Essential Tools for the Handyman

Something is gratifying about being able to fix all of your problems yourself. The sheer satisfaction of knowing you’ve triumphed over a setback is enough to get most people out of bed in the morning. For many of us, this feeling is most easily obtained by fixing up things around the house. But then, anyone who wants to complete repairs and consider themselves a real handyman needs the right tools for the job. Without a toolkit full of everything you’ll ever need, you risk doing a job so poorly that you wonder why you even tried in the first place.

Here are some tools you should always have on hand if you expect to get things done around the house and get them done right:

Wire Cutters

Simple electrical work is all but impossible without a pair of wire cutters. They allow you to effortlessly dice up small wires so you can adjust them as you need. Wire cutters don’t have to be used for just wires, though. Any small piece of metal or similar hard material can be easily manipulated with a good pair of wire cutters. Precision is key here.

Putty Knife

Drywall isn’t known to be the most resilient material out there. In fact, the many jokes about punching a hole in drywall due to anger or frustration are evidencing enough of that. When you need to patch up some drywall in your home, the putty knife is what will help you ensure that your patch-up job blends in seamlessly with the rest of the wall. A drywall sander is preferred for making the surface smooth.

Soft Mallet

The metal hammer is a good problem solver, but when you need a bit more of gentle touch, the soft mallet is king. Fitting together two pieces of material sometimes requires the aid of this tool, since you can have the raw force of a hammer without any risks of leaving dents or other damage.

Adjustable Wrench

Sure, for some jobs, the full wrench kit with every different option known to man is necessary. That’s not to say there aren’t tons of small jobs out there where it’s handy to know you have something dynamic on hand. It’s speedy and convenient, and a must for plumbing-related jobs where the size of the nut or bolt being adjusted varies wildly.


When it comes to all things prying, the crowbar reigns supreme. If you ever want to replace your baseboards or deal with some pesky crown molding, the mighty crowbar makes short work of them in a way that will let you replace anything you took off as quickly and easily as you removed it.


Your eyes aren’t perfectly trustworthy if you want to hang anything up in your home. For jobs like that, the level is exactly what you need. Without a proper level, you’re stuck making slight adjustments and stepping back to make sure you did a good job. Save time and your sanity with a well-made and easy-to-use leveling device.

Screwdriver Set

Perhaps few tools are as versatile as a good screwdriver set. You’ll be able to take apart things in your home to better diagnose issues and also put together things like furniture much more easily with their aid. Make sure to get a set that has each type of head, and if you’re really committed to buying a good screwdriver set, ensure that the tips are magnetized.

Safety Glasses

The last thing anyone wants is to get hurt while fixing things up around the house. If there’s any part of your body that you especially don’t want to get hurt by flying debris, it’s your eyes. A simple $10 pair of safety glasses can stop you from being hesitant about certain actions and also keep your eyes perfect, so you can see another day. You’d be surprised how easy it is for splinters to start flying during routine work.


One of the biggest issues people have with doing work themselves is that the finished product might be a little rough around the edges compared to work done by a pro. Sandpaper can help remove sharp, unsafe edges from your work and also helps make your work look a lot more precise. Just get the job done and sand down anything you don’t want jutting out. It really is that simple.

Wood Saw

If you’re a fan of working with wood, then you should work to be incredibly proficient with your wood saw. If you’re a professional, check this post from Sawinery for a professional chainsaw. These tools are reliable and work great, even if they aren’t as quick as an electric saw. Not to mention, a good wood saw is usually warrantied for life despite not costing an arm and a leg.

Measuring Tape

How can you expect yourself to measure twice and cut once if you can’t measure in the first place? Not only that, a measuring tape can help you figure out where you can fit items around your home and whether or not actually moving the items will pose a problem. The measuring tape is simple, elegant, and absolutely essential if you want to take pride in your work.

Duct Tape

Few jobs in this world can’t be helped with some trusty duct tape. Lots of improvised fixes and even some improvised tools can be easily fashioned out of duct tape. The only real limitation is your own creativity. If something is moving around, and it shouldn’t be, hit the sucker with some duct tape and call it a day.


If you’re going to be cutting pipe, your wood saw isn’t going to fit the bill. The general rule of thumb is anything that didn’t come from a tree should be cut with a hacksaw. 

Claw Hammer

It was only a matter of time before the mighty claw hammer made an appearance, and here it is. Driving in screws, removing screws, or even just some accessory work is all within the job description of this indispensable tool.

Pipe Wrench

The amount of force used to bring together two pieces of metal, so they are completely airtight, is pretty significant, so you’re going to need a tool that can help you deliver a lot of torque if you intend on loosening them up to make some fixes. The pipe wrench is adjustable, strong, and a real lifesaver for any medium difficulty plumbing job you might find yourself in.

Utility Knife

Part of being a handyman is being able to adjust things to your liking to fit a particular job. The utility knife is vital for cutting off extra material, quick cuts as needed, and even for opening the packaging of other tools that you need to use. Don’t be caught dead without a utility knife in your toolbox. That’s for certain.

Staple Gun

When you need something to stay in place, the first tool you reach for should be the staple gun. A good staple gun will allow you to affix everything, from Christmas lights to sheets of insulation, all while you hold the item in place.

Odds and Ends

Individually, few of these items can truly be considered a “tool” in the way we conceptualize them, but part of any well-rounded toolkit involves some extra items you can reasonably expect to use. We’re talking about things like screws and nails in all sizes, extra staples, to even replacement parts. Most of these items can be picked up from a hardware store, but specialized equipment such as HVAC gear is best obtained from a purpose-built supplier like Aclube. Having these items on hand can save you lots of time and a trip to the store later, so try and anticipate what you might need ahead of time.


Any kind of serious job outside your home is probably going to call for a shovel eventually. Whether you’re digging up the garden or filling in a hole with sand, the shovel is your frontline infantry for getting lots of dirt moved as quickly as you possibly can.

Needle Nose Pliers

There will be times when your fingers just won’t cut it when trying to work with tiny pieces of equipment. Needle nose pliers can help you get tiny items out of a small hole or deal with any sort of wiring type jobs. Needle nose pliers aren’t just for electricians. They’re for handymen of all specialties.


If you do pick up all of these twenty tools, you’ll have the beginnings of a very well-rounded toolset at your fingertips. From here, you should buy more tools as needed until eventually, you have a complete set of tools your friends will be trying to borrow from you on the regular. Most of these tools are relatively inexpensive, even if you were to buy them all in one sitting. In fact, if you shop smart, there’s a good chance you can pick up all of these tools for less than it costs to call in a plumber for a single day. May your hands be steady, and your work always completed on time. Everybody knows that a handyman’s work is never truly over.


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Essential Tools for the Handyman