Essential DIY tools that every homeowner needs

Essential DIY tools that every homeowner needs

Last updated: 04/02/2022

From hanging curtain rails and putting up pictures to odd jobs around the garden, sooner or later most homeowners try their hand at some DIY.

Of course, this requires tools. Unless you’re planning on some major renovations, you’re unlikely to need a huge array of kit. But there are some essential tools that all homeowners need.

So, here is our list of the absolute essentials. 

Tape measure

Every homeowner needs a tape measure. Whether it’s measuring up for furniture when you first move in, or having a go at some DIY, this is one of the most essential tools.

You can’t go too far wrong, but aim for a tape measure that is 5m long and with quite a wide tape, so you don’t find it constantly buckles when you’re trying to measure up.


Another essential for basic DIY is a dependable old screwdriver. 

Get yourself two flat-head screwdrivers, one big and one small, and two cross-head screwdrivers, one big and one small. These are also called Phillips screwdrivers.

You may also find you need some tiny screwdrivers, which are helpful for things like opening battery compartments on gadgets.


What is there to say? Hammers haven’t really changed over the years. They get the job done. 

A claw hammer is the best option for multi-purpose basic DIY use, as it’s helpful v-shaped claws can be used to remove nails or to do the job of a crowbar.

Yes, you can find ones that boast drop-forged steel heads or a gravity-balanced design for optimal weight distribution, but ultimately, you can spend under £10 and get a simple tool that is perfectly good and durable.

Allen keys

Ikea fans and bike owners alike will appreciate the value of an Allen key. But it’s surprising how often any and all homeowners find themselves in need of one of these little implements for fixing screws that have heads with internal hexagonal recesses (its that hexagonal shape that gives them their alternative name, hex keys).

Get yourself a set of differing sizes and keep any freebies you get with flat-pack furniture as Allen keys are one of the few tools you can never have enough of.

Adjustable spanner

An adjustable spanner, also known as an adjustable wrench, is a versatile tool that has adjustable jaws that can be narrowed or widened to fit the required nut or bolt.

If nothing else, you’ll probably need it to tighten the loo seat from time to time. Oh, the glamour!

Insulated pliers

You’ll probably use your pliers more than you might expect, to yank out pesky objects, cut or hold materials.

For a set of three insulated pliers, you’re likely to spend around £10 - £20. 

Cordless drill

A cordless drill, with accompanying drill bits, is another must for even the most reluctant of DIY-ers.  

As well as the obvious role of drilling holes, your drill’s ability to drive in screws will also be a real help around the house. 

For occasional jobs, you can buy a perfectly good cordless drill for under £50.


This one won’t fit in your toolbox, but will still be an essential part of your kit. 

Without a ladder, how else will you reach to change a light bulb, or clear out gutters?

Hand saw

Bow saws, fret saws, circular saws… the list goes on. While one day you may find yourself boasting a formidable saw collection, for now, you can just start with a handsaw.

Even if you’re not planning on any woodwork any time soon, you’re still likely to need one of these basic tools for all purpose sawing work around the home or garden. Or even just to chop up your Christmas tree in January.

For a standard hand saw, expect to pay around a tenner.


A basic, plastic toolbox is all you need to store your new tools, and will allow you to neatly stack them away in one place so they’re not in the way, but you always know where they are.

It’s useful to buy a box with lots of little compartments to keep screws, nails and other fastenings.

Also, bear in mind that your tool collection will inevitably increase over the years, so allow some room to grow. 

Safety gear

Take care when doing home improvements, however small, because lots of us end up getting hurt. According to data from NHS Digital, in 2020/21, more than 5,600 people needed hospital admission after coming into contact with a powered hand tool and more than 2,700 were admitted after an accident with a non-powered hand tool such as a hammer or a saw.

Part of staying safe is using the right safety gear. So as a minimum, get yourself a decent pair of gloves, a mask for painting or using any material that generates toxic fumes or dust, and safety goggles for tasks that will create dust and debris.

Once you’ve got the right gear, get set to enjoy the rewards of some DIY: from saving money to achieving that warm feeling of satisfaction when you’ve fixed, made or improved something all by yourself.

Click on the buttons below to read more content about home improvements:

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