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Which Power Tools Should DIYers Have?

3227 Views 21 Replies 18 Participants Last post by  ChuckTin

"If you have a few simple power tools on hand, there are many household repairs and projects that you can complete yourself – especially with a wealth of DIY instruction guides on the internet. In this article you will receive a list of the top 5 power tools every DIY homeowner should have." The Top 5 Power Tools Every DIY-er Should Have
Which power tools do you think homeowners just getting started with DIY should have? Why?
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What seems to be working well for me is: whatever I have to buy for each project. ;)

It helps me justify doing it myself. Often I can get it done for less than or equal to hiring someone out, AND I get to keep the tools that go into that cost which keeps me happy.

One of my pending projects is to sister a couple joists onto a broken one that is being held up by a jack at this point. I'll need a framing nail gun for that.

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My son just bought a house, and I'm trying to slow him down with buying tools.

He has a battery pack drill, circular saw, and a sawsall.
Right now he has my chainsaw, 4 wheeler and trailer to clear some trees.

He is trying to catch up to me, but I have many years worth of stuff, and he is starting out.
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Ayuh,..... I've got 'bout one of every tool known to mankind,...

My collection happened as I did things, 'n needed a tool, that's the tool I bought,....

If yer buildin' a deck or something outa wood, the saw Cricket posted is a Great start,....

If ya got a plumbin' problem, ya probably oughta start with a couple of pipe wrenches 1st,....

Diyin' is diverse, so whatever task yer wantin' to do, requires a different thought on which tools to buy, or rent,....

The Universal tool to 'bout All the trades, is a Hammer,..... ;)
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Sorry, but I think the article is a bit off.

Air compressor? Nice to have...but only if you're using air tools like impacts or nailers.

#1 tool? Shop vac. No matter what tool you are using, or what job you are doing, it's sure to make a mess. Keeping the work area clean is a matter of mental survival....and marital bliss.

#2 Cordless drill (I have 3...along with 2 corded drills)

#3 Sawzall

#4 Compound Miter

#5 Circular Saw. (I have two, corded and cordless)

After this point it becomes an issue of tools for a specific task....woodworking, framing, etc.

If you are a woodworker....then...
Router (I have 3)
DA Sander (I have 2)
Table Saw
Drill Press
Band Saw
Pocket Hole Cutter
Biscuit Cutter
Radial Arm Saw
LOTS of clamps

If you are into construction....
Nailers...all 4 types...Framing, Finishing, Brad and Palm
Paint Sprayer

Then you need a big garage to keep it all in......

It's a vicious never ends.
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I'm a single 34 year old guy who bought my first house last summer and I admit - I have a tool addiction. I buy tools like women buy shoes! The inside of my house is barely decorated (I hate decorating and I stink at it). I don't even have a kitchen table yet... instead I bought a Dewalt table saw (my logic... well now I have the option to build a kitchen table, lol).
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I don't think air compressor is the #1 "power tool" to purchase. A little funny because the rationale was for nail guns and pneumatic tools . . . none of which were on the list. :wink2:

Someone once told me that each job around the house requires a new purchase. That could be a spade bit or a laser line level, depending :biggrin2:
Computer (to look up how to do stuff)

Cell phone (to call a pro to fix your mess, or, worse yet, 911)

With those things in place, I recommend a decent set of cordless tools. I bought a set of Milwaukee M18 tools, with a circular saw, SawZall, drill, impact driver, and yes, the stupid flashlight. I just finished building an entire house, and used the cordless tools 95% of the time. Of the set, I used the SawZall the least; all of the others were used daily. I use my shop vac every day as well. If you get into air nailers, of course you need a compressor. Building the house, I have 6 different nailers. Framing, siding, strap shot (for metal connectors), flooring, 15 ga. finish, and 18 ga. nailer. Now that I'm done, I'll sell the flooring nailer, as I have no plans at age 62 to lay another floor!

Over the years, one of my favorite tools is a saber or jig saw. You can do a lot with one. My most recent tool was one of those oscillating tools that started out as corner sanders. They are incredibly handy, performing cuts that can't be done with other tools.

Looking back, my first power tools many years ago were a drill and a saber saw. I got along with those for many years before buying everything else in the catalog. If you're a homeowner, like fixing and building stuff, have the time and the aptitude, buy GOOD tools. My corded drill (Milwaukee) saber saw (Bosch), and belt sander (Makita) were all pro-grade tools, and I've been using them without trouble since the 1970's. I don't know if today's tools are built to last 40 years, though!
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What seems to be working well for me is: whatever I have to buy for each project. ;)

It helps me justify doing it myself. Often I can get it done for less than or equal to hiring someone out, AND I get to keep the tools that go into that cost which keeps me happy.


my thoughts exactly!
You'll end buying whatever tool necessary for the job but the top 10 "everyday" tools I use most around the house are:

1. Screw driver
2. Ear plugs
3. Work/Mechanic gloves
4. Socket set (with ratchet of course)
5. Tape measure
6. Pencil and paper
7. Impact driver or drill (with phillips bits)
8. 10" or larger compound mitre saw (I'd suggest the sliding compound mitre saw)
9. Hammer
10. 7" Variable speed polisher/sander (with hook & loop polishing pads and sanding disks)
I would really like one of the wives who seem to be somewhat handy and run some "DIY" blog. That would be the #1 tool, IMO. I could come home and have a bunch of work that got done during the day. I'd then sit down on the couch and instruct her on the finer points of proper joinery and to throw out the stupid pocket hole jig. All done from the couch of course ("Hey babe, top me off when you're done with that sawzall").

Back in the real world, my number one tool is my table saw.
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Everyone has given great lists of tools.

I would add that some of the simplest of tools come in handy as well. I recommend buying a multi-tool of some sort. Something with pliers, a knife, screwdriver, etc. Put it in your pocket and you ALMOST have a tool box.
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For the past few years, I have been building cabinets for our house, sis-n-laws house and my mom's house. Along with that, I have built all sorts of projects.

Some of my favorite tools are the 12 volt Lithium Ion version drill drivers/impact Dewalt carries. See pics below.

Recently I bought the 18 v XRP reciprocating saw and the matching jig saw. They work great!

Good luck.


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My top 5 would be:

1 - Hammer drill
2 - Compound miter saw
3 - Sawzall
4 - Sander (belt or orbital, you pick)
5 - Wet/Dry vac (with bags that can handle drywall dust)

Based on all the DIY projects I've done over the years, these are the 5 power tools I've used the most. #6 would probably be the beer fridge.
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Circular saw

Those are what I use most. Sure, the miter saw is a nice convenience, but most cuts that I do could be completed with the circ saw and a guide.
1. Cordless drill/driver. If that's the only cordless tool you'll be getting a 12v will be just fine. If you're getting heavier duty cordless tools, step up to 18v.

2. Cordless reciprocating saw. I have a cordless Milwaukee, not even a Fuel, and it works just as good as my corded saw. I also use it for pruning so not dragging a cord everywhere is nice.

3. Circular saw. I'm not sold on cordless here, but I haven't used a brushless model yet. Decent ones can be found at yard sales and thrift stores for not much money.

4. Wet/dry vac. Because cleanliness is next to Godliness. I've had good luck with Craftsman but I'm not confident in that brand overall anymore so I'd point people toward Ridgid.

5. Random orbit sander. You don't even need to be a woodworker to have one, they're also nice for craft projects, paint prep, and a lot of other things. DeWalt is a good entry level brand, but like a lot of things, the more you spend the better the tool.
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I didn't know anything about home improvement until about 7 years ago. Now there is very little I don't tackle myself. YouTube videos and forums like this are a godsend.

The answer to this question really depends on what kinds of work you are doing and how much money you are willing to spend. In regards to money, you will see great returns. Like someone else already said, the cost of a pro to do even a simple job could be put towards tools that can be used over and over. Most of my savings came in the area of plumbing. For the cost of a Roto Rooter visit, you can buy a new toilet. $75 in plumbing tools and a little knowledge can literally save thousands over the years.

Aside from that, get good with drywall. Being able to demo and repair drywall will serve you well in so many projects and again the tools are cheap. Get a good box cutter, scorer, putty knives, joint compound tray and you're ready! Even if you pay someone to fix what's inside the wall, you save money on fixing the wall.

You don't need to rush out to buy an inventory. Buy what you need for each job, and the inventory will build itself. My two pieces of advice are: the right tool for the job saves frustration and money, and don't be cheap. Quality tools are a good investment.

I assume you're mostly concerned with power tools since they cost the most. Here's my prioritized list:

1) Cordless lithium ion drill: You want powerful and compact. 18-20 volts handles most jobs easily. Multiple batteries are a must so you always have one charging. Look for a brand that has a family of tools that use the same batteries.

2) Circular saw: Buy good blades, and buy the right blades for the material and cuts you are making. Table saws are wonderful for long cuts, but a circular saw with a straight edge guide and clamps will suffice in most applications.

3) Miter saw (chop saw): The only reason this ranks behind #2 is because it's more expensive. As far as larger tools go, I use this more than anything else. Blades for metal and stone makes the chop saw useful far beyond lumber.

4) Shop vac: I use this on just about every job. You can also connect shop vacs to woodworking tools like miter saws and routers to prevent the need for cleanup all together. The shop vac is also great for cleaning up pet stains and paint spills. $20 for one extra horsepower? Yes please!

5) Jigsaw: Imperative for making all those wacky cuts you run into. Use the right blade for the right material and you can cut all kinds of things.

6) Multi-tool: You will literally feel your hands and forearms weaken from lack of use after you buy one of these. From grout removal to paint scraping this tool cuts down on the need for elbow grease on countless jobs.

7) Air compressor: I saw there was a big debate on whether this should make the list. Hell yes it should! I bought one just to power a trim nailer and floor nailer and it paid for itself after 1 bedroom reno. Paint sprayers are great for doors, trim and intricate projects. Get a 50' hose and you can run power to tools to any room in your house without even moving it. It's also nice to be able to fill the car tires at home.
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Pretty much everyone recommends a drill, and I wanted to clarify that if you're only going to have one, make it a hammer drill. At some point, you will need to drill into a concrete, cinder block, or brick wall and you'll be glad to have the hammer option.

The cordless ones are nice, but I like the corded ones to give you a little extra oomph if you need to drill into really tough concrete.
Pretty much everyone recommends a drill, and I wanted to clarify that if you're only going to have one, make it a hammer drill. At some point, you will need to drill into a concrete, cinder block, or brick wall and you'll be glad to have the hammer option.

The cordless ones are nice, but I like the corded ones to give you a little extra oomph if you need to drill into really tough concrete.

I'd disagree with the need for a corded drill. My Milwaukee Fuel hammer drill has no problems drilling through whatever I need it to. The only thing it doesn't have that my old corded Makita does is a trigger lock, which is nice for when I'm using a wire wheel. Power is no contest.

Cordless technology now is akin to computers in the 90s. It's advancing so fast that if you had a cordless drill 10-15 years ago and compared it to a new one, it's like we were living in the Stone Age. They have stuff Home Depot/Lowes never heard of.

Best, the salespeople know what tools are the best buy.
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