When curating this list, I tried thinking back to what tools I had to get me by with my first projects. It takes TIME (and as Jax would say, 'money, honey!') to built up a solid kit of tools and you don't really know what you'll need until you delve into your own projects and figure out what kind of work really interests you. From starting out with my all pink tool set I took to college, to borrowing and inheriting tools from parents, to slowly building my own garage full of tools, there's still a never-ending list of things I could use.
I always tell people to borrow the bigger, pricier tools (when possible) at first. Some people just don't have the space for a table saw and others may benefit from tinkering while working on a project and deciding what functionalities are most important to them for that specific tool. So spend your money on items you will most certainly NEED and use for the great majority of every project you begin.
This is a basic list of the items I have used most from my first project to my most recent.
I hope it helps start you off and gives you the confidence to start DOING IT YOURSELF! :)
Ryobi Combo Kit This is the perfect starter kit! I have this exact one and use every single thing in it. It comes with a drill, reciprocating saw, circular saw and flashlight as well as 2 batteries, a charger, and tool bag. I personally own both Dewalt and Ryobi products and love both for different reasons. If you're just starting out and have NO tools whatsoever, Ryobi is a great option because these batteries work with their entire RYOBI 18-Volt ONE+ System and it's a great price point.
Swanson Speed Square I use this on most every project to make sure my corners are square
DEWALT Drill Bit Set This set features long-lasting titanium coating, no-spin shanks and can be used for both wood and metal!
Stanley Hammer Every DIY-er needs a hammer, this one works AND looks great!
Purdy 3 Brush Set My favorite brushes- perfect for cutting corners!
TEKTON Pry Bar A great multi-use tool to have in your kit
DEWALT Jab Saw Great knife for cutting into sheet rock effortlessly
Stanley Measuring Tape I have four measuring tapes and still say that's not enough. This one's a great variation of the classic!
RYOBI Cordless Brad Nailer I honestly cannot believe I used an air compressor and nail gun with a cord for so long. I can remember attempting projects during nap time and PRAYING the compressor wouldn't wake up my baby. This cordless version is absolutely EVERYTHING and worth every single penny.
Alltrade Utility Knife This comes so in handy to keep with you during your projects, you'' need it more often than you'd think!
RYOBI Random Orbit Sander Another great cordless tool that makes sanding much quicker + easier!
NoCry Safety Glasses Every single DIY-er needs a pair (or 5) of safety glasses
Klein Tools Screwdriver Set A must-have basic set for your tool kit- this one comes with 8 pieces as well as a magnetizer/demagnetizer!
IRWIN Wire Cutters I use these for all sorts of projects! Great to have in your tool kit
DEWALT Cordless Drill If you don't buy the kit I listed above with the RYOBI drill, DEWALT is a great option! Amazing quality and I use this one just as much as my RYOBI.
DEWALT Compound Miter Saw I went back and forth between adding this item to the list. Do you NEED a miter saw when you're first starting out? Probably not. But this is my absolute favorite tool and is the only way I've been able to achieve my larger projects such as my built in closet and office shelves. Even if you're not able to shell out the money for one right now, it's a good tool to put on your wish list and save for!
Titan Tools Scraper and Putty Knife Set If you'll be doing any sort of wood-working or working with wood filler/putty you'll definitely want a set of these!
IRWIN Clamps These are so handy! I have them in all sizes but the small ones helped me and did what I needed them to when building my first set of shelves!
SolidWork Caulk Gun It's beyond frustrating to me when I'm trying to cleanly caulk a project I'm trying to finish up, only to have my caulk gun jam or have a part break off. This one's a little more than your average Hardware Store brand caulk gun but WORTH IT!