One of the most popular requests is a post all about TOOLS. What is our favorite? What would we recommend? What is a starting tool kit? What will we actually use? What can I buy for my husband/my dad/myself/my sister that will be actually useful? Well, your wish is my command because today we are answering everything-tool-related. Obviously…we have loads of tools so I am not recommending that you go broke going out and buying everything all at once. I also have not used every tool on the planet so don’t expect this to be like Consumer Reports….listed are just tools that we actually own and have actually used and that we like….there might be a better brand, better model, better fit for you…heck, down the road we will probably find a better fit for us on some of these…we are tool junkies so don’t be surprised! Don’t come crying to me if you cut off your hand…I will have zero pity for you. (well, maybe a little pity but dude, read your manuals and use safety equipment. These aren’t for kids…make sure you keep them out of their little Curious Georgie reach.) Are we done with the disclaimers yet?
Good. Well, put on your safety goggles….here are our favorite POWER TOOLS!
We decided to limit ourselves to the top 6 for this category and the ones that we just absolutely would have to own are the circular saw, a drill/driver, a miter saw, a sander, a brad nailer and a sawzall. You can literally tackle 98% of the building projects that you see on Pinterest with five of these tools….the sawzall is more for demo. Jeremy and I went back and forth about the circular saw vs. the table saw and we ended up saying that if you had to own one…it should be the circular saw BUT only after you own a miter saw.
A circular saw (link here) is great because it is portable, you can tackle plywood projects, decking projects and more with this tool. A miter saw is probably our most used saw. We first started with a DEWALT 10-Inch Compound Miter Saw and since have graduated to a Ridgid 12-Inch Compound Sliding Miter . I say buy the best you can afford…you will use this tool to death.
After your building project boards are all cut, you will need assembly tools…like the drill/driver (link here) or brad nailer (link here). We are big fans of the Ryobi tools because batteries are EXPENSIVE…so if you have a set of batteries that die, it can cost you as much as the tool itself to replace them. So the Ryobi tools all run off the same batteries and so we have two chargers that we use to alternate batteries in and out of. It cuts down on time and storing a bunch of chargers for each tool and also…battery operated tools are great for most household projects.
My next must-have power tool is the sheet sander….I own this exact one (DEWALT Sheet Sander)and love it…but I have heard great things about mouse sanders and orbital sanders (we own one but it’s ancient) and other types of sanders….it’s a time-saver when it comes to refinishing furniture, completing furniture builds and for saving your skin on your hands. Don’t expect that dust bag to do much…you will still have dust no matter what sander you own. And then comes the sawzall (link here). Like I said…it is great for demo and I use ours a lot for outdoor stuff…like trimming off big low lying tree branches or cutting down stray pine saplings.
Those six power tools will get your house hold projects off and running…but remember, we gotta learn to walk before we learn to run. So what are those primary, general must haves that every tool box needs? Well, this is for you my learning to walk friends….these are our favorite and most used tool box items that we recommend. We use something in this collection EVERY.SINGLE.DAY. These tools can help you do those basic quick fixes from hanging pictures to recovering chairs to changing out electrical covers. These are great inexpensive stocking stuffers and we have already said that when our kids turn six that each one will get a ‘grown-up tool box’ that is packed with the majority of these items (all but the knife and drill bits). Will already does have a few of these items in kid-sizes and we are excited to equip them with the knowledge and the grown-up tools to enable them to be little DIYers. Here are the links to each one so that if you want to throw them in your carts, you can….hammer, needle nose pliers, knife, drill bits, electrical tester, prybar, level, staple gun, clamps, tape measure, and screwdrivers.
Since we are rounding up tools, we thought it was relevant to share what our favorite outdoor tools are as well. We do get help in the yard in terms of weed prevention and weatherizing from a company called All Turf. If you are in GA, let them know we sent ya and we can get $25 off (every penny counts! thanks if you do!)…but other than that, we do everything else in our yard. Jeremy takes great pride in it and even though it is a HUGE job (especially in the summer) we are happy to tackle it ourselves. These are the tools that help us keep it green and clean! Obviously when you have over a couple of acres, a riding mower is REALLY important. Otherwise it is a huge time suck. It’s also really helpful to have the bucket attachment. We use our rake and shovel and pick axe for more landscaping and gardening projects. A blower (preferably a back pack blower if you have lots of leaves) is really helpful not just in autumn but also for keeping your driveway, garage and outdoor living spaces clean. Lastly we have an edger/weed eater. If you are a first time home owner, this tool will help that lawn look professionally manicured.
We have done a lot of painting over the years and we definitely have preferences when it comes to the right paint tools. Some things we are super flexible on – paint rollers, what?! And other paint equipment we are more particular. Here are some of those things that help us feel like the Picasso of painted walls. First up…my favorite paint tray is super easy to clean because it is coated with teflon. I let the paint dry in there instead of cleaning it with water and then just peel it out. I love the little HANDy Paint Cup because the price is super cheap and it has the perfect hook of a handle to hold comfortably while you cut in. Also…the magnet…it holds the brush so you can get your Yeti suit on and when you get done roaming the streets, your brush will still be wet with paint. As far as brushes go, I have two go-to choices….a Purdy 2 inch brush and then a short handled brush for cutting in or tight spots (hello wall behind toilets). One thing we have used a lot in our current house is an extending pole …it’s great for painting ceilings. And we still use and love our paint sprayer. We usually save this bad boy for bigger projects and it was well worth the investment because of the uniform finish and the massive jobs we need to tackle.
Finishing up this tool-talk, we also had a couple tools that we kept bringing up. They are our Wild-Card picks. They are the Bruce Jenners of the tool world…you just can’t put them into a single category. My pick was a pressure washer. We borrow our neighbors and I am obsessed with it. Like if I didn’t live next door, I would totally risk stealing it (I’m openly admitting that online because it is that awesome). It’s instantaneously gratifying. The sludge from years past, the paint drips, the caked on dirt and residue all just blasts off so quickly and you are left with a perfectly clean surface. I love pressure washing our deck, patio, driveway, kids….not really but if I could, I would 🙂 It is an amazing outdoor tool that all your friends will want to borrow. And Jeremy decided to pick the battery operated screwdriver. The one that we have (pictured above) is no longer made but you can find similar ones that get the job done (something similar). We use ours for toys, doorknobs, tightening up drawer handles…you name it…we constantly have this tool on hand. (pun joke intended!)
So I hope this helps anyone out there looking to expand their tool arsenal. And if you have any that you absolutely must recommend…leave it there in the comments…I’d love to hear your suggestions and try them out in the future! Happy DIYing!
*This post contains affiliate links.
Emily @ Life on Food says
We have been debating about a Miter saw for a while. I think this might have just sealed the deal.
I found an inexpensive stud finder at Home Depot that works really well–it’s essentially a really strong magnet. I hated the battery operated kind that we previously owned and this kind is much more simple to use, especially for hanging lots and lots of stuff on the walls.
After your previous post….I was really wondering (hoping?) if this post would include a few shirtless pics of Jeremy modeling your favorite power tools. =)
I am a first time poster but have followed your blog for ions. (Well, maybe not ions!) I’m a heavy duty DIY’er (my brother owns a large construction company so it’s in the family) I follow certain blogs just to see what sort of info people are putting out there. Well, and to see homes and ideas, of course!
My 2 cents??? This post was extremely helpful and full of good information for those starting off, looking for Mother or Father’s day gifts, looking to expand their tools boxes, trying to decide where to spend their money, etc.
I love your disclaimers, and the very practical advice to buy from the same cordless tool family to interchange batteries. That one is huge.
If I may, I’ve felt that your blog has been ramped up a step or six in the last year or so and has become a heavy weight (no pregnancy pun intended!) in the DIY blog world.
Kudos to you and Jeremy.
Aww thank you Laura! That is such a sweet compliment!
I love your blog and hate to be a downer, but was the Bruce Jenner comment really necessary? I just appreciate humor more when it isn’t at someone’s expense.
Do you really think the weed/edger works well? I have been pondering getting just an edger… I like the idea of killing two birds with one stone, but both of our weed-eaters seem to constantly be giving us trouble (you know, the bang the thing around trying to get. More. STRING!!!). Maybe it’s just me… Anyway, wanted your thoughts. Is the one pictured what you actually have/use and Jer recommends?
Trusting your judgment… (and that of anyone else with know-how who wishes to chime in!)
I will defend myself on this one…I didn’t say anything negative about him…I said you can’t put him in one category…which is probably true for anyone! It’s not a knock…just a person who has been in the public eye for majority of his life that fits into a bazillion different categories (Olympian, reality tv star, dad, and so much more)! I’m comparing a celebrity to a tool that I love and recommend…please don’t make this anything mean spirited.
Oh, come on. You could have used ANYONE in that example.
Love this post, thank you for the ideas! The only item I’m surprised I didn’t see is the Kreg Jig, but I guess I don’t see y’all using it as much as others. The riding mower is at the top of our list for summer!
This is unrelated, but I remember you asking about DIY (vs craft) blogs. Have you heard of http://manhattan-nest.com/?
We actually have the Kreg Jig R3 and love it and would love to try the real Kreg Jig but we didn’t want to put the little one on the list and then come back later and regret it because of all the rave reviews about the real deal.
Yup I could have.
Absolutely! I started following Daniel back in 2011 when we went head to head for the Apartment Therapy Homie! He is awesome!
I use it for around my vegetable garden and my garden beds …but it wouldn’t be for the entire yard. Most people don’t have acres of landscaping to tackle (we have a very long driveway, circle and then parking area plus a tennis court) so we do use the Stihl edger attachment for those areas…although versatile, it would be expensive for normal landscaping needs. I would definitely recommend the one listed for smaller yards and less work due to the ease of having a battery operated tool (vs. gas like the Stihl) and the weight. I hope this helps.
xo – kb
This is so unrelated but was wondering what or if you use any type of icloud service to backup your photos online?
Elizabeth @ Pineapples and Polka Dots says
Thanks for this! My husband is always looking for tool recommendations, so it’s great to read all about what you guys like.
I back up to an external hard drive but I don’t pay for any service right now. I did at one point but I don’t anymore.
xo – kb
I loved reading this! I keep telling my husband that if he doesn’t want to do all of the projects I want done, he’s gotta buy me the tools to do it myself. Well. Now I’ve got a great list of recommended tools to hand to him for Mother’s day ( and there’s a few on here I know he’d love for Father’s day).
Thanks! Bookmarked 🙂
Amanda B says
I just wanted to say that my husband and I bought the exact same weed eater/edger and hated it. We live in a suburb and don’t have a huge yard or a lot of landscaping and it was still not up to the task. The battery life was terrible (couldn’t even though through the front and back yard at the same session). It was also not very powerful, so it took a few passes to get the lines neat and clean looking. We ditched it after one season and bought gas powered tools. A positive: it was light-weight as promised. But overall, my experience was it that was cheap and not well made. If you have a very very small yard and only use it a few times, it might be a better fit though!
It definitely does NOT perform like a gas powered. It’s funny though…we didn’t have issues with the battery but I have heard that the thing about batteries are if they are not being used regularly, their ability to hold the juice diminishes.
xo – kb
We really want to get a pressure washer to use around our new home. Our deck looks like your deck when you first bought your home. Plus, we have a cool brick patio with what seems like a ton of moss and yuck overgrowing it. Any advice on choosing one? Features, power, accessories, etc.? Thanks!
We just use the regular nozzle – some folks have said that they make ones that are round for better coverage. And we use our neighbors that is super powerful (he is a contractor and has all the fun stuff!). Since this is something that you will probably use for years to come, it’s probably best to invest in something that is ranked higher in consumer reports.
xo – kb
I think the images in this post would make a perfect Bower Baby Board Book!
That’s such a cute idea!
xo – kb
Thanks for this list! If you could recommend a table saw, which would top your list? I’ve tasked my husband with building some herringbone shutters to put in our little boy’s nursery and he’s going to be doing A LOT of cuts!
We love the Ryobi and Ridgid products so I always say, buy the best you can afford. Once you start doing all those building projects…it gets ADDICTING!
xo – kb