Tool “U”: Guide to Tools for Your Home

By: Danny Lipford
Danny Lipford in The Home Depot tool department.

Danny Lipford in The Home Depot tool department.

Watch Full Episode

We’re taking an in-depth look at tools that every homeowner needs to own, as well as advanced and specialty tools that can make a hard job easy.

Basic Tools for Homeowners

Basic tools that every homeowner should own, include:

    Hand tools

  • Safety glasses
  • Earplugs
  • Dust mask
  • Hammer (16 oz.)
  • Handsaw
  • Tape measure
  • Utility knife
  • Level
  • Screwdrivers
  • Pliers
  • Drill and bits

To find out more, watch our videos on:

Advanced Tools for Homeowners

The following tools are a welcome addition for homeowners who are tackling more demanding DIY projects:

  • Circular Saw: For crosscutting or ripping lumber in a straight line. Plug in models, like the DeWALT DWE575, are great for all around sawing while cordless saws, such as the RYOBI P506, are easy to use for small jobs and where power isn’t readily available.
  • Miter Saw: Perfect for cutting moldings at 45° and other angles. Available as motorized circular saws and miter boxes that use a handsaw for cutting.
  • Jigsaw: Also called a sabre saw, jigsaws, such as the DeWALT DW317, are used for cutting curves and irregular shapes.

Circular saws, reciprocating Saw, jigsaw

  • Reciprocating Saw: Used for fast cutting for demolition work in tight quarters where a circular saw can’t easily reach. The blade on saws like the DeWALT DWE357 can be installed quickly with the blade facing up, down, or sideways.
  • Impact Driver: Combines a hammering action with high torque to make quick work of installing or removing screws. Watch this video to find out more about impact drivers.
  • Hammer Drill: Used to make fast work of drilling into hard materials like concrete or masonry.
  • Oscillating Tool: Can be used for many cutting operations, including plunge cutting and cutting door jambs for flooring. Watch this video to find out more about oscillating tools.

Cutting tile with wet saw

Specialized Tools to Rent

These tools can really speed up a job, but since they’re rarely needed, consider renting from a tool rental center, instead of buying:

  • Wet Saw: Table mounted saw that uses a special blade and water as lubricant to cut tile or brick to size and shape.
  • Jamb Saw: Special circular saw that can be set to different heights to quickly cut off the bottom of door jambs when installing new flooring.
  • Post Hole Auger: Using a motorized auger can make quick work of digging posts holes for fences.

Painting Tools

Having the right painting tools can make the job go faster and easier. Beside standard paintbrushes and rollers, consider:

  • Paint Can Cover: Fits over open paint can to prevent drips and allow for easy pouring. Some models also include a small paint roller screen for use with touch up rollers.
  • Paint Roller: Rather than messy paint rollers and trays, consider a paint roller tube with plunger, such as those by Wagner, to speed up the painting process. Available in both manual and battery powered models as well as smaller trim rollers.

Cleaning a fence with a pressure washer

Pressure Washer

A pressure washer is great for cleaning outside your home, but it’s important to take the proper safety precautions, including wearing safety glasses and using the right nozzle tip for the job. The spray angle of the tip you use makes a big difference in cleaning power. Common nozzle tips include:

  • General Cleaning: A 25° nozzle tip has a wider spray pattern and is the best choice most cleaning.
  • Heavy Cleaning: A 15° tip focuses the spray into a narrower pattern for heavy cleaning.

Cleaning with a pressure washer can damage softer surfaces such as wood. Always start cleaning with the nozzle four feet or so from the surface, then move closer until the spray is cleaning properly without causing damage.

Watch this video on Pressure Washer Cleaning Tips to find out more.

Other Tips from This Episode

Air Compressor Hose Storage

Simple Solutions with Joe Truini:
Air Compressor Hose

To keep an air compressor hose neatly stored, attach an inexpensive garden hose reel to the wall of your shop or garage near the compressor. Insert a wood shim between the reel and wall on the bottom screw hole to tilt the reel upward slightly to allow storage of air tools in the reel without falling out. (Watch Video)

DeWALT Cordless Impact Driver

Best New Products with Jodi Marks:
DeWALT Cordless Impact Driver

The DeWALT 3-Speed Cordless Impact Driver (Model #DCF895L2) has a brushless motor to increase runtime. The 20-volt driver comes with two lithium-ion batteries, an LED lights mounted on the front illuminate the work, and a quick release chuck to change bits fast. The DeWALT Cordless Impact Driver is available at The Home Depot. (Watch Video)

Lifting tab on asphalt roofing

Ask Danny Lipford:
Asphalt Roof Lifespan

Asphalt shingles have a lifespan of between 15 and 30 years. To see if your roof needs replacing, look for cracked or curling shingles. Test to see if the shingles are still flexible by sliding a pry bar under a shingle to loosen it, then gently bend it up. If the shingles cracks or breaks, it’s time for a new roof. (Watch Video)



Please Leave a Comment

We want to hear from you! In addition to posting comments on articles and videos, you can also send your comments and questions to us on our contact page or at (800) 946-4420. While we can't answer them all, we may use your question on our Today's Homeowner radio or TV show, or online at

Notify me of followup comments via e-mail. You can also subscribe without commenting.