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Essential DIY Tools – Creating A Great Home Workshop On A Budget!

The Essential DIY tools needed to create a great home workshop.

In spite of what many think, you don’t need a big home workshop filled with expensive tools to create and build the projects you dream up.

essential DIY tools

One of the basics of essential DIY tools – the circular saw

A few weeks back, after touring our farm, a visitor turned to me and asked me where my wood-working shop was. When I told him I really didn’t have a “workshop”, he looked quite shocked.

“Well”, he continued, “I see all of these projects you and your wife have built, and I can’t believe you don’t have a workshop somewhere filled with tools.”

I went on to explain to him that our entire “workshop” takes up about 15 square feet of space and could probably fit in a closet.

On any given day, that “workshop” might be in the barn, the garage, or outside under a tree. And to be honest, we wouldn’t want it any other way.

Although our collection of essential DIY tools might be small and portable, it has accomplished quite a bit in the last 7 years.

It has built chicken coops, barns, pergolas, tables, chairs, benches, wine racks and most of all, the entire interior of our house. And the list can go on and on.  See : How To Build Your Own Beautiful Pergola

What’s even better is that it didn’t cost a fortune to outfit our home workshop with nearly everything we need.

In fact, even though some single saws and home tools can run upwards of $600 to $1000 all by themselves, our entire home workshop of essential DIY tools cost a grand total of about $1200.

Here is a quick look at some essential DIY tools that can power a great workshop on a budget.

The Essential DIY Tools of a Great Home Workshop

A Combo Tool Kit

A combination tool kit is truly the ultimate starting point for creating a great DIY home tool kit.

essential diy tools

Hands down, my 20 Volt Porter Cable Combo Tool Kit is the most powerful, space-saving, multi-purpose set of tools I own.

With one single purchase, I had a circular saw, jig saw, reciprocating saw, drill, multi-saw, grinder, and my most used tool of all – an impact driver. It also came with two 20 volt batteries and a charger.

Battery powered tools have come a long way. In fact, I gave up on corded tools about 7 years ago and have never look back.

My current set is as powerful or more than any of my old electric tools, and way more portable! I call it my workshop in a bag.

I would say that on average, I complete about 90% of my projects with only the tools in the combo kit. For a grand total of $400 for the entire set of tools – it was the one of the best investments I have ever made.

Especially when you consider they can do the work of thousands of dollars of corded or individual tools.

Of all the great tools in the kit, there is one we simply couldn’t live without – the impact driver! If you have ever had trouble driving screws, an impact driver will become your best friend.

We just used ours this past weekend to drive 8″ lag bolts into 100-year-old barn wood. That can be some pretty tough wood, but it drove them in without any effort at all.

Impact drivers can also pull wood together unlike an ordinary drill can. It is simply a great tool to own. Product Link  :  Porter Cable 20 Volt Combo Kit  –  Porter Cable Impact / Drill Driver Set


For any home DIY’er, a good pair of sawhorses is an absolute must! They are simply invaluable for working on all types of projects such as woodworking, assembling, painting, staining and more.

And they sure beat using buckets and tables for work surfaces!

Although you can purchase some inexpensive sets, I have always made my own. With a few 2 x 4’s you can create a great looking, sturdy set of sawhorses that will last for years and years.

In fact, creating your own homemade sawhorses will be next week’s DIY tutorial article!

Table Saw

essential diy tools

A table saw is great for ripping boards and beveling

This is one of two “major” tools we own. A basic table saw is really a must if crafts and building projects are in your future.

We use ours to rip down long lengths of wood and plywood to size, as well as make all kinds of beveled edges and cuts.

You don’t have to break the bank on a purchase either. Although there are table saws that run near $600 to $800, our $200 table saw has performed incredibly well year after year.

A 10″ saw that can bevel the blade will more than tackle any job needed.

Product Link : Skill 10″ Table Saw

Compound Miter Saw

The second of the two “major tools” we own, our compound miter saw gets a lot of use! It is perfect for cutting boards to exact lengths, and for cutting perfect angles for all kinds of projects.

Again, much like the table saw, you can get away with a $125 to $200 saw in lieu of the fancier models that can run $750 or more. Between the table saw and miter saw, they really can handle any woodworking job we need.

Product link :  Skil 10″ Miter Saw / Laser

Measuring Tools

A good basic set of measuring tools are a must for a great home DIY tool kit. I have found without about 6 basic tools, I can measure, level and square nearly everything.

My measuring tool drawer consists of two hand levels (2 ft. – 4 ft.), a line bubble level, a couple of 25′ measuring tapes, a square, speed square, and a chalk line.

Together, I think I have a total of about $60 invested in all of them, but they are invaluable to keeping projects looking great.

The speed square has simply been one of the best $8 investments ever. I love that it has all of the angles for markings.

I use it for cutting lumber straight with my circular saw, for measuring angles of all kinds, and for keeping building projects square.

Product Links : Swanson Speed Square =

Screw Drivers, Wrenches, Socket Set, Plier and Channel Lock Set

essential diy tools

Using an Impact Driver to assemble on of our Adirondack chairs

When it comes to the above, once again, it pays to buy in combo sets. I have a combo set of wrenches and sockets, another for screwdrivers, one for pliers and channel locks, and a fourth for drill bits.

Buying in sets saves big money, and allows you to have everything you need on hand. I think for all four sets I have around $120 total invested.  It’s way better than spending $10 to $20 on individual pie

Here is one final tip – invest in something simple to keep them in – or you will love them everywhere!  For us, we keep them in two easy carry tool. Having the right tool for the job doesn’t mean a thing if you can’t find it!

Stanley Home Tool Kit,  DeWalt Drill Bit Set

So that’s it – the basics of our essential DIY tool kit that can build nearly anything you can think of!

Happy Building! Jim and Mary!

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