Do-it-yourselfers often malign tool kits because the tools usually aren’t the highest quality, but not everyone needs tools that can stand up to daily use and abuse. There’s also no denying that tool kits are a convenient way for anyone who needs the basics to stock up quickly. And just about every adult will need a tool at some point, whether it’s to hang a picture, fix a leaky pipe, or put together furniture.
Skip the temptation to buy a tool kit with a million pieces as many of those will end... up going unused and just take up space. Instead, focus on the essentials. For most people, that’s a hammer, tape measure, screwdriver and several bits, hex keys, a level, needle-nose pliers, a utility knife, adjustable wrench, slip-joint pliers, and vise grips. Note, however, that most kits don’t include grips, and some omit the wrench. Be sure to check for any must-haves before buying.
With that list in mind, here are the best tool kits on the market today.
01 of 07
If it’s an essential tool, chances are good that it’s in the Stanley 65-Piece Homeowner’s Tool Kit, reviewers say. The kit contains a hammer, measuring tape, utility knife, level, two sets of pliers, a standard and Phillips screwdriver, two sets of hex keys, a ¼-inch round-head ratchet, eight ¼-inch sockets, a ¼-inch spinner handle, a ¼-inch bit handle, and 30 bits.
Owners say the Stanley kit has just about everything they need, though some grouse that it doesn’t include an adjustable wrench.... However, those who want a wrench have the option to purchase it along with this kit; a more comprehensive screwdriver set is also available. The tools all fit in the accompanying blow-molded plastic case, though some users say they don’t stay put as tightly as they like. However, the vast majority of buyers say the tools themselves are good quality for those who only need them for occasional household use.
02 of 07
A great set for anyone who needs easy access to the bare essentials, the WORKPRO 100-Piece Kitchen Drawer Tool Kit packs a lot of utility into a small package. The kit includes a hammer, two pairs of pliers, a utility knife, a level, an adjustable wrench, a tape measure, a precision screwdriver, a bit holder, nine sockets, 19 specialty bits, and a set of hex keys.
Reviewers are impressed with the quality of the included tools, especially for the price. They also like the zippered case that holds... this kit, which includes straps to keep everything neat and is small enough to fit in a kitchen drawer, as the kit’s name suggests. However, they note that the hex-key selection is limited and there are no wide-jaw pliers, two limitations that might frustrate some. Some also note that the selection is a bit limited and say the tools aren’t suitable for heavy duty use, but they agree the kit is perfect for occasional, limited applications.
03 of 07
For a first apartment or even a dorm room, this tool set is a great choice—especially if you just need the basics. The 39-piece set includes a 12-foot tape measure, a claw hammer, 6-inch slip joint pliers, eight hex keys, a ratcheting bit driver, 8-inch scissors, 20 bits, a utility knife, and four screw drivers. And it all comes in a plastic case to keep things organized.
While the tools aren't as strong as the ones in our best overall pick, they will be sufficient for occasional repairs or... home improvement tasks. Reviewers have noted that they do the job, but that you get what you are paying for with a budget tool kit. Of course the kit does come with a limited lifetime warranty in case anything breaks.
04 of 07
Maybe you don’t really want to spend any money on tools, but figure you need at least a hammer or screwdriver for hanging a picture or changing batteries. This little six-piece Stalwart kit is an easy way to cover your bases while spending as little as possible. It includes a hammer, a flathead screwdriver, a Phillips head screwdriver, tweezers, long-nose pliers and a measuring tape. It comes with a sturdy little plastic case, too.
This kit’s owners say it’s a nice little emergency set,... especially for tight spaces like cars or kitchen drawers. Because it’s just over a pound, it’s definitely not too heavy to haul around. A few reviewers say the tools are a bit small, but most say they’re more than useable, especially for the price. Some buyers report that this is also an ideal set for younger kids who want to take on grown-up projects.Continue to 5 of 7 below.
05 of 07
Some buyers may be willing to spend a little more to ensure their tool kit doesn’t leave them hanging. The WORKPRO 322-Piece Tool Kit with Carry Bag covers all its bases with a staggering number of tools, reviewers say. It includes a large socket set, three pairs of pliers, six full-size screwdrivers and seven precision screwdrivers, a level, a hammer, a utility knife, a tape measure, a folding hex key, an adjustable wrench, scissors, brush, insulated tape, cable ties, and more.
One feature many... owners rave about is that the WORKPRO kit comes with a nylon bag that has convenient exterior pockets and a shoulder strap. They like being able to toss tools into a bag instead of finding their proper slots in a plastic case, as is required by many tool kits. Of course, the downside of having so many tools is weight—the kit weighs in just shy of 25 pounds, reviewers caution. The tools themselves are made of heat-treated chrome vanadium steel, and owners say they are sturdy and high quality for the price.
06 of 07
Mechanics have different needs than buyers who won’t be spending much time tinkering in the garage, and the Crescent CTK170CMP2 Mechanics Tool Set does a good job addressing those needs, reviewers say. The kit has 170 pieces including three sizes of quick-release ratchets, a wide variety of sockets, a dozen combination wrenches, an adjustable wrench, two sets of pliers, four screwdrivers, a magnetic bit driver and 44 bits, and more than two dozen hex keys.
Reviewers say the plastic blow-molded... case on the Crescent set is sturdy, and they like the convenient folding door that opens from the center, allowing easy access to all the tools or just one side. However, some point out that tools don’t always stay put in their slots. But they are complimentary of the heat-treated chrome vanadium steel tools, which they say are have a high-quality look and feel.
07 of 07
The Black and Decker 20-Volt MAX Lithium Ion Drill and Project Kit has a number of handy must-haves for homeowners, as well as one big bonus over most other ready-made kits: a 20-volt, rechargeable power drill. Tools include a hammer, two screwdrivers, two sets of pliers, an adjustable wrench, a utility knife, a ratcheting screwdriver and 32 bits, four nut drivers, a magnetic bit tip holder, 10 general drill bits, five spade bits, four hole saws and a mandrel. The kit can also be purchased with... a 109-piece drill bit and screwdriver bit set.
Owners love having a power drill in their kit, and they say it’s powerful enough for most common household jobs, though some say it’s not powerful enough for heavy-duty use. The drill has an 11-position clutch to help guard against stripping screws, helpful for users who don’t have much power-tool experience. While most reviewers say the tools are fine for light household use, some question the quality, saying they’re a bit flimsy. They also wish the accompanying bag had some internal compartments or dividers to help keep everything organized.
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