22 Essential handyman tools you need in your toolbox

Be prepared for any home improvement job with these basic tools.

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Are you a DIY enthusiast looking to do all sorts of home repairs? Or perhaps you’re an experienced handyperson building your business. Whichever the case,  you’ll need a complete set of handyman tools.

Before you consider buying those fancy power tools, it’s best to start with the basics. This guide lists down essential handyman tools everyone should have in their toolbox. You’ll also find tips on choosing the best handyman tools.

Basic handyman tools 

1. Tape measure and level

Make sure to pick out a reliable measuring tape and level. Thicker tape makes it easier to get accurate measurements. Meanwhile, a good level keeps your work accurate, safe, and professional.

2. Hammer

A hammer is a must-have for various tasks, including assembling furniture, pulling up nails, and bending metal.

3. Screwdriver set

Interchangeable screwdriver set with different types of metal steel heads and bits

Go for a multi-bit screwdriver instead of filling up your toolkit with multiple screwdrivers. Pro tip: Get a magnetic model to stop losing screws while you work!

4. Pliers

Pliers are one of the most common tools for a handyman. With multiple pliers, you can have more flexibility with your projects. Grab yourself some needle nose pliers (for wires) and tongue and groove pliers (for pipes).

5. Chisel

Asian senior carpenter using a chisel and hammer to carve wood in a workshop

Chisels are helpful for breaking up chunks of concrete or glue, carving and trimming down wood, and shaving off rough patches.

6. Blades and cutters

When putting together your handyman tool kit, include a utility knife, blades, scissors, and wire cutters. These will be useful for cutting drywall, opening packages, cutting tape and wires, and so on.

7. Saws

Sawing or cutting a wooden board with special Japanese hand saw

Invest in some high-quality saws if you’ll be doing a lot of woodworking projects. A table saw is beginner-friendly and versatile, while a Japanese saw is great for hard-to-reach areas and precision cutting.

8. Wrenches

A good set of handyman tools should include a couple of wrenches, including an Allen wrench. These tools make gripping, fastening, tightening, and loosening easier. An adjustable wrench is ideal if you don’t want to buy a ton of wrenches for every sort of nut, bolt, or pipe.

9. Drill and drill bits

A reliable drill and drill bits are essential for tasks like putting up picture frames and assembling furniture. If you can, get a cordless drill to avoid tripping on wires and having to keep looking for electrical outlets on-site.

10. Painting tools

Want to start painting or repainting your home in a refreshing new colour? You’ll need these painting tools in your handyman tool kit:

  • Buckets
  • Paint rollers
  • Paintbrushes
  • Paint can opener

11. Sander

Sanding wood with orbital sander outdoors

A hand sander or belt sander will come in handy for complex handyman projects like repairing drywall or installing a deck.

12. Ladder

Having a ladder or step stool on hand can be incredibly useful, even if you’re not a handyman. A good ladder will allow you to paint the upper portion of your walls, do roof work, and even clean up your house.

13. Safety tools

Make sure you have these tools in your kit, especially if you often work with power tools:

  • Goggles
  • Gloves
  • Earplugs

These will keep you safe as you work on your latest DIY project or handyperson job.

14. Adhesives

These adhesives will come in handy not only for your big DIY projects but also for minor home repairs:

  • Electric tape
  • Duct tape
  • Masking tape
  • Wood glue
  • Superglue

Make sure these essentials are part of your handyman tools!

15. Angle finder and compass

A handyman measuring the angle of a steel part with an angle finder, finder protector of a wooden meter

Measuring arcs and angles is easy with a good angle finder and drawing compass. If you do a lot of woodworking or plumbing, grab these two items for your tool kit.

16. Cleaning tools

Cleaning up after a project shows professionalism. Make this part of the job a breeze by adding cleaning tools to your handyperson kit:

  • Sponge
  • Rags
  • Power washer
  • Mini broom and dustpan

Electrical tools 

17. Electrical tester

An electrical meter in the hands of an electrician testing a control cabinet

Suppose your projects involve a lot of electric work. In that case, you’ll need to add a good electrical tester to your handyman tools list. There are different kinds of testers, depending on your needs. These include:

  • Clamp meters - Measures the high level of current in the circuit
  • Insulation testers - Prevents electric shock
  • Multimeters - Measures various parameters, including voltage, current, and resistance

18. Extension cords

Keep an extension cord or two in your handyman tool kit. You’ll never know when you’ll need to use a power tool and all you have is a hard-to-reach electrical outlet!

Accessories and miscellaneous items

19. Fasteners

Plastic transparent organiser with various bolts nuts on a wooden surface

Dedicate a portion of your toolbox to all sorts of fasteners. Make sure to collect the unused ones from your previous projects as well. Some of the more common fasteners include:

  • Screws
  • Nuts
  • Bolts
  • Washers
  • D-rings
  • Exterior wood screws
  • Zip ties

20. Mini LED flashlight or headlamp

Want professional-looking results with every project? Add a mini LED flashlight and headlamp to your list of handyman tools. These tools are particularly useful when working in dark areas like the basement or under the stairs.

21. Stud finder

Man using a digital stud finder, detector to scan a wooden wall

A stud finder lets you quickly find the studs in drywall. This is important if you’re hanging up items such as picture frames, paintings, or a TV.

22. Pencils or markers

Handyman projects involve a lot of measuring and marking! Instead of looking around for a pencil every time you need one, why not keep a couple of them among your handyman tools?

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FAQs on handyman tools

Once you have all the handyman tools you need, pick out a sturdy and easy-to-access tool organiser. Some popular ways to store handyman tools include:

  • Toolboxes
  • Utility belts
  • Tool buckets
  • Nail and screw organisers

Screwdrivers, a tape measure, and a hammer are widely recommended DIY tools. Pliers are another handy tool to have in your home. In general, the best DIY tool depends on your usual home improvement projects.

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