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Basic tools that everyone should have

New to DIY and home maintenance? Read on.


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A basic tool kit is helpful for DIY and maintenance tasks around the home.

But when you visit a hardware shop, it’s easy to get bewildered by all those flat-head screwdrivers and claw hammers. There can be too much choice.

So what tools should everyone have at home? What should every toolkit contain?

We’ve simplified it for you. Here’s our list of basic tools and equipment that you should have.

Bear in mind that any DIY mishaps could result in an expensive home insurance claim. So, rather than being the bad worker who blames their tools, it might be worth getting the right kit.

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What essential tools should I have in my home?

At a glance, your must-have tools should include:

  • A claw hammer
  • Pliers
  • A cordless drill
  • A flat-head and a Phillips-head screwdriver
  • A spirit level
  • Nails and screws
  • A tape-measure
  • Tape
  • A ladder

Claw hammer

This is useful for, well, hammering. But a claw hammer might also be used to pry out old nails or ease things open.

It’s best to go for a hammer that’s got ‘one-piece construction’ in the product description. These models are sturdier and unlikely to break in half, mid-hammer.

Check prices at B&Q for claw hammers



Pliers are useful for tightening nuts, bolts and removing nails that your claw hammer can’t get to. They’re great for cutting and bending wire, too.

There are a few different types of pliers but a standard set of cutting pliers will be fine for basic tasks.

If you want to go the whole hog, you can pick up sets of different pliers relatively cheaply.

Check prices at B&Q for pliers


Cordless drill

If you have only one power tool, make it this one. A cordless drill is a triple treat. As well as drilling, it can buff, grind and sand.

You can get models that have a power cord but cordless drills – although slightly more expensive – are much easier to use.

Check prices at B&Q for cordless drills


Flat-head and Phillips-head screwdrivers

Both these screwdrivers are useful for tasks around the home, particularly for furniture fixes and changing fuses.

The Phillips-head screwdriver is cross-shaped, sometimes referred to as the cross-head screwdriver. The flat-head screwdriver is straight.

You can buy them individually, but you can pick up a set with a variety of shapes and sizes relatively cheaply.

  Check prices at B&Q for mixed screwdriver sets


Spirit level

This is a key item when you’re putting up shelves or assembling units. It’ll stop your ornaments from falling to their doom.

A spirit level with different orientations will find accurate horizontal and vertical angles.

Check prices at B&Q for spirit levels


Nails and screws

You can get assorted sets of nails from any good DIY store. It’s handy to have these so you have screws or nails for your DIY projects.

Check prices on Amazon for assorted sets of nails Check prices on Amazon for assorted sets of screws


Tape measure

One of the more essential items on the list. It’s useful in all areas of the home for measuring units, furniture or replacement parts.

Check prices at B&Q for tape measures



Having a couple of types of tape in your toolbox is handy.

Duct tape is useful for temporarily sealing any leaky pipes while you wait for the plumber.

If you’re painting your skirting boards and need to mask off an area of wall, invest in painter’s tape.

It won’t damage any existing paintwork or leave a residue when you remove it.

Gaffer tape is good for sticking down any rogue cables that could cause someone to trip. Like with painter’s tape, this shouldn’t leave a residue.

Check prices at B&Q for different types of tape



This is not useful just for DIY – if you need to change a light bulb or need to get to a fuse box, a ladder is a must.

It'll be particularly useful for your monthly maintenance tasks around the home too.

A standard 5-step (or tread) ladder should work for most jobs.

Check prices at B&Q for step ladders


Useful extras

Stud detector

Studs are wooden supports that plasterboard is attached to.

If you’re putting up a shelf or a picture, use a stud detector to find these supports. It should be much more secure if it’s put up on studs, rather than on plasterboard.

Check prices at B&Q for stud detectors



This is a good investment if you have a garden. Shovels are useful for clearing up debris, digging and general gardening work.

Check prices at B&Q for shovels


Hand saw

Great in the garden for branches or general maintenance tasks. Usually you can get an inexpensive one with interchangeable blades.

  Check prices at B&Q for hand saws


Set of 5 paint brushes

These are useful not just for big jobs but also for when you need to do a little touching up of scuff marks around the home.


Check prices at B&Q for paint brushes


A paint roller and tray

Again, this can prove handy for when you need to apply a fresh lick of paint. It’s useful whether you’re doing a complete room or you just want to cover up some wear-and-tear marks.


Check prices at B&Q for rollers and trays


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