20 Must Have Power Tools For DIY Projects | Garage Gear Guru

20 Must Have Power Tools For DIY Projects

Word of warning: This is probably the most extensive list of must have power tools for DIY projects that you are going to find on the internet.

We wanted to take the guesswork out of your search for the most useful power tools to own, so here’s what we’ve done…

  • Extensively researched the 20 must have power tools for DIY
  • Organized them by importance
  • Provided detailed information on what you need them for and how to buy them

It’s an exhaustive power tool guide. But if you’re a serious do-it-yourselfer, whether beginner or pro, then this is the list for you. 

Let’s jump right in.

5 Most Essential Power Tools for Beginners

To get started, here is our take on the 5 DIY power tools that everyone one should own. One or more of these is going to be useful in 9 out of 10 projects you take on.

Circular Saw

What It’s For: The primary function of a circular saw is to make straight cuts on lumber. Whether you are sawing plywood or a 2 by 4, this is going to be one of the must have DIY power tools that you bring out all the time. 

Why You Need One: A circular saw is simply the easiest way to safely and efficiently cut lumber. If you’ve ever wanted to craft your own picnic table, for example, this tool is going to make it so much easier than a handsaw.

How to Buy It:

  • For maximum versatility, beginners should choose a cordless saw with a rechargeable battery.
  • Opt for a model with an adjustable bevel of up to at least 50 degrees so that you can reach the most common cutting angles.

Our Top Pick: We love this Cordless Circular Saw from SKIL because of its long battery life and 0 to 50 degree quick adjust bevel.

Drill 

What’s It For: For DIY projects that require drilling holes, this is an essential power tool. With a drill, you can easily fix fasteners and screws onto surfaces. This tool is mostly used for hanging mirrors, wall shelves, photos and things like that. 

Why You Need One: Apart from drilling holes, a drill outfitted with mixing grits can be used for mixing paint, concrete and grout. A drill can also be used to sand curved surfaces, grind metal, twist wires and create strong joints. All these uses make it a multi-purpose tool. 

How to Buy It:

  • For DIY projects, cordless drills with rechargeable batteries are more convenient. 
  • Make sure it is suitable for screwing or drilling through metal, wood and plastic. 
  • For a beginner DIY enthusiast, a lightweight model is preferable to a heavy one. 

Our Top Pick: We recommend this BLACK+DECKER 20V MAX Cordless Drill / Driver because its 20 volt lithium ion battery and 30-piece accessories. 

Sander

What’s It For: Sanders come handy for sanding metal, removing paint, and smoothing down timber. They can be used to sand edges, curved surfaces and planes, both vertically and horizontally. They are used by carpenters, car mechanics and many other professionals. 

Why You Need One: Sanders are essential for DIY projects that require smoothing rough edges. To clean, polish or smooth metal, plastic or wooden surfaces, you are going to need a sander. This tool makes the process of sanding easy and satisfying. 

How to Buy It:

  • Choose a sander that easily fits in tight spaces because you will often have to sand materials in tight spaces. 
  • Compact sized models with sanding pads provide more comfort, so opt for a compact one. 
  • Opt for a model that offers easy portability. 

Our Top Pick: We like this BLACK+DECKER Mouse Detail Sander because of its compact size and 3-position grip. 

Jigsaw

What’s It For: Jigsaws are used to cut metal, plastic, wood and other types of materials. To cut various types of materials, you can use different types of blades with the tool. The sharp teeth of the blade are measured in TPI, which stands for teeth per inch. 

Why You Need One: Many DIY projects require cutting curves, and jigsaws are perfect for this job. Whether you need to make a fancy shelf or a round ash tray, you will need a jigsaw. Regardless of your experience level, you will find it easy and straightforward to use a jigsaw. 

How to Buy It:

  • Make sure motor is powerful enough
  • Choose a jigsaw with curve control technology and a dust blower. The automatic dust blower will save a lot of time. 
  • Opt for a model that is suitable for working with all types of materials. 

Our Top Pick: This jigsaw from BLACK+DECKER is our favorite, partly because it comes with curve control technology and a powerful motor. 

Rotary Tool

What’s It For: A rotary tool is used to cut, sand, grind and polish materials finely. For different tasks, a variety of attachments are used with a rotary tool. One of the go-to tools for handymen, it is very useful for different types of small repairs. 

Why You Need One: Whether you need to curve or sand something or elaborate a drilling, a rotary tool comes handy. A rotary tool with a grinding attachment can be used to sharpen kitchen knives and other household tools. 

How to Buy It:

  • When choosing a rotary tool, make sure it is equipped with a high-performance motor. 
  • It should also have enough attachments and dremel accessories. The price of a rotary tool usually depends on the number of these accessories. 
  • Portability is another important thing to consider. Opt for a rotary tool that is easy to carry. 

Our Top Pick: We love Dremel 4300-5/40 High Performance Rotary Tool Kit for its high-performance motor and 40 dremel accessories. 

5 Best Power Tools for Homeowners

Once you’ve got the basic power tools down, it’s time to start expanding your collection. So here is our take on the 5 must have power tools for homeowners that should go on your shopping list next.

Screw Gun

What’s It For: The primary purpose of using a screw gun is to install plywood or drywall where screws have to be set flush. Various types of screw guns are available on the market, and they are mostly used for fastening screws. 

Why You Need One: You need to use a screw gun for DIY projects such as drywall installation, framing, building steps, furniture and deck. For fastening screws, screw guns are more effective that drills because drills do not provide variable speeds. 

How to Buy It:

  • For superior performance, choose a screw gun with a high-quality motor. 
  • For proper visibility, a screw gun with LED light is a good choice. It will allow you to work in a place that is not well-lit. 
  • Try using the screw gun in different positions to see if you are comfortable with the tool. For a beginner, a lightweight model is preferable. 

Our Top Pick: This DEWALT 20V MAX XR Drywall Screw Gun is a really good pick for its brushless motor, 20 volt battery and LED light. 

Table Saw

What’s It For: Table saws are used to cut straight lines on long and small boards. With a table saw, you can accurately and quickly trim down pieces of wood. When it comes to precision, table saws are far better than handheld saws. 

Why You Need One: A table saw is arguably the most important carpenter tool. You need a table saw for DIY projects that require ripping and cross-cutting. For long straight cuts for making a chair or something like that, a table saw is a must. 

How to Buy It:

  • For easy portability, choose a lightweight table saw. 
  • For maximum torque, table saws with worm drive gearing are great. These days, most higher-end table saws come with this feature. 

Our Top Pick: For homeowners, the 8-1/4" Portable Worm Drive Table Saw from SKILSAW can be a great choice, thanks to its precision rack and legendary worm drive gearing. 

Impact Driver

What’s It For: An impact driver is usually used to drive in large numbers of long screws, fasteners and lag bolts. It is also used to loosen over-torqued or corrosively “frozen nuts and screws. A true DIY enthusiast cannot go without an impact driver. 

Why You Need One: When working with wood, you can use an impact driver for large fasteners and long screws. Although an impact driver is not intended for drilling, you can use it for that purpose if you attach a spade bit. You will find this tool suitable for installing cabinets, building shop furniture, deck and theatre sets. 

How to Buy It:

  • For versatility, impact drivers with 3 speed settings are great. 
  • An ideal impact driver should be equipped with a variable speed trigger. 
  • Opt for a model with LED lights.  

Our Top Pick: 20V MAX XR Impact Driver from DEWALT is one of the best out there, partly because of its brushless motor and variable speed trigger. 

Angle Grinder

What’s It For: Grinding, cutting and polishing are the basic functions of an angle grinder. It is used to cut pavers, mortar and tile. However, this tool can be used for many less known purposes if the user applies some creativity. 

Why You Need One: With an angle grinder you can remove paint, rust and old mortar, and cut ceramic tile and stone. This tool can also be used to cut and polish metal, and sharpen tools. 

How to Buy It:

  • Make sure the angle grinder is equipped with a powerful motor. 
  • For automatic ejection of damaging debris and dust, make sure you choose an angle grinder with dust ejection system. 
  • Opt for an easily portable, compact-sized model. Small grinders are easier to carry and handle. 

Our Top Pick: We love this angle grinder from DEWALT because of its 11,000 rpm motor and dust ejection system. 

Heat Gun

What’s It For: Heat guns are typically used for removing paint, softening adhesive and glue, and bending plastics. However, they have many other less known uses. For many DIY enthusiasts, it is an essential power tool. 

Why You Need One: A heat gun is a multi-purpose tool. Apart from stripping paint and softening adhesive, other uses of a heat gun include thawing frozen pipes, stretching leather, repairing electrical items, and melting wax. So, you are going to need one for many DIY projects. 

How to Buy It:

  • For convenience, choose a digital heat gun with variable temperature settings. 
  • Try to find one with multiple fan speeds. However, most higher-end models come with this feature. 
  • Opt for a model that includes two nozzles. They will help you complete your projects more easily and in a shorter period of time. 

Our Top Pick: We like the  Wagner FURNO 700 Digital Heat Gun because of its adjustable settings, multiple fan speeds, and integrated stand. 

10 More Best Power Tools For DIY

If you’ve already got the essentials down, or you are just looking for something a little more advanced, you’ve come to the right place. Here, we will list 10 more of the best power tools for DIY to add to your collection once you are really ready to be a tool junky.

Impact Wrench

What’s It For: An impact wrench is primarily used for tightening or loosening bolts, nuts, and rusted or frozen fasteners. An impact wrench is preferable to a regular power drive because the former provides a high rotational torque. 

Why You Need One: When working on a project that requires loosing rusted nuts and bolts, an impact wrench can be very useful. If you are fixing simple problem with your car, an impact wrench will save the day. The tool is very easy to use. You can use an impact wrench even if you have never used one. 

How to Buy It:

  • Impact wrenches with twin-hammer impact mechanism are better for tightening and loosening tough nuts and bolts. 
  • An ideal impact wrench should be lightweight and durable. Models with titanium hammer cases are durable. Most higher end models come with titanium hammer cases. 

Our Top Pick: Ingersoll Rand Drive Impact Wrench can be a great pick, thanks to its twin-hammer impact mechanism and two-year warranty. 

Reciprocating Saw

What’s It For: This tool is primarily used for demolition and remodeling. With a reciprocating saw, you can easily cut through wood, metal pipes and nails. To cut through materials, a huge variety of blades can be attached to a reciprocating saw. 

Why You Need One: For demolition and remodeling, the reciprocating saw is the go-to tool. Whether you need to demolish drywall or cut into ceilings or floors, you are going to need a reciprocating saw.  

How to Buy It:

  • For great efficiency, choose a cordless reciprocating saw with a powerful motor. 
  • For easy portability and use in tight spaces, choose a lightweight model. 
  • Opt for a model that includes multiple saw blades designed to cut different types of materials. 

Our Top Pick: We love this 20V Cordless Reciprocating Saw from Black and Decker for its powerful motor and compact design. 

Miter Saw

What’s It For: A miter saw is primarily used for regular crosscuts, angled cuts and bevel cuts. The tool can make cuts pretty quickly. This is one of the essential tools for carpenters and DIY enthusiasts. 

Why You Need One: With a miter saw, angles can be adjusted in multiple directions. You can use this tool to make cuts for picture frames, crown moulding, window casing, door frames, and more. This is a common power tool for general DIY work such as remodeling and flooring. 

How to Buy It:

  • For maximum performance, make sure the motor is powerful. The efficiency of a miter saw, to a great extent, depends on the power of its motor. 
  • Choose a lightweight model for easy portability and maneuverability. 
  • For a beginner DIY enthusiast, a 10-inch compound miter saw is the ideal choice. 

Our Top Pick: This Metabo Compound miter saw is one of the best out there, thanks to its 15 Amp motor and great portability. 

Oscillating Multi-Tool

What’s It For: This is a multi-purpose power tool that serves as a scraper, saw, grinder, sander and more.  It is often used to trim screws and pipes, remove rust and scrap adhesive. This is one of the most useful tools for DIY enthusiasts. 

Why You Need One: You can use this multi-purpose tool for a variety of DIY projects. It can be used for grout removal, flush cuts, cabinet installation, window repair, paint preparation, unusual sanding jobs, and many more purposes. 

How to Buy It: 

  • Choose a tool that is able to withstand high stall force. 
  • Make sure the tool comes with non-slip blades and attachments. 
  • For easy control and fast cutting, the blade oscillation angle of an ideal oscillating multi-tool should be set at 4°. 

Our Top Pick: We love the 3.5 Amp Sonicrafter F30 oscillating multi-tool from Rockwell for its variable speed and many other great features. 

Router

What’s It For: Routers are primarily used to cut grooves, patters and designs on wood. Professional masons love this tool because it cuts flawless rabbets and dadoes, and perfect patterns.  Routers are very useful for DIY projects recessing hinges and re-creating patterns. 

Why You Need One: For DIY enthusiasts, a router can be an amazing tool. With it, you can create rounded or decorative edges, join pieces of wood, and do other stuff like that. 

How to Buy It:

  • To route smoothly, choose a router with a powerful motor. 
  • Make sure the depth-adjustment ring is suitable for precise adjustments. Read the label carefully before you buy a router. 
  • Routers with sub-base gauge are great for bit concentricity. 

Our Top Pick: We love this router from DEWALT for its 11-amp motor and amazing motor latches. 

Hand Planer

What’s It For: The primary function of a power hand planer smooth surfaces and tapering wood. Carpenters use this tool to smooth the rough end grain of wood. If you are a bit creative, you can find some other less-known uses of this tool. 

Why You Need One: You can use a power hand planer for DIY projects that require making uneven ceiling joints and fitting a door with too wide an opening. You can also use this tool to straighten sagging. 

How to Buy It: 

  • For accurate depth setting, choose a hand planer with calibrated depth adjustment feature. 
  • For maximum performance, buy a hand planer with a good motor. 
  • For more accurate and detailed woodworking, a hand planer with reversible carbide blades is preferable. 

Our Top Pick: We love this hand planer from DEWALT for its 7 amp motor and resharpenable steel blades. 

Pocket Hole Jig

What’s It For: The primary purpose of a pocket hole is to join two wood boards. This tool makes it very easy to drill holes especially on the corner of a piece of wood, plastic or other material. 

Why You Need One: When working on a project that requires drilling a hole at an accurate angle, you will find a pocket hole jig can be a godsend! Most woodworking projects require drilling pocket holes. Whether you are making a chair or shelf, you will need this tool. 

How to Buy It: 

  • A pocket hole jig with anti-slip base ensures secure positioning. 
  • The tool should be easy to set up and use. 
  • When it comes to buying a pocket hole jig, portability is an important thing to consider. 

Our Top Pick: We love this pocket hole jig from Kreg for its versatile design and removable spacers. 

Staple Gun

What’s It For: A staple gun is primarily used to fasten one material to another or one end to another. The tool makes the process of fastening very easy. It can meet most fastening requirements. 

Why You Need One: Whether you are fastening ceiling tiles, fabric or carpets, this tool can make the job a lot easier. A staple gun can also be used for other DIY projects such as making upholestered baseboards, reupholstering dining chairs, creating a picture frame, building a chicken coop, and installing house wrap. With a power staple gun, you can drive multiple staples at once. 

How to Buy It: 

  • For easy portability, choose a cordless staple gun. 
  • Make sure it is easy to carry. Choose a lightweight model. 
  • For great performance, opt for a model with multiple safety switch settings. 

Our Top Pick: This cordless staple gun from NEU MASTER is one of the best out there, thanks to its lightweight design and 3 safety switch settings. 

Paint Sprayer

What’s It For: An electric paint sprayer can simplify your painting tasks. The tool is often used for large painting projects that require the application of a lot of paint. When it comes to achieving consistent paint coverage, paint sprayers are far better than traditional brushes or rollers. 

Why You Need One: For repetitive painting tasks, an electric paint sprayer can be very useful. Whether you are painting a table, book shelf or box, you can get a smooth finish quickly. DIY enthusiasts love this tool simply because it is more efficient than paint brushes and rollers. 

How to Buy It: 

  • Electrical paint sprayers with adjustable flow control are more convenient. 
  • Make sure the sprayer you choose is not too heavy. You have to be able to carry it comfortably. 
  • For great painting results, opt for a model with a powerful motor and turbofan. 

Our Top Pick: We love NEU MASTER 600 Watt High Power HVLP Home Electric Paint Spray Gun for its 3-spray pattern options and lightweight design. 

Laser Level

What’s It For: Laser levels are used for aligning and leveling horizontal, vertical, angle and square applications. You can align your work to the dots or lines projected by the laser level projector. This tool is known for its great precision. 

Why You Need One: You can use a laser level to install drywall, build decks or hang pictures with great precision. It is also used for installing drop ceilings and chair rails, aligning cabinets and shelves, and leveling floors. 

How to Buy It: 

  • For more convenience, choose a laser level with both manual mode and self-leveling. The reason is simple: the self-leveling feature is not suitable for all projects. 
  • Laser levels with multiple power supply options are great for places where you do not have access to a power outlet. 

Our Top Pick: This amazing laser level from INSPIRITECH offers high accuracy, multiple power supply options, and self-leveling. 

How To Use Power Tools Safely (AKA - Power Tools For Dummies)

You’re ready to grow your collection of the most essential power tools for homeowners. But are you ready to use them?

To close, we want to offer a few words of advice to let you know how to use power tools safely to keep you, your loved ones, and your property out of harm’s way.

Use Personal Protective Equipment

When you are going to work with power tools, using PPE is the first precautionary measure. To protect your eyes and ear, invest in a pair of earplugs and safety glasses. A helmet and a pair of gloves are also among the essential personal protective equipment. 

Educate Yourself

Instruction manuals are usually provided with power tools. Make sure you read the manuals carefully before you use the tools. Even a slightly improper operation of a power tool can result in a deadly injury. Instruction manuals do not just demonstrate the proper uses of tools; they often provide instructions for troubleshooting problems. By educating yourself on the safe operations of various tools, you can avoid the risks of getting injured. 

Dress Right

Dress for the job when you are going to handle power tools. Do not wear loose-fitting clothing, neckties and jewelry. Before you get started, remove dangling objects. Do not wear loose-fitting footwear. We recommend non-slip boots. 

Keep Your Workspace Clean 

A hazardous work area can result in an injury. Your safety, to a great extent, depends on your environment. To stay out of harm’s way, make sure your workspace is clean. Remove tangles cords from the floor, and make sure inflammable liquids are away from power tools. If you are working at home, do not let children come to the workspace. 

Inspect Your Tools Regularly

Your power tools must be periodically checked and inspected. Constant use of power tools lead to wear and tear. Even if a power tool is brand new, avoid taking any chances. There is no alternative to routine inspections. Check and see if your devices have breakage, cracks, exposed wires and damaged plugs. 

Do Not Leave the Tools in “Stand By” Mode after Use

At all costs, avoid keeping power tools in “Stand by” mode when you are not using them. This seemingly small mistake can lead to serious problems. After each use, to prevent accidents and injuries, turn the tools off, disengage the battery, or unplug them

Use Proper Lighting

Your workspace should be well-lit. Lack of proper lighting in the workspace can cause injuries. It is also bad for your eyes. So, avoid working in dimly-lit conditions. Install additional bulbs if needed. 

Do Not Alter Your Tools

Do not disable safety devices or remove guards from power tools. Do not cover up or paint your tools.  By doing so, you may end up covering up cracks or chips, and the outcome can be hazardous. Contrary to what some people thinks, painting does not improve the visual appeal of power tools. 

Stay Calm

When you are handling these devices, stay calm. Handle power tools with care. If things are not working out properly, do not get reckless. Take a break and resume working when you are calm and confident again. Do not work with power tools when you are tired, distracted or under the influence of mind-altering drugs.

Final Thoughts on These 20 Must Have Power Tools for DIY

Whether you're shopping for yourself or a loved one, we hope you found our list of must have DIY power tools useful. If you are also looking for some old-fashioned hand tools, don't miss our even bigger list: 50 Tools Every Man Needs To Own.

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