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What are the Essentials?
Starting from scratch? We'll guide through a list of essential tools that should cover most of the simple jobs you'll find around the house.

From scratch

The starting point is that you currently have no tools and you feel called upon to fix some fairly small-scale, common problems around the house. To make a start you won't need to outlay much money. There are many relatively cheap tools in hardware shops that are of reasonable quality.

If you've tackled DIY jobs before you probably know what tools you have what you need. This is meant to be a fairly basic list of essential tools and equipment for the beginner. 
  • Hammer - A 16-oz. curved-claw nail hammer with a comfortable rubber grip handle is probably your best bet.
  • Saw - A standard cross-cut hand saw will handle most things around the home.  They come in different lengths so try a fairly short one that is easiest to manage and will fit in the average tool box.
  • Screwdrivers - A small basic set that contains both standard flat blades as well as Phillips heads will tackle most jobs. You can buy a combination driver that includes a variety of blades that all fit into one main handle.
  • Level - Essential if your work involves vertical and horizontal planes.
  • C-Clamps - These will hold lots of things you are trying to put back together.
  • Pliers - A good, basic pair of slip-joint (multigrip) pliers can tighten, loosen and hold all sorts of things for you.
  • Wrench - An adjustable wrench will give you lots of extra muscle to tighten and loosen a variety of nuts and bolts.

What Are The Essentials?

  • Ruler - A retracting flexible tape rule is compact, accurate and very useful.
  • Utility knife - They come with replaceable blades.
  • Flashlight - A small, rechargeable flashlight is important for all sorts of emergencies.
  • Plunger - Essential for clearing blocked drains.
  • Sandpaper - You can buy a basic variety pack with a range of grit.
  • Tape - A roll of duct tape is handy because it can hold virtually anything together. Electrical tape is handy too.
  • Glue - Household cement will tackle most things but a PVC timber glue may come in handy.
  • Lubricant - Buy as a spray or a small bottle of sewing machine oil.
  • Toolbox - A lightweight, plastic model will hold most of your tools.

What Are The Essentials?

Power tools

Power tools can be dangerous and are not recommended for use by anyone who has no experience with them. If you're heading down this path, you will need some instruction for your own safety and to get the best out of your investment.
  • Cordless screwdriver - This could be your first power tool. A low volt cordless drill (also known as a drill/driver) can do the same work. Buy one with bit kits to keep all the bits organised.
  • Low wattage power drill - These are not as heavy as the higher wattage options.When shopping for a drill, make sure to pick them up while the battery is  attached to know how heavy they will feel in your hand. With the right attachments, drills can be used to drill, drive screws, stir paint and polish.
  • Sander - A detail sander and an orbital sander are lightweight sanding tools for finishing. The detail sander allows you to get into corners that the orbital sander can't. Hook and loop sanding pads make it easy to change sandpaper. They are good to use with projects where wood finishing is important.
  • Jig-saw - This can be a light power saw for odd jobs around the house.  Ideal for curved cuts but with practice you can master straight cuts as well. You can get either a corded or cordless model.

With all power tools, be very careful when using them. They are a major cause of accidental injury in home renovation and you must follow safety procedures.