Key Tools For Successful DIY

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Whether a DIY enthusiast or a newbie to the home projects world, it is crucial that you have the right tools to be successful in your DIY projects. The saying goes that a workman should never blame his tools – but this is definitely not the case if you are working with inadequate or incorrect tools for the jobs that you are working on. Although it could be argued that it is you that has bought those tools in the first place!

Save yourself from the wasted time, money and effort of working with the wrong tools ever again, and use our article to make sure that you have all the key tools that you need to be successful in any DIY projects you might be working on. We have even included some of our recommended tools to make the process even easier for you!

Only Got 5 Minutes?

Whether you are in a rush to get started with your DIY project, or maybe you just need a recap on those key tools that are essential for your toolbox, then this part of the article is for you. Jam packed with all of those main tools that you may need to get the job done.


STANLEY STHT0-51310 20oz Fiberglass Curved Claw Hammer, 570g
1,166 Reviews
STANLEY STHT0-51310 20oz Fiberglass Curved Claw Hammer, 570g
  • Fiberglass core for strength and durability
  • Improved overstrike protection for longer life
  • Enhanced bi-material grip
  • Peel resistant for longer life
  • Claw for prying and Nail removal

There are a million reasons why you are bound to need a hammer when completing any DIY around the home, from putting up picture frames, to installing cupboards or even something more complex such as plumbing or electric jobs. Your hammer is there to “hammer” nails into the surface that you are working with, and don’t forget you can use the other end to pull nuisance nails back out!

A 16-ounce hammer with a curved claw will be perfect for those small, easy jobs but also for bigger jobs like breaking up plaster walls!


Silverline 546524 General Purpose Soft-Grip Screwdriver Set Slotted & Phillips 6-Pieces-Bicoloured(Blue/Grey)
1,744 Reviews
Silverline 546524 General Purpose Soft-Grip Screwdriver Set Slotted & Phillips 6-Pieces-Bicoloured(Blue/Grey)
  • Hardened chrome vanadium steel shanks with chemically-blackened magnetic tips
  • Ergonomic rubber handles with high-grip textured panels
  • Ideal addition to anybody's toolbox for use around the home, workshop, garage & garden
  • Colour-coded for easy tip recognition
  • Includes 3 x slotted & 3 x Phillips screwdrivers

Screwdrivers are vital tools for so many jobs around the home, whether rewiring fuses or fitting cabinet doors and door fittings. They can also be used for building flat-pack furniture, or hanging curtain rails or light fittings. The wide range of jobs that they can help you complete means that this is a tool sure to save you money in the long run as there is so much more that you will be able to do for yourself around the home.

We would recommend buying at least two screwdrivers: a flat-head and a philips. But, they will also come in various different sizes allowing you to work with different sizes of screws, so really the more you have the better! Some clever screwdrivers will be “multi-bit” screwdrivers, which means they have one handle but then allows you to change the bits depending on the screw that you are working with. This can save a lot of space in your toolbag and a lot of faff finding the tool that you need to work with!

TOP TIP: Make sure to purchase screwdrivers with insulated handles incase you end up working on any electrical wiring jobs as they will help to prevent any nasty electric shocks!

Adjustable Spanner

Stanley 090947 6in MaxSteel Adjustable Wrench
1,437 Reviews
Stanley 090947 6in MaxSteel Adjustable Wrench
  • Narrow head design for limited space
  • Alloy-steel body increases strength
  • Extra-wide jaw capacity
  • Bi-material handle for a comfortable grip
  • Ideal for plumbing and general assembly tasks

For those jobs that your screwdriver can’t work with (i.e. nuts and bolts) you will need a spanner. This will be able to “lock” into position around whatever fastening it is that you need to change, so that you can then tighten or loosen it as is needed. Adjustable spanners can be stretched or shrunk depending on the fastening that you are working with so that they can make a secure grasp around it – this helps to avoid these nuts and bolts from becoming rounded off. It is well worth considering purchasing a locking wrench, as this will be able to be fixed in place so that your hands are free to work on other aspects of the DIY project.

We would recommend buying two different lengths of spanners, as bigger spanners will be able to help you stretch into those hard to reach places but they can be cumbersome and make some jobs more difficult, so in these cases, you would need a smaller spanner.

Utility Knife

Bosch Professional 1600A016BM Two-Part Set (with Universal Folding Professional Cutting Knife, Including Replacement Blades, in Blister Packaging), 2 Pieces
662 Reviews
Bosch Professional 1600A016BM Two-Part Set (with Universal Folding Professional Cutting Knife, Including Replacement Blades, in Blister Packaging), 2 Pieces
  • Two professional knives for any kind of cutting work
  • Easy and safe handling thanks to the secure knife, which can be released using a button, and a rubber handle
  • Blades can be replaced quickly with spare blades easily stored in the housing
  • Long knife lifetime due to robust die-cast aluminium housing
  • Items included: 1x folding knife, 3x blades for folding knife, 1x cutter, 1x blade for cutter, in blister packaging

Commonly known as a Stanley knife (although this is actually only one particular brand), a utility knife is a tool that is not just used in DIY, but can be used in many jobs around the home. A utility knife is a sharp blade that can cut through various different materials (such as cardboard, carpet or wallpaper) or just scratch marks into really hard materials (such as wood). The main benefit of a utility knife is that the blade can be tucked back into the handle of the tool when it is not in use so that it cannot harm you, or other materials that you are working with!

Utility knives are even better value for money when you consider that the blade can be replaced when it becomes blunt, instead of you having to replace the whole tool!

Putty Knife

OX Stainless Steel Joint Knife 6 inch/152 mm - Flexible Wall Putty Knife with Built-in Hammer - Drywall Scraper Tool - Taping Knife with Comfortable Handle - by OX Tools
260 Reviews
OX Stainless Steel Joint Knife 6 inch/152 mm - Flexible Wall Putty Knife with Built-in Hammer - Drywall Scraper Tool - Taping Knife with Comfortable Handle - by OX Tools
  • HIGH QUALITY STAINLESS STEEL BLADE: The blade of the Pro Joint Knife is flexible and crafted using premium stainless steel which enables perfect feathering of the joints.
  • BUILT-IN HAMMER END: To deal with stubborn nail pops on the wall, the Pro Joint Knife has a built-in hammer end. It eliminates the need for a separate hammer for small pops on the wall and makes it an ideal wall putty knife.
  • PREMIUM RIVET SYSTEM: The stainless steel blade of the Pro Joint Knife is attached with the handle with a premium rivet system so that it won't detach easily.
  • ERGONOMICALLY DESIGNED HANDLE: For optimum comfort and strong grip, handle of the Pro Joint Knife is designed ergonomically to reduce hand fatigue.
  • MULTIPURPOSE TOOL: The OX Joint Knife is a perfect multipurpose tool. It can be used for taping wall putty, a scraper tool, for filling the gaps and much more.

A putty knife, or scraper, is perfect for all those more messy jobs that you might be completing, such as filling holes, repairing walls or even reglazing windows! It is essentially a narrow yet straight blade that can hold the putty or other material that you are working with and then smooth over the surface that you are trying to apply it to. They are also easy to clean meaning that they can be used again and again!

TOP TIP: Make sure to clean your putty knife sooner rather than later as putty and other building materials will often harden quickly and can then be difficult to remove from the knife blade. Over time this will stop it working to its full potential.

Junior hack saw

HAUTMEC 150mm Junior Hacksaw & mitre Block Set 6' Adjustable Angle Cutting Corner Cut Saw Blade HT0034-PL
171 Reviews
HAUTMEC 150mm Junior Hacksaw & mitre Block Set 6" Adjustable Angle Cutting Corner Cut Saw Blade HT0034-PL
  • Light alloy steel frame with comfortable grip
  • Frame includes a tension adjustment knob
  • Supplied with 6" (150mm) blade
  • Light aluminum mitre block with 45° and 90° angles
  • Size of mitre box 5.5"x1.5"x1.8" (13.5x3.2x4.8cm)

A junior hack saw is a simply toothed blade secured to a handle. As this is essentially a small saw, it can be whipped out to cut through smaller pieces of wood, making it a nice, handy tool to have around to save you time when working. Many junior hack saw also have replaceable blades, meaning that you are not having to replace the whole tool when the blade becomes blunter. Look out for junior hack saws that have as many teeth as possible as this will be able to work through most materials better.


Silverline 427610 Pliers Set 3-Piece Set 160mm (6¼') Length
1,105 Reviews
Silverline 427610 Pliers Set 3-Piece Set 160mm (6¼") Length
  • Hardened & tempered steel construction
  • Combination pliers with 20mm jaw capacity for tightening, loosening, grasping & cutting
  • Needle nose pliers with 11mm jaw for grasping, bending & cutting
  • Side-cutting pliers for neat trimming of wire, cable, pins & rubber
  • Ergonomic polypropylene handles with slip guards

Pliers are one of those tools that will last forever if looked after properly and you will be amazed by the amount of times that you will find yourself needing to use them. They are essentially a pair of pincers that will grip onto almost anything that you are trying to work with, whether this by nails, wires, plumbing fixtures or fastenings like nuts and bolts.

Pliers come in different sizes which is important as larger pliers will be able to work with larger pieces of materials but smaller pliers will be able to fit into tighter spaces that you might be working in. Therefore we would recommend purchasing a set of pliers so that you can be prepared for any DIY that you might be completing. Some pliers also come with locking jaws (similar to the locking wrenches) which means that they will be able to lock in place when gripping a material, so that your hands are free to keep working!

Power Tools

There are a wide variety of power tools that are bound to make your life easier when completing successful DIY standards. They will save you time, energy and can often lead to a more professional finish – but they do come at a cost. How frequently you plan on doing DIY will determine whether they are worth the purchase but some include;

  • Drills – Used for screwing in different types of hardware but also removing them (providing the drill has a reverse function, which most do!). This can be used for almost any job around the home but can particularly save you time if just moving into a house or completing a room/home renovation.
  • Impact Driver – Similar to a drill in function but designed to pack more of a punch so ideal for larger projects.
  • Circular saw – used for cutting many different materials, but usually various types of wood.

Added Extras

Now that we have considered the main tools that should be found in your toolbox for successful DIY, there are some other additional items that are bound to be needed when completing DIY to a good standard…

  • Tape measure – You are always going to need to measure the area that you are working with, this might be to find the middle of a window for hanging curtain rails, or finding a spot on a wall for fitting pictures. You may even need it for bigger jobs such as building furniture. It’s rare there will be a DIY job that doesn’t need a tape measure!
  • Torch – There will be countless occasions when you are going to be working in cupboards, under stairs or in other darker spaces! You are going to need a torch to be able to see what you are doing!
  • Hardware – You aren’t going to be able to complete many DIY jobs without the hardware and fastenings there to get the job done. We would recommend having a range of screws, nails, nuts and bolts ready to go in a plastic organiser so that they are always to hand when you need them.

Smart Tools

As with almost all modern technology nowadays, tools are slowly going “smart”, this means that many power tools can be connected to your phones or tablets so that you can complete diagnostics, check battery life and even disable the batteries on your tools if they are stolen. This clever technology works via bluetooth, so providing the tools are in range, you will be able to find lost batteries and control certain aspects of your tools! Admittedly, not all manufacturers have introduced smart tools yet, but some that have include DeWalt, Milwaukee and Black and Decker.

We found smart features used on battery packs, drills and some other power tools.

Top Tips for Successful DIY

So now you know the key tools that you need to complete successful DIY, we thought it would be remiss to not give you some of our top tips for actually getting that DIY done!

  • Research – Make sure to research the project that you are planning on completing so that you can be sure you have all the tools that you are going to need and also all of the information and knowledge you could need to be successful in completing the job.
  • Equipment – Be sure to check that you have all the right tools that you may need before completing the job. In theory, you should have all of these (if you have listened to our article anyway!), but it is still worth checking that you have everything you need! There is nothing worse than getting partway through a job and finding that you are short of a tool that is needed to tick the job off the long list.
  • Budget – Look at the budget that you have available and whether this is realistic for the job that you are wanting to complete. It may be better waiting for a couple of months until you can afford to do the job properly, as using lower quality materials will stop the job lasting as long.
  • Keep safe – Working with power tools and completing most DIY jobs will come with a certain element of risk. Often this risk can be reduced by making sure to wear safety protection and by following the safety advice that comes with individual tools.
  • Last but definitely not least …. Remember to ask for help from a friend or professional if you are struggling with a job! It is much  better to ask for help and get the job done properly, than have to start all over again a couple of months later when it falls apart.

Frequently Asked Questions

How can I keep my tools in good working order?
It always makes sense to keep your tools in good working order, otherwise, you will find yourself having to replace them rather quickly! Make sure to always dry your tools if they become wet and remove any dust or debris from the tools to avoid them rusting over time. We would also recommend oiling any moving parts regularly to keep them in good working order.

Why should I keep my tools in a tool bag?
There are many reasons why DIY tools should be kept in a tool bag. Firstly, this makes them easy to transport between jobs but it also keeps them all in one place so they are ready for when you need them and don’t go wandering off! Also, a good quality tool bag will protect your tools from any water, debris or other damage when not in use.

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Last update on 2020-09-24 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

About Mike Jones 178 Articles
I started doing DIY around the house and it soon developed into a hobby. I look for tools and products that are genuinely useful and get the job done. I enjoy writing product reviews, researching my buyers guides and putting tools through their paces. In my downtime, I like to run and I am a bit of a Netflix documentary geek.

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