If you are new to buying tools to use in your home, then it can be tough enough to decide what tools to buy. In the UK, there are many brands who make many different models of tools. Here at the UK Tool Guide, we have lots of experience and expertise in both hand tools and power tools. We put our minds together, to work out what tools we would actually buy if we were just starting out.

Our list of the Top 10 Tools we would buy as a beginner.

Where can you buy tools in the UK?

You can buy tools at online stores such as Amazon UK, Toolstation, and Tool websites such as Stanley, Dewalt, Makita etc, and in many High Street stores including B&Q, Screwfix, Homebase, Wickes etc. Many smaller hardware stores will also stock these.

When is the best time to buy tools?

Tools are not a seasonal purchase, and they sell consistently all year around. Here are some useful tips on what to look for:

  1. Black Friday happens on the last week of November. You can definitely find very good deals in that type of sale which usually lasts for a weekend. That is a really good time to get better quality tools at a lower price.
  2. Check online Retail websites like B&Q, Screwfix, Wickes, Toolstore, ITS, Machine Mart, UK Tool Centre, etc. They regularly offer discounts on different brands every single day. Those are worth bookmarking and tracking if you are after particular branded tools
  3. Check manufacturer websites such as Bahco, Black and Decker, Bosch, Draper, Dewalt, Einhell, Hitachi, Metabo, Makita, Milwaukee, Stanley, etc. They also regularly have deals for their own branded products.
  4. Consider buying used tools - There are places online where you can buy used tools such as eBay, Tool Exchange, Tooltique, The Tool Squirrel, and Old Tools.  You can buy and sell tools here and they are better value than buying new tools.
  5.  Friends and Relations - It is always worth asking friends and relations if they have any old tools just sitting around. I know when I started out, I got a lot of tools from my Dad and Grandad, that they didn't use or need anymore. It got me started.

Where can you buy hand tools in the UK?

You can buy these tools at online stores such as Amazon UK, Toolstation, and Tool websites such as Stanley, Dewalt, Makita etc, and in many High Street stores including B&Q, Screwfix, Homebase, Wickes etc. Many smaller hardware stores will also stock these.

1. Claw Hammer

stanley claw hammer

There are many different types of hammers available on the UK market. These include ball peen, pin, framing etc. However, the claw hammer is by far the most popular, and the most useful around the home. It is very versatile and can be used for many purposes around the home.

Benefits

  • Affordable: Claw hammers are affordable in the UK. They range in price from £5-£30 depending on which brand you pick. Stanley hammers are very popular buys in the UK. We would recommend spending around £20 on a good quality hammer that will last.
  • Versatility: They are very versatile tool and can be used for a wide range of tasks, such as hammering in nails, removing nails, and even jobs like breaking up wood. This makes it a good tool for beginners, as they can learn how to use it for a variety of projects.
  • Durability: Most good quality claw hammers are made of steel or forged iron. That means they can withstand a lot of use without breaking.
  • Easy to use: Claw hammers are one of the easiest tools to use, even for beginners. They don't take a lot of practise and as long as they are not used for the wrong purpose, are about as simple to use as you can get.

Suggested Uses

  • You can use them to hammer a nail into the wall to hang a picture frame on the wall
  • They can be used to repair broken wooden fences
  • They can help a little with the assembly of furniture
  • Claw hammers are particularly good at removing old nails from wood
  • They are also good for general minor demolition such as prying off skirting boards
  • You can use it to split small pieces of wood
  • It can even help dig small holes

Summary

We think a claw hammer is a good basic tool for beginners to have in their toolbox, as it is versatile, durable, affordable, and easy to use. You will be amazed at the many times you reach for a hammer when doing some type of work around your home.

This Stanley hammer is perfect for the hammering and removal of nails.

It has a fiberglass handle with gripping ribs for improved comfort and is also anti slip

Classed as a 20 ounce hammer is ideal for driving larger nails up to 75mm and above for general heavy duty fixing.

Check Amazon UK - Price when reviewed £9.49

Our recommendation

STANLEY STHT0-51310 20oz Fiberglass Curved Claw Hammer

STANLEY STHT0-51310 20oz Fiberglass Curved Claw Hammer

2. Screwdriver Set

Rolson screwdriver set

There are very few jobs that you will do around the home or garden that don't involve the use of a screwdriver of some kind. The really big problem that most beginners may not know, is that there are a variety of screws used to make different things, all with a slightly different purpose. Screws will have different heads, so having one screwdriver will not be much use. That is why we strongly recommend a screwdriver set. In the UK, the most popular screw head types are Slotted, Phillips, Pozidriv, Robinson and Torx.

When you come to work on something you need to be able to put in and remove screws and a good quality screwdriver set will allow you to do that. It will also allow you to work on most nuts and bolts.

Benefits

  • Affordable: These types of sets are affordable in the UK. They range in price from £15-£30 depending on which brand you pick. Stanley sets are very popular buys in the UK, as are Rolson and Draper. We would recommend spending around £25 on a good screwdriver set that will last and be really useful.
  • Versatility: Just like the hammer, these are also a very versatile tool that can be used for a wide range of tasks, such as assembling furniture, repairing appliances, and tightening screws around the house. This makes it a great tool for beginners, as you can learn how to use it for a whole variety of projects.
  • Durability: Avoid buying really cheap sets as they are made from cheap metal and are useless and a complete waste of your money. Buy something of good quality and they will last you for years.
  • Convenient: A screwdriver set has a variety of different screwdrivers, each with a different head type, which is really important. This means that beginners will have the right screwdriver for the job, no matter what type of screw they are working with. Many of these also have fittings that allow you to work on the most common sizes of nuts and bolts.
  • Easy to use: Using a screwdriver really has no learning curve. The only thing you need to learn is picking the right head for the right screw. Once you master that, you are good to go.

Suggested Uses

  • They are really useful for assembling furniture, such as a bookshelf, bedside lockers and IKEA type flat packs
  • Useful for basic repairs on appliances
  • Great for tightening and removing screws around the house, such as the screws on doorknobs and cabinet doors. Handy for replacing those as well
  • Ideal to replace a dead battery in a smoke detector or a carbon monoxide detector.
  • Also handy for bleeding air from a radiator.
  • Changing light fixtures and fittings

Summary

We think a screwdriver set is a good basic tool for beginners to have in their toolbox, as it can be used for a vast range of tasks. We couldn't imagine DIY life without one.  There are so many benefits from owning one:

  • Having the right screwdriver for the job helps reduce the risk of injury, such as slipping and cutting yourself on a screw.
  • It will save you a ton of time as you don't have to search for the right screwdriver every time you need one
  • It really does help improve your skills for many DIY jobs around the home and garden.

If you are a beginner, we recommend buying a screwdriver set that has a variety of different screwdriver heads, such as Phillips, flathead, Torx, and Robertson. This will ensure that you have the right screwdriver for any job.

Check Amazon UK - Price when reviewed £17.15

Our recommendation

Rolson 28882 58 pc Screwdriver Set

Rolson 28882 58 pc Screwdriver Set

3. Retractable Tape Measure

stanley measuring tape

We call this small invaluable tool "our friend." A big number of DIY jobs around the home will need a measuring tape. Think of simple things like measuring the size of a window for curtains, measuring a room for carpets or wooden flooring, putting up shelves and we could go on and on. Without a measuring tape, you really restrict the amount of jobs you can tackle as a beginner. Almost every measuring tape has inches and feet (Imperial) on one side and metric on the other side.

Benefits

  • Affordability: Measuring tapes cost around £1-£30. We urge you not to buy a cheap one. (Think Poundshop) A good one will cost around £7-£10, will be accurate and will last. Again Stanley, Draper, Rolson and other brands make  a wide range of these.
  • Sizes: These usually come in lengths of 5 metres (16 feet) or 8 metres (25 feet). It doesn't cost a great deal extra to buy the 8 metre one. At least that way you will know that you are able to measure just about anything.
  • Versatile: There are so many uses for one of these it would be difficult to make a list long enough. We know from our experience that we have about 4 of these knocking around as you can never be without one.
  • Accuracy: Measuring tapes are typically very accurate, which is important for many tasks. For example, if you are measuring wood to build a project, you need to make sure that your measurements are accurate so that your project turns out the way you want it to. Cheap ones are not accurate and in many cases not even close.
  • Durable: Good quality measuring tapes are typically made from steel or fibreglass. This makes them able to withstand everyday use and abuse.

Suggested Uses

  • To be able to measure the length and width of a room to determine how much carpet or flooring to buy.
  • To be able to measure the distance between two points to determine how much wire or cable to buy.
  • To be able to measure the height and width of a window to determine the size of curtains or blinds to buy.
  • Measuring wood for any DIY projects, etc

Summary

In addition to the benefits listed above, buying a measuring tape for a beginner can also help to:

  • Using a measuring tape can help you to improve your DIY skills, as many DIY projects require accurate measurements.
  • If you measure accurately, you can avoid buying too much or too little of something, which can save you money.
  • By measuring accurately, you can avoid wasting materials, such as wood or fabric.

Check Amazon UK - Price when reviewed £8.99

Our recommendation

STANLEY Tylon 8m/26ft Pocket Tape

Stanley Tylon 8m/26ft Pocket Tape

4. A combi drill/driver

bosch combi drill

We can all but imagine what must go through a beginner's mind when they think about buying a drill. There are genuinely thousands of these on the UK market. On our list, this is going to be your most expensive buy for sure. That makes it important to understand. Let's try and make this as easy as we can for you to understand.

You can either buy a corded drill which you plug into a socket, or a cordless drill that runs off a battery that you can recharge. To keep it simple, we would highly recommend buying a cordless version.

There are many types of drills; combi, hammer, percussion, rotary, SDS etc. For a beginner we would recommend buying a combi drill. This is a power tool that can drill and also drive in and remove screws. That makes it extremely useful around the home and garden. Make sure it has a hammer feature as that will allow you to drill through masonry such as brick, block, walls etc.

When you buy any cordless combi drill, you will need the drill, batteries and a charger, and that can be expensive. The prices will vary a lot depending on the brand you buy. We would always recommend having 2 batteries as you can be using one and have the other one charging to be ready as and when you need it.

Understanding Brands and Prices

  • Expensive Brands: - These are Dewalt, Makita and Milwaukee who make high quality tools and have excellent UK support, warranties and guarantees. Expect to pay around £200-£300 on average
  • Medium Price Brands - Bosch, Black and Decker, Ryobi, Einhell. They make good quality tools and have strong UK support, warranties and guarantees. Expect to pay around £85-£150 on average
  • Budget Brands - Mylek, Blue Ridge, Dayplus, Wesco. They make basic tools with cheaper parts and have limited UK support, warranties and guarantees. Expect to pay around £35-£70 on average

Benefits

  • Affordability: As you can see these are not cheap. Depending on the brand that you decide on, you can spend anything between £35-£300+. We would recommend for a beginner a brand like Bosch or Black and Decker. Professional businesses such as construction and the trades will buy the higher end brands. Most beginners don't need the additional features these come with. Avoid the really cheap brands as we struggle during our research to find customer service contacts, available parts and accessories, and details on warranties. You should really only look at those if your budget is really tight or you will only use a drill/driver a few times a year.
  • Ease of use: When starting out, these can seem like a minefield. It will take some time to be able to fully get your head around these. We would recommend carefully reading the book that will come with this tool so as you get to understand torques for screwdriving, drilling speeds an materials, and using the hammer feature to drill masonry.
  • Highly Versatile: The combi drill/driver can be used for a range of tasks, such as drilling holes in wood and metal, driving screws, and removing screws. This makes it a fantastic tool for beginners, as they can learn how to use it for a variety of projects.
  • Time and Effort Saver: Driving screws, assembling IKEA furniture can all be done manually using screwdrivers. A drill/driver reduces the time immensely. It also makes a massive difference to the effort you have to put in and can avoid a lot of hand and muscle strain.

Suggested Uses

  • A combi drill will allow you to drill holes in wood to hang a picture frame or shelves.
  • Drill holes in metal to attach a bracket to a wall.
  • Drive in screws to assemble furniture.
  • Help remove screws quickly
  • Allow you to drill holes in concrete to install wall anchors, raw plugs etc.

Summary

Buying the right drill/driver takes a lot of consideration. Here are some tips:

  1. Look for a drill/driver with a variable speed trigger. This will allow you to control the speed of the drill bit or screwdriver bit, which is important for different tasks.
  2. Choose a drill/driver with a comfortable grip. This will help you to maintain control of the tool and avoid accidents.
  3. Make sure that the drill/driver comes with a safety features, such as a chuck lock and a reverse switch.
  4. Read reviews of different drill/drivers before you buy one. This will help you to choose a drill/driver that is right for your needs.

Check Amazon UK - Price when reviewed £92.00

Our recommendation

Bosch Home and Garden Cordless Combi Drill UniversalImpact 18V, 20 torque settings, max. torque 34 Nm, 2-speed gearbox (2 x 18 volt batteries, in carrying case)

Bosch Home and Garden Cordless Combi Drill UniversalImpact

OUR TOP TIP

If you buy a combi drill, then the good news is the batteries and charger can be used for other cordless tools made by that brand. That means you just need to buy what is called a "bare tool," or "tool only" option which saves you a lot of money. That is why it is so important to pick a good quality brand that you can afford.

5. A set of drill bits and driver bits (mixed)

bosch drill bit set

If you decide that you want a combi drill, explained above, then you would own a drill, a couple of batteries and a charger. While that is great, they are not enough. You also need drill bits and screwdriver bits that actually do the work. Some combi drills that you buy will come with some basic bits that you can use. That said, it will usually be a very basic set.

To get the best use as a beginner, it is just a great idea to buy a set of drill bits for various materials such as wood, metal and masonry. It's also good to have a wide selection of screwdriver bits to fit all the various screw heads such as Slotted, Phillips, Pozidriv, Robinson and Torx, that we mention in the screwdriver set section above.

Irrespective of which brand of combi drill you have, the actual drill and driver bits will fit into your drill.

Benefits

  • Affordability: Drill/driver bit sets are typically very affordable, especially when compared to the cost of buying individual bits. This makes them a great value for beginners who are on a budget. They cost on average in the UK £12-£30 depending on the brand and how many bits you want to own. Brands such as Bosch and Dewalt are the ones we would recommend for variety and quality.
  • Versatile: A drill/driver bit set contains a variety of different drill bits and screwdriver bits, which makes it versatile enough for a wide range of tasks. This is ideal for beginners, who may not yet know what specific types of bits they will need. One single set opens up a whole world of possibilities.
  • Convenient: Having a set of drill/driver bits in your kit means that you always have the right bit for the job, without having to waste time searching for it. This can be a major time-saver, especially when you are working on a project with a deadline.
  • Durable: Good quality drill/driver bit sets are made from materials, such as high-carbon steel or titanium. This means that are suitable for everyday use and will last a very long time.
  • Reduced the risk of injury: Having the right bit for the job can help to reduce the risk of injury, such as slipping and cutting yourself on a drill bit. Once you master the use of the drill and know what bits to use, it makes for a much safer working environment.
  • Improving a beginner's overall skills: Using a variety of different drill/driver bits will help you to improve your DIY skills. It's amazing what you can learn about the types of drill, their uses and opens up many possibilities.
  • Long-term savings: We think this is a very wise purchase to make and it is almost always a one-off purchase. In the long run, buying a drill/driver bit set can save you money, as you will not have to buy individual bits as often.

Tips for choosing a drill/driver bit set for a beginner:

  1. Make sure you buy a set  that has a variety of different types of bits, including drill bits for wood, metal, and concrete, as well as screwdriver bits for Phillips, flathead, Torx, and Robertson screws. This will ensure that you have the right bit for any job.
  2. Choose a good quality set (Bosch, Makita  or Dewalt) set that is made from durable materials, such as high-carbon steel or titanium.
  3. We would also recommend buying a set that comes with a case or organiser to keep your bits organised and easy to find.

Summary

If you are a beginner, we recommend buying a drill/driver bit set that contains at least 40-50 different bits. This will give you a good variety of bits to choose from, and you will be less likely to need to buy additional bits in the future.

This is the set that I personally own and can vouch for. All the bits are really high quality, a great range of types and sizes, and the organiser case is also great.

Check Amazon UK - Price when reviewed £24.30

Our recommendation

Bosch 70-Pieces X-Line Titanium Drill and Screwdriver Bit Set

Bosch 70-Pieces X-Line Titanium Drill and Screwdriver Bit Set

6. An adjustable wrench

adjustable wrenches

It isn't every day that you will need a wrench as a beginner. That doesn't mean that they are not a handy tool to own. A wrench is just a tool that allows you to loosen and tighten nuts or bolts. Mainly used for home car repairs or plumbing repairs you can do at home such as changing taps.

You can buy a set of spanners or a wrench if you are more serious, but an adjustable wrench is a better idea for a beginner.

Benefits

  • Affordable: Adjustable wrenches are cheap tools to buy , making them a good option for budget-minded beginners. In the UK these can cost between £7-30 depending on the brand, the variations, and the size that you pick.
  • Versatile: It is a handy tool that can be used to turn nuts and bolts of different sizes. This makes it a good tool for beginners, as they can learn how to use it for a variety of projects.
  • Ease of use: Adjustable wrenches are relatively easy to use, even for beginners. With a little practice, beginners can learn how to use an adjustable wrench to turn nuts and bolts safely and effectively. Spanners are designed to fit perfectly for various nut and bolt sizes. with the adjustable you have to make the adjustment. That's not an ultra tight fit, but good enough for most jobs.
  • Durable: Adjustable wrenches are typically made from steel or forged iron. That means the last a long time. The only weakness is the length of time the adjustment screw lasts. As long as that is not forced, it lasts a really long time.
  • Helps reduce the risk of injury: Trying to remove nuts with pliers is dangerous and can cause injury. Used properly an adjustable wrench will stop any injuries and let you get the job done.
  • Improve your skills: Using an adjustable wrench can help you to improve your DIY skills, as some DIY projects require nuts and bolts to be tightened or loosened.
  • Save money: By using an adjustable wrench, you can avoid having to buy a different wrench for every nut and bolt size.

Tips for choosing a drill/driver bit set for a beginner:

  1. Make sure you buy a set  that has a variety of different types of bits, including drill bits for wood, metal, and concrete, as well as screwdriver bits for Phillips, flathead, Torx, and Robertson screws. This will ensure that you have the right bit for any job.
  2. Choose a good quality set (Bosch, Makita  or Dewalt) set that is made from durable materials, such as high-carbon steel or titanium.
  3. We would also recommend buying a set that comes with a case or organiser to keep your bits organised and easy to find.

Summary

If you are a beginner, we recommend buying a set of 3 such as these Silverline wrenches.

The reason we recommend these is based on value for money. You get a nice range of sizes and they work really well.

If you prefer just to own one, then we would recommend the Stanley MAXSTEEL Adjustable Wrench for pure quality.

Check Amazon UK - Price when reviewed £14.42

Our recommendation

Silverline Adjustable Wrench Set 3pce

Silverline Adjustable Wrench Set 3pce

7. A Spirit Level

Stanley torpedo spirit level

Spirit levels come in different sizes, but they all serve the same purpose when used around the house. They will mainly be used for making sure things are level. Think of things such as hanging shelves, hanging curtain poles, laying tiles, wall construction, fencing, etc and you will understand the general drift.

All spirit levels work on the same principle. The body contains at least one vial filled with a liquid. The liquid contains a small bubble of air. That bubble moves between two lines to indicate when a surface is level. That can either be horizontal or vertical (also known as a plumb). Most models will have two vials, one for horizontal and one for vertical. Some have a third vial that measures a 45 degree angle.

A lot of homeowners prefer to buy a slightly more expensive laser level, as they are better for distances. These are really good if you plan on doing a lot of shelving, wallpapering or fitting dado rails.

You can buy the different sizes as single units or in sets. The most popular sizes are: 230, 600, 1200 and 1800mm.

The smaller sizes are also called torpedo levels. For a beginner we would recommend a medium size level 600mm and a 1200mm level. The larger size allows you to  do things like curtain rails, longer shelving and even laying bricks. If you can afford a laser level, those are also really useful to own. They cost anything between £25-£100 depending on what brand you pick and what features you want.

Benefits

  • Affordable: Spirit levels are not expensive. Depending on size and brand they cost around £3-£8 for a small one, £8-12 for a medium, and £15-30 for larger ones. You can also buy a set of 3 for around ££25-50 on average. 
  • Accuracy: A spirit level is used to measure the levelness of a surface. This makes it an essential tool for beginners who are working on DIY projects, such as hanging shelves or laying tiles.
  • Ease of use: Spirit levels are very easy to use, even for beginners. With a little practice, beginners can learn how to use a spirit level to measure the levelness of a surface accurately and efficiently. It also gives you confidence that everything is lined up properly.
  • Durable: Spirit levels are made from aluminum or a tough hard plastic. They are pretty durable as long as they are well looked after.

Uses:

  • Can be used to put up shelves and make sure they are level
  • Good for laying tiles on walls and floors
  • Really handy for making sure fence posts, decking posts, etc are level
  • Can be used to level a washing machine
  • Great for hanging pictures and mirrors

Tips for choosing a drill/driver bit set for a beginner:

  1. Look for a spirit level that is best suited to your needs as a beginner. A small torpedo level is a great starting point and you can always get a bigger one if you need it.
  2. Choose a spirit level that has at least two vials, one for horizontal leveling and one for vertical leveling.
  3. It is also worth considering buying a spirit level that has a magnetic base. This will allow you to attach the level to metal surfaces, which can be helpful when working on projects such as hanging shelves or putting up a fence.

Summary

As a beginner, we recommend buying something of good quality from a good brand.

We use the Stanley torpedo as it ticks all the boxes.

It is made from aluminium level with shock resistant rubber end caps

It has easy to see clear vials that offer accurate horizontal, vertical and 45 degrees readings

Also has a magnetic plate for hands-free levelling and also has a V-shaped metal groove shape designed to be used on cylindrical shaped surfaces.

Check Amazon UK - Price when reviewed £5.99

Our recommendation

Stanley Shock Proof Torpedo Level 230 mm/9 Inch

Stanley Shock Proof Torpedo Level 230 mm/9 Inch

8. Safety Goggles and Gloves

Dewalt safety goggles
safety gloves for hand protection

These are often overlooked as let's be honest, owning tools is a lot more exciting than safety things. Here is the reality. Losing an eye, or damaging our hands is never a good thing. Even a simple injury can be painful and also cause you to be off work. A chunk of metal flying into your eye is a lot more serious. Beginners often overlook this and we can't stress its importance enough.

To stay safe needs you care and attention. It also needs just a little protection and we would recommend either safety glasses or safety goggles. (better if you wear glasses) We would also recommend buying a few pairs of gloves to protect your hands. These are not expensive and will help keep you safe.

Benefits

  • Eye protection: Safety glasses will protect your eyes from flying debris, such as wood chips, metal shavings, and dust. This is especially important when working with power tools or sharp objects.
  • Improve your vision: Safety glasses can reduce glare and filter out harmful UV rays. This can be helpful when working on projects outdoors or in bright environments.
  • Reduce the risk of eye injuries: By wearing safety glasses, you can significantly reduce the risk of eye injuries, such as scratches, punctures, and blindness. You absolutely want to avoid those.
  • Hand protection: Gloves protect your hands from cuts and scrapes from sharp objects, such as tools, metal, and wood. They are also great when working with masonry like cement and bricks and when doing general purpose work around your yard or garden.
  • Blisters: Gloves can also reduce blisters by providing a barrier between your skin and tools or materials that can cause friction.
  • Prevent skin irritation: Gloves can also prevent skin irritation from chemicals, solvents, and other hazardous materials. These are things like paint cleaner, paint strippers, car oils etc.

Tips for choosing safety glasses:

  1. Pick safety glasses that fit snugly but comfortably. They should not be too tight or too loose.
  2. Make sure that the safety glasses have a lens that is appropriate for the task you are working on. For example, if you are working with power tools, you will need safety glasses with impact-resistant lenses
  3. Pick gloves that fit your hands snugly but comfortably. They should not be too tight or too loose.
  4. Choose gloves that are made from a material that is appropriate for the task you are working on.

Tips for using safety glasses and gloves:

  1. Be sure to always wear safety glasses when working with power tools or sharp objects.
  2. It is worth taking some time to check your safety glasses before each use for any cracks or damage.
  3. You should always replace your safety glasses if they are damaged.
  4. Be sure to wear gloves when working with chemicals, solvents, or other hazardous materials.
  5. You should check your gloves before each use for any holes or tears, and replace your gloves if they are damaged.

Our recommendation

safety gloves for hand protection

Straame Pack of 12 Black Safety Work Gloves

Check Amazon UK

Price when reviewed £9.95

Summary

If you are a beginner, we recommend buying packs of gloves. On average a pack of these costs around £10-20 for about 12 sets of gloves. These types of gloves have high abrasion resistance, use a nitrile foam coating, and offer protection and are still comfortable to work with. They are good for working in the shed, garage, working at cars. You can also buy a pack of general purpose gloves and typically a set of these costs around £10 in the UK for a set of three.

Safety glasses cost around £5-15 depending on the type and brand. Most of them have anti-fog and are scratch resistant. Brands like Dewalt, Bolle and Honeywell make the best safety glasses.

Our recommendation

Dewalt safety goggles

DEWALT Unisex Protector Safety Eyewear

Check Amazon UK

Price when reviewed £5.89

9. Set of Allen Keys

set of Allen Keys

If you are new to tools, you may not have heard of Allen keys. These are also called "hex keys or hex wrenches." They are an L-shaped tool and their main use is to allow you to screw in and remove any type of bolts or screws that have an hexagonal head. These are used a lot in IKEA furniture and flat pack furniture. You also tend to find them used to hold bed frames together.

There are 3 slightly different types:

  1. L-shaped Allen key - mainly used for furniture assembly and on bicycles
  2. T-shaped Allen Key - Mainly used for cars, motorcycles and electronics
  3. Ball end Allen Keys - Used when working close to tight edges

They also come in different sizes:

Allen Key Size

Thread Size

3mm

M6

5mm

M8

6mm

M10

8mm

M12

10mm

M16

12mm

M20

14mm

M24

The bad news is that these are sold in both Imperial and Metric. It depends which types of screws or bolts the manufacturer used. The good news is that as a beginner you don't need to know too much about which size to buy as these are sold in sets that cover the entire range. Metric is mainly used in the UK. Only if you need a T-shape or ball end style will the size really matter.


Benefits

  • Affordable: These cost around £4-£10 so one of the most affordable sets to buy. Imperial sets usually have a set that covers 1/16" up to 7/32" and metric covers from 1.27mm to 14mm.
  • Versatile: These can be used in a wide variety of applications, including assembling furniture, and repairing bicycles. This makes them a good tool for beginners, as they are quite multi-purpose.
  • Ease of use: Picking the right size is the hard bit. They can be quite hard on the fingers so gloves help a lot. some brands use colour coding for sizes which can be helpful
  • Durable: Allen keys are made from steel or chrome vanadium, so they last for years.

Tips for choosing a drill/driver bit set for a beginner:

  1. Pick a set of Allen keys that contains a variety of different sizes. This will ensure that you have the right Allen key for any job.
  2. Keep your Allen keys in the case or organiser that they come with because these are really easy to lose.

Summary

If you are a beginner, we recommend buying a metric set that covers the full range as you will likely never need to buy another set. Colour coding just makes your life simpler and easier.

Because we use these a lot, we bought these expensive ones. They are very high quality and the colour coding helps us quickly find what we are looking for.

Check Amazon UK - Price when reviewed £28.95

If you prefer a cheaper option then the biggest selling ones are the Amazon Basics 36-Piece Allen Wrench

Our recommendation

Wera 950 SPKL/9 SM N SB Multicolour BlackLaser L-key set

Wera 950 Multicolour BlackLaser L-key set

10. Hand Saw

Draper Venom hand saw

Along with the claw hammer, a hand saw is always going to be needed, if you plan on doing any type of work with wood. These are just a very basic saw that allow you to cut wood to size.

Benefits

  • Affordable: Hand saws are also pretty inexpensive to buy. In the UK these can cost between £6-20 depending on the brand, and the size that you pick. The good brands are Stanley, Bahco, Irwin and Draper.
  • Versatile: They can be used to cut a variety of materials, including wood, and plastic. This opens up a nice range of simple DIY tasks and projects.
  • Ease of use: The basics are easy. The skill is keeping the saw straight and the amount of effort you have to put in. They invented power saws for a reason. If as a beginner you plan on cutting some wood every now and then, a hand saw does the job really well. If you are taking on bigger jobs, then definitely buy the right type of power saw.
  • Durable: These saws are made from High Speed Steel (HSS) They do last for a good length of time which really is only determined by how often they are used. They don't last forever though and most of them will rust if left in damp conditions.
  • Portable: These are small and lightweight, making them easy to carry around. This makes them a good tool for beginners who are working on projects outside or in tight spaces.

Tips for choosing a drill/driver bit set for a beginner:

  1. Look for a hand saw with a comfortable grip. This will help you to maintain control of the saw and prevent fatigue.
  2. Use a sawhorse or other support to hold the material you are cutting. This will help you to cut the material safely and accurately.
  3. Replace it when it stops working effectively. You will hear many people advising you to sharpen the saw. Good luck with that as it is impossible for a normal person. It is also close to impossible to find anyone who does. For the sake of £10 just buy a new one.

Summary

If you are a beginner, we recommend buying a hand saw around 560-600mm in length. Buy one with between 7-11 teeth per inch (TPI) as that is ideal for beginner work. If you want really fine work then 12+ TPI is much better.

This Draper is what we use on a day to day basis.

It is 500 mm long with 8 TPI so ideal for general purpose cutting.

Check Amazon UK - Price when reviewed £7.99

Our recommendation

Draper Venom 550mm 8PPI First Fix Double Ground Tool Box Wood Hand Saw

Draper Venom 500mm 8PPI First Fix Double Ground Tool Box Wood Hand Saw

How Much Would All of these Cost?

Tool Type

Average Price (£)

Claw Hammer

£20

Screwdriver Set

£25

Retractable tape measure

£7

Combi Drill/Driver

£80

Drill & Driver bit set

£15

Adjustable wrench

£15

Spirit Level

£20

Safety gloves and goggles

£20

Allen Keys

£10

Hand Saw

£10

TOTAL

£222

Without the drill/driver the total would be £102. There is of course no need to buy these all at once. You could buy 1 or 2 each month and have the full set of useful beginner tools in around 6 months.

Other Basic Tools and Accessories we would recommend

We would also recommend some basic items to have in your tool bag:

  • A tin of WD40 - stops anything that creaks instantly
  • Duck tape - great for dealing with breaks , sealing, patching up holes and packing.
  • Fuse tester -  handy little gadget to test if your fuse is blown in a plug
  • Toilet plunger - hopefully obvious use
  • Small ladder or steps - just handy for those slightly higher up things.
  • Nails and screws in the most common sizes

Amazon Basics Household Tool Set

Amazon Basics Household Tool Set

Some people prefer the simplicity of a home tool kit. This one from Amazon Basics is a very good option. It contains:

  • A voltage tester
  • 2 precision screwdrivers
  • A bit holder
  • 8 Hex keys
  • A machinist's hammer
  • 12 screwdriving bits
  • A 6" adjustable spanner
  • A utility knife
  • 6" combination pilers
  • 6" long nose pliers
  • A roll of insulation tape.

32 pieces in total in a handy carry case

Check Amazon UK - Price when reviewed £24.69

Hopefully you have found our list of tools and their uses of some value. When you are buying tools for beginners, you do of course have to start somewhere. We think the above list are the essentials. Simply by owning this list of basic tools, you can do a whole range of tasks around your home and garden.

This includes jobs such as building flat pack furniture, putting up shelves, curtain rails and poles, hanging pictures, making basic repairs, fixing all those niggly things like squeaking doors, loose floorboards, cracks and breaks, etc. You can also do many basic tasks that involve using wood. Making a table for your shed or garage, making a bench are all possible with the tools listed above.

Once you own these, then you can start to add more useful tools such as pliers, files, decorating tools, basic car tools such as a jack, a spanner set etc. It is all about building up your range of tools.

Resources

When we write information like this, we primarily use our own expertise and years of experience to provide the information. We also double check some of this from other experts in the tool trades. When we do we like to give them credit for their work. In this article we also checked our information at:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

{"email":"Email address invalid","url":"Website address invalid","required":"Required field missing"}