Being a handyman is rewarding and satisfying. This applies to whether you are a home handyman or a professional handyman doing various jobs for a living. Having the best handyman tools on hand for the job being done is the key to being an effective handyman. Not only do you complete projects quicker by having the best tools but you also work safer.
There are two types of handyman, the home DIY kind and those who are going to run a small handyman business. Essentially each set of tools will be similar however the handyman running a small business will likely be working on a larger variety of projects and will require a larger range of tools. Going to a large retail tool shop to set up your toolset can certainly be overwhelming, there are so many tools it’s hard to know which is the best choice.
What tools should a handyman have?
Don’t know where to start? here we have the perfect handyman tools list for any handyman or handywoman. As I work as a handyman, below is the list of tools I carry to every job I go to. Many clients have multiple small jobs to be done and these tools will get me through 90% of any handyman task I am likely to encounter as a handyman. With larger projects, the scope of tools required is generally known in advance so I am able to add anything specific if needed, for example, bigger ladders, and power tools that need to be hired such as a compactor or a set of scaffolding.
#1 Tool Belt
Having all the tools is one thing but to be efficient you need to be organized. Tool belts are designed to do just that. There are many different types of tool belts on the market, but you don’t need anything fancy here. Look for something with two large pockets for screws, nails, etc, plus a couple of extra pockets for holding the tools such as tape, screwdrivers, wrench, and hammers.
#2 Cordless drill
The cordless drill is without a doubt the handiest tool you will own as a handyman. With this tool, you can drill holes, and drive screws, and bolts. It is no doubt the most well-used tool in my tool kit. Always buy the best you can afford as the batteries on popular brand-name tools can be used on a variety of extra handyman tools that you may require down the track. Battery-powered tools are here to stay and are getting more powerful and can now outperform many of their corded opposites.
Always buy the best you can afford as the batteries on popular brand-name tools can be used on a variety of extra tools that you may require down the track. Battery-powered tools are here to stay and are getting more powerful and can now outperform many of their corded opposites.
#3 Tape Measure & Rule
Tape measures are definitely a must-have preferably one that reads in inches and centimeters. Plus it’s a good idea to have a folding ruler as well. For measuring tapes opt for 2 sizes, one capable of measuring 10 feet, plus a smaller one measuring up to 3 feet.
#4 Miter Saw
If you intend to do any type of woodworking or carpentry a miter saw is the first power tool and the best thing you will invest in. For DIY and home workshops the needs of a powered saw are fairly basic. A simple compound miter saw will be fine for many. Upgrade to a sliding miter saw if you intend to do a lot of carpentry or home renovations. Combined with a circular saw you will have most of your cutting challenges covered.
A most essential piece of equipment, start with a claw hammer as these are the most versatile of handyman tools, use to remove and drive all sorts of nails. Another handy hammer is the small ball pein hammer. Also include double-faced soft mallets and all wood mallets for use when chiseling.
- Claw hammer – general nailing, removing old fixings and screws, the most versatile of all hammers, available in several different weights.
- Wooden Mallett – Best for use with chisels, the wooden head protects your chisel head from damage and burring that steel-headed hammers can do.
- Ball pein hammers – not widely used today but handy nonetheless, these are primarily for metalwork, whereas the ball end is used for riveting heads of solid rivets.
- Tack hammers – a small-headed lightweight hammer used primarily for nailing small tacks or small finishing nails.
Pliers come in all shapes and sizes, there are vice grip styles, needle nose, adjustable, electricians, and many more. The most used in DIY are likely to be standard snub nose pliers, needle nose pliers, and adjustable 2-inch vise grips.
#6 Screw Drivers
A basic set will suffice for most handyman tools work, a set containing flat blade screwdrivers and a set of Phillips head screwdrivers is the standard go-to drivers for most repairs and household jobs.
#7 Putty knife
Most woodworking projects require the use of nails and screws, in many cases, the head of the nail or screw is recessed, use putty knives for filling recessed nail and screw heads, and other small holes. Putty knives are called as such because they were used primarily for use with putty in filling and the puttying of window frames. Putty is still used today however there are many filler products on the market that are as good and much faster drying than putty which can take up to several days to completely cure.
#8 Caulking gun
If you are into doing home renovations of any kind a caulking gun is a must for applying cartridge-type sealers glues and fillers. Nothing fancy is required here just a simple caulking gun. There are electric battery-operated caulking guns out there, these are pretty much a novelty as far as I can see and a waste of money.
#9 Allen keys
A set of Allen keys is essential for any handyman or woman, all that is required is a simple set of metric and imperial folding style Allen keys
#10 Hand Saws
There are three handsaws we need to consider;
- The Rip Saw – a basic rip saw of about 24 teeth is ideal for general cross-cutting and light rip saw work.
- Tennon Saw – these are finner-toothed finishing saws, often used in conjunction with a miter box for accurate cutting of things such as picture frames and skirting boards. For clean sharp cuts that require no cleanup.
- Hacksaw – used for cutting light metals, cutting small profile angles, flat and round metal sections, Ideal for trimming the heads of long bolts and screws.
- Circular Saw – Very handy if you do a lot of manual cutting, opt for a battery-powered type make sure its of the model the same as your cordless drill, and utilize the same batteries.
One of the original basic handyman tools. Getting a few general-purpose wood chisels is always handy, I basically only use four different sizes, 1 inch, 3/4 inch, 1/2 inch and 1/4-inch-bladed chisels. Keep these protected from other loose tools and if possible buy those with blade protectors. A sharp chisel is a joy to use, buy the best you can afford and look after them.
#12 Miter Square
Just like a small tape measure the mall miter squares are needed for accurate marking off on many woodworking projects, many have a small built-in spirit level for extra functionality. For those requiring something larger then the next step is a Rafter Square
#13 Spirit Levels.
Nothing looks worse than something built that is not square or level, a spirit level is one of those essential handyman tools that will be used on all sorts of projects both indoors and outdoors. A good-sized general-purpose spirit level would be about 12 to 20 inches long.
- Laser Levels – utilize a laser level for very accurate measurements over long distances, also there are interior style laser levels that will run an accurate line on an interior wall, great tools for tricky levels on large surfaces.
#14 Wrenches and Spanners.
There is always a place in the toolbox for an adjustable wrench, again there are only a couple of sizes you will only ever use, a 4 inch and six-inch are fairly standard recommendations, also handy to have is a larger 10-inch adjustable wrench. As far as sockets sets and spanner sets are concerned, they are more for someone who does a lot of work on autos or other machines. Not really needed for woodworkers and general handy work.
#15 Files and Rasps.
For files, the choice is not big, mainly you need something that can be used as a deburring tool, for removing the sharp edges of cut metals and bolts. Wood rasps are handy for removing excess stock from wood projects that are more rustic in nature.
While it’s handy to have a couple of files and a wood rasp in the toolkit, sandpaper will more than suffice in many situations. Use emery paper for cleaning metal edges and standard sandpaper for timber. The higher the paper number the smoother the finish will be. For example, heavy material removal would use a 40 grit paper and fine finishing 400 grit papers.
Crowbars are more likely used on outdoor jobs or home renovations. One of the handiest crowbars to have is a small 6 to 10-inch crowbar, plus something larger around the 12 to 20-inch mark.
#17 Utility Knife
Another of our must-have handyman tools is a utility knife, look for a good quality type with a retractable blade and replaceable blades. Used for general purpose cutting of many materials. Also, handy addition to the utility knife is a pair of industrial-strength scissors for cutting things like canvas, geotextiles, rubber, and heavy plastics. There are good quality tin snips that can also double as heavy-duty scissors.
#18 Workshop Vice
The main types of vices for home workshops vice are usually metal or timber faced. A standard bench vice is made from cast steel and will have metal jaws. Many of these types of vices have a metal pad that can be used as a small anvil.
The other option is by using a timber-faced vice. These are generally designed specifically for woodworking. Most well-equiped workshops will have both of these vices.
#19 Bevell square
These are adjustable miter squares designed for marking set angles. One of the more handy tools for woodworkers.
#20 Safety Equipment
Your toolbox is totally incomplete without safety equipment. At a minimum, you must have, earmuffs for ear protection, safety glasses, and dust masks for fumes and dust to get started. Do not scrimp on these essential items and buy the best quality. Look after your hands with leather gloves and latex gloves for use with cleaning equipment, painting supplies, etc. Knee pads are great when working on the ground, floors, and decks. For a handyman business with a small workshop, a shop vac is an ideal
Additional Tools List For Small Handyman Business
While the above list will cover the majority of projects any handyman is likely to encounter there are many other tools that are specific to any handyman’s business.
Small handyman tools that will be useful include, a staple gun, spirit level, stud finder, chalk line, and drywall saw.
Additional Power tools Include Chainsaw, Jigsaw, Electric sander, Dremel rotary tool, rotary hammer, and impact wrench.
I am a blog content researcher and writer for habitatdiy.com