What do hanging a picture, replacing a fuse and tightening a loose floorboard all have in common? Well, apart from probably being on your to-do list, they can all be taken care of with a trusty tool kit and some DIY knowhow. If you don’t have a tool kit, or the kit you do have is lacking a few essentials, then read on for our round-up of the best tool sets around.


Emma Bailey, workshop and body repair buyer at Halfords, has this advice when it comes to buying a tool kit: ‘If you’re just starting out in the world of home or vehicle maintenance, a tool kit is an efficient and cost-effective way to purchase the tools you need to complete the task at hand. A kit will probably also have tools for jobs you might want to take on in the future.’

How to choose the right tool kit for you

Consider the types of jobs that you’re likely to face to help you figure out what tools you’ll need in your tool set. For example, there’ll be a variety of screws used in your home so a kit that has flat-head, Phillips, Pozidriv, Torx and precision screwdrivers will work with almost everything that you’re likely to encounter.

Similarly, pliers come in a range of formats depending on their purpose. Needle- or long-nose pliers are intended for more delicate tasks, often in tight spaces (think bending wire or thin metal strips, or even fixing pieces of jewellery); use slip-joint pliers for various mechanical or plumbing tasks (they have an adjustable pivot that lets you increase how far the jaws open to grip wider objects and pipes); crimping pliers will help you strip electrical cables and connect wires; diagonal pliers (also known as wire cutters) are for cutting wires or thin nails and screws; tongue-and-groove pliers are for ‘bigger’ plumbing jobs (they have adjustable jaws, like slip-joint pliers, but with far more range so you can grip and turn bigger pipes and fittings).

‘With a set of screwdrivers, pliers, a hammer, and a tape measure, you can fix almost anything,’ continues Emma. ‘Choose a kit with a compartmentalised storage case or bag to prevent losing any tools’. Keep your tools shipshape by removing any grease and drying them after each use, and prevent rust building up with a regular scrub with wire wool.

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Ratchet screwdriver

A screwdriver with a mechanism that allows you to wind the screwdriver back for another turn without releasing it from the screw head or letting go of the handle.

Precision screwdriver

Similar to a standard screwdriver, but with a smaller head and handle to make it easier to work on more intricate items.

Socket wrench

A wrench handle with interchangeable sockets to tighten or loosen nuts and bolts. The handles often feature a rachet mechanism, like rachet screwdrivers, to allow continuous turning without releasing the socket from the nut/bolt.

Socket extension

These are lengths of metal that can be attached to a socket wrench to extend its reach and give extra leverage for turning the socket on seized or stiff nuts and bolts.

Universal joint

Connects to a socket wrench to loosen and allows you to tighten nuts and bolts in difficult-to-reach places where the tool can’t be used in a straight line.

Hex or Allen key

Similar to a screwdriver but used for bolts with a hexagonal ‘slot’ in their heads. Allen keys can be L-shaped, individual tools or straight and folded up in a ‘multi-tool’.

Best tool kits for sale

Amazon Basics 65-piece tool set

Amazon Basics 65-piece tool set

Turn nuts and bolts in comfort with the rubber-gripped rachet handles. 20 screwdriver bits allow plenty of versatility, though the plastic clips on the case may become loose over time.

Moulded plastic case
Combination spanners and socket wrenches
Universal joints
Long-nose, diagonal and combination pliers

Makita P-90635 118-Piece Tool Set

Protected in a lockable aluminium case, this tool set is an upgrade for amateur DIYers who are looking to take on more plumbing, electrical and building work. Useful tools include a large ratchet screwdriver with 50 screwdriver bits
and seven combination wrenches.

Aluminium carry case
7 combination wrenches
Socket wrench kit with universal joint and ratchet handle
8-piece hex key set

Halfords Essentials 60-Piece Tool Kit

Keep your tools in plain sight with this fluorescent accented set. It comes with spanners, pliers, metric sockets in different sizes, a spirit level and a tape measure.

Moulded plastic case
8 hex keys
Adjustable wrench
6 precision screwdrivers and 5 screwdrivers

23-Piece Travel Tin Set

Annabel James 23-Piece Travel Tin Set

Perfect for beginner DIYers, this tool kit can help out with more basic jobs. Featuring three hex keys, a screwdriver with 11 bits and four sockets.

Metal travel tin
Long-nose pliers
Screwdriver and 11 bits
Tape measure

Buy from annabeljames.co.uk

Draper 24892 37-Piece Essential Hand Tool Kit

Draper 24892 37-Piece Essential Hand Tool Kit

Tick off the little jobs with this carry case packed with a claw hammer, spirit level, trio of pliers and 23-piece screwdriver and bit set.

Organiser box with tote tray
Magnetic spirit level
8-piece hex set
Tape measure

Vonhaus 256-Piece Premium Tool and socket set

Vonhaus 256-Piece Premium Tool and socket set

This all-purpose kit comes in a plastic case with a vast array of hand tools crafted from carbon steel and chrome vanadium to withstand heavy use.

Adjustable wrench, pliers and clamps
6 combination wrenches and 2 universal joints

Safety warning: Always ensure the electricity is not live when handling or cutting electric wires. Consult a qualified electrician if taking on electrical repairs yourself

You can find lots of DIY tips and advice in our DIY section


Thomas PoadSection Editor

Section Editor, Your Home