Essential Hand Tools List: Basic Tools You Should Have at Home

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A filled and complete set of tool kits will greatly help you with many everyday repairs and major fixes at home and at work. But knowing which appropriate tools to use will definitely provide you with the best solutions to maintain your home. 

Here, our woodworking and DIY team created an essential hand tools list to help you complete your own set. 

List of Hand Tools and Their Uses

Measuring, Marking, and Layout Tools

Different measurement tools and marking gauges are important for any job. Unfortunately, some of these marking tools are more often than not overlooked. 

Here is a list of hand tools that help create precision, especially when handling woodworking projects or fixing issues. 

1. Tape Measure

Tape Measure

A tape measure is an excellent tool when measuring materials. It is an effective and flexible tool for measuring different materials.

Purchasing a sturdy and long-lasting tape measure with a mobile hook will help you measure when you are alone. We highly recommend purchasing a 25-foot tape measure as this is long enough to cover most materials. 

Also Read: How to Read a Measuring Tape

2. Ruler


The humble ruler is a versatile measuring tool. It measures lengths and widths and can double as a device for making straight lines.

3. Folding Rule

folding rule

True to its name, a folding rule can be unfolded multiple times depending on the length necessary.  You are free to fold sections that are not in use. It is handy when measuring short and long distances. 

4. Combination Square

combination square

This is a modular tool that is a multifunctional instrument. It is easily used in metalworking, woodworking, and stonemasonry. 

Combination squares are mainly used for maintaining 45 to 90-degree angles and measuring the center of a circular material. 

5. Speed Square

speed square

A speed square is an ingenious item that combines different tools in one. It is commonly used to create marks, determine different angles, and make square cuts on different boards. 

You can use it as a miter square or even as a protractor. It is very handy and very affordable.  

6. Level


A level is an important instrument that allows the user to determine whether a surface is horizontal or vertical. Determining this on a surface is difficult from observation only. Thus, a level comes in handy. 

It will assure you that surfaces are perpendicular to certain reference points. A level is inexpensive and available in major hardware or power tool establishments

7. Protractor


A protractor is a simple tool that is often overlooked. It helps in the construction of planes and angles. This tool is very affordable and available in most stores. 

8. Compass


A compass is important in layouting. It proves to be very useful, especially when making accurate circles following a radius or a diameter. This tool is also efficient and accurate in bisecting angles and dividing lines in half. 

9. Bevel Gauge

bevel gauge

A bevel gauge is an indispensable tool which guides users to measure the sharpening angle of the cutting edge of a chisel or plane iron. 

A bevel gauge is one of the recommended ways to maintain and set angles in place when grinding. 

10. Marking Gauge

marking gauge

A marking gauge is also known as a scratch gauge. The marking gauge is commonly used to create mark lines to guide cutting and other necessary operations. It scribes a line parallel to a reference edge. 

11. Pressure Gauge

Pressure Gauge

A pressure gauge can measure the amount of pressure inside a certain system. It can measure and monitor the pressure in fluids and steam, among others. 

However, a pressure gauge is used less often. It is a tool that comes in handy once in a while. 

12. Caliper


A caliper is a simple device that can provide precise measurements between two points. This device has an outward point that allows accuracy in measuring points. 

You are free to use other kinds of measuring tools, but a caliper can afford a more accurate one.

13. Laser Measure

laser measure

Laser measure allows users to calculate items that are too oversized and are difficult for the usual hand tools. Furthermore, it provides accurate measurements of distances and areas, among others.

The laser spot of the unit can easily measure distances to a target. It can usually measure up to 50 feet.  

14. Bubble Inclinometer

Bubble Inclinometer

A bubble inclinometer is similar to a level. However, instead of leveling and keeping surfaces proportional, it allows you to identify a particular incline. 

Place the bubble inclinometer near the joint you wish to be measured to use this instrument. 

15. Awl


A scratch awl [1] is a common tool for drafting woodworking layouts and point-making. Furthermore, an awl creates a small opening for core pins. 

It is not as essential as the tools in this list. However, it is good to have around when the need for it arises, or if you’re into woodworking.

16. Pencil


Pencils are very useful for many drafters and builders. Pencils are suitable for making marks on rough surfaces, which include but are not limited to concrete or stone. 

You can use the conventional pencil, but most carpenters use rectangular pencils due to their ergonomic design.

Hammers and Screwdrivers

Hammers and screwdrivers are also tools that should be a part of your arsenal. 

Here is another list of essential hand tools that generally helps shape the job toward its assembly.

17. Claw Hammer

claw hammer

A simple claw hammer is an important device in any workshop. It’s designed with a round head for driving nails. It also has a claw end that is useful for prying, tearing down drywall, and splitting wood. 

18. Ball Peen Hammer

ball peen hammer

This is a very useful tool. This instrument is good for tasks involving peening and punching materials to shape them. The design of this hammer is for its intended purpose. The head is ball-shaped, whereas the other end is flat for driving.  

19. Sledgehammer


A sledgehammer is also known as a maul or simply a sledge. It is a good tool for various demolition jobs. It can efficiently break through drywall and masonry walls. The sheer force and the sledgehammer can knock out concrete and shatter words. 

20. Specialty Hammer

specialty hammer

Specialty hammers are uniquely designed to accomplish specialized tasks. Specialty hammers include a mason’s hammer, a drywall hammer, and an upholster or tack hammer. 

21. Mallet


Mallets are seldom overlooked but are important tools to add to your collection. A wooden mallet is used in carpentry to knock pieces of wood together or act as a striking device for dowels and chisels. 

Mallets have the advantage of giving control. Also, it does not deform the end of the metal, no matter the force applied. 

22. Phillips-Head Screwdriver

phillips-head screwdriver

A Phillips-Head screwdriver is another important hand tool. The shallow cruciform slot on the screw is designed to fit screws with Philip’s head. This specific screwdriver comes in different sizes. 

23. Star Screwdriver

star screwdriver

A star screwdriver is also known as a torx screwdriver. This type of screwdriver is used when fixing issues concerning computer systems, motorcycles, and other consumer electronics and vehicles. 

The star-shaped head makes it more secure compared to other screwdrivers. It allows higher torque transmission to tighten screws and bolts more securely. 

24. Slotted Screwdriver

slotted screwdriver

A slotted screwdriver is also known as a standard slot-head, flat-tip, or flat-head screwdriver. It is used to apply torque to screws using a flat tip. There are two types of slotted screwdrivers: keystone and cabinet.

25. Multi-Head Screwdriver

multi-head screwdriver

The best screwdrivers are important instruments when tightening bolts and screws. A multi-head screwdriver is designed to have an interchangeable head which allows you to change and fit different screw sizes and types. This is ideal for different assemblies and repairs.