Mankind has literally been developing, improving, and innovating tools for thousands of years. Without them, we’d probably still be climbing our way up the food chain.
Having the essential tools for your tool kit will save you from a ton of frustration whether you’re fixing a home repair or doing a DIY project.
Below is a list of the 97 best tools you didn’t know you needed. Or likely, you probably know some of them. But I’m willing to bet you’ll learn about at least one tool that you didn’t know existed or maybe needed a reminder of.
Tools 1-10: The Essential Tools
1. The Tape Measure
How could you measure twice without the tape measure? You would think this is common knowledge, but I bet there’s a few surprises you didn’t know about the tape measure, like why is every 16th inch in a red box?
2. The Hammer
A hammer, is a hammer, is a hammer, am I right? Actually no. Most people picture the traditional hammer known as a “claw hammer”, but there’s actually dozens of different types. Who knew?
3. The Multi-Bit Screwdriver
Just about everyone needs a screwdriver. Whether it’s’ for building a piece of furniture or unscrewing an item to replace a battery, both flat head and Phillip screwdrivers of various sizes are a must.
4. The Leveler
Hanging picture frames, hanging shelves, everyone needs a leveler for one reason or another.
5. Tongue and Groove Pliers
The most versatile tool in your toolbox.
6. Utility Knife
Better known as a box cutter or razor blade, most people need these just to open up daily amazon boxes at the front door.
No need to explain this one, other than most people like to have multiples because they have a knack for getting lost. One of the best tools to own.
9. Adjustable Wrench
Righty Tighty, Lefty Loosey. You’ll be needed this to tighten or loosen any loose bolts whether its a plumbing issue or fixing up the car or bike.
10. Allen Wrench
Also known as an allen key or hex key, this is non-negotiable. Anyone that has ever assem knows this tool well.
Tools 11-20: The Homeowner’s Tools
10. Stud Finder
When you’re hanging something heavy, you need to know where the studs are on the wall. Having a stud finder helps you with just this.
11. Staple Gun
A heavy-duty staple gun is essential for many DIY crafts and projects.
12. Glue gun
Typically, you have low temp guns (for crafts, less risk of major burns) and high temp guns. Which one you choose depends on what you’re using it for.
13. Caulking Gun
If you need to reseal anything, you will definitely want one of these.
14. Putty Knife
A putty knife comes in handy whether you’re patching up drywall holes or scraping off wallpaper.
15. Laser Distance Measurer
These come in incredibly handy when measuring hard to reach places and tall ceilings.
16. Drill and Impact Driver Combo Kit
This gives you the best of both worlds with a cordless drill and an impact driver all in one kit. The cordless drill is used to bore holes, but the impact driver is used to drive a screw in.
17. Bit Set
This goes along with your drill and impact driver. You’ll want all the different bits so you have the right size for the job.
18. Diagonal Wire Cutters
This is a standard wire cutting device that can cut anything and everything.
19. Fastener Set
This will contain a variety of nails, screws, anchors, and hooks. It’s good to have these in every tool kit so you don’t have to keep making runs to the hardware store.
20. Safety Glasses/Gloves
Safety first, make sure you always have one of these on hand for your home improvement projects.
Tools 21-30: The Beginning DIYer’s Tools
Refinish your kitchen cabinets, upcycle furniture, it all starts with a good sander.
22. Wet/Dry Vac
These really come in clutch when cleaning up the dust and messes from your DIY project.
23. Wet Tile Saw
Adding backsplash? Renovating a bathroom? A wet tile saw is a must have to get clean cuts with any type of tile.
24. Rotary Tool Set
This is a DIYers bread and butter for all sorts of DIY projects.
25. Finishing Nail gun
Hit the nail on the head faster than ever with a finishing nail gun. These provide a nice seamless finish with less sanding and filling later.
26. Oscillating Multi-Tool
From cutting wood, cutting drywall, or metal, it’s a versatile tool any DIYer should have on hand.
27. Circular Saw
This is your standard saw, tried and true to get the job done.
28. Sliding Compound Miter Saw
This will give you precise, angled cuts. Particularly useful for baseboards, that crown molding, or any other project.
29. Trigger Clamps
These serve as like another pair of hands.
30. Non-Contact Voltage Tester
A simple device to see if you have power to whatever it is you’re working on.
Tools 31-46: The Electrician’s Tools
31. Cable Cutter
Properly cut a cable or wire with one of these for a nice clean cut.
32. Cable Stripper
This will allow you to cut the sheaths on your cable clean and easy.
33. Wire Stripper/Cutter
This a must have tool for any wiring job, found in every electrician’s tool kit.
34. Crimping Cutting Tool
Used to crimp lugs or other fittings onto your wires.
35. GFCI Receptacle Tester
Whenever you’re updating your outlets, test to see if they have power and that they’re wired properly.
36. Digital Multimeter/ Amp Meter
Test all your voltage, continuity, and amperage.
37. Rubber Gripped/ Insulated Screwdrivers
If you’re dealing with anything electrical, better to be safe than sorry by using a rubber insulated screwdriver to prevent shocks.
38. Jab Saw
For quick and easy drywall cutouts.
39. Nut Drivers
Pretty self-explanatory, but you’ll need to this to loosen or tighten nuts and bolts.
40. Line Man Pliers
A nice heavy duty of pliers to hold your wires and twist them properly.
41. Flat Nose Insulated Plastic Pliers
These pliers are particularly useful to prevent you from getting shocked in tight places.
42. Digital Circuit Breaker Finder
Buy a new home and you go to the circuit panel to find out none of it’s labeled? Nothing is more frustrating. Use this tool to find out what breaker goes to which circuit in your panel.
43 Flush Cutters
These are small cutters for small wires like your ethernet wires.
44. Volt Claw
Allows you to pull on wires safely.
45. Fish Tape
This is an absolute must have to pull and run cabling or wires.
46. Stubby Screw Drives
When you need to get into tight spaces, grab yourself one of these.
Tools 47-60: The Plumber’s Tools
47. Hand Auger (Snake)
Your kid flush something down the toilet? Too much hair clogging up your shower drain? Time to get your hand auger out.
48. Pipe Wrench
Self-explanatory, but all plumber’s will have one of these in their tool box.
49. PVC Cutter
Quick and easy way to cut your PVC.
50. Pipe Cutter
51. Pipe Fitting Brush
Prep and clean your copper pipe prior to soldering.
Use with propane to solder pipe.
53. Deburring Tool
Cleans up rough edges on your pipes.
54. Faucet Tool
Gets in easy to tighten your fitting on your water connections.
55. Push-To-Connect Fitting Removing Tool
Save your hands and use this tool. A tool to remove push-to-connect fittings on pipes.
56. Adjustable Plumbers Wrench
I multi-faceted wrench for different sizes, found in every plumber’s tool kit.
57. Garbage Disposal Installation Tool
This is an awesome tool to help hold your disposal up during installation, but can also be used in lots of different ways.
58. Flexible Shaft Magnetic Pickup Tool
Ever dropped your wedding ring down the sink drain? This tool comes in handy when you need to retrieve valuables.
59. Sillcock Key (Faucet Key)
It’s used to turn off various faucets.
Ever wonder what’s in your drain? Use one of these to find out.
Tools 61-74: The Woodworker’s Tools
This tool is used to create an even plane or thickness of your wood by gliding across the top.
Jig saws are great for cutting out those rounded designs or stencils.
No, this is not a wi-fi router, but these portable routers can sometimes seem just as useful. Great for edging, cabinetry, and any other home improvement projects you may have.
64. Band Saw
This can be a straight up time saver. This is one of those basic tools for wood working.
65. Coping Saw
This saw will help you with those intricate shapes you need to cut out.
66. Pocket Hole Jig
These are various jigs to help guide you to drill holes accurately.
67. Chisel Set
This one’s a no-brainer, you need to have a good chisel set for whatever wood working project.
68. Bench Sander
70. Clamp Variety
Having a good variety of clamps will really save on the frustrations.
71. Moisture Meter
This is a must. Making sure your wood is properly acclimated will improve the wood quality and prevent any issues.
72. T Bevel
This will enable you to set straight lines at any angle for stenciling or jointing.
73. Carpenter’s Square
Nice clean lines and angles for whatever your making.
74. Table Saws
Tools 75-91: The Auto Mechanic’s Tools
75. Socket Set
Socket sets come in multiple sizes to fit any size fastener you may be working with. It is important to get a set that has different drive sizes and styles.
76. Half Inch Impact Wrench
For the heavy-duty jobs, a high torqued battery powered impact wrench helps loosen tough bolts. This is a must in the automatic industry.
77. Speed Ratchet
This is an automatic socket wrench that helps to get into small spaces and allows for quick loosening of fasteners.
78. Combination Ratchet Wrenches
These are a fan favorite among auto mechanics, and for good reason. These are a go to tool for most jobs.
79. Tap and Die Set
You’ll need these to create clean threads. The tap is used to make internal threads and the die is used to make external threads.
80. Easy Outs
Ever have that screw that you can’t remove? An Easy Out, otherwise known as a “screw extractor”, will help you get the job done.
81. MIG Welder
There are many types of welders, but MIG welding comes into play when your piecing metals together.
82. Pry Bars
This really could have gone in any section, but the basic of a pry bar is to pull things apart. Auto mechanics use this a lot, which is why it’s in this section, but pry bars are also great for pulling off baseboards.
83. Vise Grips
Vise grips can be a real-life saver. They’re basically pliers that lock and clamp in place, so you can continue doing whatever it is your doing.
84. Torque Wrench
These are great because they allow you to apply a specific torque to a nut or bolt. This way, you won’t over or under-tighten whatever you’re working on. These come in a variety of styles, but digital torque wrenches are your best bet and are widely affordable these days.
86. Thread Measuring Device
87. Rubber Mallets
88. Oil Filter Wrench
This is a specific type of wrench that has been made to fit the oil filter, so you can remove them much more easily.
89. Extension Wrench
90. Hood Light
91. Drift Set
Tools 92-97: Tool Storage & Accessories
92. Tool Box, Tool Chest, Portable Tool Boxes, Tool Belt
There are so many different types of storage options today from the more sturdy metal tool chests to have in your shop or garage, to the portable modular systems.
If you frequently move tools on and off the job site, I highly recommend a portable, modular tool storage system. It will save you time.
93. Duct Tape
No need to explain this one.
Gorilla glue, wood glue, craft glue, hot glue, there’s so many different types and the one you choose really depends on what you’re gluing together.
95. Zip Ties
You can use zip ties for everything. Bundling cables behind your TV, organization, the possibilities are endless.
Get yourself a good flashlight, or three because somehow, they always seem to go missing around my house.
97. Extension Cord
If you decorate for Christmas, you likely own a tote-ful of these already. But if you don’t own one, its good to have one on hand.
So, there you have it.
There are 97 tools from the basics of a measuring tape to the high-powered saws of a woodworker.
I get a lot of questions on what is the best tool to own or what is the best power tool? Well, I can’t answer that, because it depends on what job you’re trying to accomplish.
Although this list is not all inclusive, it should be a good starting point for whatever you’re interested in. We’ll be updating it as time goes on.