This tool guide is not going to be the most comprehensive list of tools you’ve ever seen. Instead, this is purely a list of tools I have personally used and would recommend–NOT just a list of links so I can make money.
I’m going to add supplies to this list as time goes on, but for now I’m just including tried and true tools and supplies that I’ve used (usually multiple times) and loved.
I’m also including links to products when they’re offered at multiple stores, usually Lowe’s, Home Depot, or Amazon. Home Depot and Lowe’s both offer online ordering and usually do same-day pickup–I have built a life on same-day pickup!
However, Lowe’s and Home Depot have exclusivity with a range of brands, so you’ll notice that many products are only available from one retailer. (For example, Ryobi is only available at Home Depot, and Power Pro is only available at Lowe’s)
Here are the categories I’ll cover, to make it easier for you to find:
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Painting & Staining Supplies
I’ve found that Purdy and Wooster brushes are really smooth and do exactly what I need them to do when I’m handpainting anything. The angled trim brush is my favorite because of the long handle, but the Wooster Pro with the short handle has done me really well for a long time in the past.
I know no one ever recommends $2 brushes for professional jobs…. But hi. I’m doing it! I like to pick up these brushes almost every time I pass them up, and then I use them for testing paint colors and stains and all kinds of things.
Because it’s me we’re talking about here, I ruin a good 55% of my brushes because I forget to rinse them out. Having these brushes on hand makes this less painful. I only use the Wooster & Purdy brushes when I’m doing a more serious project… not usually for my spur-of-the-moment pain episodes. 😉
Related: How to Paint a Storm Door
I have learned THE HARD WAY that not all foam rollers are created equally. And that “foam roller” can mean so many different types of paint rollers… and it can also mean an exercise foam roller. As you can guess, that’s not the kind I’m talking about here.
I STRONGLY prefer this “flocked foam” roller, NOT the spongy kind. I’ve survived with the spongy kind in the past, but it tends to absorb paint instead of applying it smoothly.
Related: How to Paint an Easy Ombre Dresser
Listen, I’m a complete cheapo, but there’s a CLEAR difference in my projects when I use wood conditioner before staining. I have to recommend it.
- Wood Stain: Minwax Semi-Transparent Water-Based Stain – Lowes
I used oil-based stains for years before I discovered that they made water-based stains! They’re LIFE CHANGING. (Okay I’m a little dramatic)
They don’t smell NEARLY as much as oil-based stains, and they even go on smoother, easier, and I think they dry faster too. I’ve used Minwax wood finish stains, mainly because I go to Lowe’s more often, but I know that Behr’s water-based stains at Home Depot are good too.
For projects when you need sealer, this one is a really great option. It barely smells at all and dries within a few hours. The first time I used this was when I painted my countertops. I could have used something else, but all those details are in the tutorial.
I also used it when I painted my fireplace tile, and it’s held up well there too!
Related: I’ve also used epoxy on countertops, but I don’t have it recommended here because it is a CHALLENGE. You can read my full review of Stonecoat Countertop Epoxy.
This was the biggest tool purchase I ever made for myself! I purchased it to paint the siding on my house, but I knew I’d be using it a lot more.
It is a BIG learning curve for sure, and it takes a good amount of time & effort to get it out and set it up. But the quality of paint it provides once you get it working is *chef’s kiss.*
*Ahem,* you can see that beautifully in this video of my garage before and after being painted. I’m not gonna lie… it’s a pretty dang good video.
Building + Woodworking Supplies
- Women’s Safety Glasses: Amazon
This is just a cute set of safety glasses I found a few years ago–I love that they don’t look like they belong on a 50 year old man 😉
If you build anything out of wood or cut anything with wood… ever… you’re going to need clamps. Spring clamps are the cheapest, and they do the job in a lot of cases. They come in all different sizes, like little mini ones for crafting, 1-inch clamps to 4-inch spring clamps. It’s always good to have a few of those on hand.
However, bar clamps are more sturdy and hold things together with much more force.For a lot of projects (like my DIY wood desktop), you will need large bar clamps. For example, I needed bar clamps over 30 inches to clamp my wood together.
This is the 36-inch bar clamp I have from Lowe’s.
- Corner clamp: Home Depot
Corner clamps… are pretty genius. The one I have linked below is only about $10, and it helps make sure that when you attached wood at a 90 degree angle, you attach it correctly.
I use this when I make frames for my embroidery–and it would be perfect to build my DIY tapestry frame, but I didn’t know it existed back then. 😉
Kreg jig also makes a more expensive corner clamp (right here) that honestly looks more versatile and easier to use. However, I don’t actually have one, so I’m not necessarily recommending it.
OKAY LISTEN. I’ve learned my building skills from Instagram, Pinterest, and Youtube, and pocket holes are an absolute pillar in my skills. However, I’ve talked to multiple men who are great builders and DIYers (like my dad, my brother, my previous husbands grandfather, and some other handy men)–AND NONE OF THEM KNEW WHAT IT WAS.
I am truly perplexed.
Anyway. Do I recommend getting a pocket hole jig? ONE MILLION PERCENT. I still don’t know how I’d do a lot of things without it.
One of the great things about it is that there are many different versions–I have the cheapest one, because I’m a cheap. It’s between $15-25, depending on sales, and it’s one of the most valuable little things in my garage.
However, as your skills grow, you may want to get the larger versions. They also sell wood pocket hole plugs, so you don’t have to waste tons of wood filler. I haven’t used those yet, but I don’t see any way that they wouldn’t be helpful. That’s linked below:
Speaking of wood filler…
These are slightly different types of wood filler, but I get both of these regularly and they’ve never steered me wrong!
I’ve used Gorilla Glue, Titebond, and Elmer’s wood glue–and they all work well. I have no preferences at this point.
Okay, this one is nifty! A few years ago, I wrote a detailed post on how to cut a straight line with a circular saw or jig saw. This method totally works if you don’t have a rip cut guide.
However, using a rip cut guide is much easier. I’ve been wanting to video a tutorial for a few years… and I still haven’t.
I also recommend using this with a sheet of insulation. Place the wood that you’re ripping on top of the insulated sheathing–magic.
Weirdly, this one isn’t on Home Depot right now. But this is one I feel strongly about!
I have bought way too many of the cheap stud finders. It seems like everyone else does just fine with the regular ones, but I do NOT. I never actually felt confident I was getting a stud, and it would take way more time and energy than necessary.
So I finally “splurged” on this whole stud finder, AND I LOVE IT. It shows you where the entire stud is, and even beeps to show AC detection.
This was my first NEW power saw! Before this, I only had a jig saw that my previous husband’s grandfather gave to me–which I still have. It’s probably older than me, and I have an emotional attachment to that jig saw because it was my first introduction to building.
Anyway, this circular saw is really easy to learn and use, has a laser, and it’s one of the most affordable ones available. I HIIIIGHLY recommend this. It’s awesome.
Speaking of jig saws… I did unfortunately/fortunately get a new one a few years ago. I will probably never get rid of the original (would it be weird to hang it on my living room wall?) –but I needed a newer one.
Jig saws are probably the easiest saw to use and to learn, and they can cut curves and circles, which is amazing. If you are looking for a power saw and don’t know which type to buy, a jig saw is probably the best choice. If not, a miter saw is another great beginner saw (more on that below).
You did not come here for emotional stories of me and my power tools, but that’s what you’re getting, isn’t it? I would say sorry…. But I’m not.
I asked for a nail gun for Christmas, and my *freaking incredible* in-laws from my previous marriage got one for me. Of course, I didn’t know anything about nail guns at the time, so they got me this Dewalt nail gun, which is corded.
I generally love everything Dewalt, and I have ZERO complaints about this actual tool. It was perfect, actually…. Except for the fact that it was corded. I HAAAATED having to lug it around with a massive air compressor, and it was SO LOUD. I am a single mom trying to get projects done around my kids… it just wasn’t gonna work!
So, I ended up selling it on Facebook marketplace, and I replaced it with the:
And let me tell you, going to a battery operated nail gun was *blissful.* Even more fun than I expected.
This is one of my most prized possessions! You think I’m kidding… but I’m not.
I spent a few years trying to do projects that required perfectly straight cuts with a jig saw or circular saw. And while those tools can do the job… a miter saw is made to give you PERFECTLY STRAIGHT cuts in like .5 seconds. IT IS AMAZING.
I bought this Dewalt miter saw when it went on sale and I was in the middle of doing my first DIY board and batten wall. It COMPLETELY changed the entire process. 17 stars out of 5!
- Power sander: Walmart
Okay, this is a weird one, I know. But lest I remind you: I am a cheapo.
I literally ordered this during a Walmart pickup grocery order two years ago… completely on a whim, because it was $14 at the time. I expected it to be terrible, because it was $14. But two years later, and it’s still going strong!
If I’m being honest, it’s extremely annoying to have to cut sheets of sandpaper, so I’m ready to get an actual orbital sander. But if you are super strapped for cash, this sander won’t let you down.
But P.S., if you actually want an orbital sander, this is the one I’m planning on buying. It’s extremely affordable and it’s the same brand as my circular saw.
This is what I currently have, and I definitely recommend it. For reference, an impact driver is basically a more powerful drill. This set has both and comes with two sets of batteries, but here are the individual links:
I’ve been using the Ryobi drivers and bits since I got the Ryobi drill set, but many other drivers and drill bit sets are just as effective.
This section is a little bit challenging because there are an endless number of different types and sizes of screws, nails, anchors, etc. I do not always buy the brands listed below, but these are a few things I’ve learned work well.
Keep in mind that you can’t just buy any set of screws or nails–most projects require specific types and lengths.
- Power Pro screws: Lowes | Amazon
- Simpson Strong-Tie Hex Drive screws: Home Depot
- Drywall anchors: Lowes | Home Depot | Amazon
I’ve used a lot of different types of drywall anchors, and this type I have linked is DEFINITELY the easiest and most reliable to use.
Landscaping Tools & Supplies
After I found a black widow in my house (I’m writing that calmly, but imagine me screaming about it), I got REAL serious about pest control REAL fast.
But I was not desperate enough to say yes to any of the guys who knock on your door and say, “Your neighbor just ordered from us, you know, John and Sarah Smith?” No, I don’t know them, but I do know this annoying sales pitch.
Anywho, I used this DIY insecticide that was recommended to me, and it’s great! No more spiders or ants for us, please and thank you.
If you saw any of my TikToks this year about learning to take care of my house, you probably saw me using these tools. I hadn’t used either of them before, but they were pretty easy to learn and I’m definitely a fan! Battery-operated tools are really nice, and all the Ryobi ONE+ tools use the same batteries.
- Ryobi 18V Battery Lawn Mower: Home Depot | Amazon
- Ryobi Battery Weed Trimmer/Edger: Home Depot | Amazon
Related: Want another way to make your home reflect YOU–for insanely cheap prices? Check out my printable wall art on Etsy in the Black Door Shop. You can even get 20% off your order with the code 20OFF. 🙂
For more honest and detailed tutorials and ideas for your home, make sure to check out my other posts. 🙂
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- How to Make Insanely Cheap Curtain Tiebacks
- How to Limewash Brick + All the Tips No One Told Me