Best Tools of 2022 (According To Pros)
When your livelihood depends on your tools, you're careful with your choices. We asked pros to give us their top picks.
Every editorial product is independently selected, though we may be compensated or receive an affiliate commission if you buy something through our links. Ratings and prices are accurate and items are in stock as of time of publication.
For DIYers, an awl is so versatile you’re limited only by your imagination, according to licensed contractor Gary Westernoff. “I always think of it as an ALL because I can’t do a job without it,” he says.
Westernoff uses his awl for marking surfaces without a pencil, opening containers, as a pilot when matching holes to receive screws, and so much more.
Chainsaw expert Dan Morris of Fire and Saw loves the “hassle-free” DeWalt cordless chainsaw. “Because it’s battery-powered, it’s easy just to pick up and use whenever you need it, at a moment’s notice,” Morris says. Gas-powered saws, on the other hand, generally take more work to get going.
Bonus if you own other DeWalt Max XR tools. Then you already have the batteries, which are interchangeable.
Reliable Tape Measure
Edward Jones, a general contractor for 25 years and founder of HomeCareHow, regularly reaches for this 30-foot Stanley tape measure. He says DIYers will appreciate its durable chrome-plated case and extra-sturdy Mylar-coated blade. Plus, it’s compact, making it convenient for hand-carrying or storing in your tool belt.
Jones likes its ample 30-foot length, too. “It makes measuring and estimating tasks easy to carry out, even if I’m working alone,” he says.
Simple Soil Sampler
This easy-to-use soil sampler is one of Reinders turf expert Joe Churchill’s favorite lawn tools for DIYers. It has a nice, long cutout in the handle, allowing you to lay eyes on exactly what’s going on beneath the surface of your lawn.
It’s useful for collecting soil samples for testing and revealing the amount of thatch in your lawn. Churchill says it can let you know how moist your soil is and how far down the moisture penetrates. That allows you to adjust your lawn care accordingly.
Versatile Power Drill
“The Makita 18V cordless 1/2-in. hammer drill/driver is one of the best tools I’ve used, not only for my DIY tasks but also for my client’s projects,” Jones says. He’s a big fan the rubberized grip, which is easy to hold and use, and the two maximum speed options — 600 and 1,900 RPM.
His favorite feature? The drill’s built-in LED lights, which nicely illuminate your work area.
This hooked knife is intended for linoleum and vinyl flooring work, though tile setter Dean Sorem likes it for a host of other tasks, too. “I picked up the use of a lino knife from working alongside a seasoned jack-of-all-trades flooring installer,” he says.
He uses the sharp point to lift misplaced or ill-fitting tiles and to score backer board. At $6 a pop, it’s worth experimenting with.
Every household should have Scotch electrical tape on hand, according to Veronica Rose, a master electrician and the first woman to earn a New York City Master Electrician’s License. Rose says it can save valuable time and effort down the line. Plus, it’s versatile.
“It can help tackle everything from keeping your holiday lights safe and tangle-free to replacing a light receptacle or wrapping the handles of your metal tools for electrical insulation and a better grip,” she says.
A reliable screwdriver is a tool kit essential. According to master electrician John Williamson, this multi-bit option is more useful than most. “Not only does this screwdriver have a wide variety of different tips, but they also serve as nut drivers,” Williamson says.
The cushioned handle provides a sturdy grip while you work, and 11 tips mean you can carry around an entire screwdriver set in the palm of your hand.
Builder/carpenter Scott Meyers of Elite Additions vouches for the versatility and functionality of the Makita Multi-Tool. Many clients purchase their own after seeing him use it on the jobsite to saw, cut and grind, with various attachments. “It’s a homeowners dream as it’s portable (battery operated) and the accessories simply click into place,” Meyers says.
Multi-Functional Saw and Multi-Tool
Nick Yahoodain, a general contractor and CEO of Advanced Builders and Contractors, recommends DIYers own a versatile Dremel cordless compact saw. This tool can handle all kinds of materials including wood, plastic, metal, tile and masonry. It’s well-suited for plunge, straight and flush cuts.
Add the Dremel Multi-Tool, Yahoodain says, and you’re set for most projects on your radar and beyond. The two tools “can take on more jobs than I can name,” he says.
Accurate Measuring Tool
It packs a ton of functionality into a small package. Johnson reaches for it time and again to outline mitered corners, set 3/16-in. reveals, transfer measurements, align projects, lay out wall studs and more.
One of our pro painting consultants turned us on to this paint bucket, and we think it’s perfect for DIYers, too. We like it because it holds more paint than a tray, so you don’t have to refill as often. And unlike a tray, it’s easy to move around without spilling.
Churchill knows the value of a healthy lawn and recommends this Garden Weasel cultivator to keep yours looking fresh. Its three rotary blades easily break up soil with minimal user effort.
He says that it does a “great job of prepping areas that need to be reseeded, like dead spots caused by dogs, salt damage from road salt or ice melters and other worn out, heavily damaged areas.” There are knock-offs out there, but if you want the best, Churchill says go with the original Garden Weasel.
Laser Measurement Tool
“A lot of laser measurers only work well inside, so having one that works well outdoors is crucial for any yard projects,” Yamaguchi says. He uses it for laying out landscaping projects or figuring out the square footage of an outdoor area.
Doyle James, a plumber and president of Mr. Rooter Plumbing, says DIYer also should keep a roll of basic plumbing tape around the house. For just a couple of bucks, this Dixon Valve tape helps remedy a host of minor plumbing problems.
“If you’re changing your shower head, for example, plumbing tape can provide a temporary hold while you install joints and other parts for the new head,” he says. It’s also a temporary way to fix a leaky pipe before you make a permanent repair.