If you are new to doing DIY project getting started can be intimidating. Like any unfamiliar industry the terms, tools and techniques are foreign until you get more experience.
I revisit that intimidation anytime I am learning to use a new tool or a new skill. I encourage you to jump in with both feet. Not only will the fear melt away but you will also feel empowered as you develop a new skill and get comfortable with using tools.
For the beginning DIYer I have compiled a list of 10 Essential Tools Under $15 to help get you started. I use almost all of these items regardless of the size of the project. *This post contains some affiliate links for your convenience. Click here to read my full disclosure policy.
1. Tape Measure
Just the saying, “measure twice cut once,” depicts how much a tape measure gets used. A tape measure is so essential that I keep a small one in my purse when I am out and about. For the home I recommend one that measures at least 25ft long, has a belt clip so you can keep it on you at all times while you are working on your projects, a blade lock and measurements marked at the 1/8 mark for easy reference. 2. Pencil
A carpenter’s pencil will mark on various surfaces. For example I use a pencil for marking wood for measuring and cutting, marking center, or marking the studs on a wall. A carpenter’s pencil is flat/oval shape which keeps it from rolling. A regular pencil or mechanical pencil works too although they won’t mark on all surfaces.3. Safety glasses or goggles
Whether you are working with power tools or just a hammer, protect your most precious parts with safety glasses or goggles. Prices range depending on the types of material. I recommend buying several pairs for back up.
If you have never used a square before it is a awesome tool all DIYers need, especially if you are a perfectionist. The purpose of a square is to measure the accuracy of a right angle (90 degrees), checking the straightness of your edge and ensuring joints are tight. There are different types of squares that work for different types of projects and materials. The choices can be overwhelming. Luckily squares are low cost so adding different ones to your collection won’t set your $$ back. When starting out I suggest a carpenter square as this can work for many projects. As you gain more experience start to experiment with other squares that fit the need for the project. 5. Level
A level, yet another tool for the perfectionist. Levels are used to establish true horizontal and true vertical. I currently own a 24 inch level and I find this suitable for most of my projects. If you work with larger/longer projects a 48 inch level might be better suited for you. 6. Hammer
Even if you are not a big DIYer most people have used a hammer at one time or another. A hammer has many uses and there are several types available that is appropriate for the specific job. Whether you are hanging a picture, removing nails, doing a major demo job, or tapping in a piece of wood to make it square a hammer is essential for your tool box. If you are just starting out a basic claw hammer is all you need.
It seems like you can never have too many clamps. Clamps are awesome and function like an extra set or two sets of hands. They come in different sizes, made from different materials. Having a short set (12″-18″) and a longer set (24″ +) is ideal and will help you through most of your projects. To start out though I suggest purchasing one or two clamps between 18″-24″ long. I personally prefer the one-handed adjustable ones for ease of use. 8. Utility Knife
A utility knife has basic every day uses like breaking down a box, to more involved projects like removing old caulk, cutting drywall, cable sheathing and flooring. Regardless what you might use it for one or a few are handy to have around. 9. Tool belt
Wearing a tool belt while you are working on projects can be a time and frustration saver. While you move your tools move with you making it easy to reach in and grab what you need. What tool belt to purchase is personal preference depending not only on the jobs you do but also your personal style. You can go really fancy or even a kitchen apron works well until you find a tool belt you like. 10. Tool box
Now that you have all the tools you need keeping them organized in one place will save frustration later. Plus a tool box makes it easy to tote all your tools around. Tool organizers come in all shapes and sizes, from metal to fabric, from rectangle to round. Find one that you like the best and fits in your price range. As a new DIYer getting the basic tools sets you up to create many projects, fix many household issues and gets you on your way to learning how to use tools and discovering new ones. Best of luck on your DIY adventures.