The 5 Handiest Items for a DIYer’s Home, Garage, and Beyond

From duct tape to a cutting-edge portable power station, these versatile tools are an essential part of any home improvement kit.
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EcoFlow Delta Pro 3 powering a tool in a garage workshop
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DIYers know that there is no complete ranking of home improvement essentials. The right tool can vary from job to job, and the list of repair and upgrade projects can be endless. Whether it’s hanging picture frames, building a shed, installing a smart thermostat, or powering your tools during a backyard construction project, the punch list grows—and so does the size of the tool collection. 

Still, when it comes to the most important home improvement tasks, there are a few key items that are as close to essential as it gets. These tools may be designed for specific applications, but they’re also versatile enough to be used in a range of situations and tasks. The handiest tools will even offer utility outside of your workshop, such as around the house, on a road trip, or during your next outdoor adventure. Put another way, they earn their keep.

We’ve put together a list of the top five tools to keep on hand for all your home improvement (and simply home) needs. 

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Keep your gear at full charge off-site—and your home online during an electrical outage—with EcoFlow’s ever-versatile line of portable power stations. Learn More About the EcoFlow DELTA Pro 3 Series

Power Drill/Driver Combo Kit

Whether you’re building a new deck, installing some drywall, or tackling any other project that requires a lot of repetitive drilling and screwing, a good power drill is an absolute necessity. These power tools make it easy to bore holes and insert screws in all manner of materials, from wood to drywall, without expending a huge amount of effort. Do yourself a favor and pick a battery-powered option for the most convenience. This allows you to operate the tool just about anywhere without being tethered by a cord, and the battery itself can be the foundation for an expanding collection of compatible tools.

And while entry-level DIYers can certainly get by with a power drill alone, the addition of an impact driver can help you tackle an even wider variety of jobs. Impact drivers boast higher torque levels than drills, allowing them to drive big fasteners into even tougher materials, such as dense, knotty wood. With the right bit, they can even help remove nuts and bolts from machinery, making them great for automotive work. Luckily, many combo kits feature both of these tools, while some drills even combine the benefits of a driver in one handy body. 

EcoFlow Delta Pro 3 powering a saw to slice through a fallen tree
Photo courtesy of EcoFlow

Portable Power Station

As your arsenal of home improvement tools grows, it’s important to have enough power to keep everything charged and ready for action. That’s why it’s a good idea to invest in a portable power station like the EcoFlow DELTA Pro 3. This cutting-edge battery backup is designed to be at home as much in the garage, workshop, or jobsite as it is in the house itself. Its wide utility makes it one of the most versatile power stations available, and it’s a great asset for any power-hungry DIYer.

A key feature of the DELTA Pro 3 is its modularity. Each 120V/240V base battery boasts a maximum continuous power output of 4,000 watts (W), and it can be expanded to 12,000W with two additional battery packs stacked on top of the base unit. Despite its size and capacity, the base unit remains impressively portable thanks to the incorporation of wheels and an extendable handle that allow it to be easily pulled from one place to another. You can park it in the workshop, where the unit’s six outlets can simultaneously power all of your most essential tools, such as a table saw (1,800W), an air compressor (2,000W at 1 horsepower), an industrial fan (between 100W and 400W depending on size), and even the charger for the drill/driver combo mentioned above. 

Recharge mid-project one of seven unique ways, like connecting the DELTA Pro 3 to solar panels or your electric vehicle’s cigarette lighter port, or plugging it into an AC wall outlet when you’ve wrapped your DIY project. Powering from 0 to 80 percent will take just 50 minutes—the industry’s fastest charging time—so you’re ready to go again. Then you can pull the power station outside to power a pressure washer to clean the patio, load it in the truck or RV to take it on your next camping trip, or wheel it indoors for backup power. And unlike a noisy gas generator, it won’t add any disruptive sound to the environment, emitting just 30 decibels (dB) under a 2,000W load. 

The EcoFlow DELTA Pro 3 can also be combined with other “stacks” to create a modular power backup system, able to keep the whole house running when the grid goes down. The sleek, metallic silver design is reminiscent of stainless steel appliances, making this an attractive addition inside the home as well as a welcome source of power, whether indoors or out. Thanks to its high output and lightning-fast transfer time—it’s capable of switching from utility to battery power in 10 milliseconds—the DELTA Pro 3 can provide uninterrupted power to nearly any appliance in the home, from refrigerators and washing machines to well pumps and central AC units, often simultaneously. Simply bring it indoors, plug appliances into the power station directly, and power them with a single click. For more benefits, integrate with your home’s electrical setup via an inlet box, manual transfer switch, or with the EcoFlow Smart Home Panel 2, which offers enhanced customization and the possibility to manage your electricity usage, resulting in lower power bills and even weather alerts that prepare your home’s backup power for possible blackouts.

A shop vacuum sitting on the garage floor between cleaning up messes.
Photo: istockphoto.com terminator1

Wet/Dry Shop Vac

Maintaining a tidy workspace or home is a key part of home improvement, but it can often feel like a project in itself. Whether it’s sawdust, grass clippings, or even liquid, household vacuums can struggle to handle the heavy waste and debris created through DIY chores and projects. If that’s the case, it’s time to turn to a wet/dry shop vac. Stronger and tougher than a household vacuum, these tools suck up a variety of debris across a wider range of surfaces, from food on hardwood floors to dirt on the back patio (just plug into your trusty portable power station). As the name suggests, wet/dry vacs can also vacuum both liquids and solids, making them an extremely versatile piece of equipment for any DIY household.

Additionally, wet/dry vacs can do more than just clean up messes. They can also prevent them, particularly in the workshop, where they can be connected to power tools to trap and collect sawdust before it hits the air. Many woodworking tools feature integrated dust ports that are compatible with shop vacs, including sanders and table saws. 

Flashlight/Work Light

When you’re working on a complicated project, it’s important that you’re able to see what you’re doing. Sometimes, though, your existing lighting fixtures may not be strong enough to fully illuminate your workspace. That’s why a work light or portable flashlight is one of the most essential tools for home improvement. These tools boast various sizes, designs, and lumens, and they can be powered either by disposable or rechargeable battery. 

But flashlights are useful beyond just home improvement projects. Many flashlights are portable—and powerful—enough to come in handy in a variety of other scenarios, including for providing extra lighting during car emergencies, on camping trips, or even during a power outage (that is, if you aren’t already powering your home’s lights and essential household appliances on the DELTA Pro 3). 

Duct tape hanging on pegboard with a collection of tools for home improvement projects.
Photo: istockphoto.com

FrankvandenBergh

Duct Tape

Perhaps one of the most versatile home improvement materials ever made, duct tape is a tool that belongs in the drawer of any seasoned DIYer. Originally designed for sealing heating and air ducts, this type of tape has become a home improvement staple thanks to its wide range of applications, from patching up tears in air mattresses to temporarily plugging a joint or pinhole leak in your plumbing system. 

The power of duct tape comes from its adhesive strength, which allows it to adhere to almost any household surface, including metal, tile, wood, glass, cement, brick, plastic, cardboard, and more. It’s also one of the most durable tapes available, capable of withstanding a range of temperatures and even resisting, at least for a time, water.

Chase Brush Avatar

Chase Brush

Contributing Writer

Chase Brush is a freelance writer and editor with almost 10 years of experience researching and reviewing gadgets on the internet. He started working with BobVila.com in 2022, covering outdoor equipment, kitchen appliances, and other products.

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