Basic tools every dad needs

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One of the overarching stereotypes is that all dads are handy. I may have two hands but I am not always the handiest person when a DIY job comes up. I try to do it myself as much as possible because I do enjoy the satisfaction that comes with fixing something yourself. 

Make sure you have the right tools when assembling
Make sure you have the right tools when assembling

There is also an issue with doing a job yourself.


The reason you pay professionals so much money is that they have the right tools to do the job. If you tackle something yourself you may find out that you will spend just as much money in tools as it would have cost to hire someone out.

Whether you are the DIY type yourself or whether you hire out most fixes around the home you should still have some basic tools. You don’t need to have a huge workshop loaded down with tools but a small closet or utility room with a nice selection of tools will keep you from having to phone a friend every time you need to do something around the house.

Here is a list of basic tools I think every dad needs.


Tools dad need - Screwdrivers
Tools dad needs – Screwdrivers

One of the most important tools in your life of being a dad will be screwdrivers. I would bet that I use a screwdriver almost once a week. Growing up I would have never even thought I would need to use a screwdriver that often.

I would suggest buying a set in a variety of sizes. At a minimum get a small and large Philips head screwdriver and a small and large flat head screwdriver. But you will also need to buy a precision screwdriver kit. These are really inexpensive to get at Walmart or Amazon. Basically, it is a small screwdriver set that has a lot of different size attachments.

Why does a dad need all these different types of screwdrivers? Putting stuff together. Everything I have ever assembled required a screwdriver and very rarely does it include one. Also, you need a screwdriver to change batteries. All those little battery doors on toys are secured with a small screw.


Many times I have had situations where I just needed to hit something. Not out of frustration or malice but to get something to fit in the right location. There have been numerous times I have put together something like furniture or something else and things just didn’t line up correctly. And having a hammer to tap it in the right place made it so much easier.

Also, you need a hammer to put in nails to hang family pictures, or need a hammer to pull out nails because your wife wants to rearrange the pictures on the wall.

I would personally recommend buying a few different types of hammers. A big one for general use, a smaller one for putting nails in the wall, and maybe a mallet for more general use.

Socket Set

A socket set might be my second most used tool around the house. Sockets are always helpful when assembling things and all they give you is a little dainty wrench that isn’t going to get the job done.

You can get an inexpensive socket set that has most of the sizes you will ever need. Just remember to keep a backup 10mm socket as those tend to walk away from you.

Crescent Wrench

Tools dad need - Crescent wrench
Tools dad needs – Crescent wrench

If you have a good crescent wrench you might be able to get away with not having a socket set. It works in a pinch but in most cases, you will probably want the socket set.

There have been times when a crescent wrench just worked out better and was more convenient. And you can also use crescent wrenches to measure a nut or bolt and see what size socket you need.


I never thought I would need a drill that much. I bought one a few years back because I was putting together a playground set for my kids. I went cheap and it didn’t last very long. The next one I bought I have used for a while and I love it.

My current drill has a chuck that can be removed and behind it is an impact driver for putting in bolts or screws. I love that drill and have used it over and over. I would say a power drill over a cordless. But they make some pretty powerful cordless drills now.


The only reason I recommend a sander is for scouts. But if your family likes to do crafts or if you have any interest in building things then a sander is a must.

Every year in scouts we do Pinewood Derby. The kids have to build a car with their parent’s help and part of that is smoothing out the final product. Having a sander just makes this so easy and they are fairly inexpensive.

Sanders are also good to smooth out splinters around the house. If you have something that gets nicked up or damaged you might take a sander to it and help avoid anyone getting splinters from the damaged area.


Tools dad needs
Photo by Hunter Haley on Unsplash

There are a variety of saws that can be beneficial to a dad. I would say for the most part you don’t need to own the different kinds of saws. But when you need one they are handy to have around.

Mitre saw – If you are doing a lot of building it might be helpful to have a Mitre Saw. Building things like decks, playgrounds, and other outdoor items would require this.

Jigsaw – These are really nice if you do some circular cuts. You can probably get away with borrowing one of these.

Circular saw – I would use this to replace your Mitre saw if you don’t do a ton of building.

Chainsaw – If you have a lot of property and trees I would highly recommend having a chainsaw.

Hand saw – This is a pretty good all-purpose saw to own. This way you can cut branches or cut wood in a pinch. Anything more you would want to borrow something more suited for the task.

Dremel – Rotary Tool

When I first saw a rotary tool I thought it was cool but didn’t see the use for it. After owning one I can’t imagine living without one. The rotary tool has so many good uses it just makes sense to keep one in your tool belt.

You can use it to quickly sand down wood if you don’t have a sander. You can use it to drill if you don’t have a drill. You can use it to cut off pieces of metal that won’t come out. They make so many attachments the uses are pretty unlimited.


Unless you rent your house you probably have a yard to maintain. And one thing that every dad should have for their yard is a shovel. Whether you are digging worms to go fishing or starting a garden a shovel is a must in every dad’s tool arsenal.

It doesn’t hurt to have a few different shovels also. We had to dig up our septic tank so the service guy could check it out. If we didn’t expose it ourselves he was going to charge us an extra $100. I went out and bought an extra shovel just so my boys could help me dig this thing up.


Having a level is not an obvious tool that you would think about until you need it. The other day I was installing our new washer and dryer. The final step was to make sure it was level before starting them. I knew I had a level around the house but couldn’t find it. Then I remembered that I could download a level app for my phone and used that.

But there have been other times I needed to level something out and didn’t want to risk messing up my phone because of dirt or water. Levels are not that expensive so I would recommend having one on hand for those dirty jobs.

Tape Measure

Tools dad need - Tape Measure
Tools dad needs – Tape Measure

A tape measure is a tool that not only you will use but everyone else in the house. The tape measure can be used to measure the height of your kids, measure a room for new carpet, or measure a piece of wood to cut.

Make sure you invest in a good one when you buy a tape measure. They will get used over and over and having one that will last and stay together will keep you from getting frustrated if one breaks on you.


Have you ever had to pull something apart but you just couldn’t grip it? Or had to retrieve something small from a hard-to-reach place? Well, then pliers can help you.

I would suggest investing in a needle nose pair of pliers and some locking pliers. The needle nose pliers are good for grabbing things in those hard-to-reach locations and the locking pliers come in handy to help hold something still while you tighten it down. Or just do disconnect things you can’t get a good grip on.

Stud Finder

Every dad needs a stud finder so they can point it at themselves and say “Yep found the stud!”. Okay, all dad jokes aside a stud finder is a really helpful tool if you hang a lot of pictures in your house. I have ruined many walls trying to find a stud without one and had to go buy patch kits.

If you enjoy working on projects or being a DIY dad then your list of tools may go well beyond what I have here. You may want a reciprocating saw, a laser level, a 500 piece socket set, a table saw and so much more. But most dads just need the basic tools above to get them going.

And also consider cost versus use. If you buy a tool think about how many times you will use that tool. Would it be cheaper to just rent or maybe even borrow the tool from a friend when you need it? There are times I have bought a tool and had three people tell me they had it and would have been happy to loan it to me.

Are there any tools you would consider adding to the list? If so let us know in the comments or tell us on our Facebook page.

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