Top 6 Power Tools for the Do It Yourself'er

I thought I would share the top 6 tools that I have used the most, that have been the most helpful and that I am oh-so-thankful I bought!

I just want to say right off the bat, that you will want to research the tools before you buy.  Some tool companies make wonderful tools that are designed to last and some use plastic parts inside the tools which tend to break easily.  Good quality tools that are well made are a joy to work with.  The cheaper tools are decidedly NOT fun to work with.  Check out as many reviews from "real people" as you can.  The people who actually use the tools will tell you what using them was really like, reviews on tool websites and Amazon sites, etc. can be bought.  I'm sure there are legit ones out there as well, but I personally would rather hear from someone I know. Just sayin'

1. Set of cordless drills with drill bit/socket kit

Probably the most handy tools ever!  I use my drills all the time.  The cordless feature means you don't have to worry about dragging extension cords behind you.  You just pick up the drill and off you go. The set I bought came with two batteries - I highly recommend you have at least 2 batteries if you buy cordless.  Those batteries always tend to run down right when you need them fully charged the most!!

I bought a Makita set of hammer driver and impact driver with a battery charger and 2 batteries and they have been used constantly ever since I first bought them.  I used to use a screwdriver for everything but once you get hooked on using a drill instead of a screwdriver, you will never go back to hand tools...

I also bought a complete set of drill and screwdriver bits and sockets for $30.  If you can only pick  one of these 6 tool recommendations, pick this one.  The drills and bit set will be used again and again and again and again. You won't regret it.

2.  Random Orbital Sander

A random orbital sander combines two motions (orbital and rotary) which reduces the possibility of swirl marks on the wood.  It has a round pad rather than a square pad - that's how you can tell the orbital sander from the random orbital sander.  The orbital sander has a square pad.  This is the most versatile portable sander you can own.   You can hook it up to a shop vac and greatly reduce the amount of dust produced as well.

I bought a DeWalt version and I am thrilled with it.  I buy the sanding pads in bulk and find myself using a sander much more often than I ever thought I would.

3. Circular Saw

I never realized how handy this tool is until I bought one.  I started off with a 5 1/2" cordless version but once I got confident using it, I bought a 7 1/4" corded one with several blades.  A cordless circular saw is fabulous if you are only going to need to use one occasionally.  Once I was bit by the building bug, I used mine all.the.time.  Problem is that once the batteries age a bit, they don't hold as much of a charge as they did when new and then you don't have as much power going to the saw blade as you need.  A corded saw is a much better choice overall, in my opinion.

4 Jigsaw

I confess, I  bought a jigsaw on sale without researching much and I regret that so much.  I threw money away.  That jigsaw was poor quality, didn't hold the blade in place properly and I couldn't get the precise cuts I wanted.  I wound up buying another jigsaw this past year and it has been a joy to work with.  Lesson learned...

5 Mitre Saw

Buy the best you can afford.  This is another saw that I didn't think I would use as often as I do.  It is fabulous for all sorts of jobs from building picture frames to building furniture to framing sheds and houses.  I didn't buy the brand I wanted to because it was twice the price of the one I bought and someone told me that if I wasn't a contractor I really didn't need to spend the extra cash.  WRONG!  Tools are a lifelong investment, buy the best you can afford and you will not regret it.

6 Finish Nail Gun

This was initially a splurge buy for me. I was doing my bathroom reno and figured that by the time I rented one of these for 3 weekends, I'd have the tool half paid for so I bought one.  I love, love, love this tool.  I use it on all sorts of projects and it is a blast to use.  I bought a DeWalt cordless version because I didn't want to lug compressor tanks around and I'm so glad I did.  I highly recommend buying one of these.

Next week I'll be sharing how to afford these tools and where to find bargains.

Have a great one!!

With a small budget, big dreams and a love of a challenge, Anne blogs about renovating and decorating her tiny 1930s bungalow. A self-taught artist and professed power tool lover, she enjoys writing, gardening, photography, nature and diy'ing. And she's never met a dumpster she didn’t want to root through! Come along for the ride!!

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  1. Great post, Anne. I'm pinning this one on my "gifts ideas for mom" board. I really want a nail gun! :)

  2. Great tips Anne. I have all those tools too and love them all. I just got a nail gun and air compressor for a gift and haven't gotten to use it yet though.


  3. Great post - I just bought a new Dremel saw last night to add to the collection. Is there a brand of random orbital sander you recommend? I've been looking at them, but can't decide which is best. Thanks!

    1. I had a conversation with some contractor friends of mine just after I bought my random orbital sander, and strangely enough we had all bought the same one! It's a corded DeWalt 5" variable speed with a cloth dust bag. I have been very pleased with mine and the contractors had high opinions of that model too.

  4. I don't have any electrical saw, but I think I need one...

  5. I think I would love that Nail Gun as opposed to a heavy duty stapler for doing simple reupholstery...hmmm, but can I trust myself with a nail gun...:)

  6. We bought our son a cordless drill for Christmas , we will have to buy him a set of bits too! Sarah x

  7. We have some of these tools. I'd like to have a nail gun for sure!

  8. You are so right about reading real reviews and buying better quality. Seems like they make some of these tools to only last about a year or two. I'd like one of those random orbital sanders and a nail gun. Thanks for all the tips. I'd say the proof is in the pudding with all the projects you have made. Xo

  9. Great post, Anne. We have five of these tools, but not necessarily the same brand. It is good to know that the orbital sander is better, because I have the rectangle, and I don't like it for the reasons you mentioned. We also have a shop vac, and we use it all the time, because it cleans up sandy dirt, saw dust, and even water. xoxo Su

  10. I never thought I'd see the day that I would want to buy my own power tools, but that day has arrived. I get tired of hunting for hubby's tools and would like my own drill especially. A jigsaw would be nice to have too. I know you recommend an orbital sander. I have a mouse sander and use it constantly. Now I am wondering about the orbital sander....

  11. Thank you for this. I have quite a few tools that I have inherited but I could use more and your recommendations, particularly coming from another women are great. My problem in a strength issue and anything that helps with that is important to me. I am not sure if I have a circular saw or not...can you use it in place of a table saw? That would be important to me.

  12. I agree with you on the miter saw. Not only should you splurge here but it's also an incredibly helpful power tool!



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