Every homeowner should have at least some basic hand tools for emergencies and those little projects. Here at Notsealed, we use a variety of DIY tools to bring you some cool projects and home maintenance tips.
In this post, we are going to go over the tools every man should have in his garage. I use most of these tools every month to keep my family home, cars, and appliances in tip-top condition.
A lot of these tools are used for my work as an electrician, so I try not to double up much at home. There are only so many tools you can fit in a work van so I try to plan ahead.
Now I must say that I have built up my basic home toolkit over the last 30 years. It can be expensive so don’t feel like you need to go to your local hardware shop and spend thousands of dollars. Just get the essentials and build it up over time.
Table of Contents
Essential Tools for Homeowners
Let’s start with the basic must-have tools for every homeowner and then work into more specialized tools that electricians and plumbers would use.
- Screwdrivers, both Philips and Flat in various sizes. Cordless electric screwdrivers are handy.
- Claw hammer
- Tape measure
- Pliers and side cutters
- Allan Keys both Metric and Imperial sizes.
- Bubble level
- 3/8 and 1/4 drive socket set
- Bench vice
- Tool bench
- Toolbox for storage
- Shifter, wrench, and spanner set in both metric and imperial sizes.
- Vice grips.
- Extension power leads.
- Torch or work light
- Vacuum Oil Extractor Pump
- Putty trowel
Without these tools, life will become very expensive and difficult. Even simple tasks like hanging a picture frame or repairing a flat bicycle tire will become impossible without the proper hand tools.
I was even able to repair my old record player with just a screwdriver and a set of needle nose pliers.
Must have power tools for DIY
Along with the hand tools mentioned above, your toolbox won’t be complete without a range of power tools. It is best to stick with a brand and then expand it over time.
Cordless tools in the 18v range are the best value for money as you only need a couple of batteries. You can then just buy the blank tool skins for each power tool and expand it over time.
Picking a brand for the Home Handyman is going to be your biggest challenge as there are quite a few manufacturers out there nowadays. Some are marketed for the homeowner such as Ryobi. Others are built for the tradesman such as Milwaulkee, Bosch, Dewalt, AEG, and Makita are all quality power tools that will last a lifetime.
That’s not to say Ryobi is junk. That is not the case. I see heaps of tradies using Ryobi gear but it’s made to a price point and if it is used every day you may not get the life out of something comparable say in a Makita.
I went with Ryobi 18v One plus power tools as they had the biggest range at the time and they probably still do. For the DIY handyman, they are fantastic.
Don’t forget to buy the Ryobi clone batteries as they are cheaper than the originals and work just as well.
18v Power tools every man should have
- Circular saw
- Angle grinder
- 12v Air compressor or mains powered.
- 2500A Car Jump Starter
- Air Blower
- Impact driver
- Portable Spot Light
Corded power tools
Now, these are tools that require some more power than 18v so they are only available in 110/240v depending in the country that you live in. Don’t forget to have a few extension leads as well.
- Masonry Drill and drill bits
- LCD Display Heat Gun
- Cordless Vacuum Cleaner
- Drop saw
- Bench drill
- Portable electrical power generator
- Starter Fluid
- Jigsaw and Circular saw.
- 18v Battery charger
- Hedge Trimmer
- Bench grinder
- Arc Welder
It is fairly rare that I will use a corded power tool nowadays unless I am doing something that requires a lot of power. Circular saws are a great example as sometimes the 18v circular saw just won’t cut through a thick piece of chipboard. Especially if it is a long run.
Must-Have Gardening Tools
Even if you don’t have a green thumb you still should have some basic tools to take care of your garden. All you need is a Lawn Mover, Shovel, Pick, Tree Saw, Secateurs, Whipper Snipper, Rake, and Hedge Trimmer. These should take care of 90% of all gardening jobs around your home.
Later you can branch out (no pun intended) for extra gear like a muncher, chainsaw, or compost bin to bring your garden to life.
I am not much of a gardener but I did learn to graft a peach tree on to a plum tree so that is exciting to get different fruit on one tree.
Now that we have the basics out of the way we can dive into some more specialized tools and explain what they are used for. I would only buy these if you are about to undertake a project that requires them. Don’t forget you may need to be licensed to perform various tasks.
Every homeowner will at some stage have an electrical issue. Usually, it’s a blown fuse or a faulty light switch. Often it is best to get an electrician in to make repairs. Your life or someone you love could be in danger if you get it wrong.
Always isolate the power before you work on any electrical appliances or devices. Be safe. Below are some of the basic hand tools that every homeowner should have in their tools box. It is the standard issue for every electrical apprentice.
- Electrical tape
- Insulated screwdrivers in various sizes
- Insulation Tester
- Stud Finder
- Insulated Pliers
- Bubble level
- Soldering Iron
Check out this post if you would like to see the full list of must have tools for apprentice electricians.
You can see some of the tools I use here in installing this quad outlet.
One of the problems I often have in my home is leaking taps. This is because it is an old house and the tap fittings are wearing out. Replacing a tap washer is an easy fix once you know how but it will require some specialized tools. Just remember to turn off the mains water supply before working on any taps.
Below are some plumbing tools I have acquired over the years that I find useful.
- Caulking Gun
- Water tap socket wrench
- Pipe wrench
- Diamond hole saws in various sizes
- Tile cutter
- Diamond tip drill bits
- Drain Auger to unblock tree roots in drains.
- Pipe camera
- Pipe cutter
- Contour Gauge Tool
Now you can replace that old shower head with color changing one and dance in the shower.
This Old House has a great video on tools that plumbers use daily.
How to store your tools
I have a few lockable tool boxes in my garage as well as a few shelves to store all of the power tools. Having easy access to what you need at a moment’s notice is very important. The last thing you need is to spend hours rummaging through boxes and shelves looking for a particular item.
Having a tidy shed or garage is half the battle to being a great handyman. My neighbors are often coming over to ask to borrow some tools or asking for some advice on common car breakdown problems.
Don’t forget to scribe or write your name onto your power tools. Otherwise, they may accidentally become someone else property. It will also help if they get stolen. My work uses UV paint that is invisible for this exact reason to mark their tools. It only shows up under a black light.
If you don’t have any lighting in your garden shed then a great idea is to install some solar powered shed lighting. It is quick and easy and will brighten up the inside of the garage for minimal cost.
Racks and hooks are great for storing gardening tools. It gets them off the floor and onto the walls. In fact, you will have more wall space than floor space to make use of it.
How to install a peg board
Pegboards have been around forever and I still use them to this day. Many people like to draw or paint around the hand tools so that they know the correct place for it to return. This is a great idea. The hardest part is working out how to lay out each tool and how to correctly install the pegboard.
As there is a huge amount of weight on the pegboard we must ensure to screw it to the wall correctly. It is best to first attach some pieces of wood the same length of each side of your pegboard. Make sure these are Dyna bolted to the brick wall with strong anchor bolts.
I have seen people hang their 18v cordless power tools off pegboards, but I don’t. There is just not enough room for all of my tools to store them on the pegboards in the garage.
You can then attach the pegboard to this wooden frame via wood screws of the correct length. You will have to buy the pegboard hanging hooks from a local hardware store. Another option is that can make your own hooks from welding rods, a hammer, and a vice.
Don’t forget to oil your tools from time to time, especially those with moving parts. Moisture will rust out your equipment in no time. The best anti-rust product I have found is called Lanox. It is a natural-based lanolin product that protects the metal from rust and won’t destroy rubber, o-rings, and plastic as petroleum-based lubricants can.
WD40 is also good as a penetrating oil but it won’t last as long as Lanox will. It is great for freeing up pliers and secateurs that have a hinge bolt. It is the perfect lubricant for your must-have tools.
Now a consumable in my book is something that you use frequently but needs to be replaced as it runs out. For example staples for an office is a consumable.
As a homeowner, there is a whole heap of must-have consumables that can get you out of a sticky situation. So let’s check out a few that you should have stored on your workshop shelves.
- Masking tape or Duct tape
- Tube of Silicone, and gap filler
- Painters tape
- Mineral Turpentine
- Engine Oil
- Radiator Fluid
- Weed Killer
- Bug surface spray
- Screws, Bolts, and Nuts of various sizes.
- Hacksaw Blades
- Sand Paper
- Sharp Drill Bits
At the end of the day, I like to take pride that I have done an honest day’s work for an honest day’s pay. I think that’s why I enjoy doing my own work around the house.
Tradesmen can be very expensive so If you can repair a simple job at home yourself like a leaking water tap it can be very rewarding. Not to mention you will have more money in your pocket for extra tools.
Mechanics can be even more expensive so that is why I have purchased some car workshop manuals and do the service myself. The Sea-doo Jetski manual was also harder to find but I now have a digital copy so my Jet-Ski oil change service is done at home now for just the cost of parts.
I usually look at it this way. I first work out how much it may cost to get a tradesman in to repair the problem. This is easy with a quick phone call for a free quote. Then work out how much it will cost to buy all the tools.
If it is cheaper or much the same I will do the job myself. This means I have extra tools for another day. The internet is full of how to do it videos and websites. Use it to your full advantage. But remember to be safe and follow local licensing laws.
These must-have tools every man should have in his garage also need to be taken care of and maintained. Store them away from moisture and lube them up from time to time.
Let me know in the comments below what your must-have favorite hand tools are.
I am a qualified Industrial Electrician for the past 20 years and I love to share my knowledge on home repair and maintenance jobs.
I love fast toys like Motorcycles, Cars, Jetskis, Boats, and Computers so writing about them is easy. Working on them is fun.
To keeps costs down I do all my own mods, repairs, and servicing. These skills I want to share with everyone. DIY is a skill everyone can learn.