Hand tools on a wooden table

Best Hand Tools You Need in Your Tool Bag for 2023

As I’ve had to remodel a home I’ve come to the realization just how important having your own set of tools and being handy can be. If you have the right tool for the job and know how to do the job you can save so much money. Whether they’re diy projects, small fixes, or major home improvement projects these hand tools will serve you well. Having the best tools for the job will save you both time and money.

It just gives you that sense of accomplishment to fix something yourself. But you don’t want to be held back by not having the right tools, so in this article I’m going to be going over my top picks for the best tools for you to have in your tool kit. There are many brands to choose from and that can make a difference in quality so I will occasionally put in my personal pick.

Before I go into the tools themselves first things first, and that’s what the tools are going to be carried in. Having a good carrying case that will last is important. Because you want a good variety of tools you’ll need a tool bag durable enough to carry them all in so for that I prefer a stone mason’s bag. These things are built to last.

Here’s my pick for one made by the legendary Klein Tools company.

What are the best hand tools for your tool bag?

Bar of Soap

It might sound funny but coating your fasteners with soap will help drive them in. If you’ve got old, weathered wood that’s fighting you, give this method a try. It has helped me every time I’ve needed it. Always have a bar of soap in your collection, it will certainly be the topic of conversation

Claw Hammer

Probably one of the most iconic tools. The claw hammer has so much versatility. It is the meat and potatoes of every tool bag.

Sledge Hammer

Unless it’s a really big job, a small sledge will give you the muscle you need.

Ballpeen Hammer

A versatile hammer used for metals, chisels, and punches.


The screwdriver is an iconic staple but if you get the interchangeable bit kind you’ll have an answer for every problem.


When you just need to grab onto something.

Needle Nose Pliers

For those hard-to-reach tight spaces when regular pliers won’t cut it.

Vise Grips

When you need a set of pliers to grab something and lock on with authority.


From hanging pictures to mounting a tv, no one likes an uneven job. Use a level to keep your work professional, accurate, and balanced.

Torpedo Level

A more compact level for smaller projects. I would reccommend the ones that are curved in shape just because they look cool.

Tape Measure

Because you have to know how long or short something’s gotta be. Spend the extra money to get a good one that won’t crease or crinkle on you.

Carpenter’s Pencil

When you need to make an easily visible mark with something that won’t roll away.

Box Cutter

An industrial tool that can make a precise cut with a retractable blade.

Tong and Groove Pliers (aka Channellocks)

An open end wrench with slip joints for fast grabs.

Nail Biters (Pliers)

A good tool for biting off or extracting nails.

Wire Cutters

To strip or cut wire.

Adjustable Wrench

A wrench to be adjusted for most sizes you need. Definitely a good budget option over a set of box wrenches if that’s all you can afford. The adjustable wrench also gives you the ability to go between sizes if you need.

Combination Wrench Set

If you’d like to pay the extra amount a good set of box (closed end) and open end wrenches are great for exact measurements.

Chisel Set

If you need to separate two materials, get underneath of something, or shaping wood a good chisel set is a must.

Plumb Bob

A plumb bob acts as a weight suspended from a string and used as a vertical line reference.

Chalk Box

A chalk box is used to mark a straight line over a large distance.

All Purpose Knife

A tool that’s always good to have in your pocket or toolbag. Preferably a knife with a hybrid edge of both straight and serrated for rope or whatever else you run into.


Used as a spackle knife, caulk removal, or paint scraper. Good for cleanup on your projects that may get messy.

Roll of Wire, Rope, Cord

Sometimes you just need to bundle stuff together

Duct Tape

Must I say more? Use it for anything. It will fix 99% of your problems.

Electrical Tape

A good general purpose insulating tape for wire that protects against moisture or corrosion.


To smooth or reshape rough edges. You might need to reshape something if it doesn’t fit perfectly or is uneven.

Sand Paper and Steel Wool

Good for wood working, finishing, or polishing out imperfections and rust.

Wood and Coping Saws

There are many advanced power tool options to cut wood with. However, I would recommend you to still carry a regular saw just in case. The coping saw is for delicate and precise cuts.

Small Pry Bar

Used for baseboards, quarter round, wood framing, or just for simple leverage to lift an object.

Speed Square

To measure or mark a straight line either flat or at angle. (Don’t get a plastic one. I know from personally experience I would recommend a quality metal one.)

Lubricant (WD-40, 3-in-1 Oil)

Many uses such as for removing rust, fixing a squeaky hinge, and loosening tight fixtures to name a few.

C Clamps

To temporarily hold one object to another. Used in welding, or gluing wooden surfaces.

Hex Key Set

You never know when you might run into that pesky fastener that requires hex keys such as some furniture pieces.

Stud Finder

Needed for any wall mounting or restoration work.

In Conclusion

Being handy is so valuable and gives you an advantage most people don’t have living in this “call the man” world. When you know how to do the job and have the right tools you can fix or build anything.

These are the essential tools I would recommend having in your collection for any project that may come your way. Most people who have a respectable collection have collected them over the years, so whenever you see a great price on a quality tool pick it up and check it off the list. New tools are constantly being put to market but this is a good foundation that will cover almost anything you might need.

If there are any other tools you think should be on this list let me know, I’d be happy to hear from you.

Stay faithful.

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