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Moving into a new home is exciting and thrilling, especially knowing you have the chance to build long-lasting memories and add your personal touch to your space. As you get settled in, it’s also an excellent time to start planning out the best basic tool kit to be ready when you need it. You’ll have DIY home improvement projects to do before you know it. If you’re someone who likes to take care of things around the house, here are the essential tools you need across three different categories: must-have tools, tools for DIYers and nice-to-have tools — each plays a role in your new basic tool kit.
Now let’s get going. We will start with the must-have tools to add to your basic tool kit shopping list.
Basic Tool Kit: Must-Have Tools
Regardless of your skill sets, the basics of the basic tool kit are pretty easy to identify:
- Tape measure
If you’re strapped for cash and starting from zero, figure out a way to get these four tools, and you’ll be able to do more than you ever realized. Keep in mind that these first tools you buy don’t have to be the most expensive items in stock but rather practical and reliable ones, especially if you will only use them every once in a while. When it comes to these particular must-have tools, you have the choice to buy these items individually or as a kit, so we’ve included both options as part of our list here.
Craftsman 25-Foot Tape Measure
BEST TAPE MEASURE
Without a doubt, you must have a tape measure on hand in your home tool kit. You’ll soon realize how important it is to have a tape measure even before moving to your new place. Whether you use it to measure your furniture, get the dimensions of the rooms in your home, or determine where to hang your pictures, this Craftsman tape measure won’t disappoint. It is steady, durable, and long enough for all your projects. It’s nice to know that Craftsman offers such a great lifetime warranty on so many products, but with over 10,000 reviews and a 5-star rating, we doubt you’ll ever need to use it.
Klein Tools 11-in-1 Screwdriver
Yes, a screwdriver is a must-have tool for your home. You’ll use it for furniture assembly, removing outlet switch plates when painting, tightening loose screws, hanging pictures, and the list goes on. This Klein screwdriver is versatile and comes with bits to fit Phillips, slotted (flat), Torx, square screws and three nut drivers. The 5-star rating and over 17,5000 reviews make sense with all that versatility.
Irwin 16-Ounce Claw Hammer
You’ll need a reliable hammer to get the job done for all your picture frame hanging, nail pulling, and demo-ing. This Irwin hammer is affordable, has an ergonomic handle and a flat head, and weighs only 16 ounces. It is made of alloy steel and fiberglass, so it may not weigh much, but it packs a serious punch. When looking for your first hammer to start your basic tool kit, make sure you get a claw hammer. If you’re only going to have one, you should be able to use every part of it.
Stanley Home Tool Kit
BEST BASIC TOOL KIT
If you are more of a one-stop-shop kind of guy, this Stanley tool kit is the best basic tool kit for you. It comes with the basic tool kit checklist above and some extra accessories to help round out your toolbox. It comes with 65 pieces, including a tape measure, hammer, screwdrivers, pliers, hex key set and more. Buy this, and you’re set for most of your basic home improvement projects.
Basic Tool Kit: For The DIYer
If you are a DIYer looking to expand your tools and build a solid toolbox, you want reliable, powerful, and valuable items. In addition to the must-have tools we mentioned above, you’ll want to also add a circular saw, a power drill, a caulking gun, a level, and a taping knife to your shopping list.
Black+Decker 7 1/4-Inch Circular Saw
BEST CORDED CIRCULAR SAW
When you start building your new toolbox, your first tools shouldn’t be the most expensive ones, but those you know are reliable and will get the work done. This Black+Decker circular saw is our top pick to be a shining star in your new basic toolbox. It fits a standard 7 1/4 inch blade, has a laser for precise cutting and is one of the most affordable circular saws you can buy right now.
Black+Decker Cordless Circular Saw
BEST CORDLESS CIRCULAR SAW
If you prefer the freedom and flexibility of being able to take your circular saw anywhere to tackle any job, we have another Black+Decker here for you. This circular saw is excellent for all kinds of cuts. It comes with a 5 1/2 inch blade, a 20V Max Powerconnect battery, and a charger.
DeWalt 7.0 Amp Corded Drill
BEST CORDED DRILL
A robust and reliable power drill is a solid companion for any trustworthy circular saw. This drill will come in handy for all your drilling and fastening, and can you can use it with all different types of materials. It is compact, easy to use, and has a reasonable price tag (especially for a brand built as good as DeWalt). The 8-foot cord and the 8 AMP motor means you got a lot of power for as long as you need it.
DeWalt 20-Volt Max Cordless Drill
BEST CORDLESS DRILL
If you are not a fan of corded tools, DeWalt still has a great cordless drill to make your life easier when drilling holes and driving screws. It comes with a powerful motor, a charger, and two 20-Volt MAX Lithium-Ion batteries. If you know anything about tools, then you know that getting two batteries for this price is worth it. So getting a DeWalt cordless drill along with them is just icing on the cake.
Newborn Drip-Free Caulking Gun
BEST CAULKING GUN
For DIYers, owning a caulking gun is a must. Caulking guns are convenient for all caulk and adhesive applications and even for grout work. This best-selling steel half-barrel frame drip-free caulking gun is lightweight and easy to use, plus it features a spout cutter and seal opening tool.
Workpro 3-Piece Spirit Level
BEST LEVEL SET
When DYing around the house, you’ll sometimes need different level sizes. That’s why this Workpro set of three levels is just right. It includes 9, 16, and 24-inch levels that will last you years to come and get you through several different projects. Add the easy-to-read high-visibility green bubbles — one vertical, one horizontal and one 45-degree — and you’ll be passing these down to your kids before you know it.
Goldblatt Drywall Hand Tool Kit
BEST TAPING KNIFE KIT
There’s no doubt about it; this set of taping knives will make for a great addition to your new tool kit. Once you really get on a DIY roll, it will come in handy for those tough drywall and painting jobs. This drywall kit comes with a mud pan and all the necessary taping knives. What’s maybe the most exciting tool in this kit? The 14-1 painter’s tool lets you scrape putty, clean rollers, open bottles, lids and cracks, pull nails, and even act as a flat- and Phillip-head screwdriver.
Basic Tool Kit: Nice To Have
Of course, if you have the budget and want to add more tools and accessories to your new tool kit, consider adding a utility knife, Allen keys, pliers and a reciprocating saw.
Milwaukee Fastback Folding Utility Knife
BEST UTILITY KNIFE
You can get by using your keys or your kitchen knives to cut cardboard boxes, but having a dedicated utility knife is always a plus. This Fastback utility knife is compact, folds inward, and has an affordable price tag. Plus, homeowners and pros alike love it.
Eklind Hex-L Key Allen Wrench
BEST ALLEN KEY SET
If you have recently assembled a piece of furniture, you know that the hex key, aka the Allen wrench included in the assembly kit, is not always the best. However, because they have become a ubiquitous part of oversized items such as flatpack furniture, this isn’t one of the first items that need to be on your home tool kit checklist. So once you have found your screwdriver, hammer, and other essentials, having a quality set of Allen wrenches will be nice. This set comes with 11 different L shape keys in Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) sizes from .050 to 1/4.
Workpro 7-Piece Pliers Set
BEST PLIERS SET
Sooner or later, you will end up needing pliers. Whether to do light electric or plumbing work or to tighten some loose nuts, you will be happy you have a complete set like this one in your toolbox. This comprehensive set comes with an 8-inch groove joint, 8-inch and 6-inch slip joint, 7-inch linesman, 6-inch and 4.5-inch long nose, and 6-inch diagonal pliers. If one of these pliers doesn’t do the job, you’re probably overdue for the next-level tool kit.
SKIL Variable Speed Reciprocating Saw
BEST CORDED RECIPROCATING SAW
You may never know exactly when you will need a reciprocating saw, but you will be relieved to have one when you do. This versatile tool can cut through wood, metal, plastic, and more with the proper blade. The 7.5 AMP motor provides ample power to get the job done, and the tool-less blade change makes swapping blades fast and easy. Plus, this corded reciprocating saw is affordable, rugged and lightweight.
Black+Decker 20V MAX Cordless Reciprocating Saw
BEST CORDLESS RECIPROCATING SAW
And of course, for those whose projects take them away from accessible electricity, we have found you the best cordless option for reciprocating saws. This Black+Decker cordless reciprocating saw is top-rated, and homeowners love it, according to the nearly 6,000 positive reviews. It is reliable, effective, and avails at a low cost. Use the 20V MAX battery with any compatible Black+Decker tool, and you’re practically making your money back.