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18 Jun 2020
Jamie Gibbs Alice Campion

Basic tools that everyone should have



New to DIY and home maintenance? Read on.

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Basic tools are 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. Too much choice!

We’ve simplified it for you. Here’s our list of essential tools that everyone should have in their home.

Read more: Simple and effective DIY ideas

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What essential tools should I have in my home?

At a glance, your tool kit should include:

  • A claw hammer

  • Pliers 

  • A cordless drill 

  • A flat and philips head screwdriver

  • A spirit level

  • Nails and screws

  • A tape measure

  • A ladder

Claw hammer

Useful for, well, hammering. But a claw hammer can 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 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 can only have 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 and Philips head screwdriver

These screwdrivers are both 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 cheap set with a variety of shapes and sizes relatively cheaply.

Check prices at B&Q for mixed screwdriver sets

Spirit level

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 a screw or nail for every situation.

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 up 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 won’t leave a residue.

Check prices at B&Q for different types of tape


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

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 the plasterboard is attached to.

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

Check prices at B&Q for stud detectors


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

Check prices at B&Q for paint brushes

A paint roller and tray

Check prices at B&Q for rollers and trays

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