10 Tools Every Handyman Must Have

An experienced handyman who is working on all kinds of projects around the home knows that having the right tools for the job makes all the difference. While some fancy power tools are nice to have, most household tasks and renovations can be tackled with basic hand instruments. This article reveals 10 tools that should be in every handyman’s toolkit, whether you’re a pro or just getting started with basic DIY. These versatile, durable tools will prepare you to take on most common jobs.

Also, do not forget to store handyman tools in appropriate places. Consider a workbench with upper cabinets from Dyco Ventures to keep all the bare essentials at hand while DIYing. Get the most out of the walls by attaching hooks for hanging light instruments.

Here are 10 handyman tools to consider.

1. Hammer

The claw hammer is likely the most used and recognizable tool in any handyman’s arsenal. The hammer’s curved claw on one side allows you to easily pull nails out of wood. While the flat head on the other side drives nails in with a strong swing of your forearm.

For larger demolition work, a rip hammer is best for tearing materials apart. But for everyday tasks hanging pictures, assembling furniture, tacking trim or molding in place, and basic renovations around the house, a versatile basic claw hammer is what you need within easy reach.

2. Screwdrivers

No toolkit is complete without a quality screwdriver set. Consider separate drivers with flat, Phillips, square, hex, and star drive tips, as well as an adjustable ratcheting screwdriver handle that fits them all. This versatile setup allows you to work with various screwtops in tight spaces and at multiple angles.

You can use screwdrivers almost daily for everything from tightening loose screws on wobbly chairs to installing new fixtures and assembling flat-pack furniture around the house. Look for good quality magnetic tips that provide improved grip and reduce fumbling and stripping screw heads. Durable stainless steel shafts also prevent rusting over time. A decent screwdriver set ages well for decades, making it a worthwhile investment for your home needs.

3. Pliers

Another handy multi-purpose tool is pliers, which serve as an extra set of strong fingers to grip objects tightly. The adjustable joint on the slip pliers allows you to grip and tighten a wide range of objects. While the long skinny nose on the needle-nose pliers lets you reach into small spaces easily.

Other specialized pliers, like linesman pliers for cutting wire and channel lock pliers for turning pipe, are also useful additions later on. Though for most basic tasks from removing nails to gripping bolts securely as you twist them in place, a standard pair of each – slip joint and needle nose pliers – work excellently. Just apply some pressure with your hand and let the pliers work their grip magic in tight spaces.

4. Tape Measure

Accurately measuring materials and distances is vital for most home projects to ensure proper assembly and alignment. A durable retractable tape measure is a substantial tool that no handyman should ever be without. Look for one that is at least 25 feet long, has a comfortable grip, and comes with an easy-press retraction button when extended.

Look for a reinforced tape blade that doesn’t bend too easily and clear black measurements that are easy to read even in dimly lit attic spaces. Use tape measures frequently to measure lumber cuts, check leveling and alignment when mounting TVs and shelves, calculate flooring squares, and much more. Just watch your fingers when recoiling!

5. Utility Knife

For quick-cutting jobs opening packages, trimming wallpaper, or scoring cuts on sheet materials like plywood, drywall, or floor tiles, you need a good utility knife by your side. It has to be equipped with sharp, snappable trapezoid blades. Look for knives with thick rubber grips and reinforced metal tips for pushing into surfaces without bending.

Utility cutters are great for detail work and limited cuts, giving you more control over depth than a loose razor blade alone. Just be sure to store and carry your utility knife safely in a sheath when not in use to avoid injuries.

6. Wrench Set

From tightening loose bathroom fixtures to assembling furniture, every handyman needs a versatile set of wrenches stowed away. Combination ratcheting wrenches allow effortless turning and torque in cramped spaces. While Allen key wrenches help assemble ready-to-assemble furniture requiring Allen screw heads, typically found on IKEA products and bikes. For the most control, look for an adjustable crescent wrench that you can clamp onto any nut or bolt size by tightly securing the metal jaw as you turn.

Most basic wrench sets also include common metric and imperial sizes for sink drain pipes, ceiling light fixtures, and fire sprinklers. Having an assortment of wrenches on hand allows you to securely grab nuts and pipe fittings without rounding off edges or damaging surfaces. They may not be used daily, but wrenches make quick work of plumbing repairs and renovations as needed around the house.

7. Cordless Drill

For driving screws rapidly, pre-drilling tougher material, and even mixing paint, a cordless power drill with an adjustable clutch and variable speeds is a worthwhile addition to your growing toolkit. It can be used almost daily around the house for basic installation and assembly work, from hanging mounted TVs securely on the wall to piecing together storage shelves for the garage without constantly searching for an outlet. Look for a drill with at least 2 batteries that are removable and quick charging so one can charge as you use the other battery with ease.

Aside from the actual drill unit, invest in a magnetic bit guide with an assortment of Phillips, slotted, square, and hex drill tops to cover all common screw heads. You can then efficiently switch between them as needed for the job at hand. For larger hole saw jobs, an adjustable clutch helps prevent stripping screw heads. While a hammer drill setting paired with masonry bits can bore through concrete and brick materials when necessary. A quality cordless drill thoroughly speeds up installation tasks without restricting your range of motion on a short corded length.

8. Claw Pick Hammer

Renovating or refinishing tasks like removing floor tiles, old nails, debris from siding, or staples from walls are made vastly easier with a specialized claw pick hammer in your arsenal. The unique forked pry bar end allows you to dig, scrape, and pull out old nails and embedded materials with better leverage and less effort than a standard claw. While the curved claw on the other end lets you tear materials apart swiftly once loosened.

For any demolition project during room renovations to simply removing old trim or baseboards around door frames, a sturdy steel claw pick hammer prevents unnecessary struggle or wood splinter damage that can happen while working with flathead screwdrivers alone. The ease of prying up roof shingles, floor tiles, and other glued-down materials during full or partial demolition work makes this an essential addition.

9. Sandpaper

Sandpaper is a must-have abrasive tool for refinishing and distressing existing furniture pieces around the home. It can also be used for prepping garage shelving boards or wall patches for fresh paint. While power sanders are top-notch for smoothing large surface areas rapidly, hand sanding with sheets of grit paper allows greater control over details, curves, edges, and irregular angles.

Having a variety of grit grades on hand, like 80 grit for rapid stock removal down to 220 or 400 grit for an ultra-smooth finish, is ideal. Look for longer 9 x 11-inch sheets of paper with sturdy adhesive silicone resin backing. They stick reliably to sanding blocks without tearing prematurely. Sandpaper also helps scuff glossy surfaces like trim for optimal paint bonding. Just be sure to wear a safety mask to avoid inhaling fine dust particles during extended sanding jobs.

10. Safety Glasses & Work Gloves

Every toolbox should contain basic safety gear to protect your eyes and hands during demanding construction jobs. Debris tends to scatter in all directions when working with power tools or demolishing existing building materials. A sturdy pair of ANSI Z87.1-rated safety glasses provides essential protection for your eyesight from dust particles when saw cutting or sand drilling into surfaces unexpectedly. They also prevent forehead sweat from obscuring your vision in warm environments.

Thick work gloves defend your palms against painful blisters, cuts, and abrasions when handling sharp tools or rough, unfinished building materials for long periods. The padded grip allows you to wield tools strongly and accurately without fatigue. Invest in cut-resistant gloves made of quality leather or synthetic blend materials that fit your hands snugly. While basic tasks seldom require protective gear, safety glasses, and gloves make practical additions just in case extensive renovations or woodwork arises, wearing you down over hours of work.


Whether a professional tradesman or casual weekend warrior tackling new DIY projects around your home, this list of 10 essential tools equips you to take on common installation, repair, and renovation tasks without major struggles. These basic hand instruments provide core functionalities necessary for home improvement jobs without much specialty equipment. So equip your toolbox with these fundamental hammer, screwdriver, pliers, measuring and cutting tools outlined above. Having them on standby truly prepares you to handle everyday fixes or upgrades around the house as needed, saving money and frustration.

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