The 10 Best Tool Kits
This wiki has been updated 24 times since it was first published in April of 2016. Whether you're a house owner or an apartment renter, there is always something that needs to be done around the place, from hanging pictures or shelves to fixing a leaky pipe. With these comprehensive tool kits, you will almost always have the right equipment for any project. Plus, picking up an entire set at once is much more affordable than buying a whole bunch of individual pieces. When users buy our independently chosen editorial recommendations, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki.
October 30, 2020:
For this update we removed the Stalwart 75-HT1086 due to durability issues with the case, and the fact that we already had superior options at that same price. We added the ENTAI 218-Piece, a robust kit that includes a voltage tester, something you don't typically see in these kinds of kits.
We also replaced the Craftsman Evolv 41283, due to its lack of variety. It's a fine kit, but the majority of its tools are sockets, and a more varied kit would better suit most basic DIY projects. We replaced it with the Cartman 148, a kit that has a nice amount of variety, and still includes a small collection of sockets as well.
We also replaced the refurbished Black + Decker LDX120PK option with a brand new option. It’s the exact same product, but just new out of the box.
If these kits are too basic for your liking, one of these power tool kits might be a better option. They include heavy-duty tools like power drills, saws, and impact drivers, making them well-suited for larger home projects.
November 07, 2019:
Decided to remove the Stanley Mixed STMT73795 from the list due to recent reports that several tools in the set lacked both quality and durability. We also slightly downgraded the Craftsman Evolv 41283; while there seems to be nothing functionally wrong with the tools, many people feel they’re too small for certain tasks.
The Cartman Orange 39-Piece, on the other hand, seemed like a logical candidate for an upgrade, as users consistently note that it’s more than serviceable as a starter kit and a nice value for the quality of the components.
The Workpro Maintenance has a lot going for it: an expansive collection of 156 pieces, hex keys in both metric and SAE formats, and even a mini saw (a component few sets seem to include). Users also appreciate the quality craftsmanship and durability of the heavy-duty canvas bag.
DIYVA by Barbara K Barbara K — with its line of quality tools for women — is setting out to prove that do-it-yourself skills are in no way exclusive to men. This efficient little tool set comes with a charming pink case, a handful of key tools, a flashlight, assorted hardware, and a guide with step-by-step instructions for common household repairs. diy-va.com
Lazer Deluxe A household tool kit is already a good gift idea — but a tool kit with a personalized, laser-engraved name plate on the case? That’s next-level gift giving right there. Anyone from a college freshman moving away for the first time to a stay-at-home mom should appreciate this set, which includes several pliers and wrenches, a hammer, a knife, a wire cutter and additional useful items. lazerdesigns.com
Selecting The Appropriate Tool Kit
If you’ll often carry your set from job site to job site, you’ll want something lightweight and versatile.
A tool, by definition, is a device that you use to carry out a particular function. In the traditional sense, this means it’s an item we can utilize to perform a physical task more efficiently. We use tools every day of our lives: the coffee mug we use to feed our caffeine addictions in the morning, the pen we use to take notes during those mind-numbing meetings, even the toothbrush we use to practice good dental hygiene before bed.
The tool kits we’re exploring here, however, are really only comprised of devices used for construction, maintenance, and repair projects. Think of activities like woodworking, vehicle fixes, furniture assembly, or simple pipe-fitting. The type of tool kit you select should be dictated by the tasks you plan to carry out.
These kits feature an array of useful hand tools. Typically, they include some combination of hammers, tape measures, screwdrivers, bits, wrenches, saws, levels, pliers, knives, and other miscellaneous items. Your specific needs should determine what that final combination is for you. If you plan on doing some heavy-duty sawing, drilling, or sanding, you should probably check out some power tool kits.
The strength and durability of the tools within the kit is a key consideration, as well. If you simply need a few utensils to complete minor household tasks — like hanging decorations or tightening loose shelving — an inexpensive plastic set may work. For serious do-it-yourself projects, you’ll want strong metal tools with quality handles and grips.
For some folks, the size and style of the case is important. If you’ll often carry your set from job site to job site, you’ll want something lightweight and versatile. If you’re taking on a more ambitious project that requires large tools, a more heavy-duty, robust case will probably work better.
Proper Usage Can’t Be Understated
Tools, by their very nature, are hazardous. Unfortunately, serious and sometimes tragic incidents caused by tool usage are far too common, even among experienced professionals. It’s up to you to identify and recognize potential dangers associated with each tool you use. If you’re unsure how to use a particular tool, seek out advice or training from someone who does.
You should immediately replace any devices that are defective, cracked, or broken.
It’s worth reiterating that you must select the appropriate tool for the job. Using an unsuitable substitute greatly increases the chances of an accident. Make sure to use tools that are in good condition (and maintain them properly when they’re not in use). Store them somewhere safe where they won’t be damaged by heat or moisture. You should immediately replace any devices that are defective, cracked, or broken.
The instructions within your tool kit are there for a reason – read and follow them for your own safety. When storing or carrying sharp tools, make sure you cover them with a strong sheath or holster to help prevent injury. When you transport them, you should ensure that they’re pointed away from you at all times.
If you want to have multiple tools on your person for easy access, wear a tool belt instead of jamming utensils into random pockets. You should also focus on protecting the exposed parts of your body. If flying debris could be a hazard, make sure you wear safety glasses that fit. Your hands will often be at risk, as well; some resilient, tight-fitting gloves are nice to have in these cases.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration of the United States Department of Labor has published a helpful information booklet on basic usage and safety protections associated with the use of both hand and power tools.
Tools Of The Trades
Few people rely on hand tools more frequently than tradesmen. When you’re using tools, even if you have little to no practical experience doing so, you’re more than likely carrying out a function that these professionals perform as part of their daily lives. Therefore, it’s important to understand what they do and why they’re an essential part of our society.
Plus, you’ll impress your friends and your significant other in the process.
A carpenter works primarily with wood. Without carpenters, you wouldn’t have a roof over your head and walls surrounding you right now. This tradesperson can’t live without a hammer, tape measure, nail puller, framing square, and a solid level. For many jobs, he or she will also require a chalk line, utility knife, tin snips, or a wood chisel. If you plan to take on some woodworking tasks, a tool kit designed for a carpenter is a good bet.
Plumbers — the heroes responsible for your running water, showers, and indoor toilets — use some specialty tools that you wouldn’t necessarily find in a standard tool kit. However, they do use several common devices. If wrenches serve as the plumber’s best man, then pliers, tube cutters, and saws would be in the wedding party. A tool kit designed primarily for plumbing functions would also likely include pipe shears, a tube bender, a mini pipe threader, and some plumber’s tape.
Admit it, you take electricity for granted. It's okay, we forgive you, but your electrician might not. In addition to basics like a hammer, level, and a multitude of screwdrivers, electricians rely on a variety of tools that are ideal for wiring. Side cutters, wire strippers, and a pair of needle nose pliers are essentials. For these tradesmen, an adjustable wrench always comes in handy when working on nuts and bolts in a confined space. They also frequently need a utility knife for stripping heavy-duty wire, opening boxes, and similar tasks.
In today’s increasingly digital world, fewer people seem interested in developing the skills needed to use hand tools for simple, at-home chores. Why bother, they think, when they can just call up the repair man? You may find that by investing a little money into a quality tool kit, and a bit of time into learning proper technique, you’ll save money in the long run, having gained the ability to handle these jobs yourself. Plus, you’ll impress your friends and your significant other in the process.