article header - lifestyle

Toolbox Essentials: Our TOP 20 List


Even for the DIY challenged, a small kit of basic tools is useful for quick fixes and small household tasks. For the seasoned DIYer or handyman, it is essential. If you need a starter set or just need to supplement your existing set, you’ve come to the right place. We have compiled our top 20 list of essential tools for the home kit. 

Just in time for Father’s Day and graduation, this list gives you everything you will need to update your own kit or someone else’s. Dad may only need to add a thing or two to his, but a new grad moving into a new home or newlyweds may need a little more. After all, there is no better way to start a new chapter than being armed with all the right tools.

savour... being well-equipped

Before you start:

Buy quality – steer clear of the ‘big set’ of tools. These sets seem appealing but often come with pieces of questionable quality and include several that you will seldom use. Be particular and go with a trusted brand. Craftsman is a good place to start. They have a long history of quality and their hand tools come with a lifetime warranty.

Build as you go- unless you are building a complete set for someone as a gift, don’t worry about getting the pieces all at once. Buy the short list (first 12) and get the others as you find the best quality tools at a good price or as your needs dictate. If the kit is for you, put some of the items on your wish list and perhaps you will be able to check a few off at your birthday, Christmas, etc.


  • claw hammer – like a bowling ball, it should feel good in your hand and not be too heavy.
  • flathead screwdriver – get a few sizes if you can.
  • phillips screwdriver – get a few sizes if you can.
  • tape measure – no less than 12 feet long. I like the kind with the magnet on the end.
  • socket wrench – a basic set should be fine for most jobs.
  • vise grip pliers – like having a helper with you. 
  • needle nose pliers – work in tight places and double as wire cutters.
  • slip joint pliers – standard ‘go to’ item.
  • cordless drill and bits – a standard set should do.
  • crosscut saw – for basic sawing tasks. Upgrade to electric saws if you will saw more often.
  • level – useful on so many… levels.
  • staple gun – and staples… one of the best quick fix tools there is.
  • clamps – a couple of C-clamps in a few sizes is probably all you will need.
  • crescent wrench – one is good, two (different sizes) is better
  • utility knife – get one with a hearty grip.
  • hacksaw – you will use this more often than you think.
  • work gloves – safety first, plus reduces blisters.
  • duct tape – for when the best tool for a quick fix is duct tape.
  • pencil – have a few and keep them sharpened.
  • safety glasses – it’s all fun and games until someone loses an eye.


Get Your Free Copy

Join our email list to receive our guide for creating a functional kitchen. Discover what to buy, what NOT to buy… and why. Plus, get our tips, tricks, and recipes!