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The Essential Power Tools List: 30 Different Types Everyone Should Own

man using Bosch Power Tools Drill

If you’re a homeowner who does their repairs, there are some power tools that you need. Many of these tools make typical repair jobs easier, which is why we recommend most homeowners have them on hand.

While you don’t have to go out and purchase every tool on this list today, it is a good idea to refer back to this often and slowly add these essential tools to your toolset.

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Drills & Similar Tools

1. Cordless Drill

BLACK+DECKER 20V MAX Cordless Drill

If you’re going to purchase any power tool, you should purchase a cordless drill. These drills are usually powered by a battery, which makes them very portable. They also have enough strength to drive screws through thicker materials, like planks of wood.

They’re used for many different projects. If you need to put a hole in a wall, wood, or other challenging surfaces, this tool can do it. Corded options are available as well, but they are not as portable as their cordless cousins.

2. Impact Driver

DEWALT 20V MAX Impact Driver Kit

This tool is similar to a cordless drill – and looks like one too. However, they can produce a lot more force than your average drill. They can place larger screws into harder surfaces thanks to their concussive action.

They usually accept many different kinds of bits, which makes them very versatile. They’re an excellent tool to have around for more extensive and more demanding projects.

3. Percussion Hammer

Prestige Taylor Percussion Hammer with Stealth Gray Head

Percussion hammers don’t look like a hammer at all. They’re made to drive holes into hard materials and use an impact motion to create a hammering motion. They can pulverize a variety of materials without much effort from you.

These tools are most often used for drilling holes into stone, concrete, and masonry. Other tools can’t handle these hard materials.

4. Power Screwdriver

WORX WX255L SD Semi-Automatic Power Screw Driver

Power screwdrivers lie somewhere between a hand screwdriver and a drill. They run a little bit slower and are a little less versatile than a cordless drill. However, they have more torque than most drills, which allows you to screw directly into hard materials.

While these screwdrivers can technically work for any screwing project, they are usually only used in certain situations. They’re more for those who prefer a slower rate and higher torque. Whether you purchase one of these or a cordless drill is really up to your personal preferences.

5. Nail Gun

NuMax SFR2190 Pneumatic Nail Gun

Nail guns are a power tool that shoots nails. It’s that simple. They’re a replacement to the hammer and are useful for any project that calls for nails. If you’re planning on using a lot of nails, a nail gun might save your arm. Most of them use compressed air, but you can find electric models too. There are many types of nail guns, depending on the size of the nail you need to use.

These tools aren’t too expensive, so there is no reason not to have one on standby.

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Sanders & Grinders

6. Angle Grinder

Bosch 4-1:2-Inch Angle Grinder 1375A

Angle grinders are used to grind, cut, and polish a variety of materials. They can even be used to cut through things like steel and tile. Some are powered by compressed air, which will require an air compressor, though others run on electricity or petrol.

Angle grinders are different from other grinders because they are at a 90° angle. This helps you get into places you wouldn’t be able to reach otherwise. It also decreases some of the side forces that other grinders produce.

7. Belt Sander

SKIL 7510-01 Sandcat 6 Amp 3-Inch x 18-Inch Belt Sander with Pressure Control

The belt sander is decently larger than other sanders out there, making them useful at sanding a large workpiece in a small amount of time. They’re pretty aggressive, so they aren’t usually used to finish projects. Instead, they’re usually the sander you start with.

Stationary belt sander benches are available, as are portable options.

8. Orbital Sander

BLACK+DECKER Random Orbit Sander

An orbital sander is a tool with a circular sanding surface that vibrates in a very confined area. The sanding disk spins while also moving in small ellipses, like the planets orbiting around the sun. Because of this, they are best for getting into corners and against edges. They also leave less apparent marks.

These sanders are used for very light sanding, so they’re usually best when used to end a project. They are great for refinishing wood or removing a layer of paint.

9. Disc Sander

Makita GV5010 5 Disc Sander

This is a sander that comes with a round piece of replaceable sandpaper on a circular wheel. This wheel spins in place while you put your work material next to it on the bench. The machine itself is stationary, so you move the workpiece to control the sanding. This makes them perfect for rounding edges and straightening surfaces.

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Saws

10. Band Saw

TACKLIFE Bandsaw

A band saw is a steel band with a sharp and jagged blade. It is used in professions and hobbies like woodworking, metalworking, and lumbering. To use it, the blade moves continuously up and down in an area. You move the wood according to the blade, which makes it easy to make small, detailed cuts and angles.

Most band saws are stationary and designed to be put in a shop. Others are portable, though these are a bit rarer.

11. Chainsaw

DEWALT 20V MAX XR Chainsaw

Most people know what a chainsaw is, and should probably have one in their workshop just in case. They can run on batteries or gasoline, though gasoline is still the most popular option today. These machines take quite a bit of maintenance and can be a bit dangerous. However, when used properly, they aren’t any more dangerous than most other power tools on this list.

This tool is extremely versatile because it can cut many different things. While most chainsaws are just designed for wood, you can find some that are specially made for concrete and stone.

12. Chop Saw

PORTER-CABLE Chop Saw

A chop saw is somewhat rarer today. You can still find them for purchase, though they aren’t as popular as some other tools on this list. They have a blade that is perpendicular to the table and cuts strictly at 90°. Unlike a miter saw, they do not swivel.

They can be useful for building homes and framing since they have a huge cutting capacity. However, they aren’t very versatile since they can only cut at one angle.

13. Circular Saw

DEWALT 7-1:4-Inch Circular Saw with Electric Brake

This is one of the most common power tools out there. They cut with a rounded blade in a circular motion, hence their name. They are perfect for making straight cuts, but many can make bevel cuts as well.

Usually, you can find circular saws that can cut a wide variety of materials. Wood is the most common, but plastic, metal, and masonry can sometimes be cut as well.

14. Joiner

DEWALT Plate Joiner Kit

Joiners are used to make very smooth, flat finishes along the edges of wooden workpieces. Because of this, they’re a niche power tool. However, if you work with wood a lot, they can be instrumental. They can cut the wood into the desired thickness with even sides – which is not something you can easily accomplish with other tools.

15. Jigsaw

BLACK+DECKER Jig Saw

Jigsaws are very common, so you’ve probably seen one at least once and might even own one. They can cut shapes into a variety of materials, including curves. For hard-to-cut angles, these are the tools you need. Often, you can adjust the angle of the blade as well, providing even more versatility.

You can use this tool any time you need to make a complicated shape. They also have a variety of other in-home applications, like carving pumpkins. They come with a wide variety of blades so that you can cut just about anything.

16. Miter Saw

DEWALT Sliding Compound Miter Saw

If you don’t have one already, you need to purchase a miter saw. These powerful tools can make cuts at a variety of different angles. They have a circular blade that rotates very quickly. The blade is attached to an arm that you pull down to cut your workpiece, which lays on a table below the blade. They’re pretty easy and straightforward to use, which makes them the right choice for beginners.

You can use a miter saw to cut many different things. However, they work best for crown molding, door frames, and similar projects where angle cuts are essential.

17. Radial Arm Saw

Dayton Radial Arm Saw

These saws can make similar cuts to other saws on our list. They consist of a circular, mounted saw that is attached to a horizontal arm that slides. They can be used to make things like rip cuts and half lap joints as well.

If you need to cut long pieces of wood, this saw is likely a good option. However, a miter saw can be used for many of the same applications.

18. Reciprocating Saw

BLACK+DECKER BDCR20C 20V MAX Reciprocating Saw with Battery and Charger

These saws have a blade that goes back and forth, or “reciprocates.” The blade resembles a jigsaw and is toothed and large. Most have variable speeds to give you complete control of the saw as you cut, making them more versatile as well.

Usually, these saws are used for things like demolition and construction work. Window fitters use the tools a lot, though they are sometimes used by people like emergency workers as well.

19. Scroll Saw

WEN 3921 16-inch Two-Direction Variable Speed Scroll Saw

A scroll saw is a power tool that is mostly used to cut subtle and intricate designs, like when making wooden toys. They’re pedal-operated with a tiny blade that can cut very delicate designs. The blade stays in position while you move the wood around it, giving you complete control.

They can be used to make decorative patterns, wooden letters, jigsaw puzzles, smaller sculptures, and similar items.

20. Table Saw

DEWALT Table Saw for Jobsite

Table saws are a table with a round, rotating saw in the middle. They are used for making extreme cuts, cross cuts, and cutting hardwood. They are quite powerful so that they can cut through most pieces of wood quickly. Most are driven by electric motors and are stationary. You can’t carry a table saw around with you.

Many do have wheels for some portability, however.

21. Wall Chaser

HYJ 5200W Wall Grove Cutting Machine Wall Chaser Machine

This is a very niche sort of tool that is used to cut grooves into walls. They aren’t really a saw, but they have two abrasive discs, allowing them to cut through walls. They are mostly used for installing pipes and cutting grooves for other purposes.

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Miscellaneous Tools

22. Air Compressor

CRAFTSMAN Air Compressor

An air compressor creates compressed air, which is essential for all sorts of situations. Some tools need compressed air to work, and you never know when you’ll need to fill up a tire or ball. They can even be used to clean some items. If you have pneumatic tools, an air compressor will be necessary for them to work.

Most are stationary, though small portable options are available as well.

23. Biscuit Joiner

VonHaus 8.5 Amp Wood Biscuit Plate Joiner

This is a woodworking tool. While it is essential for many woodworking projects, you probably don’t need it unless you plan on joining pieces of wood together. It works pretty simply. It uses a circular blade to cut a small hole in the opposite sides of two pieces of wood. Then, you can join the pieces of wood using this small hole and some glue.

You can use it on all sorts of wood. Its only use is joining wood together, though, so it is a bit less versatile than other power tools.

24. Heat Gun

Prestige Taylor Percussion Hammer with Stealth Gray Head

These little devices are straightforward. They beam hot air at a particular target. They’re a lot like a hairdryer, but the air is much hotter. There are many things you can do with a heat gun. Many people use them to shrink material, dry wood, bend plastic, and even thaw frozen pipes.

Because they’re so versatile, they’re an excellent tool to have around.

25. Impact Wrench

Avid Power 20V MAX Cordless Impact Wrench

An impact wrench is a wrench that exerts a large amount of pressure with little work from the user. They create tons of torque. Usually, they used compressed air, though you can find electric models as well. These are great for loosening lug nuts that are too tight or removing screws that are stripped.

You should have at least one of these in your toolbox since you don’t know when you’ll need to remove an impossibly tight lug nut.

26. Lathe

WEN 3424T Benchtop Wood Lathe

A lathe is not a stand-alone tool. It is a rotational table that turns while your chosen cutting tool pushes against the workpiece. They are designed to help you craft objects with tricky designs that must be symmetrical, like bowls or baseball bats. They aren’t a “must-have” tool, but they can be instrumental to a variety of projects.

27. Oscillating Tool

DEWALT 20V MAX XR Chainsaw

This tool could fit into many different categories above, which is why we decided to put it in the miscellaneous section. The oscillating tool can do many different things. They have interchangeable attachments that fit into the tool. The tool then rotates quickly back and forth. With the different attachments, you can do everything from sanding to cutting to grinding.

Most popular brands have 100+ attachments available, so the versatility of this tool is almost endless. They’re small and portable as well, making them suitable for smaller jobs on the go.

28. Rotary Tool

WEN 2305 Rotary Tool Kit with Flex Shaft

This is the most versatile tool in existence. You can use it for almost any small project, as they come with hundreds of accessories and attachments. They’re a small power tool with a rotary tip that spins very quickly. You can use them for sanding, carving bevels, polishing, etching, or even shining metal surfaces.

These tools are used in a variety of professions and hobbies, from nail salons to woodworking shops.

29. Router

DEWALT Router, Fixed:Plunge Base Kit

Routers are mostly used for woodworking. They are used to hollow a groove into hard material, like wood. They are used most often to make things like cabinets, but many people consider them to be very versatile. You can use them anytime you need to make a groove or decently sized hole.

They can even shape things like metal. Some people use them to finish edges, create patterns, and recess door hinges as well.

30. Shop Vac

Stanley 5 Gallon Shop Vac

Most people will need a shop vac for their workshop. Unlike usual vacuum cleaners, you can use a shop vac to clean up significant messes of dirt, chunks of wood, and sawdust. The size and power of shop vacs vary considerably. These machines have no belts or rotating brushes, so they’re generally more durable and heavy-duty than your average home vacuum.

Shop vacs are useful in a variety of situations. We believe practically everyone should have a shop vac, even if you don’t do much DIY work.


Featured Image: Pixabay

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