I’m often asked for recommendation on affordable tools worth their price for basic DIY tasks. I’ve tried so many tools with a family in residential construction and a home where I need simple, practical tools that work. I’m taking on some new opportunities and am behind on completing and photographing some projects, so in the mean time I wanted to share with you the 5 tools that every guy and gal should have in their arsenal.
Here are my Top 5 Must-Have DIY Tools
That any DIYer can have success with
(and they won’t break the bank!)
1. A stud finder that actually works
This took some serious trial and error. I’ve owned 2 and borrowed countless others before I finally found this tiny magnetic stud finder that actually works. No more knocking my knuckles raw knocking on the walls, no more rows of tiny drill holes from fishing for studs, no more threatening to throw the electronic POS in the driveway and then running it over until it finally finds itself useful as a frisbee. This idea is sooooo simple. This tiny stud finder finds the screws and nails in the walls in seconds and clings to them while you go about your business of leveling and hanging the things that need to be hung. Best of all, it’s under $10. Currently, $8.99 & shipped for free with Amazon Prime.
2. An auto-leveling, angle-adjusting laser level
This also took me more than one purchase to find the perfect tool. I first went with a cheaper laser-level only to later discover that it was difficult to mount on the wall and I still had to pull out my level to make adjustments. This isn’t the cheapest laser level on the market at $29.99 with Amazon Prime, but it’s the best one for getting the job done right the first time without pulling your hair out. This laser level will adjust to any angle you need which is great for gallery walls up stairs or placed in creative ways. The auto-level feature, which can be turned on or off, is the most important feature for actually getting things done right (and properly). Just mount the level on the wall, direct the laser in in the direction you need, and it will level itself. No need for a level, just grab your tape measure or yard stick and mark off measurements on the laser line for perfectly hung gallery walls. We’ve used this all over the house from LACK shelves in the study to the Instagram gallery in the “mudroom” (it’s a hall) to our family photo gallery wall. Pick this one the first time and there won’t be a need for the frisbee-making task described above.
3. A simple Skil electric screw-driver set
I have 3 drills… a high-speed drill that plugs into the wall, a cordless Dewalt that’s my workhorse, and a little Skil that I keep handy in a kitchen drawer for odd-projects. I’ve pushed it’s limits on several occasions, even hanging curtain rods with it. It’s small, handy, and practical. It’s not technically a drill (it’s officially an “electric screwdriver”), but it’s proven its usefulness time after time. Pin this image to your wish lists, ladies. You’ll want this under the Christmas tree this year! It’s lightweight and small enough for dainty DIY hands to hold but powerful enough for so many tasks from assembling IKEA furniture to installing new cabinet hardware. The kit is under $40 with Amazon Prime.
4. A Dewalt cordless drill
I wish I could say that the Skil can do everything, but sometimes you really need the big boy to do serious work like drilling holes & doing more serious work (like when we framed for our “mudroom” (yep, still a hallway) cabinet and built our platform bed. In my opinion, it is defiantly worth it to invest in a serious drill and Dewalt is the standard. This version is under $90 on Amazon and will fill in when you need the big guns. Your significant other will have serious tool lust, maybe you can let them use it, too. This isn’t your daddy’s drill either. It’s cordless and the new lithium-ion batteries charge super fast so even with big projects, you won’t have to purchase additional batteries to avoid downtime.
I’m always surprised when friends don’t own a good level! I have four. Not joking. If I could only have one, I would have a 36″ ergonomic level with measurements on it like this one. My 36″ level isn’t this fancy, but I wish it was! I also use my extra-small level very frequently (it has a magnetic strip and I stick it on our tool chest next to my magnetic stud finder, above), but there are a lot of tasks where you need a longer level (especially for hanging just about anything) and one with measurements will also save you the trouble of trying to manage a tape measure while your hands are already full. The level below also has a handy “+” in the center that moves, perfect for making marks you’ll need for hanging.
Of course, any DIYer will amass a collection of other basic tools as well, like a variety of screw drivers, players, sanders, etc, but these Top 5 Tools are great investments that have been absolutely worth every penny for us. Do you have any other suggestions for your fellow DIYers? Let us know below!
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