9 Must Have Tools Men Should Own in 2021


Having lived alone, with a partner and now with my own family, I know through experience how necessary it is to have my own tools for when those necessary jobs around the house need to be addressed. You may think that a claw hammer and screwdriver will be the only necessary tools that you’ll require but you’d be wrong.

Yes, they are the most popular tools and will probably be used more than any other, but what about those plumbing mishaps. I’m sure you’ve seen adverts or sitcoms where water starts spurting from the kitchen tap. So, how will a hammer help you in this situation? You’d be hard pressed to find any plumbing issue where a hammer will fix the issue.

So, keeping a set of essential tools about the house is crucial to keeping your house or appartment in good order. If you consider yourself a bit of a handyman, your tool kit will grow considerably over time with tools required for specific jobs.

Below is a brief buyer guide that will help advise you on a few things to consider before making a purchase. Once you’ve read it, check out our 9 essential must have tools men should own.

Must Have Tools Buying Guide

With varying types of hand tools, there’s so many aspects we could talk about to be aware of. We’ll go over a few of them for some of the most common tools you’ll require at home.


Your hammer for instance will want to last and be great for general use. Every man needs a hammer and it may just become your best mate. When we talk about obtaining a must have hammer for home, we mean a claw hammer. You know, the type you can pull nails up with when they bend or are not aligned correctly. Not a mallet or sledge hammer.

All good hammers have a head weight and we suggest anywhere from 16oz to 20oz. to be a nice size for general home use. Another aspect of hammers is the face. Some hammers have a milled face which tends to be rigid. This is often used as a framing hammer, so I wouldn’t recommend it. Although a great aspect of the milled face is that it prevents the nail head from slipping off the face, it can also leave imprints on timber that you don’t want.

A smooth face hammer is ideal for general everyday use, there’s no need to pretend to be a tradesman if you are not. Obviously, you’ll need a rip claw on the rear of the hammer head. The other thing to keep in mind is handle length. Cheaper claw hammers have shorter handles, so I’d pay the extra few dollars for a longer handle, 15-17inches is what your after. A longer handle will cause you less strain on your wrist.


As you’re probably be aware, there’s two main types of screw-heads amongst others. The ‘Slotted-Head’ (or flat-head) and the ‘Philips-Head’. So, it makes sense to have two different screw drivers. There’s also the option to have a single screw driver with changeable heads. Although this may seem more logical, they tend to be more clunky to use and the heads can fall out. It may be an idea to have one of these as a backup to you main screwdriver.

I’m going to suggest getting a ‘Philips-Head’ screwdriver as your first point of call as you’d probably use this more often (unlike the old days). But I’d also suggest purchasing a ‘Flat-Head’ screwdriver also as this is your next most common type of screw-head. In-fact a screwdriver set would ideal with various heads types and sizes. Another great idea is to keep a screwdriver in your car, mine has helped me out countless times.

Now different screws have various size indentations ranging from 0-25. So, if you’re only purchasing your first screwdriver you’ll want one that fits a general size, not too large or too small. From this list of screw head sizes, you’ll want the screwdriver that fits the most common ones, so I’d suggest the #2. This #2 screw driver will fit screw numbers 5-9.

You can also get long and short handle screwdrivers which all come in handy for different types of jobs. To start with I’d suggest a general 8-inch long screwdriver that will suit most jobs.

Measuring Tape

Do not buy a 2.5-meter measuring tape, you’re setting yourself up to fail any handyman job from the start. Can you image trying to measure a lounge room to buy a new furniture piece? Your lounge room could be 5-6 meters long!

So, I’d suggest a 7.5m minimum measuring tape which will be more than adequate for just about any job. There’s also a couple of features to look for when acquiring a new measuring tape. A magnetic hook is a great idea for those times when you’re working alone. You can also benefit from a heavy-duty case so that if you drop your tape measure, it will withstand the impact.

One other thing to make sure of, is that the measuring tape should have the correct measurement indicators that you’ll be working in. For instance, Inches in the USA, millimetres in the UK or Australia. Often, you’ll find both imperial and metric measurements which is ideal.


Of course, there’s things to be aware of with other tools that one requires at home, but we won’t go into all of them. But let me give you a tip. Never buy the cheapest. You generally get what you pay for and I’d suggest doing a little due diligence before you purchase your next useful tool. It’s slao often best to look for a name brand such as Makita, DeWalt or Craftsman.

Below is a list of our 9 must have tools men should own and have stored in your garage or man-cave. We hope you find it useful.

#1 - Estwing 16 oz Straight Rip Claw Hammer

Customer Reviews



? Nylon Vinyl vibration reduction grip
? Smooth head & rip claw
? 16oz weight


? Slight ‘pinging’ noise

Perfect for tradies or home handymen alike and obviously as we’re talking about must have tools men should own, here’s your starting point. Forget purchasing the old timber claw hammer like our fathers used in the 1970’s which can split or crack, todays hammers are so much more comfortable to use and manoeuvre.

At 16oz this it an ideal weight for the general home handyman and you’ll find it will be suitable for just about any job. What I really love about this hammer is it’s comfortable (and shock reducing) grip. Apparently is reduces vibration by 70%! I won’t argue with that, as it certainly feels nice and I’ve never noticed any jarring or vibrating.

You’ll notice that the head of the hammer is a smooth finish which is perfect for jobs around the house as you’ll not leave any rigid indentations that can be possible with a milled head. As the name suggests, you’ll be equipped with a rip-claw for pulling out misaligned or bent nails which happens with many a new handyman!

Notice that the steel hammer is forged of one piece making it extremely durable and has a great balance about it. You’ll find a nylon vinyl grip that is well cushioned for added comfort on the steel handle making this hammer one of the best in this price range.

Great features include:

  • Smooth head & rip claw for removing nails
  • Nylon vinyl cushioned grip
  • Perfect 16oz weight
  • Vibration reduction grip

With loads of customers having purchased this particular hammer, the 4.8-star rating proves its popularity and brand trust.

Just one thing to note is that a couple of customers have noted that a slight ‘ping’ noise is heard every time you hit a nail in. It may bother some, but most don’t seem to have a problem with it.

#2 - Vessel Megadora Cross Point Screwdriver

Customer Reviews



? JIS design
? Comfortable handle
? 8.3 inches



If you’ve never heard of a JIS screwdriver you wouldn’t be the first, and you won’t be the last. But it’s also time to find out because these are a godsend when it comes to removing screws.

The screwdriver we suggest as a must have in your tool kit is the Vessel Megadora JIS. You can thank us later. This one has a lovely rubber grip that feels comfortable when manoeuvring screws into place. A magnetic tip is also a great aspect of this screwdriver. They’re not for everyone but I’d certainly recommend a magnetic tip if you only have the one screwdriver.

But the magic of this screwdriver is the JIS (Japanese Industrial Standard) design which allows for much better grip and less cam out on tight removal of screws. Standard Philips-Head screwdrivers have a radius on them that disallows the tip of the screwdriver to remain in the screw head when at maximum torque. Instead the tip will cam out and disfigure the screw head.

The Japanese have their own type of screws that the JIS screwdriver fits snugly into. The screwdriver is designed to never torque out, instead allowing the operator to control the tightening of a screw.

The great thing is, these JIS screwdrivers also fit typical Philips head screws which allows us to take advantage of a much more versatile screwdriver. It fits all #2 Philip head screws and many other sizes that are similar.

Great features include:

  • JIS (Japanese Industrial Standard) design
  • Fits many screw sizes including the most common #2
  • Comfortable handle
  • 8.3 inches long

This is one of the most popular screwdrivers on Amazon. Over 80 customers have rated this 4.8-stars and the reviews are very complimentary. If you read the reviews, you’ll note that mechanics swear by these screwdrivers. You will do well to own one of these screwdrivers in your home.

Bar Gifts For Men

#3 - Craftsman 4 Piece Plier Set

Customer Reviews



? A full plier set for a multitude of jobs
? Proudly made in the USA
? Made from the quality ‘Craftsman’ brand
? Lifetime warranty


? Pliers may be stiff at first

Although a single pair of pliers is adequate to start off with, a set of various plier types is more ideal. If you’re only going to get just the one pair, I’d suggest typical universal (or combination/slip-joint) pliers (pictured 3rd from left). However, each different pair of pliers shown has a unique purpose and will all come in very handy from time to time.

This collection will set you up with all the necessary plier types for a huge range of household jobs. From the slip-joint pliers that will serve a multitude of various tasks such as crimping, gripping and twisting objects that cannot be pinched by fingers. They are an older and more durable set of pliers that don’t try to keep up with the modern colourful sets.

The long nose (or needle-nose) pliers are so useful when it comes to electrical work. Not that I suggest doing your own electrical work around the house, that’s what electricians are for! But you can often have wiring issues for appliances or toys that require fixing. This is where the long nose pliers come in and they include a small section that allows you to cut wires.

You’re Arc Joint pliers are going to help you out when you require gripping a larger object such as a pipe or large nut. This is like an expended version of your universal pliers and you will find it coming in more useful than you think.

Lastly, you’ll get a lot of use from the diagonal pliers which are made for snipping. They’re a wire cutter that will help with household and gardening jobs like wire mesh chicken coops, wire vegetable gardens stand and so forth. Often, you’ll need to cut your wire mesh to size, this is the tool.

Great features include:

  • 4 x various pliers
  • Well made, very durable
  • Made in USA
  • Ideal for home or automotive

Hugely popular with tradesmen from the Craftsman brand. The reviews are extremely commendable with a 4.9-star rating. One customer has noted that they found a pair of pliers stiff to begin with. In our experience that is not unusual or a big issue.

A plier set like this will set you up nicely, especially for those new family men getting their new garage in order.

#4 - Kutir Retractible Measuring Tape

Customer Reviews



? Magnetic hook
? Shock absorbent case
? Bold measurements
? Locking mechanism


? No light

I couldn’t imagine not having a good measuring tape in my tool kit. And no, I don’t mean a sewing measuring tape that your grandmother used for making your knitted jumper. I’m talking about a strong, durable measuring tape for taking measurements for a garden shed, paved are or timber decking. Even hanging pictures requires a measuring tape to align centrally between windows and doors or above your new locking liquor cabinet.

You simply need a measuring tape and this one is ideal in terms of cost and features, for any tool box. It has a maximum length of 7.5m or 25ft with a stand out of approximately 7 feet. This means the tape will stand out for 7 feet without any need for support.

What I really love about this tape measure that makes it unique from others, is the magnetic hook which makes it so much easier to work by oneself. This is a great addition to the simple tape measure, but you will need something magnetic to attach it to.

You’ll also benefit greatly from the multiple measurements that are displayed on both sides of the tape. You get metric and imperial measurement indicators and the accuracy is pin-point. This tape measure has even been certified from M.I.D. (Measuring Instruments Directive) for its accuracy. You may not need your reading glasses either as the numbers are nice and bold. Then again, you may still require your glasses, depending on how good your eyes are!

Another great feature that all great tape measures include, is the locking mechanism which is perfect when you need to write down your measurements.

I also love the look of this tape as its encased in a rubber surround that resembles a tyre. Not only does it look awesome, the strong top-grade rubber is shock absorbent, meaning your tape measure is totally protected from accidents.

Great features include:

  • Large bold measurements on both side of the tape.
  • Strong shock-absorbent rubber casing for protection
  • Magnetic hook for attaching to metals
  • Locking mechanism

Everything you’ll need in a tape measure is included here. The only thing that I’ve seen on other tape measures is an LED light, but I believe this is more of a gimmick and is not necessary. It’s not that often you’ll be working in complete darkness. If you do, grab a torch!

The reviews for this tape measure will blow your socks off with over 440 customers giving it a 4.7-star rating. That’s awesome when many customers leave a great review and only a 4-star rating which drops the average.

#5 - DEWALT Premium 3-Speed Drill/Driver Kit

Customer Reviews



? 2 x Lithium batteries
? Extreme power
? LED light
? 3-speed transmission


? LED placement can shadow

So far, we’ve covered tools that are used by hand, but there is one imperative power tool that is a must in every mans garage and that is the cordless drill. I say cordless because its not necessary to have a lead these days unless you have a need for extra power drilling such as drilling into strong brick or concrete. For your basic household jobs this is the perfect drill/driver.

Firstly, it’s made by DeWalt, so you know the durability and quality is top notch, and It comes with a 3-year limited manufacturer’s warranty.

The drill itself comes fully encase in a secure kit. The kit includes drill, charger, 2 x 20V Lithium batteries and a 360-degree side handle that attaches to the drill for added balance and strength when drilling.

Why is this perfect for home use? Because it will serve just about every purpose you’ll ever need as a home handyman. If you know anything about motor speeds, you’ll appreciate the highly efficient motor which will deliver 535-unit watts and has a maximum speed of 2000 rpm (revolutions per minute). So, in other words it’s damn powerful for a cordless drill. If you’ve never owned a cordless drill like this before you’ll enjoy the varying speeds. It has 3 different gears which have varying degrees of torque.

  • (Hi Torque – Low Speed (1) 0-575 RPM)
  • (Med Torque – Med Speed (2) 0-1,350 RPM)
  • (Low Torque – Hi Speed (3) 0-2,000 RPM)

You’ll find instructions included on how and when to use these speeds.

And just in case you are working in darkish environments, your drill is fitted with a LED light which will increase your visibility.
Great features include:

  • LED light with 20 second delay
  • 3-speed all metal transmission
  • Highly efficient 535-unit watt motor
  • 2 x 20V lithium batteries

You’ll be struggling to find a better drill/driver for the cost anywhere. This drill has been given the greatest reviews and rating of 4.9-stars from over 80 customers.

Just one thing to note that some customers have queried. The light can be annoying for some as it can shadow the wrong area.

A great drill deserves nice drill bits. In-fact you cannot do without them! Check out the drill bits below that will help you out.

Whiskey Glasses

#6 - Stanley Sharp Tooth Saw

Customer Reviews



? 3 x Cutting surfaces
? 15-inch blade
? Ergonomic comfortable handle
? Limited lifetime warranty


? No future sharpening

So, you have a piece of timber that needs to be cut in two. How are you going to achieve this with a tape measure (although you now know where to cut the timber!), a drill (although you can now drill holes in the timer!), a hammer (yes you can nail it once cut!) or a screw driver (which you can screw to the other half of the timber should you be able to cut it in two!).

Here’s where you’ll need one of the oldest and most used tradesman tools ever invented. The old trusty sharp tooth wood saw. And Stanley is the brand you can rely on when it comes to hand saws, just check out the reviews.

We’ve found an awesome sharp tooth saw for you, for just a little over 10 bucks. It has an ergonomic handle which will keep your hand more comfortable when using for longer periods. The handle is also made from one piece and does not require screws to fasten it, so it won’t come lose over time.

I really like the technology they’ve provided with this saw as the 15-inch blade has 3 cutting surfaces which they claim will allow you to cut 50% faster. I’m always sceptical about outrageous claims so I gave it a try. I was not 50% more productive but it certainly was much quicker that I was used to. The cutting blades do make a difference.

The teeth on the blade are Induction hardened and will remain sharp for a long time. Because of the genius design that keeps the blades sharper for longer, the angle of the teeth won’t allow for sharpening. So, if it lasts for 3-4 years of general use, it’s certainly done its job for $10.

Great features include:

  • 3 cutting surfaces for faster cutting
  • Ergonomic comfortable handle
  • 15-inch blade
  • Limited lifetime warranty

Over 180 customers have rated this 4.7-stars which is an awesome result. All tool sheds need a decent saw, and this will start you off well. If you find yourself using a saw more often over time, simply upgrade to the Stanley FATMAX or similar. For now though, this is your tool.

#7 - Wide Mouth Adjustable Wrench

Customer Reviews



? Padded grip
? 8-inch long
? Measurements displayed


? No metric measurements
? Slightly heavy for a pocket

How many times have you needed to remove or tighten nuts & bolts of various sizes? Yeah, often hey! So, you have two options. You can purchase a spanner set of various sizes or get an adjustable wrench like this one pictured that will fit any size nut. Don’t think that an adjustable wrench is a tool item that is not essential, trust me, you’ll be lost without one of these.

The Bahco 6-inch adjustable wrench is an undisputed top seller and its easy to see why. It’s 6 inches in length and the opening adjusts up to 11 ⅛” (or 32 millimetres) approximately. The wrench is half an inch thick which is possibly the only issue with it. Some would prefer it was slimmer to slide into narrower spaces, but this probably won’t be an issue for most.

A great feature that I love about this wrench is the measurements on the head. Ideally it would have metric measurements also but that’s probably just nit picking. I really like the black phosphate finish with padded grip, very nice feel to it.

This really is a solid tool that you’ll get so much use out of.

Great features include:

  • 8-inch long and head opening adjustable to 11 ⅛ inches
  • Measurements on head
  • Black phosphate finish
  • Padded grip

From over 50 customer reviews there’s an average rating of 4.8-stars! The reviews are all complementary which you can check out for yourself. One of the best adjustable wrenches on the market.

#8 - Heavy Duty Box Cutter Knife

Customer Reviews



? Strong stainless-steel design
? Folds down for storage
? Pocket clip


? Included pouch has small belt loop

The tool for all occasions. Cutting various materials can be painful if you don’t have the correct tool for the job. For instance, you need to cut vinyl flooring to size, trim security door offcuts when replacing the wire, open boxes with multiple layers of tape, scratch out old grout from tiles or cutting up old carpet for a man cave.

This is when a pair of scissors are not durable or strong enough for the job. You require a box cutting knife like this one that is lightweight, so you can carry it around in your top pocket. Or better still, attach it to your pocket with the handle which doubles as a pocket clip. A handy inclusion.

You will get so much use out of this knife and enjoy using it. The knife blades are made from heavy-duty carbon steel, so they will not bend or split whilst in use. Even though the blade is secured when not being used, it can be locked in place via a black button that you’ll find on the head of the knife.

The knife measures 6.6 inches long and can be folded down to fit in your back pocket. On thing to note that we’ve picked up is that when folded down, the knife is not flush with the handle that it slips into. This is not a major concern, it just may bother some buyers if that’s what they were expecting.

Great features include:

  • Strong anodized aluminium and stainless-steel design
  • Folds for pocket storage
  • Handle doubles as pocket clip
  • 6.6 inches long, 4.3 inches when folded.

Another great feature of this knife is that it’s rust-resistant. Not that I intend leaving it out in the rain but it’s nice to know that if accidentally exposed to the elements, my knife will not turn to rust.

Over 500 customers have been thrilled with this knife and rated it 4.7-stars as an average.

#9 - 22 Allen Key Set

Customer Reviews






Lastly on our list of 9 must have tools men should own, we have an expansive set of 22 Allen keys. Perfect for those times when your kids come up to you and ask to have their bicycle seat raised or handle bars adjusted. Although bicycles are the first thing that comes to mind when I think of screw heads that require adjustment, furniture is another item that will require the services of a hex head key, especially Ikea furniture.

These are generally known as Allen keys as Allen is the original manufacturer of the hex key. This set is made of the good stuff, tempered alloy steel that’s been heat treated so the keys will not distort in any way. They will all fit perfectly into your required hex head due to the precision workmanship which has resulted in exact dimensional formations.

You’ll benefit greatly from the larger Allen keys which have longer arm lengths to grasp hold of, resulting in much better leverage.
You will not lose your Allen keys as they can all be returned to the holding caddy for next time. Although this is up to you, not to leave them lying around!

Great features include:

  • Durable and strongly built from tempered alloy steel
  • Perfectly dimensioned
  • Holding storage caddy
  • 22 Keys

Although only 13 customers have bought this set at the time of writing, they’ve been given a perfect 5-star rating with all reviews being very complementary. Another must have.


As with any tools, you don’t need to spend the earth, but it does pay to buy decent quality materials. All the tools we’ve recommended here are top rated picks by customers, which considers the quality and durability of the product.

Yes, there are other tools that you could consider essential must haves, but as a starting point for any man (or lady living alone) the tools above are what we consider necessary.

I certainly hope we’ve given you food for thought as to the must have tools men should own and have pointed you in the right direction.

If you’d like to share your essential tools with us, please feel free to add to the discussion below.

Disclosure: Links in this post may be to our affiliates; sales through affiliate links may benefit this site. Please help support 'I Know The Barman' by using the links provided.

It won’t cost you anything extra.


  1. Tiffany Jackson

    I really like this website. I’m not a man but I think that the men in my life ( dad, brothers etc) could use something like this. I read a couple of things and all the things definitely seem like “men tools” lol. I’ll be sure to pass this on! My brother is moving into a new house soon so I’ll give him some advice and point him here. Great read!

    • Nudge

      Thanks for the kind words Tiffany. I hope you brother finds this helpful. If he has room for a man cave at his new home, we’ve got advice for this too. Just type in in the search bar. 

      Thanks for dropping by.


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