Beginner Tool List

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Are you a new home owner or somebody looking to start your journey into the world of DIY? We at the Do Tell Ray home improvement podcast have compiled a handy beginner tool list that everyone should have. You’ll be able to complete a multitude of jobs around the house if you own all or most of these tools.

Once you have the basics from our beginner tool list, the next best tools to buy are the tools you need to finish the job you’re working on. For example, we don’t have a drywall saw or joint knife on the list because there’s no reason to own either of those right away.

The reason we don’t have those useful tools on our list is because the money you spend on those would be better spent on other items that will be more versatile around the house. However, if you find that you do need to patch or hang drywall then it’s best to purchase the tools you need to complete that particular job. You’ll have them forever and you’ll never need to make a purchase again.

Think back to when you were a kid and your dad or grandpa seemed to any tool they could possibly need to finish any job around the house. Those tools were not all purchased at the same time. Those old farts purchased the tools they needed to complete the job they were working on. They just happened to complete a lot of jobs by the time you arrived and ruined their good time.

Another noteworthy tip is to learn basic tool maintenance and shop at garage sales and flea markets. For example, if you purchase a used cross cut saw with an ergonomic wooden handle and hard steel it will benefit you much more than if you buy a new saw with a plastic handle and steel that can’t be sharpened, even if the used saw might require a little TLC prior to actually being used.

Without further ado, here’s Do Tell Ray’s beginner tool list.

Beginner tool list

If you’d like to hear the discussion about our beginner tool list, check out Episode 31 where Ray, Chris, and Colin discuss it in full.

Hand Tools

  • Screw driver set
    A simple screwdriver set can help you complete any task around the house from changing an electrical outlet to hanging a picture. Because they’re so affordable, this should be the first purchase you make.
  • Hammer
    Use a hammer to beat things up or if you’re zen you can use it to drive nails into things.
  • Tape measure
    You can’t measure things without one of these. Get a 16 foot tape measure. If you find the need to measure more then go with 25. You’ll never need more than that.
  • Carpenter’s square

    The easiest way to draw and cut a straight line is to use a carpenter’s square.
  • Bubble level
    Hanging a picture or a shelf? Make sure it’s level by placing this on top of it.
  • Utility knife
    Useful for doing anything from scoring wood to avoid tear out when cutting all the way to cut cutting cardboard up boxes to save space in the recycling bin.

Power Tools

  • 18v Brushless Drill / Driver combo kit
    Go for an 18v brushless combo kit. Most home owners and hobbyists don’t need much more than that. Brushless will give you added power for very little money. Ridgid brand tools have a lifetime service warranty and free replacement batteries for life.
  • Circular saw
    A circular saw will help you quickly cut a multitude of things from 2x4s to plywood or T1-11.
  • Jig saw

    A jig saw is helpful for cutting curved cuts or cutting through laminate, metal, and obviously wood.


  • Two 5 gallon buckets
    Any big box store will have them for sale. One is for tool storage, the other is for any time you need a bucket.
  • Bucket organizer

    These organizers attach to the outside of a bucket, essentially making the bucket a tool box. Place larger items inside of the bucket and all of your hand tools can be attached in the pouches on the outside of the bucket.
  • Stackable parts organizer
    The more you do around the house the more you’re going to find yourself with loose screws, nuts, bolts and so on. Rather than tossing them in your bucket, you can use these bins to organize them.


  • Drywall anchors
    If you’re new to DIY, you should know that you shouldn’t screw directly into drywall because it’s just not strong enough. These anchors will offer additional strength which will allow you to easily hang shelves, pictures, and more with ease. They’re rated individually so the more you use, the more you can hold.