Best DIY tools for your garden projects

Here is our pick of all the tools you need for the ultimate DIY home tool kit.

DIY Tools

by Ellen Kinsey |
Updated on

If you love to see a project through from start to finish and enjoy home projects, then look no further than our ultimate guide to DIY tools to your garden tool arsenal that will help you effortlessly finish your vision as you embark on home improvements. The home DIYer can do countless projects and tasks like building your own garden wall bar without bringing in a professional if you have the right kit.

With around 40 per cent of house sales taking place between May and August, first-time buyers are going to need to be prepped and ready with a list of essential tools, ready for their first DIY projects to improve their homes and gardens. But that needn't stop you from upping your DIY tools out of season to give yourself something of a winter haven.

The best DIY tools at a glance:

• Best handy screwdriver: Stanley 68-010 Multi-Bit Ratcheting Screwdriver - View offer on Amazon

• Best multitool: Leatherman SIDEKICK® - View offer at Leatherman.com

• Best power drill kit: Bosch PSB 1800 LI-2 Drill Kit - View offer on Amazon

These essential tools will make you the ultimate DIYer and you'll be able to complete most tasks without the help of a joiner or builder. Often, doing something yourself can make the task that extra bit satisfying when it is complete. Depending on what things you undertake at home and in your garden, there are some DIY tools on our list that will be useful and will last the test of time.

The top 10 buys for garden upgrades and upcycling endeavours

Here are Modern Gardens Magazine writer Geoff Hodge's favourite DIY tools.

Best shock-absorbing hammer

Best shock-absorbing hammer

Rrp: $31.95

Price: $21.95

redirect.viglink.com

Alternative retailers
Lowe's$135.50View offer

A lump hammer brings you the power of Thor when it comes to light demolition work, driving in masonry nails or cutting stone or metal with a steel chisel. The fibreglass shaft of this one means that it’s shock-absorbing without losing any strength, meaning less weary wrists for you.

Pros

  • Sturdy
  • Good shock absorption

Cons

  • Not as heavy-duty as some

Best super-handy screwdriver

Best super-handy screwdriver
Price: $10.55

A manual screwdriver such as this is a boon for fiddly jobs on account of its magnetic bit holder to securely hold the bits in place (thus preventing any swearing). It comes with 10 bits that cover the majority of garden jobs.

Pros

  • Magnetic bit holder
  • Ten screwdriver bits

Cons

  • Removing bits can be tricky

Best go-anywhere drill

A cordless drill lets you roam around the garden, and this rechargeable one is a great choice at a great price. It has the power and speed to drill into wood and metal; there’s a hammer action for drilling into masonry and concrete, plus low speed for controlled driving.

Pros

  • Versatile
  • No mains lead

Cons

  • Need to ensure the battery is charged

Best accurate tape measure

Never skimp on a tape measure, as even tiny measurement inaccuracies can cost you dearly in terms of time. This metal offering is compact, and the retractable tape has a large end to hold it firm, plus a magnet for measuring on magnetic metals. Double-sided printing makes for easy reading, too.

Pros

  • Double-sided printing
  • Sturdy construction

Cons

  • Magnetic hook can be annoying for some

Best light but hard-hitting hammer

With a carbon steel head and fibreglass core, this is light but strong and durable. The ribbed handle is comfy and the claw is well-angled for levering out old nails.

Pros

  • Nail removal claw
  • Ergonomic handle

Cons

  • Not heavy enough for more challenging jobs

Best sanity-saving staple gun

Think a staple gun isn’t a toolkit, er, staple? Think again! Driving metal staples into wood, plastic or soft masonry and super-useful for attaching materials, it’ll speed up your upcycling projects. Lightweight with an anti-jam mechanism, this is easy to use.

Pros

  • Easy to use
  • Anti-jam mechanism

Cons

  • A bit bulky

Best garden-perfect multitool

With any garden DIY job, a multitool stashed in your pocket will come to your rescue in endless ways. This is our go-to, with pliers, wire stripper, three screwdrivers and more.

Pros

  • Great quality
  • Clever design

Cons

  • Tools can be stiff when new

Best stay-sharp knife

Rather than trashing your kitchen scissors, use a Stanley knife for any minor slicing-and-dicing tasks. This cheap-as-chips option has snap-off blades, so you’ve always got a fresh sharp cutting point, there’s a secure multi-position slide button for a just-right blade length, and the blade retracts for safe storage.

Pros

  • Blade snapper included in blade cover
  • Great value

Cons

  • Blades can blunt quickly

Best easy-peasy saw

A powered jigsaw is a godsend for both speed and accuracy when cutting raw materials and a battery-powered model like this Makita’s Cordless Jigsaw means you don’t need to find an extension lead. If you’re a regular DIY-er it’s worth the investment, with a powerful rechargeable battery, easy blade-change function and – best of all – an LED job light that creates an easy-to-trace cutting line.

Pros

  • LED light
  • Battery operated

Cons

  • Blades have to be bought separately

Best hand-saving chisel

A cold chisel or bolster, along with a lump hammer, will break up small areas of old concrete and cut bricks to size. And as you have to whack it pretty hard, we’re thankful for this handguard to keep hands safe. The chrome-vanadium steel blade will keep its edge too.

Pros

  • Wide hand guard
  • Tough construction

Cons

  • Not suitable for hard to reach areas

In our in-depth guide, we have listed the best tools and divided them into six sections:

In terms of DIY tools, some trustworthy brands include Bosch Green, Ryobi, Einhell, Irwin, Stanley and Draper. We have done hours of research to ensure all our recommendations are of the highest quality and value.

The first section is on the best power tools such as the best drill, sander, saw and grinder.

The second is the best saw blades and gloves.

The third section is on the best hand tools such as the handsaw and hacksaw.

The fourth section is the best screwdrivers and spanners.

The fifth is on the best level, vice, clamp, hammer and crowbars.

The last section is on measuring tools and other useful kits and devices.

With that in mind, let's jump into the list of the best DIY tools and their uses.

The best power tools: drill, sander, saw and grinder

Best drill kit for DIY

Bosch Green tools are a big name in the power tool industry and are designed for home use. They use high-quality parts that filter down from Bosch's Blue trade tools but for a significantly lower cost. The PSB 1800 LI-2 cordless drill offers power and comfort for drilling and screw-driving operations and packs plenty of punch from its torquey motor and range of modes. Therefore it would be suitable not only for screw driving and drilling but also light impact drilling into masonry.

Pros

  • Multi-purpose
  • Easy to change bits

Cons

  • Not good for heavy-duty masonry work

Best sander for DIY

Another Bosch Green product that works wonders for home DIY is this sander. This 125mm corded random orbital sander is impressively smooth, has a 270W motor, a dust extraction attachment, and variable speed, weighs a little over 1.5kg weight and can do anything from sanding to polishing.

Pros

  • Ergonomic design
  • Variable speed control

Cons

  • Dust box can be awkward to remove

Best saw for general DIY

Einhell TC-AP 650 E Reciprocating Saw
Price: $140.04

The Einhell reciprocating saw has a 650W motor - ideal for cutting wood up to 150mm thick or 10mm steel. Weighing just 2.8kg, it's comfortably light and all for an affordable price.

Pros

  • Quick blade change
  • Powerful

Cons

  • Heavy

Best grinder for DIY

Einhell TE-AG 115 Angle Grinder
Price: $99.29
Alternative retailers
Walmart$51.92View offer

The Einhell TE-AG 115 Angle Grinder has a strong metal gear head, guaranteeing optimal transmission and low-vibration operation. This is all you will need for a basic little grinder - suitable for cutting, grinding and roughing in the home, workshop and garage. Weighing under 2kg and 720W of power, this power tool is easy to use with the grippy handle, which has three positions from which it can be attached - either on the side or top.

Pros

  • Ergonomic design
  • Powerful

Cons

  • Vibration can be uncomfortable

The best saw blades and gloves

Best value quality blades for a power tool saw

Irwin Blades

Rrp: $32.32

Price: $20.89
Alternative retailers
Walmart$14.95View offer

This quality blade set will make all the difference when it comes to a reciprocating saw's performance. The set offers a mixture of blades suitable for wood, metal, and plastic so you can get straight to your DIY project.

Pros

  • Multi-pack
  • Good selection

Cons

  • No blades for fine work

Best all-round work gloves for DIY

DEX FIT Work Gloves
Price: $13.99
Alternative retailers
Walmart$12.99View offer

A proper pair of work gloves is useful for absorbing the vibrations when using power tools, making a few hours of project work much more comfortable.

Pros

  • Slip resistant palms
  • Various sizes

Cons

  • Touch-screen compatibility could be better

The best hand tools

Best handsaw for DIY

A good reliable handsaw is an absolute must-have if you regularly work with timber. This Stanley FatMax is a quality saw that lasts and will make tasks that much easier. The fine teeth (11 per inch) are three-sided and are sharp. Although this saw is a little more pricey than others, it is made to last and will be a reliable tool you can go back to again and again.

Pros

  • Improved cutting efficiency
  • Good quality

Cons

  • Can bend on tough jobs

Best hacksaw for DIY

Bahco DIY Hacksaw Frame 300mm
Price: £10.95

ffx.co.uk

If you are looking for a hacksaw, this handy piece works great for getting through metal and plastic. Plus, replacement blades are easy to acquire and inexpensive, so you can keep this tool efficient for years.

Pros

  • Bi-metal blade included
  • Replacement blades are easily obtained

Cons

  • Not as comfortable to use over extended periods

The best screwdrivers and spanners

Best screwdriver set for DIY

Stanley Screwdriver Set, 6 Piece
Price: $56.97
Alternative retailers
Walmart$57.59View offer

An absolute DIY starter kit must-have. This well-made six-piece Stanley set has all the essentials - three sizes of Phillips and three of Slotted. These screwdrivers aren't insulated but do have a cushioned grip and magnetic tips for more comfortable usage.

Pros

  • Great starter kit
  • Suitable for most jobs

Cons

  • Takes up more space than a multi-bit driver

Best spanner set for DIY

This set of reliable spanners are equally as useful as screwdrivers in your DIY kit. This 25-piece set is made of chrome vanadium steel and has all you need, from 6mm to 32mm spanners.

Pros

  • Should cover most jobs
  • Storage bag included

Cons

  • Complete set is heavy to carry around

Best socket set for DIY

Bahco Socket Set 34 Piece 1/4in and 3/8in Drive
Price: £41.50

ffx.co.uk

Generally speaking, socket sets are faster than spanners, and this set from Bahco is a 1/4-inch and 3/8-inch set and is made from chrome vanadium plating for corrosion resistance. The carry case is really durable and well-made.

Pros

  • Good carrying case
  • Durable and corrosion-resistant

Cons

  • No metric parts

Best plier set for DIY

Draper Redline Heavy Duty Pliers Set
Price: $23.69

Another crucial addition to your DIY starter tool kit should be pliers. This set from Draper includes the basics. It comes with a combination of pliers, long-nose pliers, and diagonal cutters. The jaws are made of hardened carbon steel with a soft grip, so you can easily use them without sore hands.

Pros

  • Comfortable handles
  • Versatile set

Cons

  • Jaw alignment could be better

The best level, vice, clamp, hammer and crowbar

Best classic level for DIY

Stabila 90cm Level
Price: $56.33

Levels are great for putting up shelves or picture frames, and this classic 90cm level from Stabila is ideal for all eventualities. Featuring two vertical and one horizontal vial and shock-absorbing end caps.

Pros

  • Easy to use
  • Lightweight

Cons

  • Maybe a bit too large for some

Best bench vice for DIY

Stanley MaxSteel Heavy-Duty Bench Vice
Price: £42.99

www.diy.com

If you are looking to buy a bench vice then it is good to get a high-quality one. This 100mm vice from Stanley is constructed from cast iron, and the hardware is chrome-plated for corrosion protection. Just screw it into place, and you won't need to buy another one.

Pros

  • Keep items secure as you work
  • Smooth operation

Cons

  • Must be secured to bench by bolts

Best clamps for DIY

If you want a quick and clean cutting or sanding job done, or anything where a third hand is needed then this clamp would be a great addition to your DIY set. Irwin's 150mm fast squeeze-grip clamp has a solid build quality at an attractive price. It also comes in a pack of two.

Pros

  • Pads protect the work surface
  • Quick to grip and release

Cons

  • Only suitable for light work

Best quality DIY hammer

Estwing Surestrike Claw Hammer
Price: $52.19

A trusty hammer is an absolute key tool in any kit. This high-quality 6-ounce Surestike hammer gives you the quality without the hefty price tag. The head and shaft are solid and shaped for strength and durability. It also is made with a large D-shape face and an injection-moulded hand grip for comfort.

Pros

  • Good shape for nail removal
  • Comfortable grip

Cons

  • No hanging hook

Best crowbar for DIY

For prying and levering, a quality crowbar with ground claw and chisel comes in handy, and this tool from Silverline is made from solid forged, hardened and tempered carbon steel and is powder coated for comfort while being used.

Pros

  • Powder-coated body
  • Not too heavy

Cons

  • Claw is a bit thick to get into narrow spaces

Best measuring tool and other useful items

Best tape measure for DIY

OX Tools Metric/Imperial 5m Tape Measure
Price: $27.41

A tape measure is one of those items that are useful for many things in life, from measuring suitcases for travel to fitting paintings on the wall. There is nothing worse than a floppy tape measure; so we have picked out this Ox Tools tape measure, which is reliable and works a treat as the blade has a tough nylon coating and is very rigid. The five-metre tool measures in imperial and metric units and can extend to an impressive 2.8 metres.

Pros

  • Imperial and metric
  • Rigid blade

Cons

  • Measuring scale is only on one side

Best toolbox for storage capacity

This tough toolbox with rust-proof latches is a great way to keep all your tools together. The V groove on the lid allows you to use it as a sawhorse if needed, and the inside is constructed from structural foam for extra strength. This box has an extra-large storage capacity, so it is ideal if you have many items you want to keep organised.

Pros

  • IP53 rated -waterproof
  • Handy V groove on lid

Cons

  • Latches can be stiff

Best staple guy for DIY

If you are after a powerful, well-made staple gun, then this tool made in Sweden has various uses and will last a lifetime. Ideal for crafters and home DIYers.

Pros

  • Ideal for heavier stapling jobs
  • Sturdy build

Cons

  • Staples not included

What tools should I have in my toolkit for home improvements?

If you're looking for a quick list of tools to get started, Toolstation, in collaboration with construction expert Chris Lawson, Managing Director at CK Architectural, has devised a list to invest in that will cost around £200 or cheaper if you can borrow a drill!

Drill driver – around £110 (+ £15 for bits)

Designed to both drill holes and drive in screws, whether you’re putting up blinds or curtains, assembling furniture or installing shelves, this versatile tool will make life much easier. This is an investment, so if you can borrow one, by all means, go ahead. Remember, you’ll also need some drill bits and screwdriver bits.

Screwdrivers – around £10

You’ll use manual screwdrivers for more precise jobs like tightening furniture and opening tins of paint. Go for a set of screwdrivers or a multibit screwdriver with interchangeable heads for maximum versatility.

Tape measure – around £5

A tape measure doesn’t need much explanation. A top tip is to take your tape measure with you when going DIY or furniture shopping so there’s never any room for error.

Spirit level – around £8

A spirit level can also be called a bubble level and indicates whether a surface is horizontal (level) or vertical (plumb). Relatively low cost, spirit levels avoid bodged jobs when erecting shelves, hanging mirrors or perfecting a gallery wall.

Claw hammer – around £5

The head of a claw hammer is used for driving in the nails needed to hang things like hooks and photo frames, while the claw is great for retrieving any picture hooks, nails or raw plugs left in the walls. It can also be used for tasks like prising up old carpets.

Step ladder – around £50

A step ladder will come in handy for all sorts of DIY tasks including painting ceilings, changing lightbulbs, and hanging pictures. If you're strapped for cash, a chair may suffice but ask somebody to keep it steady.

Toolbox – around £8

It’s not strictly essential but you’ll want a handy toolbox to store all your new tools in.

(Bonus) Shared tool libraries

For more challenging DIY jobs, it’s worth checking out local shared tool libraries. These are repositories of tools, like power tools, you can hire.

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Get inspired each month with Modern Gardens magazine. In every issue, you will find the latest trends and shopping hints (that wonu2019t break the budget), easy and simple DIY projects with clever upcycling ideas, and a look at some of our readers' gardens for you to enjoy. Whether youu2019re looking for the latest digital edition or are interested in our monthly subscription, Modern Gardens has everything you need. Available to download on Android and Apple devices.

Ellen Kinsey was a Senior Health and Wellness Product Writer and has been a part of Bauer Media since 2020. She has left Bauer Media to study Ayurveda in India to expand her knowledge and skills in the health and wellness field, where she plans to continue making journalistic contributions.

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