Remodeling Tools Every DIYer Should Be Familiar With

Paige Bennett
Written by Paige Bennett
Updated December 21, 2021
Living room in boho style
Photo: Boris SV / Moment / Getty Images

Know your slip-joint pliers from your linesman pliers

Get quotes from up to 3 pros!
Enter a zip below and get matched to top-rated pros near you.

If you’re ready to add trim to the living room walls or demolish some old kitchen cabinetry to make room for something new, you’ll need the help of some seasoned professionals or a decked-out tool kit and some DIY skills. While there’s an endless number of tools out there, here are some of the essential tools for remodeling to get you through most DIY projects.

Safety Gear

Safety first! Before starting any remodeling project, whether you’re painting a bedroom or tearing down a wall, you need the proper safety gear. Keep a pair of safety goggles, dust masks and respirators, work gloves, steel-toed boots, earplugs or earmuffs, and a hard hat close by your collection of tools.

Project Tools

A woman changing lightbulb
Photo: / Adobe Stock

From getting started to cleaning up after a remodel, these tools will come in handy at every phase of your project.


No, you shouldn’t stand on your dining room chair to reach the ceiling. Instead, invest in a sturdy, reliable ladder to safely reach new heights. A folding, top-rung ladder offers flexibility, so you can use it as a step ladder when its folded in half or as a full ladder to reach the roof for repairs or tree branches for trimming. This way, you don’t have to store more than one ladder, too.

Tape Measure

A tape measure is essential for any remodeling project. You might need to measure your kitchen cabinets to determine how much countertops you need, or you may need to measure a wall when planning to add shelves or built-ins.


Like a tape measure, a level is a must for any toolbox. There’s nothing worse than stepping back from your handiwork only to find that the backsplash tiles don’t line up or you mounted your TV at an angle. A level keeps everything, well, level.

Stud Finder

If you plan to hang anything on your walls, you should have a stud finder. This device can detect the studs inside your wall, so you can do so safely when you want to hang heavy objects like that thrifted, gold-frame mirror or your new 65-inch, flat-screen TV. Hanging heavy objects blindly on drywall without finding the studs will lead to those objects falling off the wall, often taking some of the drywall with them.

Shop Vacuum

Remodeling is often a dirty job, but a wet-dry shop vacuum can clean up water leaks, sawdust, and other dirt and debris before, during, or after a remodel. While you can rent a shop vacuum, there are pros and cons to renting tools. You need a shop vacuum for remodeling rather than your standard vacuum because standard vacuums are not equipped to handle water and can lead to electrocution hazards if you try to clean up a leaky toilet or other spills. Wet-dry shop vacuums also have wide, durable hoses that can pick up larger debris and things like loose screws, which can damage a regular vacuum.

Hand Tools

Son watching father driving a nail into the wall
Photo: Westend61 / Getty Images

Hand tools are helpful for small projects around the house, like fixing a pesky garbage disposal or hanging up a framed poster.


Even if you just want to hang a family photo, you’ll need a hammer and some nails to accompany it. Opt for a hammer with a steel or fiberglass handle, both of which are less likely to break than a wood handle. A steel hammer is the most durable option, but a hammer with a fiberglass handle will be the lightest in weight.


These days, you can’t even put together a new piece of furniture without a trusty screwdriver (unless, of course, you opt for flat-pack furniture that you can put together with just a hex key). While a drill is more efficient for inserting screws into wood or metal, screwdrivers are useful for screwing in or removing screws with standard slots, which drills have a hard time keeping a grip on. Manual screwdrivers are also helpful when working with small screws or delicate materials that the power of a battery-powered drill can damage.

Caulk Gun

Drafty windows are no match for a caulk gun, but this multipurpose tool can do so much more around your home. You can use a caulk gun to fill small cracks, like between tiles around the shower, seal edges around an outdoor outlet, or seal small gaps around doors and windows.

Spackle Knife

Also known as a putty knife, a spackle knife is a necessary drywall repair tool. It is also used for other household repair projects like spreading compounds, including spackle and drywall mud, across surfaces. You can use this tool to apply wood putty or window glaze putty and other fillers or adhesives to various surfaces.


With pliers, you can cut, grip, twist, shape, tighten, or loosen various materials. Because they are used in so many different ways, there are a lot of types of pliers to consider adding to your toolbox. Here are a few standard pliers to have on hand:

  • Slip-joint pliers: You may be most familiar with slip-joint pliers, which are great for simple household uses like cutting or bending small metal wires. 

  • Water-pump pliers: These are great for gripping pipes and working on plumbing. 

  • Linesman pliers: If you have electrical knowledge, you can use linesman pliers for electrical work.

Socket Set

You’ll need a socket set—complete with a socket wrench to help you remove or tighten nuts and bolts—for various projects around the home or in the garage. There are different types of sockets and socket heads, so choose a kit with multiple options to suit many uses.

Demolition (or Pry) Bar

Also known as wrecking or pry bars, a demolition bar can help you pry apart pieces of wood, pull out nails, and tear up old bathroom floor tiles. For this tool, you’ll want to find a heavy-duty bar made of forged steel, which will last longer than the less expensive alternatives made of carbon or alloy steel.

Power Tools

While there are many uses for hand tools, power tools can make light work of projects like mounting a television or building wooden furniture. Here are some power tools you should know how to use.

Drill and Drill Bits

Remodeling projects of all sizes will often require a drill, and you need a variety of drill bits in your kit to meet different needs. For example, twist drill bits, the most commonly used type, are great for drilling holes into wood. Others include step drill bits for drilling into metal and tile drill bits for drilling into ceramic or porcelain tiles.

Saw and Saw Blades

There are dozens of saw types, but some of the most common saws to keep at the ready for remodeling projects are handsaws, hacksaws, chainsaws, circular saws, table saws, and jigsaws. If you’re planning a bathroom or kitchen remodel, a tile saw is an important tool for installing tile. You’ll also want to keep handsaw, bandsaw, circular saw, and jigsaw blades available too in case a blade breaks or wears down; manual or power saws allow for interchangeable blades.

Need professional help with your project?
Get quotes from top-rated pros.