This renovation has been a long learning curve to say the least and part of the learning has been learning new DIY tools and how to use them. When we started this renovation nearly 1 year ago I didn’t even own a screwdriver let alone know how to use one properly!!
The challenges have been knowing what DIY tools you really need, how to use them, finding them at a good price and…………..for me being a native English speaker living in Sweden what DIY tools are called in Swedish!!
In this post I’m going to list the DIY tools I use or have used and for what and give an honest review of what DIY tools are worth it for first time DIYers like me!! These lists are ongoing & updated regularly!
DIY Tools I owe & what I use them for
DIY Power tools
- ESSENTIAL – Hikoki cordless circular saw: this is probably the DIY tool I’ve used the most so far in the renovation and I’d say a circular saw is essential of all first time DIYers. Most allow you to change cutting depth & cut angle which can be really useful. Battery saws can lack the power of the plugin saws but I’ve only really noticed this when cutting long 5cm hardwood floorboards.
- ESSENTIAL – Hikoki cordless drill / screwdriver: I bought a secondhand Hikoki screwdriver to start with, it broke but I had 2 batteries so I decided to get a new Hikoki screwdriver so I could make use of the batteries. What I like about my screwdriver is it’s a drill as well so is quite powerful. I also use it for mixing clay or lime mortar by adding a “whisk” extension.
- ESSENTIAL – Hikoki fast charger: a fast charger is a must unless you have 4-5 batteries but even still, my standard charger needs over an hour to charge a standard battery whereas my fast charger can charge a battery in 15mins so when I’m doing work that requires my screwdriver & circular saw I leave 1 battery charging and work with 2 others then swap them around.
- Metabo STEB 65 QUICK Jigsaw: I just bought this one recently for finishing carpentry but I could have used a jigsaw a long time ago for fiddly cuts when building floors & walls.
- ESSENTIAL – Black & Decker miter saw & table: Like a circular saw I think that a miter saw is an essential power tool for any renovation. With a miter saw you can get precise straight or angled cuts which are a lot harder with a circular saw.
- Einhell Tablesaw: This a tool I could have done with a long time back for doing long thin cuts of wood but at the same time I have managed without one until now when I decide it was time to get one for the finishing carpentry.
- Rapid electric nail gun: now we’re moving into more finer finishing DIY I don’t want ugly screws to be visible so I recently bought an electric nail gun for finishing. This nail gun allows nails up to 3cm long which is sufficient for most finishing. I went for a corded options because of the huge price difference, most battery nail guns cost anything from $200-600 whereas this simple finishing nail gun for $50!! I’ll write another post of nail guns in the future, join our newsletter to stay up to date!
- Bosch Hand router POF 1400 ACE & router bits – great for finishing details on drawers & handmade furnite
- Carpentry knives: I used to think these were a bit of a fashion statement that all carpenters had to have, that was until I got one myself!! Nowerdays I have a carpentry knife with me the whole time for opening packages & trimming wood.
- Pencil & set square:
- Angle finder:
- Dust masks: especially important with demolition, get at least a pack of FFP3 masks or better still a half-mask with changeable filters. Some jobs I just use a FFP3 mask like when cutting a lot of wood and for messier DIY jobs like when we dug out the old sawdust insulation we used half-masks and changed the filters regularly. Your lungs will thank you!!
- Gloves: just handling raw wood you can pick up splinters so multiple setups of gloves are essential, I’d recommend leather ones as they give a nice grip & protection as well as lasting longer. I recently cut my hand to the bone as well without gloves now, I think if I’d had them on it would have been a minor scrape rather than a nasty cut!
- Eye protections: Depends what you’re doing but I’ve had some loose shaves with my eyes so I wear eye protection while cutting wood & all forms of demolition nowerdays.
- Ear protections: You might get away with it using power tools occasionally but once you start using them regularly you’ll want to protect your hearing or like me you might end up with tinnitus after many months of using power tools!
- Proper footwear: one of the many injuries I’ve picked up on this renovation was when I dropped a cast iron radiator on my foot with just trainers on while trying to drop it into a rubbish container, although I never got x-rays I’m quite sure bones broke so since then I got steal toecap boots and I wear them for everything!!
DIY Tools: Hire or Buy?
I’ve also hired some tools (drills, diggers, big hoovers) from a local builders depot for one off DIY jobs like when I had to remove boulders in the groundwork with a pneumatic jack hammer, not something I recommend doing by the way! However, generally if you’re going to need a tool more than 2-3 times during a renovation and you have the budget it’s much better to just buy one than hire it as the cost of hiring multiple times will probably end up more than buying your own.
Where to buy DIY tools?
As much as I like to buy local & support local companies for me in Sweden the local DIY shops just simply aren’t competitive when it comes to price or range of tools so I sadly have to buy nearly all my bigger tools online instead.
For smaller tools & materials I do buy from locally builders merchants as well as all wood we’ve used, 80-90% of which has come from local businesses in the town nearby. They have good prices & better quality wood compared with the larger DIY chains.
When buying DIY tools online I look for 5 things
- Best price: goes without saying, you want the best price and don’t be surprised if you see the exact same product $40-50 cheaper from one website to the next.
- Find products in stock for quick delivery: Once I’ve order somethings I want it NOW! so I always make sure I only buy products that are in stock & available for immediate shipping. If you do this you’ll probably find your orders being delivered within 3-4 days, some orders from within Sweden I’ve received within 24 hours!!!
- At least a 30 day return policy: if you change your mind or find a better price nearly all online stores allow “no questions asked” return policy from 14-30 days, I’ve also found some bigger chains having up to 1 year return policy!!
- Buy in your region: You might be buying online but make sure that the products are suitable to your region both in terms of safety standards & with power tools that the electric plugs fit!!
- Do your research: once I realised I need a new DIY tool I tend to head straight over to youTube and see how people use the tool in question and try to find some honest reviews of the products. A lot of products review can just be advertising so bare that in mind & try to find review of multiple tools in one video then they tend to be a bit more subjective.