There are three most popular types of air compressors – reciprocating, centrifugal, and rotary screw. Each works in a slightly different manner but their main way of working is to force air into a container under pressure. This air is used as energy when it’s released. They are used in HVAC systems as well as air hammers, paint atomizers, air drills and generally used to fill up gas canisters.
An angle grinder comes with three different sources of power, they either use air, a battery, or a corded electrical source. As a handheld power tool it can be used to grind, cut and polish and should have a safety guard. Generally used to cut and finish timber, metal, ceramic tiles and glass. Some of the most well known makes are DEWALT and Makita and they are largely used by those needing to cut, sand and finish off all kinds of materials.
Using an electric motor a belt sander is typically used to finish off wood projects. It contains sand paper so that edges can be trimmed in timber reducing splinters and giving off a neat finish. They offer a way to round and shape surfaces which is ideal when looking to finish off a new flooring or furniture piece. The blades can be easy to get caught up in so it’s essential to use with focus so hands are protected and don’t get injured, and preferably without jewelry that can get dragged into the mechanics as the belt sander is working.
A bench vise attaches to a workbench and is used to keep a workpiece securely in place whilst being drilled, sawed, planed etc. The vise includes jaws made of either wood, metal or plastic, that screw together and hold on to the workpiece tightly. These jaws can be replaced as they begin to show signs of wear over time. Many bench vises have a swivel feature, which makes it easy to rotate the workpiece as necessary and some will include pipe jaws, increasing their versatility. Some bench vises also include a built-in anvil.
Mainly used in carpentry and masonry, a chisel is a construction tool with a cutting edge blade at one end. On the other end is a handle made of either plastic, metal, or wood, which is struck by a mallet. Chisels are used to carve and shape a variety of materials, including stone, metal, wood, cement, and bricks. This means that there are lots of different types and sizes of chisels for different applications, with various types of blades shaped for everything from fine detailing on wood to cutting lines into bricks. Most chisels are made of tempered steel, although those meant for use in workplaces with flammable materials are often made from substances like aluminum bronze in order to cut down on sparks.
A circular saw can be used as a large handheld tool or can be fixed to a work surface. Specifically this type of saw is referred to as handheld where other similar types, such as table or chop saws are slightly different. Circular saws are generally used by homeowners for DIY projects and for larger creative tasks. They are great for cutting or shaping plywood although some might prefer a miter saw which can be much more accurate in cutting angles. Circular saws can be quite hazardous to use so it’s important to be fully focused and aware of the dangers of flying pieces and slippery hands!
The cordless drill is perhaps one of the most common tools used in the home and without one you have to rely on manual tools which can be timely and much less accurate. Used for hanging pictures to curtain rails they are portable and easy to use – as long as they are charged up you can use them for all types of DIY jobs around the house. They help without the need for other tools and make a good investment for all those things needed around the home. You can even use them for outdoor decking and furniture making and usually are all that’s needed for multiple tasks. Typically they come with attachments so you can drill holes as well as drive in screws. Because they are cordless there’s no need to be near a power outlet and make a great tool to have handy when there are jobs to do in the home.
Cordless Heat Guns
Cordless heat guns are portable tools that use battery power. The more powerful the heat gun required, the more expensive they get as they need much bigger sources of power. They have many possible applications from heating up frozen pipes to loosening nuts and bolts, restoring car trims to using in the kitchen (if you are a budding master chef).
A crowbar is a metal bar with a curve at one end, which is often forked or split. The other end generally has a thin, flat edge shaped like a wedge. The forked end is used to pull out nails whereas the wedge end can be squeezed between objects in order to pry them apart, with the curve providing more leverage. Crowbars are usually made of strong materials like iron or steel, although sometimes titanium is preferred as it is more lightweight and nonmagnetic. Also known as wrecking bars when used in demolition, crowbars come in a range of weights and sizes and are particularly useful in carpentry and roofing.
Versatile and powerful, a die grinder is a handheld power tool commonly used for metal, but can also be used on plastic and wood. Capable of being used with a range of different bits, you are able to polish, sand, grind, cut or sharpen different materials. Additionally, a die grinder can be used to remove rust when caught in its early stages, even if it is quite stuck on. There are several different kinds of die grinders:
Straight die grinder: looks very similar to a screwdriver, as its name implies, it is straight.
Right angle die grinder: the bit attachment, rather than being straight, is set at a right angle. This type of grinder is best for small spaces
When working on a job that requires multiple electric power tools, you may find you often run out of electrical sources to power them. An extension lead extends your power by allowing you to plug the lead into a main source of power thereby offering several additional power sources. They can be great if the cord of your power tool is short. You can often find extension leads available with 8 plugs or 6 plugs and with surge protection. Do be mindful when using extension leads that you do not overload them, otherwise you can create a fire risk as the main plug will overheat.
Flagging tape can be used for a range of purposes, but primarily as a means of temporarily marking an area as a safety solution. Flagging tape is easy to use and its bright colors and fade-resistance helps to draw attention to any hazards, keeping everyone safe. You will often find this kind of tape used on construction sites to mark lines for sewage, oil, gas and electrics. Those working in the forestry industry also use flagging tape to mark trees that are suitable for logging or hazardous trees. It is always handy to keep a roll of flagging tape to hand, as you never know when you may need it.
There are many types of taps which are designed to cut threads into a hole which allows a bolt to fit more securely. Depending on the type of bolt you are intending to fit, you have to have the right type of tap to get the job done. Ground thread taps are a class of taps ideal for machine tapping. The most common types of ground thread taps are:
Standard hand or short machine taps: available in three leaded threads (9 thread, 6 thread or 11/2 thread), these taps have a short and straight flute.
Spiral taps: perfect when tapping if you are unsure what’s beneath; it pushes the material back out of the hole rather than down.
Hammers come in various styles, sizes, and weights depending on the applications they are intended for, although most householders will probably only ever need one or two different kinds. The most popular type is the claw hammer, which has a forked, clawed end ideal for pulling out nails or levering up floorboards and a regular head for banging in nails. Other types of hammer include features to help with metal shaping or – like lump hammers and sledge hammers – are much more robust and designed for light demolition work. Most modern hammers are made with the handle built into the head and feature some type of shock absorber for comfort.
Heat guns are typically used in many applications. Whilst they are used to remove wallpaper from walls and paint from wooden structures, they can also be used for bending plastics and soft materials. Like cordless heat guns they are also used to thaw out frozen pipes. If you think of a hairdryer it works in a similar way with heat, they are just much more powerful. They can work with an electrical cord or with a battery, and some use air compression. They’re also ideal for shrink wrapping and make a great tool for those wanting to complete DIY or crafts.
Known also as Allen keys, hex keys are a hand powered fastening tool that is classed as a kind of spanner and socket tool. They are ideal in tightening and loosening hexagonal bolts of varying sizes; you can purchase hex key sets that will work with a wide range of bolts. Hex keys are a staple of any toolbox as they are great for assembling flat-pack furniture and other items that have simple assembly. They are generally made of steel and have a ‘L’ shape, but you can also find straight hex keys (that look like a screwdriver), T-handle style as well as foldable hex keys.
Maximum durability and efficiency the impact driver is designed as a screw hold attachment that minimizes over-stripping your screws as they are driven into the surface you are working on. Two-sided versions lock securely for fast use and quick impact. Impact drivers are mostly used for their ability to drive in a number of fasteners quickly whilst reducing the pressure on hands and wrists while you work.
An impact wrench looks very similar, in a way, to a power drill as it’s a handheld tool with a nozzle. The difference of course is that the impact wrench doesn’t drill holes or drive in screws. It’s almost like a windy gun and are usually a main tool for mechanics and other types of industry professionals. The impact wrench are typically used for loosening bolts and lug nuts but not ideal for tightening up due to the potential to use too much torque and strip the metal – an impact driver would be used for that application.
A jigsaw uses a narrow blade to allow for precise cutting of straight lines and curves. The blade is attached to the front of this portable tool and it cuts neatly so there is little need for sanding the cut materials. The blade’s ability is measured in teeth per inch, or TPI, with the higher TPI giving a much sleeker cut. Generally, the only tool that can cut curves perfectly this is the ideal tool for DIY whether you are aiming to shape timber for furniture or to create new surfaces and worktops If fitted with the right blade they can also cut through metal, tile and glass. They make the ideal tool to have at home for projects that other tools can’t handle.
Whilst knives are commonly thought of as weapons, they are a versatile tool that can be used for a range of applications. There are a wide variety of knives available, but each has different purposes. One of the most commonly used knives is a utility knife which is discussed further later on. Another popular knife option is the snap blade knife which allows for blade sections to snap off, so the entire blade doesn’t need to be replaced. This kind of knife is ideal for light to medium cutting for wallpaper, rubber and vinyl. Carpet knives have an angular blade which allows for precision when trimming and cutting carpets; typically the blade is also retractable. A precision knife, also referred to as a hobby knife, has a very sharp blade ideal for crafting. The blade can come in a range of shapes, sizes and thicknesses.
If you are using a laser level then you will be looking to precisely plan a level whether its in the home or the garden. It provides the ability for creating a perfect and accurate horizontal or vertical line. This tool is handheld, very versatile, and massively useful to have at home. It can be used to hang pictures evenly, create the perfect line for dado rails, and to ensure outdoor decking is level. The laser light provides you with an almost perfect line without the need to use chalk or a pencil to mark out your level.
A measurement tool essential in the electronics industry, a multimeter uses three different features so that you can realise what is going on throughout the circuit, be it at home or another property. Their features are mainly; a voltmeter which measures the voltage throughout direct or alternating electric currents; an ohm meter which measures electrical resistance in ohms; and an ammeter which measures electrical current in amperes. In summary multimeters measure voltage, resistance and current. They are easy to read and make it easy to interpret accurate values making it easier and much safer to avoid electrical fires in the property.
A nailer or nail gun is primarily a tool to drive in nails to surfaces such as timber and other types of soft materials.Usually, nail guns are driven by air – the pneumatic force allows the nails to be driven in quickly saving time and being efficient enough to drive in numerous nails in a fast time. The nail is driven in at the exact angle you point the gun so no more need for a traditional hammer when nails can bend and the pressure on your joints are given relief.
An oscillating tool is used by loads of homeowners who need something to help with a huge number of applications. It can be used for cutting out holes in drywall where electrics need to be fitted; and can be used outdoors to place holes in your decking. They’re also good for removing rust from metals like pipes and even for sanding down a bit of furniture or removing mortar and wilting plaster from walls. An oscillating tool is clearly versatile and for cutting and sanding they make an ideal tool to have in the house.
A portable generator is the most useful tool when there is no direct electrical source. Portable generators can be used to power up small appliances such as the TV or refrigerator so they make a good backup for when there’s a power shortages or disasters that take out the usual energy source. Your portable generator will work on diesel, gasoline, or propane and they typically have two power outlets so are ideal for keeping sources of energy to two appliances at a time.
For those looking to cut through different materials the reciprocating saw is ideal. It can be used to cut through metals, timber, PVC and even through screws and nails. Although they are difficult to use if you want to create bevels and compound cuts (a jigsaw is more precise with these jobs) reciprocating saws are ideal for use in demo projects where pure accuracy is not required. Their blades are thin so cuts are neat, especially on shorter surfaces like pieces of timber, but other tools like the sliding miter saw are better for cutting through wider boards.
Sometimes used for driving chisels, a rubber mallet is a rubber block on a handle. It is designed to give less impact than the metal head of a hammer, which is an important factor in avoiding impact marks. Because it has less rebound, it is also more comfortable to use. This makes a rubber mallet useful for fitting wooden parts, shaping metal or working with plasterboard. It is also an ideal tool for applications like tapping laminate flooring into place and laying paving slabs.
A good screwdriver set is designed to help you accomplish a range of DIY or professional tasks and will include a selection of screwdrivers in a variety of sizes. It will also include a choice of heads, designed to fit either Philips, slotted or pozi screws. Some sets are insulated, which are designed to protect the user from electric shock. There are two main types of screwdriver sets to choose from – those including individual screwdrivers with their own handles, or those containing a screwdriver handle and a variety of interchangeable bits. Deciding between them usually comes down to the amount of space you have available, with interchangeable bits being much more compact and far easier to fit into a tool belt.
Sliding Miter Saw
Using a sliding rail a sliding miter saw can be used for cutting longer materials that other general cutting tools. They make it easier to cut materials than that of a non-sliding miter saw which can still be used to cut accurate angles and precise straight lines but a sliding miter saw allows cutting of wider boards. They allow a stable cut and it’s easy to line the cut up. They’re ideal for woodworking of any kind, so are great for most timber work and perfect for cutting angles whether its flooring, skirting, decking or even cutting balustrades and more.
Socket sets can be used to remove or tighten fasteners like nuts and bolts and are used for everything from dismantling household furniture to taking apart complex machinery. A socket set includes a large variety of socket heads designed to fit different sizes of nuts and bolts. These sockets snap onto a hand-held section that uses lever mechanisms, in a similar way to a wrench. Socket sets can be easier to use than open-jawed wrenches, as the socket head sits over the head of the nut, providing more torque. The type of socket set you will need will depend on the type of fasteners you generally work with and whilst no one set can provide sockets for every fastener you may encounter, most comprehensive sets will cover the majority.
Even though soldering irons are largely used for electrical and metal work they are also handy tools to keep indoors as they have a number of advantages. Used to melt solder they are made to keep two pieces of work together; they have a heated tip and an insulated handle and are easy to use. They can be used by jewelers, electrical workers, roofers and metal workers so quite often used by homeowners to carry out small repairs and those wanting to carry out craft work.
Also known as stud sensors or detectors, stud finders are small handheld tools which help to find studs hidden behind drywalls. There are two main types – magnetic stud finders and electrical stud finders. Not all homeowners own a stud finder but those that do find that they need to use one that is durable and reliable. They are typically used to discover studs so that pictures can be hung solidly rather than simply in the drywall. They help to anchor objects so that they are sturdy and secure.
No good tool kit is complete without a tape measure that allows easy and accurate measurement, sometimes across large areas. A tape measure includes a strip marked with linear measurements, which can be made from either metal, glass fiber, plastic, or cloth. The material used and the type of markings depend very much on the type of trade that the tape measure is to be used for. The most common tape measure within the construction industry uses a metallic strip that stays stiff and straight when extended, making it easier to measure longer distances. The strip will often have a metal hook at the end to secure it into place during use, and will then coil conveniently back into its container once the measurements have been taken.
A well-organized toolbox is essential for working efficiently, whether professionally or undertaking DIY projects. Toolboxes come in a wide variety of sizes and provide a way to conveniently store and transport your tools. Many come with a handle that makes them easy to carry, whereas larger models may have wheels so that they can be rolled along. The level of organization you’ll need will depend on the extent of your tool collection, and some toolboxes feature multiple tiers and slide-out trays for smaller parts. Designed to be robust and durable, they are constructed of heavy-duty materials, with some offering additional security features.
A circular saw and a track saw look very similar on the outside but both are slightly different in the applications they can be used in. Track saws are used to cut materials in an accurate way, allowing you to cut and grind materials at an angle and they are mobile tools that are used to cut items like timber and tile. They can be attached safely to a worktop for rigidity, so that they stay in place while you work – although not permanently, and they offer a much more precise cut than circular or manual saws.
Utility knives are a great addition to your toolbox, as they are easy to use. A retractable utility knife allows for the blades to fold into the knife handle, helping keep you safe. Some also offer automatic retraction, in which the blade retracts when not in use. Utility knives may have multiple blades ideal for a range of cutting purposes, such as straight edge or serrated. Utility knives are commonly used to cut cardboard, drywall, laminates and plastics. They are also great for household purposes too. Some utility knives allow you to choose the length of your blade, which is ideal for cutting materials of varying depths.
Ideal in woodwork and metalwork, a vise is a device which holds the workpiece in place while you are working. Essentially, it is a gripping or clamping tool. There are many types of vises available:
Bench Vise: a bench vise, typically used for metal or woodwork attaches directly to your workbench, but only if the work surface is unstable. If your workbench is stable, you can use it directly on top of the bench or attach it to the side. It features a set of jaws, one which remains fixed and the other moves and can be tightened to the object on which you are working.
Pipe Vise: a pipe vise holds a pipe or tube in place while you are working so they can be threaded or cut. Holding pipes/tubes as small as 3mm in diameter, and up to 200mm in diameter, pipe vises are also compatible with stands, perfect for transporting between job sites.
Chain Vise: when working with pipes, you may use a chain vise which supports the pipe in a v-shape, with the chain keeping the pipe secure. As chain vises have a longer length, they can increase the working range.
Yoke Vise: also referred to as an adjustable vise, this style of vise clamps a pipe into place with a screw. The jaws of this vise are serrated, helping provide a better grip.
For a range of fabrication, a welder is an essential tool. Depending on what you plan to weld, the type of welder and welding process used should be considered. There are four common types of welding processes:
MIG welding: easy to learn and is great for both thick and thin metals (steel, stainless steel and aluminium alloys).
TIG welding: ideal for when precision is needed, gives a clean, aesthetically pleasing finish; suitable for a range of materials, even exotic metals.
Stick: great for thicker metals, so suitable when working with cast iron.
Wire cutters are tools specifically designed for cutting wire effortlessly and cleanly. There are different types of cutters for different types of wires, with some offering protection against electric shocks. In general, wire cutters are made up of two levers, joined together by a fulcrum at one end. This intensifies the power provided when pressing the handle into the pincers, making it easy to snip wires with one hand. Typically made of steel, wire cutters come in adjustable, non-adjustable, and locking styles, with different varieties including diagonal cutters, end cutters, cable cutters, and side cutters.
Designed for tightening and loosening nuts and bolts, wrenches come in many different styles for a variety of applications. You can find wrenches with open ends, box ends, ratchets, or a combination of features. Adjustable wrenches have a moveable lower jaw that allows you to adjust the size. Some wrenches are designed to work with metric fasteners and others with standard (SAE). A wrench set gives you a variety of sizes and will sometimes include a selection of different wrench types. Some sets are fully metric, some standard, and others will include a mixture of the two, sometimes color-coded for quick and easy identification.