By Beth Cranston and Michelle Larson and Stephanie Cronk | Updated Dec 8, 2022 1:09 PM
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Whether you need to upgrade some tools in your workshop or have some upcoming projects that require new gear, this list offers an all-around great place to start your search. We researched and tested nearly 200 power tools and DIY products to find the 21 best options for just about every home repair.
After all our hands-on, head-to-head sawing, drilling, sanding, and staining, we cleared away the 2x4s, steel scraps, and painted trim to round up the tools that proved themselves to be the best of the best.
The Bosch Barrel-Grip jigsaw is the ultimate choice for accuracy and control. During our tests, this model excelled at speed, maneuverability, and minimal chip-out both at 90 and 45 degrees.
This jigsaw comfortably keeps the user’s hand close to the workpiece, helping avoid the tipping that tends to occur with taller top-handle jigsaws. Also, the grip is slimmer than most barrel-style grips for better control and improved comfort. The saw has a high amperage at 7.2 amps and a speed range of 800 to 3,000 strokes per minute; speed is regulated by a dial at the rear of the barrel.
Learn about how we tested and reviewed more top picks in our Best Jigsaws guide.
Get the Bosch jigsaw at Amazon, The Home Depot, or Lowe’s.
The Bosch track saw performed the most cuts the best and the easiest in the tests we ran. The motor was plush even under duress when cutting red oak or composite decking. There was zero vibration, and the saw has a nice upright handle position, sensible switches, and the most power of the group. This saw delivered on all counts.
It comes with two 63-inch rails and a handy carry bag to keep rails safe on a jobsite or in a busy shop. With 126 inches of rail and a lengthy cord, this track saw is an absolute go-to for long rips and crosscuts in deck-building activities.
Learn about how we tested and reviewed more top picks in our Best Track Saws guide.
Get the Bosch track saw at Amazon, The Home Depot, or Acme Tools.
The Bosch 12-inch miter saw comes with a sliding arm that allows the user to cut boards up to 14 inches wide. The saw comes with pull-out material supports on both sides to stabilize boards up to 40 inches long, and it cuts compound bevels in both directions.
During testing, we found that the Bosch saw truly belonged at the top of the list. First, there was no assembly required. Plus, it has a zero-clearance slide arm that can sit up against a wall if necessary. We thought the arm was supersmooth for making accurate cuts. Also, there were lots of additional references for roof rafters and valley cuts built in. The dust collection was outstanding, and the motor was super powerful.
Learn about how we tested and reviewed more top picks in our Best Miter Saws guide.
Get the Bosch miter saw at Amazon, The Home Depot, or Menards.
For high-quality rotary tools, the Dremel 4300 topped our list. During testing, it proved to be incredibly powerful. Even when cutting through thick steel, it barely slowed down. We really liked the detachable work light on the collar, and swapping it for other collars was a breeze. It’s also worth noting that this kit came with the best accessories, including Dremel’s “EZ Lock” cut-off wheels, which don’t require a tool for swapping the discs on and off.
This powerful, corded rotary tool features a 1.8-amp motor with a speed range between 5,000 and 35,000 revolutions per minute. It also comes with a handy hard case to keep the accessories organized.
Learn about how we tested and reviewed more top picks in our Best Rotary Tools guide.
Get the Dremel rotary tool at Amazon, The Home Depot, or Lowe’s.
The right sander can quickly and easily add the right finishing touches on a woodworking project. The Makita random orbit sander combines all the best features found in a tool in its category.
In testing, it had the power needed for stock removal, all while running quietly and smoothly. Its power and vibration went straight into the work, without sending any back to the user. We found that its tall and slender shape would make this sander great for long jobs.
Featuring a powerful 3-amp motor that sands at up to 12,000 orbits per minute, this Makita sander is a powerful ally to have in the workshop.
Learn about how we tested and reviewed more top picks in our Best Palm Sanders guide.
Get the Makita palm sander at Amazon, The Home Depot, or Acme Tools.
DeWalt’s cordless drill/driver offers superb quality and excellent performance at an affordable price.
In testing, this DeWalt drill powered right through multiple holes on both low and high speeds. We thought its grip was comfortable, and it has an added-bonus palm support on the back of the drill, which allowed us to use our other hand to stabilize the drill and exert pressure on the bit. The 16 clutch settings also allowed us to tweak the torque power for different screw-driving tasks.
This 3.5-pound well-balanced drill comes with a 1.3-amp-hour battery, a charger, and a carry bag. This DeWalt drill would make a valuable addition to the tool kit of both DIYers and professionals.
Learn about how we tested and reviewed more top picks in our Best Cordless Drills guide.
Get the DeWalt cordless drill at Amazon, The Home Depot, or Acme Tools.
Those looking for enough driving power to build a garage or a shed need look no further than this DeWalt impact driver.
In our tests, the DeWalt impact driver excelled at inserting various fasteners into softwoods and hardwoods, and we found it worked well for loosening previously frozen fasteners without stripping out the heads. We were also highly impressed by the sensitivity of the variable-speed trigger.
This driver features an ergonomic grip, hex chuck, and three LED lights, and comes with a 20-volt lithium-ion battery and charger. Its powerful torque, compact design, and light weight of just 2.8 pounds make the DeWalt our top pick for an impact driver.
Learn about how we tested and reviewed more top picks in our Best Impact Drivers guide.
Get the DeWalt impact driver at Amazon, The Home Depot, or Lowe’s.
The Makita 18V Cordless ½-inch Impact Wrench Kit offers a full package of power, runtime, and versatility.
During testing, we had a hard time finding something this wrench kit couldn’t loosen. It fits almost anywhere but the tightest of engine bays thanks to its lightweight, compact design, and the LEDs can light up those greasy crevices.
Its brushless motor can generate 430 foot-pounds of torque that users can control with its four-speed power selector. This kit comes with two 5-Ah batteries, a charger, and a carrying bag.
Learn about how we tested and reviewed more top picks in our Best Cordless Impact Wrench guide.
Get the Makita cordless impact wrench on Amazon or at The Home Depot.
Wen makes some powerful electric tools, and the 4214 variable-speed drill press is no exception.
We really enjoyed working with the Wen 12-inch drill press in testing. The motor was quiet, the long 3⅛-inch travel was a plus, and the digital speed readout on the front of the drill press helped us keep track of the speed. Though the speed-adjustment lever was stiff, the worktable, its crank, and the roller certainly made up for it.
This 12-inch drill adjusts between 580 and 3,200 revolutions per minute in very fine increments and has adjustable depth stop for repeatable results. The worktable is adjustable up to 45 degrees left and right and features a crank handle for raising and lowering. The ⅔-horsepower motor has plenty of power for any shop project.
Learn about how we tested and reviewed more top picks in our Best Benchtop Drill Presses guide.
Get the Wen benchtop drill press on Amazon or at The Home Depot.
For cleaning up after DIY and other household projects, the DeWalt wet/dry vac stands out. It has a medium-capacity 12-gallon collection tank and comes with a powerful 5½-horsepower motor for strong suction.
During testing, the DeWalt proved to be an excellent vacuum overall. It was fast and efficient. We particularly liked the onboard storage pouch as it did a better job of retaining attachments than any other method.
The DeWalt vacuum features a 20-foot power cord, a 7-foot-long flexible suction hose, and a handle that makes it easy to carry up a staircase or load into a truck bed. The vacuum also comes with some accessories, including a utility nozzle and crevice tool, for various cleanup jobs.
Learn about how we tested and reviewed more top picks in our Best Wet/Dry Vacuums guide.
Get the DeWalt wet/dry vacuum on Amazon or at Northern Tool + Equipment.
For those who need to find the center of a stud, either for securely hanging artwork or cutting the drywall along the stud’s centerline, the Zircon Stud Finder shines.
In testing, this stud finder was reliable and accurate. We used the Zircon on a test wall constructed of several vertical studs and standard ½-inch drywall attached to the bottom half of the studs. When we slid this tool across the test wall and reached the stud’s center, a lighted red arrow appeared on the wall above. The red arrow was right on the center of the stud, and had we inserted a nail or screw at that point, it would have been dead-on.
The Zircon A200 detects both the edges and centers of wood studs as well as live wires and metal studs. Its large digital display is backlit for a clear readout.
Learn about how we tested and reviewed more top picks in our Best Stud Finders guide.
Get the Zircon stud finder on Amazon.
For common projects around the house, like replacing a door or sanding prior to painting, the 3M Virtua CCS safety glasses have an American National Standards Institute-approved impact rating and are lightweight enough to offer a high level of comfort.
We wore the safety glasses for a range of different tasks including drilling guide holes to mount a television, cutting wooden boards, and hammering in a few nails. Even for precision tasks like removing computer screws and reading instructions, it was easy to see, meaning we could keep them on for the duration of the project.
These great all-around safety glasses also boast such inventive features as a foam gasket around the frame to help block dust, antifog lenses with UVA and UVB protection, and a wraparound design for peripheral protection.
Learn about how we tested and reviewed more top picks in our Best Safety Glasses guide.
Get the 3M safety glasses on Amazon.
At just 30 pounds, the lightweight and adjustable Pegasus from Worx is an excellent option for those with space limitations or those on the go.
With no assembly required, the Pegasus was a breeze to set up and break down in testing. Popping the wings down to use this workbench as a sawhorse was a snap as well. We also liked that it came with built-in clamps and bench dogs to hold workpieces in place.
This workbench, made of high-grade plastic with lockable legs, can support up to 300 pounds when in worktable mode and up to 1,000 pounds as a sawhorse. When folded, this workbench measures just 5 inches thick, making it easy to throw into the back of a vehicle.
Learn about how we tested and reviewed more top picks in our Best Portable Workbenches guide.
Get the Worx portable workbench on Amazon or at The Home Depot.
The Wagner Control Spray Max Sprayer offers excellent performance for the price, making it the top pick on our list of paint sprayers.
In testing, we achieved good coverage and finish results with water-based interior latex paint that had been thinned by about 25 percent and a medium air setting. Oil-based stain was even easier to work with since no thinning was necessary. Cleanup was also relatively quick and easy.
Boasting a 20-foot-long flexible hose, this 11-pound 110-volt air-driven electric sprayer unleashes a high volume of paint or stain at low pressure. The sprayer’s 1½ -quart capacity hopper and two-stage turbine enable users to spray virtually any finish, be it as viscous as latex paint or as thin as wood stain.
Learn about how we tested and reviewed more top picks in our Best Paint Sprayers guide.
Get the Wagner paint sprayer on Amazon or at The Home Depot.
The Purdy XL’s high bristle quality consistently creates smooth, full coverage for a variety of projects. That’s why it’s our top pick for paint brushes.
We tested the comfort and coverage of the Purdy XL, and it did not disappoint. The wood handle was comfortable in hand, and at a generous 3 inches wide, it provided plenty of coverage on walls.
With a blend of nylon and polyester bristles, this brush can handle both indoor and outdoor projects as well as latex and oil-based paints, stains, and primers. It’s a solid wall brush that works for painting walls, applying stain on fences, and much more.
Learn about how we tested and reviewed more top picks in our Best Paint Brushes guide.
Get the Purdy paint brush on Amazon or at Ace Hardware.
This multifunctional moisture meter can be used for wood as well as building materials, and it shows readings on two bright displays.
During testing, the General Tools moisture meter proved to be accurate and easy to use. We liked that it didn’t take much to set up and there weren’t any complicated charts to read in order to set it to the correct species. The built-in temperature and humidity sensors worked well and were easy to read. Also, we liked that we could use the cap to check our calibration.
This versatile meter has a moisture level range of 5 percent to 50 percent for wood and 1½ percent to 33 percent for other building materials, plus a humidity range of 25 percent to 95 percent and a temperature range of 32 to 140 degrees Fahrenheit.
Learn about how we tested and reviewed more top picks in our Best Moisture Meters guide.
Get the General Tools moisture meter on Amazon.
From a name well known in the building industry comes the Stanley 25-Foot PowerLock Tape Measure—a dependable and accurate choice for anyone needing to make precision cuts within 1/16 of an inch. In testing, this 25-foot tape measure performed exceptionally well. The durable metal blade allowed us to extend it to nearly 10 feet before the blade bent—compared to thinner blades that bend at 5 feet or less.
For easy-to-read measurements, the Stanley tape shows both feet and inch measurements and cumulative inch measurements after the 12-inch mark. For example, it shows both 30 inches as well as 2 feet 6 inches. Plus, it comes with a clip for easy carrying on a pocket or belt and features a stainless steel case for added durability.
Learn about how we tested and reviewed more top picks in our Best Tape Measures guide.
Get the Stanley tape measure at Ace Hardware, The Home Depot, or Acme Tools.
This compact laser distance measure from Bosch travels in a pocket or a bag to gather measurements at distances of up to 165 feet. The device automatically takes measurements as the user moves it around, accurately measuring to within 1/16 of an inch. With Bluetooth connectivity, this measurer can share information to a phone, while the free Bosch app gives users the ability to document measurements.
In testing, we liked that it was the most compact of all the models in the lineup, yet it offered more features than almost any of them. All of the functions, including the built-in level, were accurate, and transferring measurements to a phone was very easy. For us, the Bosch was an absolute joy to use.
Learn about how we tested and reviewed more top picks in our Best Laser Measures guide.
Get the Bosch laser measure on Amazon.
Whether it’s for DIY use or a professional jobsite, DeWalt’s laser level has what it takes to get the job done.
During testing, the DeWalt proved to be one of the easiest to set up and use. Plus, the red laser was very bright and easy to see. The factor that pushed the DeWalt to the top of the heap was its robust design. It’s one of the heaviest and sturdiest, and the drop test left it largely unscathed.
This laser features three self-leveling red beams: one horizontal line and two vertical dual-beam lasers. It’s accurate within ⅛-inch at 30 feet and has a micro-adjust knob on the top that allows the user to dial in the beam’s perfect alignment.
Learn about how we tested and reviewed more top picks in our Best Laser Levels guide.
Get the DeWalt laser level on Amazon or at Acme Tools.
As an all-around utility knife, it’s tough to beat the compactness, durability, and innovative design of the Gerber EAB Lite Pocket Knife.
We used it to cut through cardboard, tape, plastic zip ties, and more. It sliced right through with ease. We also found that the open blade locked firmly in place, and there was no side-to-side play in the knife. Its all-steel grip fit nicely in hand.
This Gerber model weighs just 2½ ounces, is about 5 inches long when extended, and measures just under 3 inches long when folded. Made from smooth brushed stainless steel, the Gerber features a fold-open blade—just grab the top of the blade section and fold it out. Its solid quality makes this utility knife akin to a high-end pocket knife.
Learn about how we tested and reviewed more top picks in our Best Utility Knives guide.
Get the Gerber Gear utility knife on Amazon or at The Home Depot.
From one of the top multi-tool manufacturers comes the best overall pick in this lineup—the Leatherman Wingman. Designed around a pair of solid-steel pliers, the Wingman also features 13 other tool functions including a knife, small scissors, wire cutters, screwdrivers, and a bottle opener.
In testing, we were impressed with the precise fit of the pliers’ jaw tips. There was no gap or unevenness between the steel jaws, and we could grasp tiny wires as easily as larger items. We also liked that the tools were easily accessible with minimal effort—no straining or breaking a fingernail to get one out.
At a little less than 7 ounces and measuring just over 3¾ inches long, the Wingman is compact enough to take and stow just about anywhere.
Learn about how we tested and reviewed more top picks in our Best Multi-Tools guide.
Get the Leatherman multi-tool on Amazon or at Ace Hardware.
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