6 Essential Tools and Gear for the Novice DIYer’s Workshop

So, you’ve finally done it. You gave in to the bug. You may have “nerded-out” on wood-burning ovens, garden beds, or watching countless YouTube videos. Who knows? People decide to become fully-pledged DIYers for different reasons.

That said, we think this particular decision just might be among the best you’ve ever made. It’s an excellent idea – and a commitment that’s well-worth your precious time and effort.

Whether you’re a rookie handyman or a seasoned do-it-yourselfer, you’ll need a variety of basic tools.
Whether you’re a rookie handyman or a seasoned DIYer, you’ll need a variety of basic tools.

Tools and Gear You’ll Need

Before you start, you’ll need some basic equipment. Whether you’re a rookie handyman or a seasoned DIYer, you’ll need a variety of basic tools and gear.

By basic equipment, we mean two things. First, we mean equipment beyond what you already have in your home toolkit. (We assume you have a hammer, a hand saw, and a good tape measure, among sundry others.) Second, we also mean gear we’ve used frequently for our own DIY projects.

We’ve rounded-up six such tools and gear below to help you get started.

1. A Reciprocating Saw

Cutting things by hand takes forever. Often, too, the result isn’t nearly as accurate as cutting with a power tool.

We actually know of a DIYer who built a complicated vertical planter with only a handsaw. He was sore for days afterwards. Sure, it works, but we’re sure you have better things to do with your time.

The reciprocating saw is a “gateway tool.” It’s the tool you’ll need when you graduate to a serious DIYer, taking on a repair or major remodeling.   

This versatile machine-powered saw performs a cutting action through a push-and-pull motion of a blade. DIYers will use it for making both straight and curved cuts. You can also use it to prune young trees, among sundry other cutting tasks.

For novice DIYers, we recommend the DeWalt 20V MAX XR Reciprocating Saw. This saw is compact, lightweight, and quite easy to handle. But it will chew and cut through material better than most.

This power saw is 14.5 inches long and weighs just five pounds without the battery. Its features include a four-position tool-less blade clamp and a bright LED light.

Why this power saw, in particular? Most saws won’t allow you to get in-between studs or joists, let alone around plumbing or electrical lines. The DeWalt’s 20 Volt Max XR compact saw will get you into those places and then make the cut you want.

This is hardly the most inexpensive reciprocating saw in the market. But it’s an excellent option for novice DIYers who want to start with small projects and basic home repairs.

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The reciprocating saw is a “gateway tool.”
The reciprocating saw is a “gateway tool.”

2. A Cordless Power Drill

Whether you’re driving bolts to mount a picture frame or tightening hinges, a battery-powered drill means less hassle. You’ll never need to find a nearby outlet or snake a cord under and around furniture.

The DeWalt DCD771C2 is a 20-volt cordless, lithium-ion compact drill kit that offers excellent torque and speed. You’ll know this drill is made of durable and sturdy materials right from the start. It’s one of the lightest drills you’ll find at 3.6 lbs. Yet it feels good and solid in your hands. 

The variable speed levels and powerful transmission on this DeWalt’s drill is excellent for most DIY drilling jobs. The built-in work light above the trigger offers decent illumination, too.

The battery will last an entire deck-building project, including the railing work. When completely charged, the unused battery should hold power for weeks, even more than a month!

Of course, you’ll need a set of good drill bits to go with your power drill. Dewalt’s 21-Piece Drill Bit Set will drill through galvanized metal without a scratch.

If you cock the bit wrong by accident, they have more flex than cheaper bits. They are less likely to snap. When they do snap, they have good steel in the middle rather than carbon!

You’ll also need Dewalt’s Screw Driver Bit Set. This set of 40-piece set boasts screwdriver bits in a wide variety of sizes. The set should meet all the demands and requirements of all your home DIY projects.

The bits are specifically engineered for impact driving. Each is designed to minimize the risk of breakage while you work. The result is reduced wobbles and drops, which means you spend less time picking up screws and more working.

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Whether you’re driving bolts to mount a picture frame or tightening hinges, a battery-powered drill means less hassle.
Whether you’re driving bolts to mount a picture frame or tightening hinges, a battery-powered drill means less hassle.

3. A Jigsaw

Like the power drill and the reciprocating saw, the jigsaw is usually among the first tools a DIYer acquires. These tools are extremely versatile and are suitable for both novice and expert DIYers.

Jigsaws won’t cut perfectly straight lines unless you have a straight edge. But it’ll be useful for making small wood signs, wood trays, and other small projects. You’ll need it for cutting precise notches in DIY furniture, too.

We like the Black & Decker BDEJS600C 5.0amp Smart Select Jig Saw for the job. Why? Well, for one, this corded jigsaw features an impressive Curve Control technology.

This special cutting feature allows you to adjust the saw’s orbit to one-of-four customized settings. The manufacturers designed each to help you complete a specific cutting job. We think any DIYer would find this quite useful.

The tool is powered by a 5-Amp variable-speed motor, which delivers up to 3,000 spm of cutting force. It comes in a sturdy plastic casing, which minimizes weight and protects components from falls.

This power tool has a wire guard for a smooth and precise cutting experience, as well.  The adjustable shoe meanwhile ensures stability regardless of the material you’re cutting. The shoe can bevel up to 45 degrees. This allows you to make bevel and miter cuts with its impressive 3/4″ stroke length.

The BDEJS600C is an excellent woodworking tool from a reputable company. Yet it’s not nearly as expensive as most of its rivals in the market. The durable design and powerful motor should get any jigsaw’s job done fast with nary a hiccup or hitch.

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The jigsaw is usually among the first tools a DIYer acquires.
The jigsaw is usually among the first tools a DIYer acquires.

4. A Sander

The DIYers art will often require a great degree of proficiency and mastery of space. Woodworkers, in particular, need special tools to maneuver the smallest, tightest corners.

That’s why sanders come in different shapes and sizes. But then for a durable machine that excels in tight spaces, we like the Black and Decker Mouse sander.

Weighing less than three pounds, this power tool’s compact size makes it ideal for sanding tight spaces. The sander features low-profile legs that allow for enhanced maneuverability, too.

You’ll be rounding corners, finishing edges and trims with ease. The 1.2 ampere motor is powerful enough to remove even the toughest material along the way. This little sander is capable of producing 14,000 orbits per minute for fast sanding, after all.

That much power requires a firm hold. Not to worry, tough. Even a novice DIYer will have no trouble controlling this tool because of its excellent three-position grip.

We also like this machine’s dust collection mechanism, which uses a good micro-filtration system.

The system is able to keep the woodwork surface free of dust when sanding. Consequently, you won’t have a lot of cleaning to do after every job.

The only drawback here is the lack of a variable speed control. Be that as it may, we encountered no real difficulty with the Black & Decker Mouse sander during testing. In fact, we quite enjoyed working with it.

5. A Headlamp

Home repairs and tasks will come at you from nowhere and by the droves. There is the leaky faucet, the clogged sink drain, or the furnace that’s making a strange noise. You’ll also run into minor – but still potentially dangerous – electrical repairs.

What better way to rise up to the DIY challenge than going in hands-free with a headlamp? After all, when the power goes out, the lights go out with it.

Using flashlights and candles to navigate a blackout isn’t always convenient – or safe. Trust us, you don’t want to fumble around for a flashlight while you’re trying to fix an electrical problem. The job at hand might also require you to use both hands, too.

Wearing a good headlamp will provide you with light when and where you need it the most. So far, we’ve found that the GearLight LED Headlamp Flashlight does that without fail.

This wearable flashlight is suitable for running, camping, and indoor use. The headlamp comes with a red safety light, and it’s ideal for DIY work under poor lighting conditions.

Because of its lightweight, comfortable, washable, and adjustable headband, you can wear this flashlight for hours without any discomfort. You just might even forget it’s there.

The flashlight runs on three AAA batteries. The XPG2 LED bulbs generate a powerful beam with daylight definition and color.

This wearable device is also water-resistant and crop-tested to ensure that it functions even under the worst conditions. The 45-degree pivoting head allows you ideal lighting without the usual neck fatigue, too.

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Wearing a good headlamp will provide you with light when and where you need it the most.
Wearing a good headlamp will provide you with light when and where you need it the most.

6. A Pair of Flexible Work Gloves

There’s nothing quite as satisfying as a DIY project that ends exactly the way you planned. Building a vertical planter or a smoker with your own hands leaves you with a fulfilling sense of accomplishment.

What’s not so pleasant are splinters, scrapes, and blisters on your triumphant hands. The lesson? If you work with your hands, you need to protect them.

Ironclad General Utility Work Gloves are designed to help you do that. We took a close look at four of their most popular models.

The major selling point of these gloves is their overall utility. By that, we mean that they work for almost any trade or general application.

On your hands, these gloves will feel a bit light. That’s because Ironclad designed them to breathe and offer all-day comfort.

The general gloves have thermoplastic knuckle protection and a reinforced thumb and saddle. The hook and loop closure on the backside ensures that, once you put them on, they stay put.

Ironclad’s general utility work gloves are suited for a range of tasks. They’ll allow you to safely handle packages, work on vehicles, home repairs, and – of course – your DIY projects.

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 If you work with your hands, you need to take care of them.
If you work with your hands, you need to protect them.

Of course, these tools and gear are hardly all that a novice DIYer will need. You’ll need every piece of equipment in your home toolkit – and then some.

You’ll need safety goggles. You’ll likely need a miter saw at one point. You’ll also need a nail gun, a Kreg jig for pocket holes, clamps, a plumb bob, and a square, among many others. 

The full range of tools you’ll need will be determined by your skills and the projects you choose. But the six tools and gear we’ve listed above are an excellent place to start.


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