25 Must-Have Tools for Home Improvement DIY Projects

Dann Ball
Dann BallSep 1, 2022
25 Must-Have Tools for Home Improvement DIY Projects

Starting a home DIY project is an exciting task. Finally, you have the power to transform your space into how you want – or make slight adjustments here and there. But, before you go knocking down walls and doing anything major, you need to choose the best tools for the job.

That’s where we come in. From ambitious projects to general upkeep, we’ve put together the 25 must-have tools everyone needs.

We guarantee each one will take pride of place in your garage, shed, or workshop. And, don’t forget – as well as culminating precious DIY brownie points, each tool earns you Crypto Cashback. Talk about nailing multi-tasking!

StormX’s Top DIY Tools

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1) Multi-bit Screwdriver

Make room in your toolbox without giving up on performance with a multi-bit screwdriver. We’re loving the Milwaukee Square Drive 9-in-1 Multi-Bit Screwdriver Set 9.06 in. from Ace Hardware ($16.99). It features 3-1/12” interchangeable power groove bits to handle whatever DIY job you’re tackling. It’s even power tool compatible for when things get more serious.

2) Power Drill/Driver Kit

Think of DIY, and that rev of the power drill is often what you imagine. Who are we kidding? They’re just plain fun to use. Plus, cordless drills are portable, powerful, and handy for handyman jobs around the house. Our favorite is the Black and Decker 2-Tool 20-Volt Max Power Tool Combo Kit (Charger Included and 1-Batteries Included) from ACME Tools ($91.79).

This drill/driver is incredibly compact and lightweight for squeezing into tight spaces. The 11-position clutch means there’s an extra level of control to banish any overdriving of screws or stripping (basically, the cardinal signs of DIY!). It also has a useful LED work light, a spare battery, a charger, and two driver bits.

3) Stepladder

For those just-out-of-reach jobs, a stepladder is essential. So, we’re loving the Werner 6 ft. H Fiberglass Step Ladder Type IA 300 lb. capacity from Ace Hardware ($119.99).

With a duty rating of 300 lbs, this sturdy stepladder delivers a full set of rear horizontals and heavy-duty internal spreaders. Each step is knee braced, and the footpads are riveted to the edge structure. All Traction Tred steps are slip-resistant, too.

Our favorite part, though, is the Holster Top. It comes with a handy lock-in system to secure your tools from falling while keeping them within reach. Handy.

4) Stanley Knife

A Stanley knife is ideal for cutting through rope, twine, tape, carpet, or whatever material you need to slice. The Stanley 10-789 6-7/8" FATMAX Twin Blade Knife from ToolNut ($9.99) features two knives in one, thanks to the new twin blade design. It also includes:

  • InstantChange™ feature for easily replacing dull blades in seconds
  • Easy access blade storage for holding up to nine blades
  • Interlocking blade sliders so just one blade is extended at a time
  • Rubber comfort grip to lessen any slippage
  • Total blade storage capacity: 11 (nine in storage, two in use)

5) Stud finder

Stud finders are great if you’re hanging something and need to make sure it stays securely in place (especially if it’s heavy). The DeWalt 6.3 in. L X 4.2 in. W Stud Finder 3/4 in. 1 pc from Ace Hardware ($17.99) is our top pick.

This stud finder takes the guesswork out of any job, thanks to its detection depth of 3/4 in. for metal and wood. While most traditional stud finders just locate the edge of the stud, this one finds the center for a more effective read.

This stud finder constantly calibrates during use to save you time. Once the stud is located, it creates an alert and directional LED arrows. With the center marking channel, you can easily mark the stud’s center. Simple!

6) Hammer

Hey, it’s no secret that Thor is pretty useless without his hammer – especially when attempting DIY tasks around Asgard. With over 20 types of hammers to choose from, though, it can be a daunting task to know which one you should go for. Our best bet is the Boss Hammers 16oz Titanium Smooth Hammer from ACME Tools ($229.95).

It features a classic curve claw, perfect for driving and removing nails. But, this hammer was also built to be the best performing hammer in its class. With a powerful titanium head, it drives like a 28oz steel hammer, conquering whatever you throw it – making it nearly as powerful as Thor's trusted hammer.

7) Hex key set

Also known as an Allen wrench, a hex key is similar to a screwdriver. Like most wrenches, it fits into a fastener head rather than around it. A hex key is a super handy tool for set screws and ready-to-assemble furniture (aka anything from Ikea).

This eight-piece DeWalt Locking Hex Key Set from International Tool ($11.51) locks into three positions for ‌odd, tight spaces. It also includes the most popular sizes: S9, S10, S15, S20, S25, S27, S30, and S40.

8) Wrench

Everyone knows a fixed wrench is a toolkit must-have. However, have you ever considered an adjustable one? They save you money and space, as they can take on various tasks. Our top pick is the Crescent Adjustable Wrench Set 3 pc from Ace Hardware ($64.99).

It has a large capacity 15/16, 24mm jaw to fit a wide range of fastener sizes. The laser-etched scale in both SAE Standard and Metric sizes also means it’s super easy to measure exactly and take the guesswork out of setting precise widths.

9) Pliers

On your DIY journey, you’re bound to encounter hiccups and tasks like fishing dropped screws out of awkward places and fastening wire to an outlet receptacle. For those kinds of situations, needle-nose pliers are a godsend.

Our favorites are the Klein 8-9/16 In. Side Cutting Long Nose Pliers from ACME Tools ($34.97). Their long, slender jaws are perfect for a variety of tasks, including easily stripping 12 AWG solid insulated wire. There’s also no handle wobble, thanks to the hot-riveted joint. One pair of these is all you’ll need for the rest of your DIY days.

10) Level

Whatever you’re building or hanging, you’ll need a level. Our top pick is the Empire 48 in. Magnetic I-Beam Level from International Tool ($40.40). Empire has designed this I-Beam with durable aluminum and impact-resistant vials. They state their vials are accurate to 0.0005-inches per inch in all working positions, meaning you’re guaranteed the straightest line ever.

11) Auto Lock Tape Measure

A tape measure is incredibly handy for any home improvement or DIY project. But an auto lock tape measure? Even handier. We’re loving the Milwaukee 48-22-6825 25' Compact Auto Lock Tape from ToolNut ($16.97).

The auto-locking feature means it’s ridiculously easy to use this alone on your solo DIY projects. And, if you drop it or it falls off the worktable, don’t worry – the reinforced frame protects the mechanism inside. It also has a steel belt clip for easy access and attachment.

12) Nailer

For craft projects, nailing on softwood door and window molding, small crown molding, baseboard, and attaching shoe molding, a nailer is what you need. The DeWalt 20V MAX XR 18 Ga. Cordless Brad Nailer 20 V from Ace Hardware ($349) is our top pick.

It’s 100% battery powered and so 100% portable. The micro nose and LED lights also amplify your line of sight and accuracy of nail placement. Prefer to keep it on you as your work? There’s an adjustable belt hook for left or right attachment.

13) Circular Saw

For a machine with power at a great price, you can’t go wrong with the Skil 40V 20Vx2 XP Circular Saw Kit Brushless 7 1/4" Rear Handle from ACME Tools ($249). This corded 7 ¼ inch Skil is smooth to handle and features a dust blower to keep your cut line tidy. The 15-amp motor is also powerful enough to create accurate, deep cuts (although it’s worth grabbing an on-deck laser to help).

14) Sander/Polisher

Cut down your DIY time with a power sander. The Bosch 5 In. Palm Random Orbit Sander/Polisher from International Tool ($79) is perfect for delivering smoother surfaces at a fraction of the time spent with a manually powered polisher/sander.

We’re big fans of the fact it can spin and oscillate (between 7,500 and 12,000 oscillations per minute) to lessen the chance of leaving behind those swirl marks on your surface. It’s corded and delivers professional-level smoothness. It also offers fantastic dust collection to keep the pad clean and going for longer.

15) Caulking Gun

For bathroom DIY projects, it’s worth grabbing a caulking gun. And not just any old one; invest in something solid like the Newborn Professional Zinc Alloy Caulking Gun from Ace Hardware ($31.99).

This caulk gun features an efficient 18:1 thrust ratio for comfortable, consistent pumping action. It holds a standard 10-ounce canister and has a gripping plate for a comfortable hold during those bigger jobs (like caulking the bathtub).

16) Hacksaw

Using power tools can be fun. But sometimes, you just can’t beat a hand tool, especially if you’re working with metal or pipe. We love the Stanley 12 In. FATMAX High Tension Hacksaw from ACME Tools ($21.99).

This hacksaw blade can be positioned at either a 45° or 90° angle. At the same time, the pre-tensioning mechanism holds the blade in place for easy, quick blade changes. The textured rubber handle also provides an effective, slip-resistant grip. Straight cutting just became straightforward.

17) Putty knife

A putty knife is reliable and handy. They’re ideal for scraping jobs, filling holes and spackling tasks. Our top pick is the Stanley 28-242 2" Nylon Handle Flexible Blade Putty Knife from ToolNut ($5.99). It features a hardened, tempered and polished steel blade, built to outlast any other putty knife out there.

18) Multi-tool

So, now you’ve got your putty knife, you’ll need something similar, but with a twist. We’re talking about a painter’s tool, perfect for scraping surfaces, opening paint cans, spreading putty, removing nails, and locking tape in place for smooth, clean lines.

The Hyde 3 in. W Stainless Steel 17-in-1 Painter's Tool from Ace Hardware ($12.99) is our go-to. It has two wrench sizes and four screw bits and helps you clean large and small rollers.

19) Wood chisel

During DIY, you’ll need to shave rough surfaces, cut mortises, scrape off glue and cop out corners. That’s where a wood chisel comes in handy. So, why not cover all bases with the DeWalt 4-Piece Wood Chisel Set from International Tool ($43.16)?

This wood chisel set features:

  • Hardened and tempered chrome carbon-steel blades for edge retention
  • Durable hardened strike cap
  • Corrosion-resistant blade lacquer
  • Bi-material, ergonomically designed handle for protection and comfort

20) Pressure washer

For DIY garden projects, patio makeovers, and max satisfaction, you need a pressure washer. Our top pick is the STIHL Dirt Boss RB 400 2700 psi Gas 2.7 GPM Pressure Washer from Ace Hardware ($849.99).

Its powerful 173 cc (5 hp) engine offers 2,500 psi of water pressure – that’s enough to tackle patio decks, driveways, sidewalks, and more. It’s easy to start with no hard cord pulls and features a 25’ no-kink flex house for a larger cleaning area without having to move the machine. So, give your garden and patio a new lease of life with this pressure washer – and don’t forget to take those before and after photos!

21) Clamps

The DeWalt 24 In. Large Trigger Clamp from International Tool ($31.34) has an impressive 300 lb clamping force. It can also be converted to a spreader with a quick change button and enables one-handed operation for easy use – and easy clamping.

22) Masking tape

Don’t forget the little touches – like the Duck 1.88 in. W X 60 yd L Beige Regular Strength Masking Tape from Ace Hardware ($4.59). This general-purpose masking tape is designed to get the job done – whether that’s bundling, party decoration, or fixing down a tarp. Its heavy-duty design also means it’s ideal for labeling items.

23) PPE/Protection Equipment

Whatever DIY job or home improvement project you’re working on, you’ll definitely need protection equipment. Our top picks are the DeWalt Contractor Pro Clear Frame/Clear Lens Safety Glasses from ACME Tools ($7.99) and Ergodyne 812 L Black Standard Utility Gloves from International Tool ($12.53).

The DeWalt Contractor glasses feature a secure, comfortable fit, and distortion-free lens, while the Erogdyne utility gloves are made with durable, synthetic leather and a breathable poly mesh construction. So, you’ll keep yourself protected from mishaps while building your dream home.

24) Tool Pouch Apron

Who says you can’t work in style? Buy the double-pouch Klein Nail/Screw and Tool Pouch Apron from ACME Tools for function and style. It has everything you need to keep everything in place while you work:

  • Ten pockets
  • Four slots for punches or nail sets
  • Two heavy hammer loops
  • A tape-rule holder

It’s stitched and riveted for extreme durability and comes with a heavy-duty 2.25-inch (57mm) wide web belt with an army-style buckle, snap and slides. It’s made with supple, strong leather and is perfect for every DIYer out there.

25) Toolbox

Of course, when the day’s done, and you need somewhere to keep all your brand-new tools, what’s better than a toolbox? We’re big fans of the Milwaukee Packout 16.2 in. toolbox from Ace Hardware ($89.99).

This large tool storage box features an interior organizer tray for keeping all your tools organized. In addition, there’s an IP65-rated weather seal to protect your gear from rain and debris, while the toolbox itself is made with impact-resistant polymers. There’s also a carry handle and reinforced hinges for easy transportation wherever the need to DIY takes you.

So there we have it: 25 essential items for your house and DIY projects. Working on the garden? Check out our Best Grills of 2022 to unveil your finished projects to your friends and have a celebratory BBQ. More into tech than DIY? Discover The Best Father’s Day Tech Gifts for 2022.