ESSENTIAL HAND TOOLS

Always buy good quality tools, they'll pay you back in kind.
  1. Stanley Knife
    Great for cutting lino, cardboard, insulation, and many others. Get one with a retractable or folding blade for safety.
  2. Vice Grips
    Grip anything. Great for pulling small nails and cable clips from walls and skirting. If enough of the head is exposed can be used to remove screws with stripped heads too.
  3. Spirit Level
    You can get them in different lengths. A longer one can also double up as a short straight edge. Small magnetic ones can be handy, but it's a luxury in my opinion.
  4. Socket Set
    For removing any hex head bolts or screws. Again useful for bikes, especially kids ones where you are changing the saddle height frequently.
  5. Philips Screwdrivers
    For screws with a + head.
  6. Allen (Hex) Keys
    At some stage you'll need them, especially if you are maintaining bicycles.
  7. Straight Screwdrivers
    For screws with a – head.
  8. Claw Hammer
    For hammering nails and pins, removing nails, and removing rawlplugs.
  9. Nail Punch
    Sink nails beneath the surface of the wood. Useful for putting on skirting or small projects like boxes or shelving.
  10. Wood Chisels
    For cleaning up edges on timber you've cut.
  11. Bolster Chisels
    For heavy duty work, like cutting concrete blocks (useful if you only have one or two to cut).
  12. Wide Flexible Scraper
    Scrape defects from walls like debris caught under paint.
  13. Narrow Stiff Scraper
    More useful than you'd imagine. Good for scraping old silicon from flat surfaces, for cleaning between skirting board and floor prior to paint, and for removing tile adhesive from walls.
  14. Razor Scraper
    Multiple uses: paint off glass, limescale off tiles, soot off wood burner glass.
  15. Phase Tester
    If you plan on doing any electrical work always test the wires with a phase tested before working with them. If you're not confident in what you are doing, call a professional. It's not worth death.
  16. Hand Saw
    A handsaw will cut most lengths of timber you'll be using for DIY. I wouldn't recommend for ripping boards due to the time it takes but more importantly the accuracy required.
  17. Hack Saw
    For cutting metal pipes or light bars e.g. curtain poles.
  18. Junior Hack Saw
    For harder to reach areas. Fits nicely in a toolbox too.
  19. Sandpaper
    Lean towards finer grain if you're not comfortable with using it.