A well-stocked tool kit is key for any home project. We asked DIY pros for their can’t-do-without tools, tips, and products. The right tool is vital to a successful DIY project, whether it’s a small home decor how-to or a large-scale renovation. After all, the last thing you want to do during a job is drop everything to run to the hardware store. Better Homes & Gardens asked DIY experts and editors for their most trusted tackle-anything tools. Here’s what they recommend for upgrading your DIYer tool kit.
1. Glue Gun
Most DIY projects require some form of adhesive. Hot-glue guns are our go-to for holding everything together. “I reach for my glue gun before I reach for the bigger tools and typically am surprised about the amount of hold it provides,” says Jen Jones of I Heart Organizing. The Ryobi 18B One+ full-size glue gun is a favorite of Monica Chavez of House of Esperanza. “The battery makes this tool portable, so it’s possible to craft, fix, and create anywhere,” she says.
2. Adhesive Remover
Mistakes happen. When you run into a sticky situation, turn to this adhesive remover. “Goo Gone removes more than sticker residue,” Emily Clark of Emily A. Clark blog says. “It also takes off dried paint, crayon, tar, tree sap, gum, lipstick, and markers.” The favorite problem-solving product comes in a variety of sizes and will fit into any tool kit.
3. Ratchet Screwdriver
The tool of every DIYer’s dreams is small, simple, and easy to use. “A ratchet screwdriver—with interchangeable bits stored in the handle—is the most convenient tool,” says Nicole Balch of Making It Lovely. The tool is so helpful and inexpensive that it’s to your benefit to have multiples. “I bought a second one just in case I misplace the first,” she says.
4. Cordless Drill
Or opt for a cordless drill, no outlets necessary. “Professional-quality cordless drills cost more, but the extra power is worth the money,” says Mandi Gubler of Vintage Revivals. Remember to charge the battery after use, or purchase an additional backup battery, so your cordless drill is ready for your next DIY project.
5. Angled Paintbrushes
Get full coverage with a 2-inch angled paintbrush. “A short angle paintbrush is my absolute favorite and a necessity for long paint jobs,” says Gwen Hefner of The Makerista. “It saves my hand from cramping.”
6. Auto-Lock Tape Measure
A tape measure is essential for just about every home improvement project, whether you’re hanging curtains, building furniture, or cutting lumber. “I own several tape measures, and I always find myself reaching for this one because of the auto-lock feature and the easy-to-read tape,” says self-taught carpenter Jen Woodhouse.
A basic staple gun is necessary for many home decorating projects, including upholstery DIYs. And a soft-grip handle makes the process less tiresome. “This is smaller and lighter than a lot of staple guns, so I keep it handy for upholstery projects and other quick repairs. It’s ‘forward action,’ which means you push down right over the staples. Much easier!” says interior designer Liz Morrow.
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