Your Starter Tool Kit

Factors Affecting Tool Selection

Not everyone needs the same tools. The selection is usually determined by three considerations:


How much will the tool cost, should it be a low, medium or high quality implement and how much use will it receive over time? At this time, I want to start by considering or starting with tools for the do-it-yourselfer (diy), handyman or homeowner maintenance person. Whatever name we use, this person is trying to prevent problems, fix problems or make improvements while saving money.

You're at a home show, in a home improvement store or just cruising through a neighborhood and spot a fantastic outside light, a set of house address numbers that look great or just remember that the doorbell at home broke yesterday. You would like to take care of these improvements and repairs yourself but you do not have tools. Some tool owners are fortunate enough to have been raised in families where the adults were always working on something and had tools in their hands most of the time. These family members developed self-confidence in their own abilities and were usually able to make most repairs.

Price and Tool Usage

When most of us began our tool collections, we were usually faced with a choice between expensive tools and what I would call cheap tools. Can you guess what I chose in a lot of cases? They were the cheap ones. If I had only done an occasional repair or project, these tools would probably have been the right ones and served me for a long time. However, I started working on more and larger projects as my confidence grew and I soon found that my cheap and inexpensive tools were getting too much of a workout. They began to wear quickly and break one by one. That's when we begin to invest in higher priced value tools.


It may be wise, for those considering their first tools, to act with caution in their purchases. Do not jump into a large commitment for new tools until you have tested the waters and know your likelihood of continued interest in this type of handy DIY work.

If you find this is not for you, you're not locked into a huge investment in tools that will just gather dust for years to come.

If you're experienced or plan to use your tools professionally, I need to qualify the above statement. Tools used to generate a livelihood should be durable, efficient and produce quality results. They are an investment and need to be value products.

Build the Tool Collection Wisely

There are many assembled sets available but some are either super cheap and will not last through one job or so expensive that you're forced to pay forever for them.
It sounds great to advertise a 782 piece tool set for $ 29.99 *. All the pieces are neatly laid out and look really great. You get, along with the tools, a box of screws with 150 little screws, a box of finish nails with 100 nails and maybe, a small box of wire nuts with 25 pieces. I think if you count the real tools, you'll be surprised to find the actual number of tools is small in addition to the fact that many break or crack the first time they receive pressure. You're probably better off buying items as you go by selecting a good tool source and building your own collection to fit your needs. Then add the nails, screws and accessories separately.
If you find a brand or line of tool that you like, you can build your starter tool kit with that brand and the colors and styles will match. For the fancy sets, that is part of the marketing effort, the presentation. If having a matched set is not important, determine the tool quality you want and then look for the best values.

What Should be in the Toolbox?

This listing contains most of the tools that are suggested for a Homeowner or DIY Starter Tool Kit.

  1. Spatula or Putty Knife for scraping, patching and removing unwanted surfaces.
  2. Wire Cutters for minor snipping, electrical or wire snipping.
  3. Needle Nose Pliers are very handy at getting to those hard to reach nuts, bolts and lots more.
  4. Measuring Tape for so many jobs where correct size is important.
  5. Claw Hammer in light to medium weight.
  6. Utility Knife for those tough cuts so you do not end up ruining your kitchen knives.
  7. Hand Saw for those small and light building and remodeling jobs.
  8. Flat Head Screwdriver Set for mounting shelves and general repairs.
  9. Phillips Head Screwdriver Set for general repairs.
  10. Stubby Screwdriver (Flat and Phillips) for those tight places.
  11. Open End / Closed End Wrench Set for household appliance and auto repairs.
  12. Standard Pliers for just about any job.
  13. Adjustable Gator Type Pliers for those tougher removal and assembly jobs.
  14. Adjustable Wrench for household and automotive fixes.
  15. Pipe Wrench (preferably 2) for your plumbing needs.
  16. Ratchet and Socket Set to make your work faster and easier.
  17. Level that is needed for finished projects to have a professional look.

Safety – Often Overlooked

It's not that we overlook safety so much as we are careless. In our beginning efforts with tools, thoughts are more concentrated on the job and not on the accidents that can happen. I do not want you to feel insulted because I'm talking about the obvious but, I just want this to be a reminder.

As you start to add power tools to your tool collection, consider using cordless rather than corded tools. They are safer. During my early use of a circular saw, I failed to pay close attention to the location of the cord and cut it in half. Luckily, the cord was instantly pulled from the wall by the saw and I did not receive a shock.

Develop a habit of using safety goggles and ear plugs or noise silencing head sets. They're important.

Good luck with your new tools and Have Fun with them. They will grow on you!