Top 10 Tools to DIY a Home you Love
plus which ones you don’t need to waste your money on!
When Mark and I bought our house a few years ago, I was determined to turn it into my dream home. I scoured Pinterest and Instagram for inspiration and came across countless DIY projects that I wanted to do in my home. I was convinced I could do them all, but there were two big problems: I had no clue how to DIY and I didn’t have any tools!
So, like any self-respecting millennial, I turned to social media for guidance.
I followed DIY influencer accounts that were sponsored by big tool brands and they made home projects look fun and easy. Now, on top of wanting to DIY my dream home, I was also dreaming up my ascent to DIY stardom. I could see all the likes and follows pouring in. *Cue the Photoshoot, above*.
And while I certainly had a blast at first, there was still one thing holding me back: the cost of the tools. I mean, what woman wants to spend more on their power tool collection than their shoe collection?
I quickly learned that buying tools was a crucial step if I wanted to elevate my DIY journey, but I was intimidated by all the options and the cost. As a self-proclaimed budget queen, I didn’t want to shell out hundreds of dollars on something I might only use once or twice.
After some time (and buyers remorse) I soon realized that investing in the right tools would be worth it in the long run. Once I was able to prioritize the tools needed, the never-ending list felt less daunting and I was able to plan and save to buy tools as I needed them for projects. The best part is that I knew I would be able to use them again and again for future projects.
Here are the Top 10 Tools to start DIYing
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All of my top DIY Tools and commonly used materials are linked in my Amazon Storefront.
I’ve been DIYing for a few years but it’s important to start with some beginner-friendly projects so that you don’t get overwhelmed or discouraged. Some great starter projects include painting a room, installing shelving, or replacing the hardware on your cabinets or drawers.
These projects will give you the opportunity to practice basic skills such as measuring, cutting, and drilling without breaking the bank right away. As you gain more experience and confidence, you can gradually move on to more advanced projects and buy more tools!
#1 Cordless Drill
A drill is easily the most essential and versatile tools for any beginner DIYer (or even just a homeowner). It’s two main functions are drilling holes and driving screws into wood, metal, and other materials. This means that you can use it for tasks such as hanging shelves, assembling furniture, or even building a deck. Additionally, many drills have different speed settings, making it easy to adjust the power based on the task at hand.
For a beginner DIYer, a basic cordless drill is usually sufficient. As you gain experience and take on more complex projects, you may want to expand your collection. The next step up would be an impact driver which can help you drill and screw into harder materials, faster. You can often buy drills and impact drivers together in combo kits like this one:
Drill/Driver Combo Kit
#2 Electric Sander
If you’re planning on tackling a refinishing or painting project, an electric sander is a must-have tool. This will save you hours of hand sanding and give a smoother finish. Look for a corded random orbital sander so that you can get the maximum power without having to worry about running out of battery.
When using an electric sander, you have to use sanding discs with it. This variety pack of sanding discs gives you all the options you’ll need for your projects. Use a coarse grit (lower number) for heavy sanding or a finer grit (higher number) for smoothing and finishing. As you can imagine, sanding can be dusty, add this small shop vac to create a mini dust collection system to keep your workspace clean.
#3 Miter Saw
Okay, we’re starting to get into the more expensive stuff. The miter saw was my first big purchase, and it was a big decision! Luckily, I had plenty of time to decide on this purchase since hardware stores offer wood cutting services. I utilized the cutting service for almost a year until I finally took the plunge and bought this saw!
A miter saw is a valuable addition to your DIY tool arsenal. There are two main types of miter saws: standard and sliding. A sliding miter saw can cut wider boards but comes at a higher price point. I have this standard saw and it works just fine for my needs. DEWALT is a top brand for miter saws, but Ryobi offers a more budget-friendly option for beginners.
I’ve gotten so much use out of my miter saw in the last 6 years. One tip for the miter saw is that you’ll want to upgrade the blade pretty much immediately. The saw blade is better suited for rough wood framing than for the DIY pieces I’m making. Upgrading the blade to something like this, with finer teeth, will give you a smoother, cleaner cut. You also want to replace your blade from time to time as it wears out. I’ve replaced the blade only 4 times in total, but it depends on how frequently you use your saw.
#4 Kreg Pocket Hole Jig
The Kreg Jig Pocket Hole Jig is a game-changer for a beginner DIYer working on a built-in or cabinetry project. The thought of building my own furniture always intimidated me when I started out. The idea of creating complicated joints and precise measurements was overwhelming. That’s where the Kreg Jig Pocket Hole Jig comes in. This tool allows you to easily create strong and secure joints without needing to be a woodworking expert.
A pocket hole is a type of joinery technique used in woodworking. It involves drilling a hole at an angle through one piece of wood and then joining it to another piece with a screw. The result is a strong joint that is quick and easy to make without visible screws. My version is old but this is the newer model and it’s less expensive than when I bought mine!
#5 Oscillating Saw (Multi-tool)
An oscillating saw, also known as a multi-tool is next on this list of must-have power tools. It’s perfect for making precise cuts in tight spaces or tricky angles that other saws simply can’t reach. Whether you’re trimming door casings, cutting out drywall, or removing old grout, a multi-tool is what you need!
A multi-tool can handle a wide range of materials by using various blades. For example, you can use a wood blade to cut through baseboards or a metal blade to cut through pipes. You can also use sanding pads with different grits to smooth out rough edges or remove old paint.
#6 Brad Nail Gun
A brad nail gun is an essential tool, typically used for attaching trim or molding to your DIY project. After the miter saw, this was the next tool that I really wanted but had to save for. Now, it’s easily my favorite tool. I used my brad nailer to create this Picture Frame Molding in my dining room, build this gorgeous Modern Nursery Accent Wall and even to attach the shelves in my Golf Storage Unit Build and in my Closet Built-Ins!
Even when buying a lower-priced brand, this tool is a worthwhile investment that will pay for itself!
#7 Circular Saw
A circular saw is a tool that can make long, straight cuts in wood. For a while, I was scared of this saw because its portability made the spinning blade feel unstable. But this inexpensive tool is awesome for ripping down large sheets of plywood into smaller boards. To make accurate cuts, you’ll have to clamp a straight edge to the piece you’re cutting, but you’ll quickly get the hang of it.
The saw’s small and lightweight design makes it highly portable, perfect for cutting wood outside your main workspace or in limited storage spaces. Just make sure to use the appropriate blade for the material you are cutting and always follow proper safety precautions.
Now, this saw no longer scares me. In fact, I’m becoming more lazy about pulling out the next tool on my list- my table saw. I often just use my circular saw instead!
#8 Table Saw
If you’re consistently working with large sheets of plywood or need to make precise rip cuts, a table saw is a must-have tool. When I built my closet, I bought a table saw for ripping down all the plywood for the built-ins and it was easily the MVP of that project!
Some people think a table saw is overrated because you can rip down large pieces of plywood with a circular saw. However, a table saw makes that process so much easier and is more precise and accurate. Plus there are additional capabilities like cutting bevels, so that you can create a seamless mantel, like this. You can also creating super precise channels and dados to elevate the level of joinery in your cabinet projects.
#9 Jig Saw
For curved cuts or intricate designs, a jig saw is the tool you want. Jig saws are a step up from multi-tools since they can make curved and intricate cuts. Additionally, a jigsaw has a faster cutting speed and can handle thicker materials. It’s a great tool to have for more detailed woodworking projects or even cutting out shapes for DIY projects. If you’re looking to take your DIY skills to the next level, investing in a jigsaw is definitely worth considering.
#10 Paint Sprayer
Okay, I had to include a paint sprayer in this list, even though, technically you never really need a paint sprayer. You can go your whole DIY career painting rooms and builds with the ole brush and rollers. However, a paint sprayer improves the quality of your paint job and you can cover large surfaces quickly. I bought one pretty early on, when I was building my Closet Built-ins and don’t regret it at all!
While a paint sprayer may be more expensive than brushes or rollers, it can save money in the long run by reducing the amount of paint needed and reducing the need for touch-ups. And besides learning how to use your particular model, you basically need no experience to get an amazing finish!
(Not so) Humble Brag- I was gifted this Cordless Graco TC Pro Paint Sprayer, so this is the exact one I use. I probably wouldn’t have paid this much for one on my own, which is why I linked the budget-friendly version, above. I may be a big-time influencer now, but I’m still cheap.
While having the right tools can make your DIY or woodworking projects more efficient and enjoyable, it’s also important to avoid wasting money on tools you don’t actually need.
Which brings me to-
The Most Overrated Tools (when beginning your DIY journey)
While power tools are a crucial part of any DIYer’s toolkit, some may not be as necessary as others. As a beginner, it’s important to prioritize your purchases and avoid wasting money on tools that may not be as useful to you right now. Don’t get me wrong, the tools on this list are great, but as a beginner, the simplest tools are the most effective. Here are some power tools that I think are overrated for a beginner DIYer:
- Router: A router can create intricate designs in wood, but it’s not necessary for most basic DIY projects. Unless you plan on doing a lot of cabinetry or intricate woodworking, a router probably isn’t worth the investment- yet.
- Planer: A planer is used to smooth and level out rough wood, but it’s also a tool that’s not essential for beginners. If you’re working with pre-surfaced wood or just doing small DIY projects, you can easily get by without a planer.
- Jointer: Similar to a planer, a jointer is used to create flat, straight edges on rough wood. But for most DIY projects, a circular saw or jigsaw can achieve the same results without the added expense of a jointer.
- Belt Sander: While a belt sander is useful for sanding large surfaces, it’s not as necessary for a beginner DIYer. A handheld orbital sander can achieve the same results for smaller projects and is much more affordable.
Now, It’s Time for You to Transform Your Own Home!
Starting a DIY project can be daunting, especially when you don’t have the right tools. When I first started out, I was in the same boat – eager to transform my home but lacking the necessary knowledge and equipment. But with some research, practice, and investment in the right power tools, I’ve become a confident DIYer and woodworker. These 10 power tools have been my go-to for countless projects over the last 5 years. Of course, it took time to accumulate them all.
Remember, just because a tool is popular or frequently used by your favorite DIYers on Instagram, that doesn’t mean it’s necessary for you as a beginner. Prioritize your purchases, build your skills slowly and consistently and invest in tools that you’ll use often and for a variety of projects.
By considering the types of projects you want to tackle and your budget, you can select the power tools that will best meet your needs. With the right tools and a little bit of practice, you too can transform your home into your dream space!
If you have any questions about which tools you should invest in to complete your projects, leave me a comment!
Want to keep up with my newest projects? Come hang out on my social media accounts, below!