Home improvements are costly. A lot of money, time, and effort goes into finding a contractor and supervising the job. Fortunately, you can save money by handling home decor, home maintenance, car repairs, landscaping, and many other tasks on your own.

One of the keys to do-it-yourself savings is having a toolbox at the ready.

You don’t need a lot of tools and supplies to be prepared for an emergency repair at home. A few basic hand tools are enough for most DIY home decor projects.

1. Claw hammer

The head of a claw hammer is flat on one end and curves into two prongs on the other. The flat head is used to pound nails into place, while the claw is used to pull them out. You can also use a hammer for any kind of work that requires force, such as crushing drywall or knocking a piece of wood into place.

2. Screwdriver

Many household items are held together by screws, such as furniture and lamps. Screws also hold closet doors and door handles in place. Whenever you need to repair any of these items, you’ll need a screwdriver to remove and replace the screws. Most people use a screwdriver more often than any other hand tool.

3. Wrench

Objects that aren’t assembled with nails or screws are usually held together with bolts and nuts. You will need a wrench to tighten and loosen nuts. A small 6-in. wrench will fit into tight spaces, while a longer 10-in. wrench will provide more leverage for loosening tight bolts. A two-piece set of wrenches costs less than $20.

4. Utility knife

Some cutting tasks are best done with a utility knife. The blade is contained within the handle, so it can’t injure you and can be extended to the necessary length. A utility knife is also suitable for shaving wood, marking slots on boards, and, if necessary, sharpening pencils.

5. Level

The level is a short, rectangular instrument with flat sides, and has a small vial of clear liquid embedded in the center. The vial is only partially full, so there is an air bubble in the liquid. When you lay the level flat on a surface, the bubble will rise to the top. If it rests between the two lines marked on the glass, it means the surface is level, not sloped.

6. Pliers

When doing a DIY job, you might find that you have fixed an object in the wrong place. Fasteners cannot be removed easily unless you have a firm grip on them. You can use pliers to loosen nuts, pull nails, straighten bent power plugs, remove fittings, and pinch wires to attachment points. Like any tool, they should have a comfortable grip, and the jaw should be perfectly aligned so it won’t move or twist.

7. Drill

An electric drill is the most efficient power tool you can have. It’s actually two tools in one: a drill and a driver. The drilling function allows you to bore holes of various sizes. The 12-volt cordless drill with a lithium-ion battery is the best option. It’s compact and light, but powerful enough for most DIY tasks. However, if you’re doing heavy work like building a deck, it’s a good idea to upgrade to a drill with more voltage.

8. Tape measure

Accurate measurements are necessary when you’re doing home improvement. You’ll need a good measuring tape to check pipe sizes, hang a picture in the right location, or measure the space where new equipment needs to be installed.

The cheapest retractable tape is 12 feet long and costs about $5. However, experts say it’s worth paying $10 to $20 for a sturdy 25-foot tape measure. This size is long enough for doing major home improvement work.

9. Flashlight

You can’t always count on having good natural lighting. You may have to work in a dimly lit basement or peer into a dark crevice. Or, you might have a power outage. In such cases, you’ll need a flashlight to see what you’re doing. There are several options that make a flashlight even more useful. For example, for around $40, you can get an electric forehead-mounted light that leaves your hands free to work.

10. Handsaw

A handsaw is simply a long, serrated cutting blade that is fixed to a handle. It’s used for cutting through boards, as it makes more precise cuts than a chainsaw.


As you develop your DIY skills, you can also upgrade your tools. However, it’s not worth buying any tools beyond the basic ones unless you use them regularly. Finally, remember that just having a good set of tools is not enough; you also need to know how to use them. This is a list of the basic hand tools you’ll need for any DIY project, large or small.