well as being extremely versatile, they are also highly portable. You can even keep it in your pocket throughout the day, allowing you to perform maintenance on the go.

9. Staple Gun

Staple guns are great at fastening one material to another. For example, when you have a bit of carpet that is riding up or the upholstery on an old chair is coming loose. They are also very good around Christmas and birthdays for putting up decorations!

10. Utility Knife

A utility knife will come in handy for more jobs I could list. Easy to tuck away when not in use and incredibly lightweight when in use you’d be doing yourself disservice not owning one.

11. Spackle Knife

Spackle knives are used for scraping surfaces to remove such things as dried adhesive or old paint. They are also useful to fill gaps, such as a hole in your drywall, by spreading material such as sealant and plaster over them. Doing it by hand or with any other tool will only lead to an ugly and unsightly finish.

12. Speed Square

At first glance, a speed square may look like a useless triangular-shaped ruler. This certainly isn’t the case! Speed squares help you measure and find the correct angles and are the easiest way to prep for a cutting job.

13. C-Clamp

For many jobs, holding down your workpiece with one hand while you work with the other will is fine. However, there are those where you need your workpiece completely secure with zero movement or need both hands free, owning a few c clamps is the solution. Super easy to use and cheap to pick up they will make your life a lot easier!

14. Caulking Gun

Caulking guns are made to hold the caulk or sealant container and deliver it to whichever gaps and cracks you need filling with the squeeze of a handle. Without a doubt the most hassle-free and efficient way to deliver your caulk.

15. Chalk Line

Lesser known but very effective, chalk lines feature a box of chalk with a reel of string inside it. When you need to mark a straight line all you have to do is reel out the appropriate length of string and attach it to something with the metal hook. You then ‘snap’ the line with your finger to impact a line of chalk onto your work surface.

16. Work Light / Flashlight

You never know when the power may go out, leaving you fumbling around in the dark trying to get it back on. Avoid these situations by owning a faithful flashlight. They are also useful to illuminate poorly lit working conditions. Make sure you opt for LED lights as these have a brighter white light compared to the yellow tint of a bulb.

17. Metal File

A metal file is to metal what sandpaper is to wood. Maybe you have a few metal corners in your house that you feel are hazardous, taking a metal file to them is an easy way to smoothen them out. They can also be used to clean up the surface of metal caused by poor soldering work.

18. Shovel

If you need to dig a hole, there is no better tool than a shovel. However, this isn’t the only reason to purchase one as they are also great for transferring and moving material from one location to another.

19. Duct Tape

Some may not regard duct tape as a hand tool, but we, along with many others, do. It may just be the most versatile item on this list. The variety of situations in which duct tape can prove useful is pretty much unlimited. Have a leaky hose? Patch it up with some duct tape. New furniture marking your flooring? Place a layer of duct tape under the legs of your furniture.

20. Safety Gear

It would be wrong to talk about tools without mentioning safety, which is why it takes the final spot on our list. Mistakes happen when you least expect them and waiting for your first accident before you take action is a foolish thing to do! Take care of yourself and invest in some protective gloves, safety glasses and a dust mask.

There you have it, 20 hand tools that you can put to use when a DIY project creeps up on you when you least expect it! By no means do we suggest buying all 20, but a healthy mixture of the above tools is sure to cover the majority of your DIY needs and make your life a lot easier!


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