Must-Have Tools for DIY Projects and Home Repairs

To the inexperienced, your tool box will begin with a small investment as you do not posses the knowledge, skill, or safety training to use some of the larger tools. As your experience and comfortability with tools grow, your projects will likely increase in size and difficulty, requiring more advanced tools.


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This means there is no need to rush out and purchase every shiny tool you come across at your local hardware store. TR Design Build has made a list of must-have tools for the beginner/advanced skill level that will be sufficient for almost any home improvement project you take on.

Of course this is a list of tools, not materials. Various construction materials will be required depending on your project (drywall, nails, screws, paint, 2×4, etc.).

Beginner tools
  • Toolbox– Last thing you need to do is purchase new tools because you have misplaced or lost your current tools. Purchase a toolbox and always be sure to return all tools to their rightful place after you’ve completed your project. This will make finding your tools much easier.
  • Hammer– A nail without a hammer is useless. Hammers allow you do drive nails into surfaces and pull them out if need be. Hammers can also be used in demolition projects, especially when you need a good whack. TR Design Build recommends a 16 oz smooth faced claw hammer.
  • Screwdriver set– Screwdrivers are good for tightening/loosening screws and opening paint lids. This might not seem like a lot, but take a second to consider all the items around your home that are held together by screws; the list includes furniture, outlet covers, almost all knobs and handles around your home, cabinet hardware, etc.
  • Tape measure– Precise measurements are a must. Tape measures can help you by measuring the surface area of your walls during a painting project, making precise markings when repairing drywall, or even when you want to measure the thickness of lumber at a hardware store.
  • Flashlight and level– The reason we’ve bunched these together is because times have changed. Chances are you won’t be needing a heavy-duty flashlight that can blind a deer from a mile away. Technological improvements have led to most smart phones being equipped with a flashlight and a level. Once your projects start increasing in size and difficulty, it is recommended that you do purchase a standard level and flashlight. TR Design Build recommends purchasing a flashlight that you can hold and set down/hang up somewhere.
  • Adjustable wrench– Nuts and bolts, your home has a lot of them. TR Design Build recommends an adjustable wrench instead of a wrench kit.
  • Utility knife– Look at the heavy-duty pencils that some contractors carry around.; chances are, they’ve been sharpened on-site with a utility knife. These are safe and sharp knives that can be used anywhere from marking/shaving wood, to cutting drywall and opening tough packages. Since the blade is stored inside the handle, the chances of accidentally hurting yourself are minimized tremendously. Not to mention blades are very easy to change and the rubber grip around the knife allows for great……grip.
  • Pliers– Used for getting a grip. Pliers are great tools for straitening/bending material, getting a grip on something your hands cannot, and cutting wires.
  • Putty Knife– Makes drywall repair very easy and quick. Putty knifes can also be used to scrape things such as paint or wallpaper.
  • Paint brush/roller/tray– Tread carefully when painting, it’s not as easy as one might think; certain environmental factors like humidity can completely ruin a paint job. Also, after you’ve completed or chosen to stop painting for the day, make sure to thoroughly clean off the rollers and paint brushes. Take care of your tools and they will take care of you!
  • Handsaw– Perfect for beginners. While power saws get the job done quicker, they’re much more dangerous, they’re harder to drag around, and they usually require a power source. Start yourself off with a light and mobile hand saw, perfect for quick cuts.
  • Tape– You can fix a lot of things with duct tape. Be sure to also have electrical, plumber, and painter’s tape in your toolbox.

So, you’ve gained some knowledge, skill, and comfortability with your beginner tools; now comes time to expand the toolbox.

As the intensity and power of tools/equipment increases, one must take precautions; your new projects will probably include fumes, dust and flying debris. TR Design Build heavily recommends the use of PPE, or personal protective equipment. A sturdy pair of gloves, a mask, and goggles are minimum essential components of safety gear.


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Advanced tools

Stud finder- We know the first thing you will do is scan yourself, wait for a beep and say “found a stud”; it’s ok, we’ve done it too. All jokes aside, unless you’re experienced enough to find studs by simply knocking on the drywall, a stud finder will be a great investment. That is unless you don’t care if you put 3 holes in the drywall before you find the stud.

Laser level- When a straight and level reference point is needed for a larger project, contractors and advanced DIYers use laser levels to emit an amplified, focused beam of light than can be used as a visual chalk line. While the upfront cost might be a little high, laser levels return their investment in terms of time saved when doing a project, allowing you to work faster and get more done.

Random orbital sander- Probably the most versatile sander in its family of 4. If you ask most experienced woodworkers to choose one sander from the 4, the majority will choose the random orbital sander. Besides the versatility random orbital sanders have, they can be used with one hand as compared to the belt sander which cannot. Oh by the way, they leave virtually no scratch marks on the wood.

Miter saw- Primarily used for cutting against the grain. While there are tons of electric saws in the market, none of them provide precise cuts quite as well as the miter saw. Not only are they easy to use, miter saws make wider cuts than other saws, saving you time. They also allow the user to change the angle of the sawblade and lock it into place, allowing you to make repeated, accurate cuts.

Higher end saws come with features such as a laser for more precise cuts, a flashlight for added visibility and a vacuum to control dust and debris.

Table saw- Primarily used for cutting with the grain. The sheer speed and power allow you to cut through any type of wood with ease. Equipped with an adjustable fence, users will not have to worry about slight errors and imperfections that come with a circular saw; all cuts will be precise and straight. Some saws come equipped with finger protection; the saw blade will get jammed when the sensor detects a finger in the path of the saw. Watch the video here!

Nail gun- Installing baseboards and crown molding just got a whole lot easier. Ditch the cord for a gas-powered nail gun.

Drill- Not only can you drive and remove screws at a much faster pace, drill kits come with attachments that allow them to be used for much more than screws. Check out the list here!


You might have noticed that the core concepts of tools do not change. A drill does the same exact function as a screwdriver, it just does it at a faster pace. A table saw preforms the same exact function as a handsaw, just faster and more precise. New tools usually do not create new job functions; they take existing tools and increase their efficiency while reducing waste.

Every homeowner needs these few basic tools around their homes for quick repairs or even DIY projects. The alternative? Call a handyman and pay their fee.

Why not take some time to learn a new skill? It might be a challenging process, but the result will be very worth it.

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