DIY Starter Tools Lists

I get questions daily about what tools you should buy first as you’re getting into ‘do it yourself’ projects! So, I put together these lists to help you!

It is sooooo important to remember when buying tools that they pay for themselves! Sometimes it seems like they are pricey but when you calculate how much money you are SAVING by doing the project yourself (and then the next and then the next…) they are well worth the investment. For example, I had to buy two big tools on my last DIY project. I was saying how expensive they were when my husband reminded me that we were saving over $2200 doing the project ourself so spending $100 on a tool that made the project doable was very much worth it!

Level ONE- 
I included, in this level, all of the tools that I think are a must-have for your toolbox. A lot of the projects that I have done can be accomplished just with these tools. It would just take more time and effort than if you had power tools.

1. Screwdriver set
2. Adjustable Wrench
3. Utility Knife — I still use this in every project I do.
4. Stud Finder
5. Level — I have a 24 inch one and a 48 inch one and use them both in different ways.
6.  Tape Measurer — I have tried a lot of Tape Measurers over the years and this one is by far my favorite. We have a few.
7.  Hammer
8.  Needle Nose Pliers — I use these in most bigger projects too. A good pair goes a long way.
9.  Putty Knife — So many uses.
10.   Caulk Gun — Can’t use caulk without a caulk gun so gotta have it.
11.  Rubber Mallet– You’d think if you have a hammer you wouldn’t need one of these but nope. One of my most used tools.
12.  Crowbar
13.  Safety Goggles 
14.  Allen Wrenches

Level TWO-
This level has, what I would recommend, for your first power tool purchases. Almost all the fun DIY’s I have done can be accomplished just with the addition of these power tools. They are each a FANTASTIC investment. TIP: Decide on the brand of battery-operated power tools before you begin buying and stick to that brand. That way batteries are interchangeable. It helps SO much during projects and organization wise too.

1. Power Drill — This is the very first power tool I would recommend to invest in! THIS one is my favorite. I also love THIS pack that includes a hammer drill.

2. Drill Bit set — Without a good pack of bits the power drill is kinda useless so think of this as a package deal purchase with the drill. I really like THIS set. It has a good variety of tips and most of everything you’ll need. I still buy tips and bits sometimes but this is a good start.

3. Miter Saw — This is the very first saw purchase I would recommend, and what I would buy after the power drill. A lot of people end up buying a handheld saw first because they are less expensive but I would urge you to invest in a Miter saw first! I think they definitely offer more options for you projects wise. THIS is the one we have and I think it is a great deal and have loved it.

4. Shop-Vac — This isn’t really a tool, but once you get into using power tools you will definitely want one of these to clean up the mess. I use it every project and it’s a must in my opinion.

5. Nail Gun and Air Compressor — These go together because you can’t really have one without the other and they’re the best deals in a pack anyway. THIS is the pack we bought and I think it’s for sure the way to go. It comes with both a 16 Gauge (more heavy-duty) and an 18 Guage (smaller finish nailer) and a staple gun. WIN WIN WIN (office reference ?) This was the last power tool we purchased from this level. A lot of projects you can do the long way with a good old fashioned hammer and you’ll be just fine. But, goodness does it make projects wayyyy faster and more fun 🙂

Level THREE-
This level includes another step up of tools for more advanced projects. They are still not overly complex and things a beginner DIYer can totally figure out. I have some of these but I am still working towards getting a lot of them.

1.  Kreg Jig – I love this tool and there are so many more projects you can do when you add it to your toolset. The Kreg jig for making pocket holes is super easy to use! I just followed the instructions to learn. You will need a drill and number 2 and 3 from this level in order to use it.

2. Kreg Clamp – This holds the Kreg jig in place when you’re making pocket holes.

3.  Kreg Screws – This is technically a material and not a tool but the Kreg screws are made for the pocket holes. There is a guide on this pack to know which length to use given the thickness of the wood you made the pocket hole in. Super helpful.

4. Oscillator Tool – This tool is so handy!! You can get different blades and tips for lots of different uses. I used it usually with a blade to trim off small portions of wood in small spaces.

5. Orbit Sander – A sander is often a staple in a DIY toolkit. I only recently got one and it’s so nice. It speeds up my least favorite step of any project- sanding. I got a corded one because I’ve heard the ones with a battery drain really fast. They’re also more expensive. I use a little extension cord and the corded one has been great.

6. Circular Saw – Such a great multi-use saw. I don’t have one of these yet, but I’m hoping to soon!

7. Corner Clamp – This clamp is a must-have for building builtins, cabinets, benches, really anything with corners. It helps keep a perfect 90 degree when attaching boards together.

8. Jigsaw – These are so much fun!! The perfect tool for doing non-conventional cuts! Don’t have one of these, but hoping too!

9. Table Saw- This is my next big purchase for tools and it really opens up your abilities! Table saws along for long cuts. Right now I’m having home depot make my long cuts when I buy things like plywood but when I need to adjust I have to use my oscillator and it takes forever! They definitely scare me because they are the most dangerous of all the power tools I have listed but I will be definitely be getting one of THESE to keep my fingers.

I am probably missing something but there ya go!


1 Comment

  1. Rhiannon on April 22, 2020 at 1:53 am

    Love this so much! Would you ever be willing to post what projects you have done and what level you would consider them to be? This is so helpful! ��

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