Start A Successful Toolbox With These Basic Tool Kit Essentials

basic tool kit dewalt drill
Courtesy of The Home Depot

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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
  • Hammer
  • Screwdriver
  • Drill

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 


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.

CRAFTSMAN Tape Measure, 25-Foot (CMHT37325S) Courtesy of Amazon


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.  

screwdriver Courtesy of Amazon


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. 

IRWIN Hammer, Fiberglass, General Purpose, Claw, 16 oz. (1954889) Courtesy of Amazon


Stanley Home 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. 

Stanley home tool kit Courtesy of Home Depot


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 


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 7-1/4-Inch Circular Saw with Laser, 13-Amp (BDECS300C) Courtesy of Amazon


Black+Decker 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. 

BLACK+DECKER 20V MAX* POWERCONNECT 5-1/2 in. Cordless Circular Saw (BDCCS20C) Courtesy of Amazon


DeWalt 7.0 Amp 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 Corded Drill, 7.0-Amp, 3/8-Inch, Pistol Grip (DWD110K) Courtesy of Amazon


DeWalt 20-Volt Max 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. 

DEWALT 20V Max Cordless Drill / Driver Kit, Compact, 1/2-Inch (DCD771C2) Courtesy of Amazon


Newborn Drip-Free 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.

Newborn 930-GTD Drip-Free Smooth Hex Rod Cradle Caulking Gun with Gator Trigger Comfort Grip, 1/10 Gallon Cartridge, 10:1 Thrust Ratio Courtesy of Amazon


Workpro 3-Piece Spirit Level 


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. 

WORKPRO 3-Piece Spirit Level Set(9", 16", 24" Courtesy of Amazon


Goldblatt Drywall Hand Tool 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.   

Goldblatt Drywall Hand Tool Kit - Stainless Steel Joint Knife, Taping Knives, Paniter Scraper, Mud Pan Courtesy of Amazon


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


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. 

Milwaukee FASTBACK Compact Folding Utility Knife with General Purpose Blade Courtesy of Home Depot


Eklind Hex-L Key Allen Wrench 


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.  

EKLIND 10111 Hex-L Key allen wrench - 11pc set SAE Inch Sizes .050-1/4 Short series Courtesy of Amazon


Workpro 7-Piece 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.

WORKPRO 7-piece Pliers Set (8-inch Groove Joint Pliers, 6-inch Long Nose, 6-inch Slip Joint, 4-1/2 Inch Long Nose, 6-inch Diagonal, 7-inch Linesman, 8-inch Slip Joint) for DIY & Home Use Courtesy of Amazon


SKIL Variable Speed 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.

Skil 9206-02 7.5-Amp Variable Speed Reciprocating Saw Courtesy of Amazon


Black+Decker 20V MAX 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. 

BLACK+DECKER 20V MAX* Cordless Reciprocating Saw Kit (BDCR20C) Courtesy of Amazon