Now, I’m a builder who’s grown up in a household full of builders, so I have always had access to just about every type of tool you could possibly think of. Often when I’m at my mates’ houses, they’ll ask me to have a quick look at whatever DIY problem they’re tackling (you know who you are, fellas!), and I’ll ask to use their must-have tools like a hammer, screwdriver or spanner – and just get a blank look from them.

20 must-have tools for DIY

So for their (and your) benefit, here’s my run-down of 20 essential items everybody should have in their toolkit…

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1. A toolbox  

I know, we’re kicking off with a pretty obvious one here, but losing all your tools at the back of a cupboard or down the back of the ‘man drawer’ is a proper pain in the backside. So get a box – you won’t regret it.

Sale
STANLEY STST1-75521 Essential 19 Toolbox with Metal latches, Black/Yellow, Inch
  • Innovative design, robust structure and large storage volume
  • Top organiser lid for small parts storage
  • Metal latches for longer life

Last update on 2022-07-29 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

2. Hammers

Preferably a claw hammer that you can remove nails with, lift floorboards or use as a mini crowbar. And a 4lb lump hammer for doing the heavy work (just don’t drop it on your foot).

Sale
STANLEY STHT0-51310 20oz Fiberglass Curved Claw Hammer, 570g
  • Claw hammer is perfect for hammering and removal of nails
  • Strong fiberglass shaft provides additional strength and durability
  • Added protection and durability within key vulnerable area of shaft from when hammer is accidentally overstriked from target area

Last update on 2022-07-29 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Sale
Silverline HA38 Fibreglass Lump Ha mmer 4 lb (1.81 kg)
  • Forged steel head
  • Shock-absorbing, high-strength fibreglass shaft with nylon surround
  • Powder-coated head with polished striking faces

Last update on 2022-07-29 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

3. Screwdrivers

You need two Phillips screwdrivers (big and small), two flat-head screwdrivers (big and small), a set of tiny screwdrivers (like you get in a Christmas cracker but more hard-wearing), and a set of Allen keys. You’ll always lose the free Ikea ones, and you never know when you’ll need them.

You could also bypass all these and just get yourself a multi-bit screwdriver set – it makes a great housewarming present and you can also load the bits into a cordless drill.

Sale
Stanley STHT070885 Multibit Screwdriver Set, 22.8x 7.6x 5cm (34 Pieces)
  • Content: 34 pieces
  • Includes all the popular screwdriver sizes
  • Material: chrome vanadium steel

Last update on 2022-07-29 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

4. A cordless drill

Preferably with a hammer drill setting. You will use this for almost every DIY job you have to do.

BLACK+DECKER 18 V Cordless 2-Gear Combi Hammer Drill Power Tool with Kitbox, 1.5 Ah Lithium-Ion,...
  • A compact two gear combi drill for all screw driving, drilling and hammer drilling into wood, metal and masonry
  • All metal motor and gearbox that deliver 21 000 BPM for hammer drilling in masonry applications and 0 - 1 400 RPM variable speed for drilling and screw driving applications
  • 10 torque setting for precise screw driving into various materials and the variable speed function for control in a range of applications

Last update on 2022-07-29 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

5. A Stanley Knife (and spare blades)

Stanley knives are brilliant. Blunt Stanley knives are rubbish. Whether you’re just sharpening a pencil or doing cuts on kitchen lino, you must have a sharp Stanley knife with a retractable blade.

Stanley Sm9 Snap Off Blade Knives (3) 2 10 150
  • Not for sale to persons under the age of 18
  • By placing an order for this product, you declare that you are 18 years of age or over
  • This item must be used responsibly and appropriately

Last update on 2022-07-29 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

6. Saws

You need a panel saw and a junior hacksaw. If you’re feeling ambitious, get yourself a coping saw too, but make sure you have extra blades as they snap easily. A panel saw comes with 45 and 90-degree angles to help your carpentry.

Sale
Spear & Jackson B9822 Predator Universal Saw, 22" x 8pts
  • General purpose saw for use along and across the grain, gives a rapid, clean cutting action
  • Rigid blade minimises whip and vibration
  • Suitable for timber, hardwood, chipboard and MDF

Last update on 2022-07-29 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Sale
Bahco 239 Junior Saw
  • Complete with 150 mm (6'') metal cutting blade
  • With orange powder coated steel wire frame
  • Teeth per inch (TPI): 32

Last update on 2022-07-29 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

7. Wood chisels

You need at least an inch chisel, a half-an-inch chisel and an 1/8-inch chisel. These will come with blade covers. Do not lose them or your chisels will go blunt. These are precision tools for carpentry and you’ll need a decent sharpening stone too.

Sale
Rolson 56159 4 pc Wood Chisel Set
  • 4pc Wood Chisel Set
  • Precision ground blades
  • Drop forged, heat treated blades

Last update on 2022-07-29 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Stanley 0-16-050 Sharpening System Kit
  • Guides the user to achieve a precise sharp edge that is square to the blade
  • Angle setting gauge with preset markings - 25 deg, 30 deg or 35 deg
  • Comes with: Honing Guide, Oilstone, White oil

Last update on 2022-07-29 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

8. Cold chisel and a bolster

These are two invincible friends. Just try getting floorboards up without them.

Sale
Stanley 418332 FatMax Cold Chisel 1 x 12-Inch with Guard
  • STANLEY cold chisels and brick bolsters are fully hardened and tempered for cutting brickwork and concrete
  • Bi-material hand guard for increased comfort and protection from overstrike
  • Forged from chrome vanadium steel for increased strength and durability and less grinding

Last update on 2022-07-29 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Sale
Draper Redline 68603 100 x 220 mm Brick Bolster with Hand Guard , Blue
  • Octagonal shank chisel
  • Manufactured from medium carbon steel hardened and tempered
  • Ground cutting edge

Last update on 2022-07-29 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

9. A tape measure

Don’t get a flimsy one. Anything with a broad tape is going to be much more useful. Ensure it’s at least 5m long.

Stanley 1-30-696 Metric/Imperial Tape Measure with 19mm Blade, 5m/16'
  • Corrosion resistant long life nylon coated blade
  • Positive blade lock for accurate measurements
  • Belt clip

Last update on 2022-07-29 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

10. Headtorch

Most DIY jobs need two hands, so get a head torch or you’ll be sick of holding a normal torch between your teeth in the cupboard under the stairs.

Yonii Headlamp.Rechargeable LED Head Lamp.Ultra Bright T6 2000 Lumen Head Flashlight.HeadLamps for...
  • Super bright and long battery life-powerful high-quality LED produces a bright light beam with daylight color and clarity. The low-end operating time is up to 20 hours, and the high-end operating time...
  • Motion Sensor and 7 modes-This 90-degree adjustable headlight allows you to freely direct the light exactly where you need it-even in small spaces. Quickly select from 7 lighting modes ( white light;...
  • MULTI-FUNCTIONAL GEAR - Easily change focus lights for searching the outdoors when camping. Zoomable focus providing maximum lightning precision for work. Functions perfectly as a hard hat light....

Last update on 2022-07-29 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

11. A set of pliers and an adjustable spanner

You can get pliers sets everywhere, and they are so useful. You should have at least a set of combination pliers, long-nosed pliers and a set of side cutters. Make sure you have new pliers with insulated handles – no raiding your dad’s old tools for these ones, or you might get a nasty shock.

STANLEY 3 Piece Plier Set, Slip Joint/Long Nose/Diagonal Cutting
  • Carbon steel forged pliers
  • Heat treated
  • Ground cutting edges

Last update on 2022-07-29 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

12. Neon screwdriver

This is a mains detector screwdriver and a literal life-safer. When you’re using them, always make sure you use it on something that will give you a positive test, just so you know it’s working.

Eightwood Pen Electric Tester Mains Tester Screwdriver Electrical Tester Screwdriver Electrical Pen...
  • Testing Voltage: 100V-500V | Tip Type: Slotted | Overall Length: 138mm
  • Material: Medium-carbon steel & AS | Color: Clear/Transparent | Weight: 20g
  • Come with penholder,small size,light-weight and durable,easy to carry and use.

Last update on 2022-07-29 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

13. A stud/cable detector

This will save you drilling into cables and helps you find fixings on stud walls.

Stud Finder,QLUUE Digital and Graphic Wall Detector, Metal Detector, Wire Finder, Metal Pipe...
  • SIMPLE AND EASY TO OPERATE: This wall scanner is an electronic stud detector with versatile sensing technology that can locate studs/wood/AC wires in multiple locations on the wall. Whether you are a...
  • DETECT OBJECTS: The 5-in-1 Multifunction Depth Detection-Digital Wall Scanner includes five different scanning modes for wood, beams, joists, metal, AC wire and deeply buried objects (need to adjust...
  • EASY TO READ: LCD screen shows desired stud material and exact location of stud-This digital stud scanner features a large LCD display and loud warnings that detect the exact location of objects. Once...

Last update on 2022-07-29 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

14. Screws, plugs and nails

Most shops sell fixings kits with a combination of all of these. Just make sure you get sets with compartments, or you’ll waste time searching for the right ones.

Tuulkit 665pc Wood Screw Assortment Set - Pozidrive Screw Set Includes assorted Countersunk Wood...
  • 665 PC WOOD SCREW ASSORTMENT SET: Never run out of screws again when you’re working a contracting job or just doing DIY around the home. The Wood Screws Assortment Set by Tuulkit includes all of the...
  • COUNTERSUNK POZIDRIVE WOOD SCREWS: Our Tuulkit wood screw set includes a total of 405 bulk Pozidrive Wood Screws in a wide variety of different lengths and widths, providing you with an excellent...
  • ZINC PLATED HOOK SCREWS & WASHERS: Also included in theTuulkit Wood Screws Assortment Set are 10 30mm hook screws. Perfect for crafting a set of hooks for keys, tea cups and coffee mugs, hanging...

Last update on 2022-07-29 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

15. A spirit level

Go for a metre-long one, as it’ll come in really useful for marking lines on walls for shelves, for example. If you have room, get a boat level too.

Sale
Rolson 54467 1200 mm Alloy Spirit Level
  • 1200mm (48") Alloy Spirit Level
  • Manufactured from lightweight aluminium
  • Three vials that measure both horizontally and vertically

Last update on 2022-07-29 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

16. A scraper

Whether you’re stripping wallpaper or mixing up two-part filler, this will come in really handy. Just don’t hit the handle of it with a hammer or you’ll ruin it. The same goes for your screwdrivers.

Last update on 2022-07-29 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

17. Clamps

Quick grips or G-clamps, you’ll find you use these for so many jobs.

Sale
IRWIN T5462EL7 QUICK-GRIP 150mm (6) Mini Clamp - 2 Pack
  • Removable, non-marring pads grip firmly and protect work
  • One-handed quick-release trigger
  • 63kg/140lbs of clamping force

Last update on 2022-07-29 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Rolson 14189 3 pc G Clamp Set
  • Sizes 25, 50 and 75mm
  • Malleable cast iron frame
  • T bar handle and swivel shoe

Last update on 2022-07-29 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

18. Electrical tape and masking tape

Useful stuff. Don’t be without it.

Insulation Tape 6 Pack Mixed Colour 17mm x 9m Electrical Tape PVC Tape Adhesive Gaffer Tape by...
  • 【High Quality Electrical Tape】Length: 9 M/29.5 Feet/54 Inches, width: 17mm /0.67 Inches. Electrical insulation tape is approved with excellent stretch, adhesion and conformability properties.
  • 【Six-color Electrical Tape】6 roll 6 colors: green/yellow/blue/black/white/red. You can choose different colors of tape according to your need or the object to be pasted. One pack has 6 color can...
  • 【Max Rating】Cable flame retardant PVC electrical tape rated up to maximum 600 Volt operating voltage, and 80 °C (176 °F) operating temperature. The durable electrical tape can meet most of the...

Last update on 2022-07-29 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Masking Tape for Painting Painters Tape 10 Rolls - Masking Tape for Artists Painting School Crafts...
  • Package includes: 10 rolls of high quality masking tape, which is very suitable for decoration, painting, office, stationery wrapping, nail art, painting, mural, poster making, etc.
  • Ideal size: 10mm x 20m (4pcs), 20mm x 20m (2pcs), 30mm x 20m (2pcs), 50mm x 20m (2pcs). Different sizes can meet your different needs.
  • High Quality Materials: Made of high quality crepe paper, our masking tape can be easily torn by hand without leaving any damage or sticky residue, and it is easy to position.

Last update on 2022-07-29 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

19. A workbench

Carpentry is one of the most common (and most satisfying) DIY jobs. The best thing about a workbench is that no one’s going to shout at you if you accidentally drill a hole through it or stab it with a chisel (sorry, Mum!).

Sale
WORX WX051 Pegasus Multi-Function Work Table and Sawhorse with Quick Clamps and Holding Pegs
  • Versatile work table that converts to a sawhorse and work bench in seconds, with Handy, built-in storage shelf, no assembly required
  • Compact, foldable, and lightweight for take-anywhere action and storage, 5-inch depth when folded
  • Work table mode supports loads up to 300 lbs., sawhorse mode supports up to 1, 000 lbs., features Locking legs

Last update on 2022-07-29 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

20. PPE (Personal Protection Equipment)

As my Dad says: “It’s all fun and games until someone pokes their eye out!” From personal experience ending up in Moorfields Eye Hospital, get yourself goggles and USE THEM, no matter how uncomfortable they are. You’ll also want a face mask and gloves too.

Dräger Safety Goggles X-pect 8520 Sealed Anti-Fog & Anti-Scratch Eye Protective Spectacles for...
  • FULL VISION GLASSES: The Dräger X-pect 8520 offers comfort, highest eye protection and a clear view at the same time, making it the perfect choice for lab work.
  • VARIOUS APPLICATIONS: Thanks to the high quality materials, the safety glasses can be used in various situations, especially laboratory work, work that includes chemicals or vapours and else.
  • ANTI-FOG & ANTI-UV: The Dräger safety goggles not only protect against dust and splashes, they also prevent fogging up thanks to the indirectly vented branches and offer UV protection.

Last update on 2022-07-29 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Sale
Dust Face Cover, Reusable Paint Face Cover for Painting, Dust, Particulate, Machine Polishing,...
  • 【Comfortable To Wear】- The dust face cover is made of food-grade silicone material, and the elastic silicone perfectly fits the facial skin for a firm seal. The soft silicone will not make you...
  • 【Protection Design】- Both sides of the filter box can effectively filter particles, and the filter box can be removed and replaced. Full face-piece cover, large lens for wide field of view,...
  • 【Low Face Cover Resistance】- The flow valve in front of the face cover can effectively reduce heat and moisture to promote breathing, and reduce the risk of user fatigue.

Last update on 2022-07-29 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

There you go. There are plenty of other tools you can get if you’ve got the DIY bug, and the state of my garage is testament to just how many you can cram in, but these must-haves will set you up nicely for hundreds of different jobs. The problem is, now there’s no excuse not to do them!

 

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