Nowadays everyone is used to calling the superintendent or getting on TaskRabbit before picking up a hammer or screwdriver. But there are some jobs that are basic enough that everyone should be able to do them. And if you’re going the extra mile and actually want to be the handyman of your own home, getting the right kit for the job is essential. If you want to be prepared to tackle everything from hanging a painting to making repairs you’ll want to see what are the top-rated toolsets in 2023. And that’s exactly what we’ve prepared. But first, let’s cover some basics.
This is the perfect option for those looking for a toolset that will handle odd jobs around the house or any sort of DIY emergency or small project. It isn’t the most comprehensive on our list but it’s portable and lightweight which makes it ideal for keeping in your car.
The drill is a great addition that will delight hobbyists with the additional functionality and the set itself will have you covered whether you’re looking to hang up pictures, appliances, or shelves. Great value for money for good quality tools that will last you at home or in your travels.
Ideal for hobbyists or as a portable kit
Includes cordless drill and bits
Drill lithium battery can hold a charge for up to 18 months
Only includes wood bits for the drill, concrete ones will need to be purchased separately
This tool set holds enough hammers, pliers, ratchets, wrenches and screwdrivers to cover most situations whether you’re a professional handyman or want to make sure that you’ve got your bases covered in your own home. The non-slip handles make the tools a dream to work with and the heat treated carbon steel ensures that you’ll get good use out of them for years to come.
The Prostormer set is a comprehensive set that will save you the hassle of having to purchase separate sets for house and mechanical work. Versatile and affordable. A definite win!
Good for professionals and DIY-ers, ideal in workshops or around the house
Sturdy plastic toolbox included
High-quality tools made from steel with a chrome finish
Unless you open it on the correct side, the tools will fall out of the plastic box
This is quite possibly the last socket set you’ll ever need. The tools are universally lauded as being high quality and very solid and the variety is impressive. In fact, they’re so sturdy that it’s doubtful that you’ll need to take advantage of the lifetime warranty that Dewalt offers on this set.
That said, this toolset has a lot to offer and, with 192 pieces to choose from, it’s very likely that there will be a few you’ll never get to use. But whatever you end up putting to work will be able to handle whatever you throw at it. Truly a joy to work with.
Ideal for mechanical work or odd jobs around the house
DirectTorque technology on the sockets prevents the rounding of fasteners
This is a basic tool kit that will handle repairs around the house without breaking the bank. These tools won’t be as good as some of the pricier name-brand alternatives but they won’t be far off either. We’d go so far as to say that it’s one of the more impressive offerings you can find in this price range.
Made from hardened steel, the tools themselves will serve you much more than you’d expect and definitely more than other range competitors. It has enough to offer so it will keep you covered for most of the generic work you’ll do around the house and even cover some mechanical needs. Great for anyone who wants to be prepared but also keeps to a strict budget.
Whether you’re looking to fix your car, your bike, or use it around the house, this general-purpose tool has most applications covered. With 170 quality pieces, this toolset is designed with longevity and versatility in mind. From quick-release ratchets to combination wrenches, screwdrivers, and pliers, you’ll be hard-pressed to find more bang for your buck.
The plastic case is solidly built, and unlike some other sets, you won’t get the unpleasant surprise of tools falling out of the toolbox. In fact, some might say the build is a bit too rigid, as the tools might be difficult to remove the first time you use them.
The sturdy plastic case that keeps the tools in place
Great quality tools able to withstand wear and tear
Tools are difficult to remove from the case on first use
Buying Guide for the Best Tool Sets
Whether you’re looking for a set to cover the odd task around the house or you want to find something that will get you apocalypse ready, there are some things that you should keep in mind before you settle on a toolset.
But first, let’s touch on why it’s a good idea to get a set instead of purchasing tools individually.
Obviously, purchasing tools individually can be much more expensive, especially if you’re looking for something brand quality that will last you a while. The greatest advantage of toolsets is that they’ll set you up for a variety of tasks in one go. Also, having the right tool for the job often means you’re saving money by not having to pay a handyman to do a job you could easily do yourself.
Of course, there’s always the option to purchase a tool case separately but tool sets usually come with their own cases and the tools are snugly fitted into their specific moldings. It can make life easier, especially if you’re a beginner or hobbyist who doesn’t want to spend hours on end researching the best case for the tools they already have.
Sure, if you purchase a tool case, you’re not going to be able to research every individual tool to make sure that it’s suited for every purpose you can imagine using it for. But most of us don’t want that kind of hassle anyway and toolsets offer us versatility and flexibility.
Now that we’ve got that covered let’s jump into what you should be watching out for when selecting the best toolset for your needs.
Number of Tools
This is one of the most essential aspects when deciding on the best toolset for you. The main advantage of these kits is lost if you don’t have enough tools for them to cover a wide variety of situations. And while the needs of a proud DIY-er are different than those of a professional handyman or mechanic, you should try to aim for a set that can provide a wide range of tools. After all, this is the kind of purchase that you really shouldn’t be making too many times in your lifetime.
Variety of Tools
Toolsets will usually contain sockets, ratchets, and wrenches. Those intended for home as well as mechanical use will include screwdrivers and hammers. You’ll also find that the most versatile ones contain quite a few bits as well. Of course, it’s important to know what you’ll be using it for so that you can make sure that the essentials are well covered. Manufacturers will usually list whether the toolset is best suited for household work or mechanical work or both.
Size and Measurement
Some toolsets come with the sizes of the tools specified in both SAE and metric but there are some manufacturers that will ask you to choose which you prefer and it’s important that you don’t neglect to check this aspect before purchasing the kit. For those that come with both sizes specified, this shouldn’t be a problem.
The Tool Case
The tool case is usually made from sturdy plastic and each tool has its own mold. Some brands will add a bag for hauling around the most frequently used tools but the hard plastic case is usually the norm. Make sure you follow the manufacturer’s instructions on which way to open the box as opening it from the wrong side can result in tools falling out.
Going for a brand name is a great way of ensuring that you’ll get a quality product but that’s not always within everyone’s budget. That being said, even off brand manufacturers have online reputations so you can always research whether the set of your choice is produced by a company that adheres to standards and quality control.
The amount that you’re willing to invest should depend on how much use you’re planning on getting out of your tools. Sometimes, paying a few extra dollars can mean an extended warranty or higher quality steel. That said, if the only reason you’re looking for a toolset is to install a cabinet once a year and hang up a painting, you might want to find a good quality, modestly priced set.
Going for an option that offers a warranty is always a great way of protecting your investment. If you’re jumping the gun and getting a toolset without being familiar with the brand, a warranty would be the best way to ensure that you get to try out the tools without the risk of getting stuck with soft steel that you’ll bend in a couple of weeks or manufacturing defects.
Weight and Portability
Assess whether you’re going to need to carry your toolbox around and go for one that will allow you to do so without breaking your back. Portability can be an important feature when it comes to this product as some of the most comprehensive sets can weigh well over 50 lbs. Determine whether you’ll be leaving your set at home, your car, or take it with you on various jobs.
Last but not least, make sure that whatever home project you’re undertaking, you’re always wearing the appropriate safety equipment and using the correct tool for the job. Goggles and other safety gear can make the difference between a successful DIY job and a trip to the hospital. Be safe!
Tool Set FAQ
Q: What is a basic tool set?
A: The most basic toolset should include at the very least: a hammer, an Allen wrench, a multibit screwdriver, tape measure, a utility knife, and pliers. Down the line, it would also be worth considering buying a drill or electric screwdriver as it will make your life easier in certain situations. We also advise that you use safety equipment whenever you’re using your tools
Q: What is the most useful tool?
A: The most useful tool depends on the job but the top tools you will likely use most often are:
Q: Why are snap on tools so expensive?
A: Snap-on tools are designed for professionals and they are usually of superior materials and quality. They’re also designed with comfort in mind, as the professional will need to be able to wield them often without getting tired. These features make them more expensive to produce and therefore will drive up the selling price as well.
Q: Should I get a tool set from a reputable brand?
A: Brand name tool sets offer a better guarantee of quality but they come with a heftier price tag. If you have the budget for it, going for a top tier tool set might be a good idea. But even so, make sure that you’ll actually get good use out of it. Spending top dollar on a set that you’ll only pull out twice a year might not be the best investment.
The Old House Journal Review Team’s product reviews and in-depth guides are here to help you restore, repair, update, and decorate your home. The content is created by The Old House Journal Review Team. The Old House Journal editorial staff is not involved. Old House Journal is reader-supported: When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. All questions regarding articles or product testing can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org