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11 Essential Tools DIYers Should Always Buy on Amazon

The Family Handyman logo The Family Handyman 8/24/2021 Dan Stout
a close up of a tool: Cordless Dewalt Driver And Drill © via Cordless Dewalt Driver And Drill

Cordless Driver/Drill

A cordless driver drill is an essential tool for every DIYer. Look for models with variable speed and a keyless chuck for expanded ease of use.

Whether you're looking for a dependable brand name or a lower-priced entry-level tool, Amazon has a great selection of cordless drills. Take this this 20-volt drill/driver from DeWalt. We particularly like that it comes with a 1/2-inch chuck, an upgrade that allows it to accept larger drill bits. Most drills in this price range (less than $100!) feature a 3/8-inch chuck.

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a close up of a logo: Milwaukee Wide Blade Tape Measure © via Milwaukee Wide Blade Tape Measure

Tape Measure

The old advice of "measure twice, cut once" supposes you own a reliable tool for measuring. Simplify your life by buying a high-quality tape measure. This 25-foot magnetic tape measure from Milwaukee is a great centerpiece for your tool bag.

But like several tools on this list, it's a good idea to keep a few versions on hand so one is always within easy reach. More affordable tape measures, such as this 10-foot model from Crescent Lufkin, can be stashed anywhere from a glove box to the junk drawer.

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a close up of a measure: Speed Square © via Speed Square

Speed Square

A speed square lets you quickly measure roof pitches and rafter angles. But it's also a must-have for DIYers who need to make straight cuts with a circular or jig saw.

Drop a speed square on your board and butt the shoe of your saw against it to ensure a straight, even cut. Opt for a metal square, such as this one from Swanson Tool, to avoid warping or chipping over time.

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a pair of scissors: Leatherman Multi Tool © via Leatherman Multi Tool


Multi-tools are the utility infielders of your tool bag. They won't be the best screwdriver or blade or pliers you own, but for a quick fix that's not complicated, a versatile multi-tool can be invaluable. Leatherman is an industry leader, and its slim and lightweight Skeletool a popular choice for DIYers.

Like the cordless drill, keeping several low-cost multi-tools can be a time saver if you stash them in a few places around your shop and home.

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a close up of a tool: Stanley Block Plane Tool © via Stanley Block Plane Tool

Block Plane

A block plane is the perfect choice when it's time for woodworking touch-ups. Small and portable, a block plane can slip into a tool bag pocket and come out when needed for fine adjustments.

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You can drop big money on a high-quality plane, but why break the bank? This model from Stanley is affordable and sturdy, the perfect choice for any DIYer's tool chest.

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a close up of a device: Nail Set © via Nail Set

Nail Sets

Nail sets are amazingly simple yet tremendously helpful tools. When used for their intended purpose — recessing nail heads below the surface — they give your projects a much more finished look. Picking up a range of sizes allows you to keep several on hand or one in every tool bag.

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text, whiteboard: Voltage Tester Wand © via Voltage Tester Wand

Touchless Voltage Tester

If you don't already own a voltage tester wand, make it your next acquisition!

It's one thing to believe you've turned off the power before starting work. It's another (and safer) to be absolutely certain by checking it with a voltage wand (AKA a voltage tester or sniffer). Models with adjustable sensitivity also can trace electrical supply lines without opening up drywall.

These tools are an inexpensive way to dramatically improve safety around electrical supplies.

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Receptacle Tester © via Receptacle Tester

Receptacle Tester

Speaking of affordable and useful electrical testing, a simple receptacle tester (AKA a block tester) lets you easily check the integrity of an electrical outlet.

A good block tester will identify and describe any issues through clear, easy-to-read LED patterns. They're fantastically useful when troubleshooting an electrical issue, and can also be used to double-check power if you lack a voltage wand.

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a close up of a knife: Husky Utility Knife © via Husky Utility Knife

Utility Knife

From cutting twine to opening the packaging on all those other amazing tools we've recommended, a sharp utility knife is a go-to in every DIYer's tool kit.

We like newer models with ergonomic handles, locking and easy-swap blades, but you still can't go wrong with a simple metal one. Whichever style you prefer, look for one with blade storage, because promptly changing out dull blades makes the job faster and safer.

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a close up of a tool: Hammer © via Hammer


This all-purpose hammer from Edward Tool features a classic design. The textured handle makes it easy to grip, and the oak dampen vibrations. This classic tool, backed up by a lifetime warranty, deserves to be in every DIYer's tool bag.

You may also find it useful to own various weights and sizes, from delicate metal-working hammers to heavy framing hammers. But if you're not sure what you'll need, the 16-ounce weight of the Edward Tool hammer makes it a strong middle-of-the-road choice.

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diagram: Irwin Quick Grip Clamps © via Irwin Quick Grip Clamps


Every DIYer needs at least one pair of clamps. If you're a woodworker, chances are you'll need a lot more than that!

Perfect for everything from holding work steady to supporting two pieces while glue sets up, quality clamps can be an absolute lifesaver. There's a vast assortment of clamps on the market, and chances are you'll accumulate multiple spring clamps, quick release and pipe clamps over time.

If you're buying your first clamp set, check out this eight piece variety pack from Irwin. It includes four quick-release bar clamps, two wide-mouth clamps and two spring clamps. A great starter collection!

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