Nearly every homeowner has become a DIYer over the last few years, and why not? Doing projects yourself is fun, challenging and, with a shortage of labor, a great way to save time and money.
If you’ve got time, summer is a great season to accomplish those DIY tasks you’ve put off. Bu to do these jobs right, you’ll need the right tools. And to help you as you set out sharpening your home improvement skills, we’ve compiled a list of the best and most handy power tools available.
I recently moved into a new place and have had to do many DIY projects, which I love. So I got first-hand insights into the essential hand tools and power tools every new homeowner and DIYer needs to have in their toolbox.
How to Know What Power Tools You Need
When picking your power tools, think about the house’s structure. What is it made of? What projects do you want to tackle? Will you be working on carpentry, plumbing or electricity? Once you get a sense of your plans, you can narrow your list. For starters, almost every home in the U.S. is built out of wood and sheetrock, so that means you need power tools that can be used with those materials, and that’s right, the No. 1 tool every homeowner should own is: yes, you guessed it, a power drill.
Plus, remember these power tools are going to be the companion of hand tools every homeowner should have, including a tape measure, a good hammer and a set of screwdrivers.
What to Look in The Best Power Tools
With so many power tools to choose from, it can be overwhelming to narrow down the list. Plus, the price range for each product can be dramatically different, from the cheapest to the most expensive ones. I made these best selections using the following four criteria:
Power Source: Corded vs. Cordless: Homeowners and contractors increasingly favor battery-powered tools for their flexibility to move around without the hassle of an extension cord and the long battery life. You can always opt to go cordless or have a combination of both, as I’ve done with my tool collection.
Price: Unless you’re a pro or have heavy-duty work, there’s no need to spend tons of money to get higher-end tools when budget-friendly tools get the job done.
Brand: I am not a brand person and have a vast collection of different brands, but I always find and recommend reliable and well-known brands, including DeWalt, Ryobi, Milwaukee, Black+Decker and more.
Purpose of the Tool: This one is tricky and will help you decide if you go corded or cordless. For instance, if you are working with wood a lot, a corded circular saw might be the best fit for you, but if you are working in a place with no power source, then you’re better off with a cordless tool. Either way, a combination of both is excellent, and no hard rule says you should go corded or cordless.
Our list of power tools includes a variety of brands that will help you take care of your projects throughout the year, from cutting to cleaning. With prices that won’t break the bank, the home improvement tools below will make completing your projects more manageable. You’ll also feel like a total badass when handling them.
1. RYOBI ONE+ HP 18V Cordless Compact 1/2-Inch Drill/Driver
Yes, a power drill is a must-have and the first power tool any homeowner or DIYer should buy. This versatile tool will help you tackle many projects, from hanging pictures to assembling furniture. We reviewed the larger version of this drill, the 18V Cordless Drill, and we love it, but we know that this compact version has even more advantages to offer, and we want you to have the best.
This powerful brushless drill offers up to 400 in./lbs of torque, 24-position clutch control, and a two-speed motor. In addition, it comes with two batteries compatible with more than 260 Ryobi tools, a charger, and a storage bag.
2. SKIL 15 Amp 7 1/4-Inch Circular Saw
This corded SKIL circular saw is the perfect companion for your power drill. It will help you get all those woodworking, metal, and concrete projects done with the right blade. Plus, it has some of the most valuable features that any homeowner and DIYer can ask for — a laser beam to get straight cuts, an on-and-off indicator light, a safety lock and guarded trigger, and a dust blower to get a clear-cutting vision. Plus, it has 15 amps of power, runs up to 5,300 RPM and comes with a blade and a tool bag. And not to mention that the price is a good deal. If you want a cordless circular saw, check our roundup of best circular saws.
3. Black+Decker PowerConnect 20V MAX Combo Kit
If you prefer to buy your tools in a combo, this cordless Black+Decker set packs some essential power tools a homeowner needs. A power drill and driver, an LED work light, a mouse detail sander, a circular saw with a high torque motor and a 5.5-inch blade. Plus, Black+Decker includes all the accessories, including two lithium-ion batteries, a battery charger, a double-ended bit, a 5.5-inch circular saw blade and some sandpaper to get you started.
4. Vacmaster Professional Wet/Dry Vac
Believe it or not, a shop vac is a big help, especially when doing indoor projects around the house. Although you may have a regular vacuum, a shop vac will help you step up your cleanup game. That said, there is no need to get a big shop vacuum, but if you need something big, check out these shop vacs. Now, this compact Vacmaster Professional Wet/Dry Vac has a powerful 5.5 horsepower motor, integrated hose storage and a 5-gallon vac capacity and suction the same as a regular-sized shop vac, but the difference is that this is smaller. In addition, the wet function is excellent when handling a water spill or replacing a toilet. When using this function, just remove the filter.
5. BLACK+DECKER BDERO100 Random Orbit Sander
Whether you need to refurbish a piece of furniture or sand a drywall repair, this affordable yet potent orbit sander is up to the task. It delivers up to 12,000 orbits per minute and is perfect for DIYers and homeowners alike. It’s highly efficient, super lightweight and offers a tight, firm grip that allows you to comfortably sand longer. And it comes with a 5-inch orbital sander, a built-in dust collector and a hook-and-loop system to replace your sandpaper.
6. FOLAI Stud Finder Sensor
I didn’t own a stud finder and relied on my expertise using the old-fashioned way: knocking on the wall to find the studs. But I changed my mind after seeing a friend burst a pipe when driving a screw into a wall. This affordable sensor from Folai is more than a stud finder: It can also find wood studs, electrical wires, and metal water pipes within your walls. Plus, it locates the center of the stud, beeps when you’re close to your target and has a backlit display, making it easier to operate in poor lighting conditions.
7. BLACK+DECKER Powered Handsaw
Sure, elbow grease will get a saw moving, but the Black+Decker Powered Handsaw cuts it faster, easier and cleaner. It packs a 3.4 amp, 4,600 SPM motor and easily cuts through metal and plastic. Look at it as a sizable reciprocating saw, opening up even more applications. You get a large capacity blade, metal cutting blade and storage bag in the same kit. Plus, it comes in handy to trim small tree branches around your property.
8. Greenworks 1800-PSI 1.1 Gallon Electric Pressure Washer
And for all your outdoor cleaning projects, this affordable, easy-to-carry and compact Greenworks 1800-PSI Electric Pressure Washer is a sweet deal all around. It puts out an 1800 PSI stream of water at 1.1 GPM through 25-degree or 40-degree focusing tips, comes with a quick connect surface cleaner and is under $100. Plus, the connected pressure hose runs 20 feet with a detachable soap tank and applicator, and its lengthy 35-foot power cord will work from all exterior outlets.
9. METABO HPT C10FCGS 10-Inch Miter Saw
The list is incomplete without a miter saw. The Metabo HPT C10FCGS is affordable, lightweight and efficient. It comes with a medium-sized miter saw with a 10-inch blade, a 15-amp motor and a clamping system to secure your wood piece. This tool is suitable for all straight, angle, bevel cuts and future woodwork projects.
10. DEWALT Atomic 20-Volt Max Cordless Compact Driver
Not necessarily a must-have, but it is certainly a nice to have. There is a lot that a power drill/driver can do, but when it comes to heavy-duty driving, there is nothing better than an impact drill. The Atomic Compact Driver is a little beast that delivers 1,700 lbs. of torque so that when you drive those long screws, you’ll be done in no time. It only weighs 2.1 lbs. and is super compact. In addition, this kit includes two batteries, a belt hook and a tool bag.
11. RYOBI ONE+ 18V Cordless AirStrike 18-Gauge Brad Nailer (Tool Only)
This cordless and battery-powered Ryobi Airstrike Nailer will become your best ally in finishing woodwork. It is also an excellent addition to all your woodworking tools. A cordless nailer removes the need for a compressor and an air hose, giving you the full range. What we like about the finish nail gun is that it is lightweight and compatible with all 18V Ryobi tools so that you can use the same batteries as your power drill (item number 1). It also features a tool-less jam release, a belt hook, a nail indicator when running low and air pressure adjustment. I love my Ryobi AirStrike Nailer, and I think you will too.