November 21, 2022

DIY Gift Guide – Must Have Tools for DIY Projects

This is the gift guide for people that want to start DIYing, have already started, or someone looking to level up their tool collection. These are 14 must have tools needed to start DIY projects in your own home, plus bonus tools and gadgets for those more experienced!

It can be super overwhelming if you are just starting your DIY tool kit. Not only are tools expensive but it can be hard to know what you REALLY need to get started with DIY projects in your home. I want to help you cut through the noise and give you the information that is going to help you get started on your tool journey today.

I have been doing projects in my home for a little over three years now and when I first started I borrowed tools! For my first kids nook project I borrowed a saw from my friend and a brad nailer from my dad. For my birthday I was given my first drill and my collection has slowly increased overtime! When I am budgeting for a new project I love to include $ to add a new tool to my collection if possible.

You also have the option to rent tools if you want to get a feel for something before you add it to your collection. These are an investment so sometimes its nice to try before you buy.

The main piece of advice before you buy anything is to pick a great brand. The reason you want to pick one brand and stick with it is because all of the batteries are interchangeable. It is super convenient to pick a brand because then you have a great collection of batteries that can swap between tools. 

Just Getting Started, Tool Box Essentials

A collage of tool box basics, including a tape measure, screwdriver, pliers, level, and a hammer

These are items that no matter what type of project you are doing will probably be necessary and useful. These are the items you need for doing simple projects around the house like hanging picture frames or putting together flat pack furniture.

  1. Tape Measure
  2. Hammer
  3. Level (a longer level can also be really useful)
  4. Utility knife 
  5. Pliers
  6. Wrench
  7. Screwdriver

There are some tool sets that will give you a bunch of these tools at once and could be a great option. Here are a few that I think look great:

  1. Stanley Tool Set
  2. Tool Kit

Ready to Level Up, Power Tool Essentials

A collage of power tool basics, including a drill, miter saw, a sander, and nail gun

These tools are going to be useful from drilling into your wall to hang curtains to building your own custom shelving. All of these tools have a lot of functionality and will serve you well. These are in order of importance, so if you can only afford one tool now start at the top and work your way down. 

  1. Drill – A drill will allow you to drill holes and drive screws. I have the craftsman drill because my dad was a craftsman guy and he gifted this to me for my 30th birthday. I have used my drill for everything from building shelves in my studio to putting together my first custom piece of furniture. A lot of drills come in a drill and driver combo pack. A driver is going to have more power and be great at sinking in longer screws. I still don’t have a driver so it isn’t absolutely essential, but it is for sure a nice to have! If you find a deal on a combo, it’s only marginally more expensive so I say go for it. This Makita set is on sale right now and I have heard amazing things about the brand! Dewalt has a driver and drill for $150. Do you research and pick a brand! You really can’t go wrong. 
  2. Miter Saw – You are going to use this to cut down longer pieces of wood into the correct dimensions for your project. This allows you to create straight cuts or can be adjusted to cut on an angle. I have the Hart saw from Walmart, which is a fabulous price and works great. I have my eye on this Dewalt extended miter saw for my next upgrade!
  3. Orbital Sander – This will save you so much time! I sand everything, even select boards, before I use them in my projects. It just makes the finish so much cleaner. 
  4. Nail Gun – This is probably my favorite tool to use. It is perfect for trim work and feature walls. Super easy to use and makes a project go fast. There are a couple different types of nail gun but a brad nailer is the perfect place to start. I use mine to attach baseboard, trim, and slat feature walls. I have a battery operated one which is perfect so I don’t have to haul out a huge air compressor. I have my eye on a pin nailer next, perfect for super small detail work.
  5. Circular Saw – This is a great alternative to a table saw which is a more advanced and expensive tool. A circular saw can cut down large pieces of plywood. I have also used this for some stubborn demo. 
  6. Jigsaw – This is perfect for cutting irregular shapes into wood, for example I just used mine to cut an arch into a piece of plywood for a bookshelf build. Anything that needs a curve is perfect for a jigsaw. You can check out a wide variety of jigsaws here, the biggest differences will be brand and cored/uncorded. I personally have a corded jigsaw, it was cheaper and the cord doesn’t bother me. I know a lot of people prefer cordless.
  7. Dremel – This multi tool comes in SO handy. I use it to cut baseboards, through smaller pieces of wood, cutting into drywall, and sanding. It does it all!

BONUS: Kreg Jig – This is super helpful if you are wanting to build your own furniture, shelving, etc. It allows you to create pocket holes so that you can attach two boards together with screws that end up hidden. There are several different versions of this tool available depending on your budget. I started with the least expensive (you will need a separate clamp with this) and recently upgraded to this version, it’s amazing! Both do the same thing, one is just a little easier to use than the other. Don’t forget the special screws that you need to work with the kreg jig!

Other beginner Power tool set deals:

A set of Ryobi power tools

This Ryobi tool set has 3 of the tools mentioned above plus a few more for only $200!

A set of Craftsman power tools

This Craftsman combo kit is an incredible deal!

Some more must have tools for DIY, including a table saw, a laser measurer, and a universal socket.

Skilled DIYer:

For the DIYer that already has a pretty stacked tool kit, but maybe not some of these handy tools and gadgets!

Table Saw – This is the one that I have and I love it!

Kreg Jig – I just upgraded to this model and its AWESOME.

Laser Distance Measurer – Use this all the time.

Folding Word Table with Clamps – Just bought this to use with my miter saw and I am a huge fan.

Laser Level – I don’t have this, but it is on my list. 

Universal Socket – Michael got me this for christmas last year and I love it! 

Bluetooth Safety Ear Protection – I have these and love them! Perfect to protect my ears and listen to music. If you haven’t checked out the Perkins On Parkway Spotify playlist, you can listen to that here!

Marshall Speaker – Perfect to turn on while you are working in the garage or painting! 

Magnetic Wristband – I can’t even tell you how many screws and nails I have dropped… This is game changer!

Dickies Tool Belt – I got this recently and its perfect for making sure my tape measure, pencil, and hammer don’t get lost (most of the time).

Jumpsuit – These are the best for tackling a project! I have one that I use for all my painting so I never have to worry about my clothes.

Laser level Level – a lever with a laser?! Needed this for hanging my gallery wall.

Clamps – You can never have enough. I have these and really like them.

Whew! Hopefully that gives you some great ideas of what to ask for if you are just starting your DIY journey or some ideas for the DIYer in your life. Make sure to take advantage of all the incredible deals that are taking place this week. Home Depot is running all sorts of insane tool deals for Black Friday so head to their site and check out what is on promo! Make sure to check out our other gift guides here.

Meet Krystle

Welcome to Perkins On Parkway where we share DIY & design projects, renovation tips, lessons learned and the styling that comes after.

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