Basic DIY Home-Repair Tool Kit

Last Updated on November 8, 2022 by teamobn

That flimsy set of three tools that your aunt and uncle got you for college graduation will not do the trick when it comes to serious home repairs. Whether you live in an apartment, condo, townhouse, or detached house, you will have to undertake repairs at some point.

Having a tool kit will help you avoid sky-high bills from professional technicians and will instil a quiet sense of confidence that you can do just about anything – because now you have home-repair superpowers!

These tool kits are organized in three layers: must have, no matter what; good to have, should be purchased before long; and luxury, great to have for more ambitious repairs and remodels but not necessary in the short term.

Basic DIY Home-Repair Tool Kit

Tools You Must Have Right Away

If that drugstore tool kit is not adequate, then what is? What tools won’t bust your budget but will let you tackle those basic home repairs that inevitably come your way?

  • When to Buy: Before or soon after purchasing or renting your new home.
  • You Can: Hang pictures, replace a kitchen or bathroom faucet, tighten hinges, replace cabinet fixtures, etc.
  • Estimated Cost: Under $60.

*Price estimates are derived from tool prices at Home Depot.

Claw Hammer

Begin with a lightweight, curved claw hammer with a 16-ounce head. This basic hammer is a must in your tool kit, it will pound and pull nails. Choose one with a wrapped or cushioned handle to reduce vibrations and fatigue.

Screwdriver Set

Another must-have in your tool kit is a pair of high-quality screwdrivers, one flathead and one Phillips head will serve you well for many years.

Adjustable Crescent Wrench

A Crescent-brand wrench adjusts with a grooved wheel and allows you to turn bolt heads should also be in your tool kit. Generic adjustable wrenches will work just as well.

Channellock Pliers

Channellock pliers adjust to preset sizes and let you turn larger items than the Crescent wrench can handle. Just like with the adjustable wrenches, generic channel-style wrenches will be fine, too.

Tape Measure

Like the screwdriver set, the tape measure is another tool that will serve you better if you purchase a higher-quality product right away, like a Stanley FatMax (which has wider tape for greater stiffness).


Your tool kit must also have a level, choose a standard 24-inch bubble level.

Carpenter Pencils and Sharpener

Carpenter pencils are thicker and sturdier than typical yellow school pencils and require a special, inexpensive sharpener.

Under $200 - DIY Home Repair Kit

Tool Kits That Are Good to Have Before Long

  • When to Buy this tool kit: Within six months to a year.
  • What you can do with this tool kit: Put up shelves, paint a room, change door locks, etc.
  • Estimated Cost: Under $200.

Utility Knife and Blades

Look for a utility knife that changes blades from the front, rather than the cheaper type that requires you to unscrew the case to change the blade.

Ratchet Set

A ratchet set is more of a car tool than a home-repair tool. Still, in those few instances when you need to turn long bolts, ratchets are indispensable.

Cordless Drill and Drill Bits

Purchase a quality cordless drill because you will be using this frequently, for everything from drilling holes to turning screws. Lithium-ion batteries (not nickel-cadmium) are today’s standard for cordless tools. Also, purchase a set of drill bits and screwdriver heads.

Manual Saw Set: Hacksaw and Wood Saw

Hacksaws and wood saws perform different functions. The hacksaw will cut metal but not wood. A wood saw efficiently cuts wood, yet metal will instantly ruin its teeth.

Stud Finder

A battery-powered dielectric stud finder senses dense masses behind drywall; it costs less than $20.

Basic Painting Set

Begin with a roller, roller covers, metal paint tray, three or four liners, an angled trim brush, and a larger 3-inch brush. This set is enough to get you started on most basic paint jobs, from walls and ceilings to trim and doors.

Flash Light

An inexpensive, battery-powered headlamp illuminates wherever you turn your head. For a more stable light source, choose a tripod-mounted LED work light, available for less than $100.

Under $40 - DIY Home Repair Kit

Tools That Are Great, But Not Necessary

This tool kit enables you to do some serious home remodelling.

  • When to Buy: Within a couple of years.
  • You Can: Tear down an internal wall, put up fibreglass insulation, replace water supply or drain lines, install trim around a door or window, and install flooring.
  • Estimated Cost: Around $40.

Allen Wrenches

Allen wrenches are required to turn Allen screws in or out.

Combination Square

A combination square also called a Speed Square, lets you draw long lines across work material, without the need for a straight edge. Its triangle side lets you calculate complicated angles for roofing.

Pipe Wrench

A pipe wrench is for turning galvanized or cast-iron plumbing supply or drain pipes.

Staple Gun

Purchase a cheap (under $10) staple gun for infrequent use, such as tacking up sheet plastic. For heavy-duty use, like affixing fibreglass insulation, consider an electric-assisted staple gun or a hammer-style stapler.

Rubber Mallet

When installing flooring, you will prevent damage by using a rubber mallet to strike the floorboards in place.

Getting Organized

Gone are the days of hanging tools from flimsy pressed-wood pegboards. Today, there are more durable storage systems that are perfectly designed for your new set of tools and that allow easy access while keeping them clean, dry, and free of damage.

Rather than storing your tools in one place, the best method is multi-pronged. First, select a permanent storage location in a garage or workshop for large tools or those that are used infrequently. Second, you need a way to carry your tool kit to project locations. And finally, you may find the need for that ultimate portable-storage solution, the tool belt.

Workshop Storage

  • Walls: Metal and plastic pegboards have largely replaced fiberboards in most workshops. Trays, shelves, and specialty holders augment pegs to allow for a wide range of wall-storage solutions.
  • Track Systems: Long metal tracks mount horizontally across the wall. Hooks of various types slide into the tracks and can be adjusted accordingly. These hooks allow you to hang larger tools and even garden implements.
  • Shelves: Metal shelving units are best for storing large and heavy tools. Avoid wire and plastic shelves, which are not strong enough for tool storage.

Toolbox and Bag Storage

When you move from the shop to the project, carrying tools in your arms is no way to go. Instead, keep a core set of tools –
particularly those Must-Haves – in a toolbox or bag at all times.

Tool-belt Storage

Tool belts are used by professionals, like utility workers and electricians. Because they do this work on a daily basis, they happen to know a thing or two.

What they know is that you cannot carry tools by hand at remote locations, such as the top of a ladder or in a crawl space. A tool belt is the ultimate way to carry a few tools with you and keep your hands free.

While the classic multi-pouch leather tool belt looks fantastic, it is heavy and can be a bit much for many DIYers. Instead, look for lighter nylon tool belts or cloth carpenter aprons.

To carry more tools without breaking your back, a framer’s suspension rig employs suspenders over each shoulder to ease the load.

Building a cost-effective yet functional, basic DIY tool kit is your first step toward taking control of your home repairs by yourself.




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