I am excited to share with you my 5 favorite tools for beginners!  If you have ever thought to yourself “I’m no good with tools” or “I wish I was better at DIY”….I am telling you, I was the exact same way. You see, I am married to the best guy in the world, BUT… he is NOT a handyman. Bummer, I guess he is “almost” perfect 🙂 My motivation to try out woodworking came from wanting things my hubby couldn’t DIY and I couldn’t afford to buy. 

My DIY woodworking obsession didn’t happen overnight, but it was pretty darn close! I am teacher, so I tried a couple of DIY projects during one of my summers off. Once I saw what I could do, I was hooked.  Every birthday and Christmas I get a new tool (or two) and I am loving what I am learning. When I am out shopping for furniture, even if it’s an item I can afford, I always think..I wonder if I could build that?

Top 5 Favorite Tools to start woodworking!

Top Five(5) Favorite Wood Working Tools for Beginners 

Click on each photo to find out more about the tools

The tools I rounded up for this post are tools that I own and purchased myself or received as a gift from my family.  I recommend them because I use them and love them! They are user-friendly and as a beginner, I appreciate that!! You will see that there is a common theme to all of these tools: they are all cordless. I don’t like cords and compressors make me nervous, so if I find a battery-operated tool that has enough power to get the job done, I will always choose that.

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Favorite Tool 1: General Purpose Tool Kit

I received this as a gift from my daughter and I love that it has all of the basic tools included. Buying each one of these separately would be costly. I use the measuring tape and the level all the time. Sometimes I grab the butter knife instead of the flat head screwdriver (please tell me you do that too). The one thing I wish this kit included is a Stud Finder


Favorite Tool 2: Bosch Cordless Drill/Driver

I can’t say enough good about this little drill. Mine is actually an older model and I’m ready to upgrade! I love how compact it is, lightweight, and how well it fits my hand. Whether I need to hang a  mirror of build a piece of furniture. It comes with 2 batteries which is SO convenient, and changing the bits is super easy! This little gal is my right-hand sister in DIY:)

 Favorite Tool 3: Ryobi Brad Nailer

Ryobi Brad Nailer. One of my favorite top 5!
Guys, this was my first “real” power tool. Being able to nail projects pressing a button is the bomb. I mean, a hammer and nails are nice if you only have to do a couple; but, when you want to move fast and need a strong hold, this tool is the best! The battery, however, is sold separately, which is a bummer price-wise, BUT you can use the same battery with a bunch of other RYOBI tools!! I’m talking saws, sanders, even a little hand vacum  I just purchased uses the same battery. This nailer was the main work horse on my DIY Entry Way Faux ShipLap Wall. Seriously guys, I use this nailer on almost every single DIY project.



Favorite Tool 4: Ryobi Corner Sander

The Ryobi Cat Cordless Sander. One y top 5 favorite tools

Let’s get one thing straight. I hate sanding. But if I have to do it, and cover a lot of space in little time, I will always use this sander. It takes the same battery as the brad nailer above which is super convenient. The pointy edge allows you to reach corners (hence the name corner sander, hehe). I still do some sanding by hand (yuk) when I want to use a very fine grit and have more control. My favorite way to use this sander is when I distress furniture and want to give it a chippy look like I did with my Armoire Renovation with milk paint.

Favorite Tool 5: Kreg Jig Pocket Hole System

Last but not least, this is my favorite of the 5. This tool was a game-changer for me. It took me from a wood crafter to a wood builder. Using this tool allowed me to build functional pieces like this bench and this desk. There are several versions and price points. Beverly has a more affordable model and it works well too. I like this model because you can clamp it to a workbench. The cool thing about this too is that it allows you to join pieces of wood in an L shape, completely broadening the scope of what you can do. Here is a short video that demonstrates how it works. Don’t let it intimidate you. It really is very easy to operate and once you “get it” it’s addicting.


What about a saw?

You may have noticed I did not include a saw in my top 5. I do own a Miter Saw, but I did not invest in one until well after I was comfortable using one. I have 2 family members who graciously let me borrow theirs. I taught myself how to use it through YouTube videos and blog tutorials, always making sure I was using it safely. If you don’t have access to a saw and you can’t afford to buy one, I recommend you have your wood cut at the store.  I did this a lot and still do! I’ve gotten to know the guys at Lowe’s and Home Depot 🙂 They are happy to do it! Once you feel like DIY woodworking is something you want to do long-term I would definitely invest in a saw.

Well, I hope this was helpful and you are now motivated to get into a little wood building! Buying tools is an investment. In the long run, I have found that it saves you money as you learn to re-create a piece of furniture that you can’t otherwise afford. Not to mention it is somewhat therapeutic and rewarding to see your own creations!

Build away!


Check out our Gallery of Beginner Wood Projects to get started!

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Janice| Sawdust Sisters

Novice woodworker and serial Popcorn eater, Janice Thomas writes detailed tutorials that motivate others to "dare to try". Originally from Puerto Rico, Janice is fluent in Spanish and dreams of owning a beach house on the island someday! Janice currently lives in Utah with her husband and children, where she works as a university professor.

This Post Has 7 Comments

  1. debbie

    While I say I am not a DIYer, I did own most of the tools you listed. I just purchased that sander with the point but I haven’t used it yet. As a decorator and stager I was needing everything but the nailer…I used a staple gun a lot though.

    1. Janice

      Hi Debbie, you will love the sander. Yes, I use a staple gun too for more crafty wood projects like picture frames and framing mirrors. There are staple gun/brad nailer combinations out there. More economical but not cordless 🙂 Thanks for stopping by!

  2. Lisa

    I can’t imagine building anything without a Kreg Jig but I seriously need a brad nailer.

    Great list!

    1. Janice

      Thank you Lisa! And yes! You need that brad nailer!

  3. Jacek

    Thanks for your suggestions. Those tools are pretty useful not only for the beginners but for the professional ones too. I did buy all because my friend has all of them soI just go to borrow in case of need.

    1. Janice

      Thanks for stopping by, Jace! I borrowed tools for a long time before I got my own! It’s definitely an investment you want to be sure of. Nothing wrong with borrowing 🙂

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