If you’ve ever walked into a hardware store sure of what you needed but totally unsure of what it was called or where to find it, tool sets are for you. Their all-in-one nature eliminates the need to try to describe “that little bit thingy” to a hardware store employee in the hopes that he or she will just intuit what you need. Don’t get us wrong, hardware stores are still great places for specific equipment and helpful expertise, but tool sets make it easy to tackle most basic household jobs on your own.
The best tool set typically has a carrying case that makes it easy to find everything you’re looking for, and it should include some essentials like a hammer, Allen wrenches (aka hex keys), and pliers. Even if you don’t find yourself using every single tool, you’ll be glad you have them if the need ever comes up. These kits won’t qualify you for a general contractor license, but they’ll definitely make you handier around the house.
1. CARTMAN 148-Piece Tool Set
This affordable kit comes with 148 pieces, including a variety of screws. There are 30 bits and a bit driver, long nose pliers, and even a small roll of 3M tape. Plus, it has a hard shell carrying case with designated slots for all the tools that helps keep it protected in garages, sheds and basements.
Pros: The148-piece kit includes commonly used items like a tape measure and 3M tape.
Cons: Difficult to slot tools into their designated places.
2. Apollo Precision Tools 39-Piece General Tool Set
This 39-piece tool kit comes in a hard shell plastic case that provides a durable storage solution. The affordable kit is a great option for new homeowners who need a basic set of tools for small jobs. The Apollo Precision Tools 39-Piece General Tool Set includes precision screwdrivers, a boxcutter, bits, a bit driver, a tape measure and even scissors.
Pros: The set includes 20 bits and eight hex keys to complete the small but versatile kit.
Cons: Can be difficult to slot everything in place to keep the case closed and there are no needle-nose pliers.
3. Crescent 170 Pc. General Purpose Tool Set
This newly updated General Purpose Tool Set from Crescent features 170 pieces that each have a permanent place in the tool set’s molded case. Easily find each tool and drillbit you’re looking for quickly even in the middle of projects thanks to the smart organization of the hard plastic case. SAE and Metric drive tools, wrenches and pliers are included in this set, which are all made to meet stringent new ANSI and ASME specifications. The screwdrivers included in the set have vapor-blasted tips for added durability and longevity.
Pros: Each tool and bit are made with premium steel and a chrome finish that make them attractive, easy to keep clean and resistant to rust.
Cons: The latch on the outside of the case is not always reliable.
4. DEKOPRO 168 Piece Mixed Tool Set
For a tool set that can take you through the house and into the garage, we recommend the DEKOPRO 168 Piece Mixed Tool Set. The set includes a combination of home repair and auto tools, making it a great introductory set for new homeowners and car owners. Each tool is ANSI-certified, forged from high-quality steel and finished with rust-resistant chrome to provide durability. Professional grade wrenches, ratchets, screwdrivers, a hammer and measuring tape are all included in the set.
Pros: The tools come in a blow-molded case that provides portability and protection by keeping dirt and dust away from the tools when not in use.
Cons: Each tool has a designated spot but they often fall out.
5. DOWELL Small Homeowner Tool Set
Whether you only need a basic tool set or want to keep a backup tool set in your glove box, we recommend the DOWELL Small Homeowner Tool Set. The small but mighty set includes the most commonly used basics, including a hammer, tape measure, box cutter, slotted screwdriver and a Phillips screwdriver, a combination plier and a digital voltage tester. The handles are made from TPR materials and the tools exceed ANSI standards. Each tool is forged from high-quality steel that is chrome plated for a long-lasting finish.
Pros: The Dowell’s case measures 7-inch x 9.8-inch, making it small enough to keep in a backpack or even a glove box.
Cons: The Dowell’s case doesn’t have any markings indicating which side is up, which can lead to users opening the case incorrectly and having all the tools fall out.
6. Craftsman 450-Piece Mechanic’s Tool Set
If you like to spend your weekends fixing up cars or vehicles as a hobby, this is the kit for you. The Craftsman 450-Piece Mechanic’s Tool Set is a comprehensive auto set that includes wrenches, ratchets, extension bars, adapters, sockets, bits and hex keys. The extended set is all neatly organized in the multilayer storage case. Pull out trays make it easy to find every tool in the set.
Pros: The set comes with a magnetic handle for easy nut and bit installation.
Cons: The Craftsman has a big price tag and may be overkill for those who only periodically work on cars. The exterior case is not as durable as other sets on our list.