Hand and power tool list

A good quality hand and power tool is necessary to get the job done so it’s important to get the right kind. With all the brand names out there like Makita, Ryobi, DeWalt, Skil, Craftsman, Stanley and others it can be difficult to determine which is the best quality for the price.

I don’t really have a preference of any special brand of tool. This much I will advise though; get good quality tools for the ones you use constantly.

As far as the tools you will only use for a short time, like drywall tools for instance, just go to Wal-Mart and get the cheapest brand.
The main tools you will use constantly need to be very good quality. They are a drill, circular saw, tape measure, utility knife, small carpenter’s square, 4-foot level, utility belt, and a hammer.

These are the tools you can spend a little extra for. You usually get what you pay for.

Let’s go through the list of tools we need.

By the way, I borrowed all these pics from the Lowes site. I’m not affiliated with Lowes, but they have good prices on all their products so I shop there a lot.

(I have to mention their name so I don’t get one of those nasty little cease-and-desist orders.)

tape measure toolYou will use a tape measure for every part of the building process. Make sure that you get a good one that is comfortable because you will wear it all day. A 25 or 30 foot tape will be perfect.



You will need a 3/8 drill for drilling small holes and putting in screws. Find a drill that is comfortable. Any hand or power tool used this much needs to be good quality. Cordless drills are good just make sure you have extra batteries.


circular saw

You’ll use a circular saw a lot more than you think. Some newer models project a laser line to show where the blade will cut. Handy for beginners. This is a hand and power tool super hero!


framing hammer

This is a regular framing hammer. Hammers come in different weights. Find the one that is perfect for your strength.


utility knife

You’ll use a utility knife very often. Get something that is comfortable.



Get a tool belt that you like. Get one with pockets for screws and nails. It’s not a technically a tool, but still important.


carpenters square

You’ll use this dandy a lot. You probably should just get plastic squares, because the aluminum squares get bent and then they’re not so square anymore.



Get a good quality 48-inch level with both horizontal and vertical bubble windows.


The tools below are tools that are used less frequently, but still worth buying yourself instead of renting because they are used in a few different applications.

A chalkline is so handy. You will use it in many phases of the building process. You can choose the color of chalk you want.


channel locks
Channel locks help when you need an extra strong grip.


half inch drill
This is your workhorse drill. It can be used for drilling big holes with hole saws without getting hot. The 1/2-inch mouth is also bigger than the 3/8-inch drill to hold larger drill bits.


hole saws
Hole saws are used mostly in Plumbing and Electrical applications.


drill bits
You’ll need all sizes of bits. You’ll notice that you use certain sizes more than others, so buy those as you need them.


miter saw
Chop saws are useful if they swivel to make miter cuts, otherwise they aren’t worth buying. They do come in handy for many applications with both carbide blades and abrasive blades for metal cutting.


Jigsaws are really handy when you need precise cutting or curved cuts. A construction tool must have! Great for hobbies too.


Don’t pay too much for screwdrivers. Anything will do. You’ll use them a lot for prying so get at least one big, strong flathead.


reciprocating saw
You won’t use a reciprocating saw very much, but there will be times when nothing else will do.


long tape measure
This is also one of those tools that you won’t use very much, but when you need it, nothing else will do. A 100-foot tape should be perfect.


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