After more than 350 hours of research and tests of nearly 250 tools, we’ve put together the best tool kit for your home (and found the best toolbox to hold them all). To come up with these 22 recommendations, we consulted three carpenters with a combined experience of 36 years, got input from six leading tool experts, and had many, many conversations with tool manufacturers. After we conducted our initial tests and decided on the best tools, I used them to complete a major home renovation as well as countless other projects that have cropped up since my move into a 250-year-old home. After this much work, we’re sure these tools can handle just about everything your house can throw at you.
These tools are best for people who have already started dabbling with home improvement and want to up their game. Compared to the lower quality implements in the basic tool kit we recommend for total beginners, the tools on this list offer better features, more capability, a higher degree of comfort, and pro-level durability. These are reliable tools that can take a lifetime of abuse—and if they’re treated well, they could even last beyond your lifetime. This quality doesn’t come cheap; purchasing our entire kit at once costs roughly $500. But you don’t need to get all these tools at once. Most tool collections grow slowly over months and years, so we’ve loosely organized the list in descending order of importance. We’re starting with the most essential tools and finishing with the more task-specific tools you might want once you’ve got the basics covered and are ready to expand your capabilities.
Why you should trust us
I know a decent amount about tools. I have spent 10 years in construction: first as a carpenter, then foreman, and finally a supervisor running multi-million dollar renovations and helping to build some pretty unusual houses (like this one with a glass staircase). In addition to my work in the trades, I’ve been writing about tools since 2007, with articles appearing in Fine Homebuilding, Popular Mechanics, This Old House, The Journal of Light Construction, Popular Science, and Tools of the Trade. In addition, I spent three and a half years completely gutting and rebuilding my 100-year-old farmhouse, and I have since moved into a 250-year-old colonial saltbox in need of updating. As both a tradesman and the owner of old homes, I’ve become all too aware of the core group of tools necessary for general maintenance and repairs.
But no single person knows everything about tools, so for this guide, I also spoke with many of the country’s leading tool experts: Mark Clement, licensed contractor and co-host of the MyFixitUpLife radio show; Marc Lyman, editor of the tool and home improvement website HomeFixated.com; Rob Robillard, licensed contractor and editor of AConcordCarpenter.com; Clint DeBoer, editor of ProToolReviews.com, Stuart Deutsch of ToolGuyd.com; and Harry Sawyers, Wirecutter senior editor and former editor at Popular Mechanics and This Old House. I also had conversations with the manufacturers of many of these tools such as Klein, Milwaukee, and Irwin.
How we picked and tested
The tools on this list reflect the needs of general home maintenance and repair, so we selected ones that bring the most benefit to the most people. This means these tools are capable of everything: smaller projects like replacing bathroom fixtures, leveling the washing machine, and wiring a thermostat and more complicated jobs like replacing a toilet, reglazing old windows, or installing storm windows. We also made sure to include tools that can help solve common house emergencies such as plumbing problems and electrical issues.
To keep the number of tools to a minimum, we went with well-rounded tools that provide the most functionality for general use. For example, needle-nose pliers are essential for electrical work, but they’re also useful for fishing a toy out from behind a bookshelf. Locking pliers are essential for rusted and stuck nuts and bolts but can also do things like keeping a garage door held up while replacing the springs. With this set of tools, you’ll be ready for all basic household jobs—and you won’t waste money on gear that’ll gather dust in your toolbox.
For hands-on testing and evaluation of the candidates, we enlisted the aid of two other carpenters: Aaron Goff, with 12 years of experience in high-end remodeling, and Mark Piersma, with 14 years experience. I’ve known and worked alongside these two for years, and they are both very particular about their tools. Goff told us, “I use the best possible tools that I can, so that I can do the best possible job that I can. It’s just not worth it to use junk.”
Once we had decided on our kit’s 22 finalists, I used them exclusively throughout the final phases of the three-and-a-half-year full gut and renovation of my 100-year-old farmhouse. During this second round of testing, which lasted about eight months, I used these tools to hang doors, install toilets, adjust knobs, and rework old windows. I also wired dimmer switches, put in faucets, and connected radiators. I’ll spare you the full list of everything these tools helped accomplish at home—let’s just say they’ve all got some miles on them.
Since then, I’ve moved into a 250-year-old colonial saltbox, and for the past three years I’ve continued to use this collection of tools on a consistent basis, both for setting up the house and for doing general repairs and updating.
If you’re going to purchase only one tool on this list, it should be the MegaPro 211R2C36RD 13-in-1 screwdriver (or the seemingly identical Channellock 13-in-1 Multi-Bit Ratcheting Screwdriver). We’ve tested 28 different ratcheting multi-bit screwdrivers over the past five years and the MegaPro excelled due to its unmatched combination of bit selection, ergonomics, durability, onboard storage, and a silky smooth ratcheting action. No other screwdriver offers such a well-rounded selection of features. Read more about how we tested, compared, and ultimately selected the Megapro in our guide to the best screwdriver.
After dropping, extending, and scrubbing the blades of 19 different tape measures with 60-grit sandpaper, we found that the best one is the classic 25-foot Stanley PowerLock Tape Measure. We were most impressed by the durability of the blade, which is the weak point of any tape measure. In addition, the thumb slide locks in place without any excessive effort, and the tool is comfortable to hold and to clip to a belt. It is also one of the least expensive tapes we looked at. Learn more about how we (and our experts) rated, tested, and selected these tape measures—and why we think the Stanley 25-foot FatMax is a worthy upgrade for serious DIY work—in our full guide to the best tape measure.
We used 23 different utility knives to slice old caulking, cut holes in drywall, and dice up about 50 cardboard boxes, and when we were done it was clear that the Milwaukee Fastback was the best. It has an efficient, one-handed opening ability, a comfortable (and safe) handle, and onboard storage for four extra blades. You also get a nice belt hook and a gut hook that lets you cut small objects like string without even opening the knife. Many utility knives use a sliding thumb switch to expose the blade, but the Fastback folds up like a pocket knife or opens one-handed—and locks in the open position—which makes it safer to use and easier to store. The other folding utility knives we looked at all needed two hands to open, which is slow and tedious. To learn more about why we picked it—as well as how we tested it against the competition—read our complete guide to the best utility knife.
After interviewing two carpenters and testing 21 hammers head to head, the best hammer for most homeowners is the Estwing E3-16C, a 16-ounce hammer with a well-earned reputation for quality. The tool is one single piece of steel from tip to tail, making it basically indestructible, especially compared with wooden- or fiberglass-handled hammers, which can crack, splinter, or have the head connection come loose.
This tool’s comfortable, shock-absorbing grip is easy to hold, and its nice balance makes it easy to aim and swing. I’ve used a metal Estwing as my primary hammer for about 20 years—including a decade of construction work—and it’s still going strong. If you don’t lose this hammer, it will be in your family for generations. Our expert carpenters confirmed our findings and offered some alternate picks for both lighter-duty and heavier-duty work in our full guide to the best hammer.
We’ve tested dozens of drills since 2016, driving 50 pounds of screws, and boring 500 1-inch holes, and we’re convinced that the DeWalt DCD701F2 Xtreme 12V Max Brushless 3/8 in. Drill/Driver Kit is the best one for around-the-house needs. In our tests, it bored 30 1-inch holes through a 2-by-10 on a single battery charge—results that show it can handle just about anything within the four walls of a home. The DeWalt 12-volt’s power is on a par with that of some of the other drills we looked at, but it particularly excels in ergonomics and convenience features. The molded handle seems to account for every curve and bulge of the hand, making this drill the most comfortable we’ve ever held. The battery is designed so that the drill can stand upright when not in use, and the LED is positioned such that it illuminates the drill front better than most. The DCD701F2 also comes with a nice belt hook, and the battery gauge is on each battery rather than on the tool, so you can check batteries without having to insert them into the drill.
We also have additional recommendations for more aggressive DIY-oriented work. Read about these items and see the full explanation of our research, testing, and selection methods in our complete guide to the best drill.
Drill bit set
The Ryobi 90-Piece Drill and Drive Kit is the best kit for general maintenance, home repairs, and light-duty woodworking. It has a large selection of useful pieces yet isn’t bogged down by items that you’ll likely never use. It has an easy-to-use case, and for around $30 we think it’s a steal. Other kits have too much repetition, useless filler pieces, or simply terrible cases.
The Ryobi kit includes three full sets of drill bits (general-purpose, wood, and masonry) as well as a set of paddle bits and a hole saw for drilling four sizes of larger-diameter holes. But it also offers a lot more, as it has a full selection of driver bits and other useful pieces such as a countersink and a set of depth stops. The overall selection in the kit is so complete that both Goff and Piersma said they’d purchase one for themselves.
For more information on how we picked this kit and the other ones we tested, see our guide to the best drill bit kit.
For hanging heavy pictures, mirrors, or shelves, you need to know where your wall studs are. The best tool we found for the job is the C.H. Hanson 03040 Magnetic Stud Finder. This affordable magnet-based stud finder doesn’t exactly locate the studs; it locates the screws that hold the drywall to the studs. No batteries, no calibration—just a simple, effective tool that’s far more reliable than electronic stud finders costing three or four times as much. Whereas other magnetic stud finders have only one magnet, the C.H. Hanson has two, doubling the scanning area and reducing the time it takes to get a hit. This model is also the most durable one we looked at, by far—breaking it would take some serious effort.
We have more details about our work on this topic—and a more expensive (but very capable) electronic stud finder pick—in our guide to the best stud finder.
A small torpedo level is invaluable for everything from picture-hanging to deck-building. After researching the topic and testing four top levels, the one that impressed most is the Sola PH 22 Flooring Level. It’s designed for the needs of a flooring installer, but our carpenter/testers all agreed that it works just as well for a homeowner. Most importantly, it’s a very easy level to read (much more so than the other ones we tested). The top face of the level vial has a slight magnification, making it readable from arm’s length, and it has a slight glow to it that is great for low-light installations. Our testers were wary of its plastic construction at first, but they were convinced of its durability after handling the tool (and abusing it a little). Plus, this was the only tool we tested with a square edge, which makes it easier to check for level or plumb in tight corners.
Sola levels are now distributed in the US by Keson, so they have limited availability under the Sola name. We will be testing the Keson versions of our picks, most notably the Keson LKTRF, to confirm their quality, and we will update this article accordingly. To learn more about the Sola level and the others we considered, see our guide to the best torpedo level.
We tested out 11 different hex wrench sets and found that the best for towel bar-installin’, IKEA-furniture assemblin’, and door knob-tightenin’ is the Tekton 25282 26-piece Long Arm Ball Hex Key Wrench Set. Most of the actual wrenches we tested were nearly identical to one another, so the difference really came down to the quality of the storage. In that department, the Tektons were substantially better: The case opens like a book, with the larger wrenches on one side and the smaller wrenches on the other. This means that even the tiniest wrenches are easy to remove and replace, something that can’t be said for the majority of wrench sets. In addition, the case grips each wrench with a tension that is just right, so they don’t easily fall out yet are still readily removable; on other cases, we needed pliers to pull the wrenches free. For more information on how we picked and tested, including our recommendation for a folding hex wrench set, see our guide to the best hex wrenches.
We tested 15 wrenches and discovered that if you’re going to own only one wrench for putting together ready-to-assemble furniture, tinkering with the bicycle, or doing any number of small plumbing repairs, it should be the 8-inch Channellock WideAzz. We liked it the most because of the extra-wide jaw opening (about a half-inch wider than on most similar tools), the comfortable handle, and the smooth, precise adjustment. The jaws of the tool taper to a thin point, making it ideal for work in places where space is limited. And unlike cheap adjustable wrenches, this one’s movable lower jaw doesn’t unexpectedly wiggle, wobble, or work its way open. To learn more about why we chose this wrench, what we tested it against, and what other experts had to say about it, read our full guide to the best adjustable wrench.
Locking pliers (aka “Vise-Grips,” a trademarked name) can grab and hold an object with tremendous force, making them especially useful for removing stuck and rusted bolts or stripped screws. We tested 10 models, and the Grip-On 111-10 surpassed the pack in every category. The jaws are aggressive, the handles are comfortable to hold, and no one could believe how smooth the unlocking mechanism was. For a tool not commonly associated with finesse, the ease-of-use is fantastic. The Grip-Ons are engineered to near-perfection, and they have a level of quality we didn’t see in any other tools, even ones that cost almost twice as much. For a more detailed look at how we picked and tested the Grip-On pair (and a runner-up option), see our full guide to the best locking pliers.
With their ability to grab and twist small objects in tight spaces, needle-nose pliers are the cornerstone of electrical work. But with their long reach and narrow tips, they're also ideal for any situation where your fingertips are too big, bulky, or weak to get a grip. We tested 16 different pairs of needle-nose pliers, and the favorite was the Klein J203-8N Heavy Duty Journeyman Pliers.
The Klein pliers were the only set we found to combine three features: very comfortable handles, perfectly parallel cutting jaws, and a smooth and solid pivot point. Typically over $30, the J203-8N is one of the more expensive items on this list, but our carpenter testers all thought it was worth the cost, given the exceptional quality of the tool. But since not everyone is willing to invest so much in a hand tool, we also like the much less expensive Stanley 89-870 FatMax Long Nose Pliers. These pliers are similar to the Klein pair in a lot of ways, but the padded handles are loose at the end, the jaw has an uneven resistance, and the nose is fatter. To learn more about how we picked and tested, see our full guide to the best needle-nose pliers.
After considering at least 50 adjustable pliers and testing eight of them on radiator fittings, water heater connections, and plumbing clean-outs, we liked the 10-inch Irwin GrooveLock Adjustable Pliers due to their durability, comfort, and quick push-button adjustment. The GrooveLock pliers have 15 different jaw sizings and a lifetime warranty. With a maximum jaw opening of over 2 inches, they can handle all of the most common plumbing connections in your house. Compared with the design of other pliers, the push-button adjustment on the GrooveLock pair is large and easy to use, even with gloves on. You can tighten the jaws without needing to press the button, which helps in tight spots like behind the washing machine. It also has a self-locking ability, allowing you to put your energy into turning and not gripping.
In researching this guide, we also found a tool that we consider to be the absolute best available even if it usually costs more than twice as much: the 10-inch Knipex Cobra. These pliers offer a far subtler adjustment mechanism, handles that are off-the-charts comfy, and a flawless self-locking ability. To learn more about how we tested these tools and the other models we considered, see our full guide to the best adjustable pliers.
We had three carpenters spend hours cutting wood with seven saws, and we determined that the Shark 15-inch Carpentry Saw is, without question, the one to have on hand for small around-the-house projects. To say that this pull-stroke-cutting saw works quickly is a gross understatement. None of our testers, with their combined 36 years of carpentry experience, had ever seen a saw cut like the Shark.
To put the saw into context, the Shark cut a line 1¾ inches deep into a piece of ¾-inch-thick pine on a single blade stroke—going almost 30 percent deeper than the next best saw. That ample cutting ability is the result of the thin blade design, the tooth geometry, and the fact that the Shark cuts on the pull stroke. For something that cuts so aggressively, the Shark also cuts cleanly: Even when we sent it through delicate veneered birch plywood, there was only the slightest bit of tear-out along the cutline. We also like how the Shark has a removable and replaceable blade in case it gets damaged.
We also tested a wide variety of other saws. The Irwin 15-inch Carpentry Pull Saw shares many characteristics with the Shark but doesn’t cut as aggressively. The Irwin Universal Hand Saw and the Stanley FatMax Handsaw are both traditional Western push saws. Next to the Shark, they felt clumsy and ineffective. We also tested the Vaughn Bear Saw and Silky PocketBoy. These are in the style of a pruning saw, and we liked them both a lot (the PocketBoy is a favorite of Wirecutter senior editor Harry Sawyers), but, again, neither one measured up to the Shark.
A putty knife is essential for repairing walls, whether you are patching cracked plaster or filling nail holes before painting. We spoke with a painting contractor with 30 years of experience and then applied putty to what felt like a million nail holes to find that the Craftsman 1½-inch Flex Stainless Putty Knife is the best. Properly prepping a room for paint can take hours, so above all else, a putty knife should be comfortable to hold. The Craftsman’s padded handle delivers. It’s also longer than normal, which gives good leverage while you're smooshing wood putty into a nail hole. The 1½-inch width is small enough to get into tight corners but large enough to easily fill a big plaster crack. The corners of the Craftsman’s blade are nice and crisp with no irregularities, and the metal handle cap is perfect for banging down the lid of a paint can or a bucket of joint compound.
Painter Jeff Young of Young Ideas Painting, who has over 30 years of experience, told us that if you’re going to get only one knife, it should have a 1½-inch-wide blade because such a width is “good for filling holes and removing tape on walls.” When you go bigger, you lose precision and the ability to get into tight corners. Smaller widths are too narrow to fill wider cracks. He also recommends one with a flexible blade. The traditional putty knife has a stiff blade, but as Young explained, those “are for removing window glazing (as well as putting glazing in) but you can do that with a flexible blade too.” He continued by saying that “not many people have true divided lights anymore, so you don’t need a real putty knife.” He also said that the slight price increase for a stainless steel blade is well worth paying so you’re not worrying about rusting.
A small pry bar isn’t exactly a home-toolbox essential, but you may need it to open a stuck window, lift the corner of a bookcase for shimming, pull a nail or two, or pry up a floor register. After interviewing two tool experts and having our three carpenters use five pry bars to pull nails and separate boards, we found that the last one standing was the Stanley 55-116 8-inch Nail Puller. From a visual standpoint, it wasn’t the most polished tool, but due to the sharp edge and dramatic curve of the prying end, it offered the most lift and the best control; it also left the least amount of damage in its wake. It impressed us with its multiple nail pullers. Best of all, for only about $10, the Stanley was the least expensive bar we looked at, performing just as well as pry bars that cost nearly twice as much. As one carpenter/tester said, “It may not be the fanciest, but it’s a nice tool.”
We focused on the Japanese-style prybar (with the curved fin at one end and the right-angle nail puller on the other). I found this size and design to be the most useful while I was working as a carpenter. Wirecutter senior editor Harry Sawyers, who has done historic restoration, also prefers this design: “It’s slim enough to get into a narrow gap, designed to be tapped with a hammer when wedged into a tight space, and has two ways to pull nails, whether they’re on the surface or buried beneath it.”
We tested a variety of sizes, from 16 inches down to 8 inches, and we preferred the 8-inch size for general use. Goff, one of our testers, said, “If you’re a tradesperson, I’d go with the 10-inch, but if you’re just doing small things around the house, the 8-inch will work great.” Personally, I’ve always preferred the 8-inch size because it fits into a back pocket without falling out.
We also tested the Shark Corp 21-2220 8-inch Prybar which is really similar to the Stanley but typically more expensive. The Estwing MP250G is a 10-inch model, but the prying end is too blunt. The larger 10-inch Shark 21-2225 is nice, but we preferred the smaller size for general use. Lastly, we confirmed through testing that the 16-inch Vaughn BC/SB16 Bear Claw Scraper Bar is far too big for around-the-house use, although it is a nice option if you need to shift around something that’s extremely heavy.
When you're working under a sink or behind a washer or dryer, it’s tough for a big work light to beat a headlamp. We picked the Black Diamond Spot 325 after 40 hours of research and testing in 2019 alone, on top of the testing done since 2012. The Spot has been at the top of our list since we first started testing headlamps, and the updated 325 model gives us the same features we’ve always loved and a few key improvements: It has 25 more lumens than the old model, and its top buttons are much more intuitive to use than the single button on the older models. The Spot 325 has a long battery life, strong overall durability, and convenient features. For example, it can cast a spotlight with a large central LED or a flood with two side lights, and the lamp pivots so you can aim it right where you want it (especially useful in spots where it’s too tight for you to wear the lamp on your head). To learn more about why we chose the Black Diamond Spot 325 and what models we compared it against, read our full guide to the best headlamp.
The best precision screwdriver
The Maxcraft is inexpensive and basic, but its onboard bit storage, knurled grip, and good bit selection can meet most people’s needs for working with electronics, toys, and other small hardware.
Precision screwdrivers have extra-small bits to open the battery compartment of a toy, rewire the thermostat, or tighten up a pair of sunglasses. The best that we found is the Maxcraft 7-in-1. It’s about as basic as they come, but it offers everything you need: convenient onboard bit storage, a knurled shaft for easy gripping, several of the most commonly used bits, and a little pocket clip. It’s not a fancy tool—you can pay big bucks for a set of pro-level precision screwdrivers—but for most people, it’s an infrequently used item, and making a big investment doesn’t make sense.
The RYOBI 18V ONE+™ 1/2 in. Cordless Hammer Drill features a variable 2-speed transmission for precision and versatility and delivers up to 1,600 RPM and 2,400 BPM for powerful performance. Its 24-position clutch handles high-torque applications and the clutch override allows quick mode changes from drilling to driving. The GRIPZONE™ overmold enhances user comfort, and the MAGTRAY ™ magnetic holder accommodates screws and bits. The 18V ONE+™ Hammer Drill is sold as a bare tool, allowing you to build on your ONE+™ collection without spending additional money on batteries and chargers with each tool purchase. Best of all, like every RYOBI® 18V ONE+™ blue or green tool, this Hammer Drill works with any 18V ONE+™ battery. Upgrade to lithium-ion or LITHIUM+™ batteries for lighter weight and better performance.
24-position clutch and 2-speed gear box to match drilling and driving needs and override for quick mode changes from drilling to driving
1/2 in. all-metal, keyless, ratcheting chuck for increased strength and durability
For drilling holes in wood, plastic, metal, screws, bolts, masonry and concrete
Illuminates work surfaces for increased visibility
On-Board Bit Storage
MAGTRAY Magnetic Holder
Convenient placement of screws and bits
This product is covered by a 3-year limited warranty.
The RYOBI 18V ONE+ System features over 225 unique products, giving you the ultimate in versatility and selection to get the job done.
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18V ONE+™ Hammer Drill - Tool Only
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Big Gator Tools’ drill guides are simple and highly effective accessories for drilling straight holes with a handheld drill. You can use it with corded or cordless drills, or even manual hand drills.
There are a couple of different ways you can go about drilling nice and straight holts. You could use a drill press, drill bushings and a commercial or DIY jig, a portable drill guide accessory, or a simple drill guide.
Big Gator Tools drill guides should be clamped to your workpiece for easy and safer use. They can work on flat surfaces, and V-grooves on the bottom help the guides secure to cylindrical materials or corner edges.
To better position the guide on flat-surface materials, I will sometimes use a center punch to mark the center of a hole, and then a drill bit or transfer punch to center the guide hole I’ll be using over the marked hole location. Once everything is aligned I’ll then clamp the guide to the work. Sometimes, when a hole doesn’t have to be exactly placed, I’ll eyeball it.
There are convenient markings on the bottom edge of the drill guides that help align it to markings on round round stock.
What I like second-most about these drill guides is that they’re compact and highly portable. The best aspect is of course how easy and effective they are to use.
Big Gator Tools makes all of their drill guides in the USA. They also offer tap guides. Their tap and drill guides are available in inch and metric sizes.
Big Gator Tools Drill and Tap Guide Sizes
- Standard inch drill guide: 1/8″ to 3/8″ in 1/64″ increments
- Large inch drill guide: 3/8″ to 1/2″ in 1/64″ increments
- Metric drill guide: 3 to 9.5 mm in 0.5 mm increments plus 3.3, 4.2, 6.8 mm
- Inch tap guide: #0 to 5/8″ (9 holes)
- Metric tap guide: 1.6 to 16 mm (9 holes)
- UNC: 6-32 thru 9/16-12
- UNF: : 8-36 thru 5/8-18
The drill guides start at $25 each.
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Sections: Drills & Drivers, Layout & Measuring, Made in USA, Tool ReviewsMore from: Big GatorSours: https://toolguyd.com/big-gator-tools-drill-guides/
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The 7 Best Pocket Hole Jig In 2021 Reviews and Buying Guide
Wondering if you can join two pieces of woods together along their length with ease?
But, doing so with traditional drilling machines gives you poorly finished holes, that too are misaligned and do not give you the result you expect. What is more frustrating is the large amount of time it takes for you to do the drilling.
So, what is the way forward? Yes, you guessed it right! Pocket Hole Jigs are there to solve your above misery. Pocket hole jigs allow you to drill holes in wooden structures at inclined angles with accuracy and precision, in quick time.
What’s more interesting is the holes you drill remain hidden, hence screws and fasteners used also remain hidden, maintaining the beauty of your assembled wooden structure.
You will love the fact that no exclusive drill bits are required for pocket hole jigs, you can carry out the angled drilling with your existing electrical drilling machine.
Just guide your drilling machine through the recess given in the Jig and achieve your hole of the desired size at the desired location on your wooden piece. But make sure the wooden piece is tightly clamped else the hole will get misaligned.
But with millions of fake products circulating around you, it becomes hectic for you to select your Best Pocket Hole Jig.
Don’t worry we have done the hard work for you. Select, your best pocket hole jig by reading the most authentic review of Top 7 brands we have selected for you. They all are quality tested and don’t cut your pocket much. Have a happy reading!
But before moving ahead focus on following three factors to consider before buying your Drill Jig System –
- Toggle Clamp – This helps you in securing your workpiece against jig tightly so that no distortion of workpiece occurs during the drilling operation. It will help you get drill holes at desired locations.
- Ease of Cleaning (Dust Collector) –This helps you in cleaning your Jig system efficiently. It collects all the wooden dust accumulated during drilling and you can quickly throw it out of your workbench and start the drilling again.
- Accessories You get – Drill Jig Systems provide you with various accessories with them. You just need to find what and how much all the brands in the same price range are offering you accessories. Go with the one that provides you with maximum accessories to make your drilling time efficient.
But there are other factors also that you will find in our “Buying Guide”. They also bear the same importance as these factors do, so don’t forget to read them by clicking on the given icon.
Here are the results of the research work that we did for you. Below we present you TOP 7 Pocket Hole Jig Systems to buy. Kindly go through them
7 Best Pocket Hole Jig In 2021
7 Best Pocket Hole Jig In 2021 Reviews
1. Massca Aluminium Pocket Hole Jig System Set
Estd. in 2016, MASSCA is California (USA) based tool manufacturing industry. Whether you do carpentry professionally or you have DIY home projects, this Pocket Hole Jig is a one-stop solution for you to fulfil all your needs. This makes them the first and best product in our article for you to choose.
Their adjustable depth setting knob is what impressed us most. You can easily set the depth of drill to be done on your wood piece. It gives you the accurate depth of the hole and you experience no splinters during drilling.
You must have faced difficulty when it comes to stabilizing the wood piece during drilling. If so, then Smart clamping pad of this jig is designed for you only.
Now, you can tightly secure your wooden piece against the jig punch to get smooth and effortless drilling, it also prevents breaking of your drill at high speeds. Worrying whether your wood piece will fit in this or not? Don’t worry read further.
If you have a big size wood piece that won’t fit in the clamping pad, then you can easily remove the jig drilling portion and clamp it to your workpiece instead of clamping your workpiece to drill jig. This makes it able to support your jobs of all shapes and sizes. You won’t find this in other brands.
You will experience no wooden dust on your wood piece, or in the air causing you allergies. As it carries an in-built dust collector that catches all the debris during drilling. Just wipe it down, and put it back to work again within seconds.
Massca drilling jig is made up of aluminium body that makes it sturdy and lightweight. You can carry it along with you to your job sites.
The main body of jig also features threaded holes hence you can fix the jig to the workplace using screws so that it doesn’t shake during the drilling operation.
You will add more to your benefits if you choose this brand as, Massca gives you drilling accessories such as hex key, stop collar, set of screws and drill bit to help you set the right depth of holes. You don’t need to pay extra money for this.
What we liked
- Drilling jig can be taken out to fit different size workpiece.
- Jig can be fixed to the workplace for non-slipping.
- Adjustable depth setting knob gives accurate holes.
- Aluminium body makes it lightweight.
- In-built dust collector makes it easy to clean and maintain.
- Added accessories provided by Massca are free of cost.
What we didn’t like
- Only 2drill jigs are there, as compared to other brands that carry 3jigs.
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2. Kreg K4 Pocket HoleJig System (K4 Jig)
If you are a beginner searching for a DIY pocket hole jig system, then Krge K4 Jig System is going to be the best choice for you. It is so small in size that you can fix to any corner of your workbench.
The benefit you get with this is the excellent accuracy and precision that it carries. This is sop hard to get in other brands. We are not saying this blindly, it’s the users’ reviews which forced us to mention this.
With inbuilt scale for measuring material thickness, it provides you 9settings for doing this. You can measure material thickness from 0.5” to 1.5”, the smallest reading you can measure is 1/8”.
With its simple design, you make your drilling operation very easy for you. With its toggle clamp, you provide stability to your workpiece and get accurate holes. You can use it either for benchtop or portable use.
You also get various accessories with your purchase this includes, stepped drill bit, starter screw set, 6-inch square driver, dust collection shroud, starter plug set and a DVD quick-start guide. You will feel the ease and enjoyment in your drilling work once you start using this drill jig system.
Kreg K4 is high-cost Jig System but provides you with exceptional drilling experience along with carrying long life with itself. You will feel no regrets after buying this. But if you can’t afford this don’t worry go through our other low-price listed brands.
What we liked
- Smallest of wood piece can be measured.
- 3hole drill guide, you get maximum precision.
- It has got dust collection provision to keep your workplace clean and tidy.
- Kreg gives you, lifetime warranty.
- Compatible with benchtop as well as portable bases.
What we didn’t like
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3. General Tools 850 Heavy Duty, Pocket Hole Jig Kit
General Tools is New York based tool manufacturing industry estd. in 1922. For nearly a century they have been providing their customers, with a broad range of affordable, specific-purpose mechanical hand tools.
Their 850 Heavy-duty Pocket Hole Jig is no less in terms of providing you exceptional service in long term. What makes it so liked by us and customers using it is the extremely low cost which makes it affordable for anyone.
All the professionals and DIYers turn to this Pocket Hole Jig system when it comes to ease of use. Thus, even if you are an amateur person you will feel no difficulty to handle and operate this tool.
Your JIG system helps you to create flush, corner and angle pocket hole joints for leg-and-rail connections, building face frame cabinets. You can easily fit screws into tight spots of your wooden frame and unlimited applications.
Using the clamping system of this jig system you can easily fix the wooden piece against the jig, no distortion of the wooden piece occurs due to this and you drill perfectly accurate holes.
It gives you the best performance when bench mounted. It ensures that no slipping of Jig occurs. Hence, like earlier your drill will not deviate and not break off at high speeds due to slipping. Being highly portable you can carry it anywhere with you.
You will get full worth of your money if you buy this Jig system because General tools offers you 76items along with your purchase to help you ease your drilling time.
This includes 3/8” Step Drill Bit (replaceable), 3/8” steel stop collar, Hex wrench 6”, square drive bit, 24 coarse square drive screws, 24 fine square drive screws and 24 wooden pocket hole plugs. You will also get a plastic carrying case to safely preserve your Jig tool.
In short, you will enjoy drilling more and more, that is why we are saying it as a DIY Jig tool. General Tools also gives you a 1year warranty on parts of your Jig system. Now use your Jig with full confidence of durability and quality.
With so much to get and little to pay when compared to other brands, General Tool Pocket Hole Jig system is the best purchase for you. Don’t stop yourself from buying this.
What we liked
- Designed to handle various tasks.
- Lightweight and portable.
- Utilize it as both portable or bench mount jig.
- Easy to use for everyone.
- Low-cost buying price.
- Free 76items along with it.
- Warranty of 1years.
- Lifetime customer support.
What we didn’t liked
- Only two drill jigs are there.
- Low in cost, it does not offer you too much durable quality.
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4. MulWark Premium Pocket Hole Jig System Kit
MULWARK is USA based DIY tool company. They claim to provide you cost-effective and high-quality Pocket Hole Jig system kit that makes your drilling experience more fun and enjoying.
Another low-cost Jig system in our list, what you will love most is that your jig features a magnetic spot over its surface. You can easily clamp it over the iron bench vice of your workshop.
Your jig features an inscribed wood thickness measuring scale. Now you don’t need to waste your time manually measuring the thickness of your wood, just start your drilling right away.
It also features a drill depth setting scale, using which you can easily take the measure of drill length required to do the drilling. Now you can drill all the holes with accuracy and at right spots.
Mulwark gives you 10plastic plugs also, utilizing which you will be able to provide unmatched finishing to your holes and create perfect joints. This isn’t the case with other brands.
Packed in one single protective casing, you get multiple accessories with your purchase. A Depth Stop Collar, a 1/8″ Allen Wrench, a 6″ L Square Driver Bit, a 1/4″ Stepped Drill Bit, 10pc Plastic plugs, 50pc Coarse Square Driver Screws and a user manual. All this combine to make your drilling easy and efficient.
Made from 30 % glass fibre and reinforced PA66 Nylon you will have no complaints regarding the quality of your jig. Further, the core of your jig is made from high-strength hardened-steel that protects your jig from breaking due to high stresses.
Now comes the best part for you, Mulwark provides you lifetime warranty on your purchase. If you find any defects in your purchase you may return your Jig any time till you own the product. This ensures you that you are buying a trustable quality Jig system.
What we liked
- Magnetic clamp makes it easy to setup.
- Inbuilt scale reduces your time of taking manual measurements.
- Lifetime time warranty on your jig.
- Long life.
- Efficient drilling experience.
What we didn’t like
- Only two drill jigs for drilling.
- No dust port to collect drilling dust.
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5. Wen WA1527 Metal Pocket Hole Jig Kit
Serving the tooling industry since 1951, WEN has made a good name for it by selling over 50million units in only 50years of their establishment i.e by 2001.
They claim their pocket hole jig to help the woodworkers and artisans across the world execute their wildest imaginations. This drill jig is costly in terms of money, but truly satisfying in terms of ease of use, performance and durability.
With its adjustable toggle clamp, you can drill any thickness of wood in this drill jig, what’s important to note is it even includes standard 2x4s.
It is suitable to use in every situation be it portable drilling at different places, or you can fix it on the benchtop in your workshop as it has got mounting holes on its plate.
What people most like about this Jig is, its L-shape, it allows it to accommodate almost every type of drill spaces. You can easily drill tight spaces with it.
WEN also provides you benchtop installation mounting hardware, this includes a 3/8-inch step drill bit with depth stop collar, 24 pocket hole plugs, 100 self-tapping screws. All these together make your Drilling time enjoyable and decrease your fatigue by reducing the time of set up.
Made from anodized Aluminium that guards it against rust and corrosion, it lasts for generations. It has also got steel hardened drill jigs, thus the continuous friction of high-speed drill bit doesn’t leave a single scratch on it and it remains forever the same.
Nonetheless, anodized body and knurled drill jigs make it look beautiful also. WEN provides you 2years warranty on your purchase that assures of quality and performance of your drill jig.
What we liked
- They have their inventory to replace your damaged parts in future.
- Knurled drill jigs are easy to handle and operate.
- 100 self-tapping screw.
- Can even include standard 2x4s wooden piece.
- L-shape helps to drill tighter spaces
- Portable because of Lightweight,
What we didn’t liked
- Expensive to buy.
- No dust port to collect drilling dust.
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6. Vinwox Pocket Hole Jig System
Designed to enhance your drilling experience, VINWOX is an average priced yet best drill jig system you can expect for yourself.
This drill jig allows you to create pocket holes at variable centre distances, hence you can drill as many holes at any place you wish on your wood piece. This allows you to accommodate any thickness wood material or any kind of material in it.
With its hardened steel drill guides, you achieve maximum precision while drilling your holes and create strong pocket hole joints for your wooden structure. The drill guide doesn’t develop scratches due to hardened steel.
With the toggle clamp, you can fix your workpiece securely against the jig so that no vibrations occur. This will ensure your workpiece remains stable and you can perform smooth and stable drilling.
You can use this drill jig for portable operations from place to place or with the help of its mounting holes you can fix it on your benchtop and carry out drilling operation more conveniently.
With so many accessories to use that includes screws, drills, wrenches, bezels to help set the right depth, you always feel empowered and not handicapped while using this drill jig system.
The body of your jig is made from highly anodized aluminium, this provides your jig high service life that you will keep getting for a long time.
What we liked
- Knurled drill jigs are easy to handle and operate.
- Portable because of Lightweight.
- Toggle clamp to secure workpiece.
- Accessories to ease your drilling experience.
- Accommodates any type of material for drilling.
What we didn’t liked
- Expensive to buy.
- No dust port to collect drilling dust.
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7. Woodwork Guides Pocket Hole Jig
Wood Woodwork mini pocket fixture is designed to provide an easement to do-it-yourself carpentry. Dressing tables, workbenches, kitchenware, dining table, and other household or commercial projects are easily done with the assistance of the jig.
Its drill and rings are made of carbon steel resulting in high durability and strength for a longer period. Jig’s locator on the other hand is made of aluminum giving it very high endurance.
The dual pockets on this jig come with a 15° drill angle and two-way holes. The inclination gives a perfect screw connection and convenience to hid the screws. With the toggle clamp you receive, you can hold onto the jig firmly at a perfect angle and drill.
The three pairs of drill drive adapters that come with the jig are in 6mm, 8mm & 10mm sizes. You can easily change between these pairs to adapt to any type of wood, position, or angle. They comply with plugs & sleeves that match the size.
Its sharp knife head gives you improved efficiency while performing and by using F clamp, C clamp, and drill bits, you can create perfect holes for creating or mending a joint.
You will be receiving three pairs of drill stoppers and drill sleeves each along with the pocket jig which gives precision in your work and increases effectiveness.
What we liked
- Multi-purpose application
- High durability & strength
- High efficient performance
- Lasts longer
What we didn’t like
- Warranty is not mentioned
- Limited accessories given
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How To Choose Your Best Pocket Hole Jig?
As a beginner, you will feel difficulty while selecting the factors that help you get the right Pocket Hole Jig for your work. Even if you dare to do so, it will seem you a very confusing task to accomplish.
So, how to select the right Jig tool for you? We have made it very simple for you in our exclusive easy to read buying guide. Below are some points you must read and fit in your mind while purchasing your Jig tool.
And we promise you that, you will end up deciding what features you should include in your Pocket Jig Hole for best performance and value of money.
1. Strength of Pocket Hole Jig
We want the products we buy to be long-lasting, to avoid the hassle of buying them again as it wastes money and time both. Hence, you should always seek the Pocket Hole Jig that has its accessories and body built of quality materials, this will make your jig last for many uses.
A high strength Jig also enables you to drill large size holes because it can absorb large stresses developed during drilling of large dia holes. This will also prevent your expensive drill bit from breaking off.
You can drill both thick and thin wooden material without worrying for the accuracy of holes produced because high strength Jigs don’t let wooden piece shake from there place enabling you to drill swiftly.
We always want such machines which are easy to maintain and clean, such is also the case with Pocket Hole Jig System. Our advice for you will be to buy such Jig System that comes with a dust collector so that the wooden dust is easily collected and thrown away.
It will also increase the life your drill bit and jig system. Massca Jig System, Kreg K4 system is the Jig which comes with dust collector, you can consider them to buy.
3. Toggle Clamp
Your drilling becomes so easy if your workpiece stabilized. Your, this need is fulfilled by Toggle Clamp. It secures your workpiece against the jig tightly. It reduces the vibration and movement of your workpiece while drilling. Thus, you get perfect holes at right locations.
It also saves you drill bit from breaking-off if your workpiece distorts from its location suddenly. So, in total it gives you perfect holes and increases the life of your drill bit. But the jigs with Toggle Clamp cost you more.
Your jig should be flexible to use for both applications be it fixed on benchtop or portable so that you can use it from place to place. Fortunately, all the Jig Brands we have mentioned are suitable to fulfil your both purposes.
With the mounting holes present on them you can fix them to benchtop of your workshop. And if you don’t need them there you can unscrew and take your Jig to the required place.
This comes in role to save your time. You should go for the Jig which has scales inscribed for the measurements. It will reduce the time that you take for doing thickness measurement of your workpiece externally.
You should also seek the Jig that utilizes minimum number of tools when making adjustments. This will give you less fatigue and makes your work much easier.
6. Accessories You Get
Whether you buy your Jig system from any company, all of them provide you with accessories with your purchase. These accessories help you in enjoying your drilling time.
Some of these include screws for joining your wooden pieces, drill bit, collar to support drill bit etc. So, you should always compare different brands in the same price range and find which brand is providing you large number of accessories.
However, the most important accessory which you should seek is the carrying case. It helps you in storing all your tools and accessories at one place only so that you can access them quickly. It also eliminates the chance of your tools getting misplace or lost.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Ans: In most simple terms, you can understand Pocket Hole Jig as a mechanical device that helps you to join two wooden pieces easily and quickly.
Now it doesn’t mean it pastes them. It means you can drill the holes at inclined angles along the length of wooden pieces and using fastener or screw you can fix those pieces together.
Pocket Hole Jig provides you with the way through a slot to drill holes at angles, which is very difficult to achieve using electrical drilling machines without Pocket Hole Jigs. Even if you can do that, the hole is poorly finished and doesn’t serve your purpose due to misalignment.
Ans: Pocket Hole Jigs require no rocket science to understand their functioning. Anyone right from an amateur to professional carpenter can use them with ease. Hence, all the brands we have mentioned in this article can be used by anyone.
What you need to do is just invest a few minutes of your time in reading the manual and guidelines provided by your brand. And you will end up joining pieces of woods to get your loved furniture.
Ans: It is the truth that as you increase your budget you will see significant improvement in the quality and performance of the product you are buying, such is also the case with this tool.
Expensive jigs make your task more comfortable. Further, they take less time to get the job done and the stresses developed during the drilling operation is also minimum that increases the overall life of your Jig tool.
But simply going for the expensive Pocket Hole Jig is not worthy if you have simple operations to do. If you are an amateur who is going to use this tool for the first time then buying a low-cost Jig with simple features is good for you.
However, if you are a professional who has to drill complex holes daily then spending an extra good amount of money on your Jig will help you in the long run, to get both performances as well as durability of your Jig.
So now you have gone through all the brands we have mentioned here, you must have realized which factors to consider for yourself which brand provides you with all the factors you need. And as we promised, all the brands we have mentioned here are user trusted and carry exceptional quality with them.
However, we will recommend you to buy Massca Aluminium Pocket Hole Jig System Set.Massca comes with all the necessary features that ease your drilling operation. The most liked of all those is its drill depth setting Knob.
But this is not the only thing that makes it special, its aluminium body and sturdy design also motivate everyone to buy this Jig system. More than that it provides you with maximum features in minimum cost possible.
How can I center a drill bit so that it drills absolutely straight down rather than perhaps a little off to the side?
In my quest to the perfectly perpendicular and/or perfectly placed hole, I have tried multiple solutions but the truth is, for truly, 100% accuracy you need: A high-quality drill press with a chuck that is made to tight specifications. Then, you need to calibrate it with a special dial indicator (even drill presses drill inaccurate holes out of the box). Must calibrate the table left-to-right and in many cases the front-to-back needs some work as well. It is the only way to make a hole truly perpendicular to the face of the piece you are working on.
Then, no standard drill bit will work on metal (for wood this is not as critical) without a bit of wandering: they usually deflect a bit and "walk" slightly to one side before penetrating the material. This is more so in hard metal than on soft alloys but it happens almost all the time, even if you start with a smaller bit and enlarge the hole with subsequent passes with larger bits.
To solve this you need a "Center Drill". This are very short and hard bits made specifically for this purpose. You use them to drill a tine hole, always smaller than the final hole you need but it will give your final-size bit a depression where it will start to drill WITHOUT deflecting.
Now, this level of accuracy is only needed is some situations but the point of this post was to pass some info I have gathered by researching the subject in depth and then my own trial-and-error not to mention a lot of cash spend on tools. I can say after all this money and time spent I can make a hole in almost any material right where I want it, less than a thousand of an inch off, without breaking any drill bits.
To top it off, you cannot make a perfectly round hole with a drill bit, if you want to take it to the extreme, you need to finish with a drill bit slightly smaller than the true hole size you want and then use a reamer (again, mostly for metal drilling and more pronounced with the larger bits).
I understand this is taking it into the machinist territory but I am not a machinist and enjoy seeing how accurate I can be in my work/hobbies, sometimes well beyond what is needed, just to see how far I can go.
answered Jan 28 '15 at 18:41
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How to Make Pocket Holes WITHOUT a Kreg Jig
I saw one guy bragging about his 150$ kreg jigs and guy #2 says,”around here, we each get one freebie…..you know, when you bring something stupid to work and all the guys could laugh at you for weeks? Around here, you can say, “i want to use my free pass” and you can take whatever dumb thing you bought back to the store and we will never speak of it again. I suggest you do that with your little Kreg toy there.” At that point, guy number one got very angry and started telling guy number two how wrong he was and how great a tool/jig it was and how the other guy was just jealous. At that point, guy number two just blurted out, “some people will never learn” and he went over and grabbed a scrap piece of wood about the size of the kreg jig. he did a couple quick measurements and Drew pencil lines and proceeded to Drill six holes at 45° Angle….through the piece of wood …such that it looked just like the Kreg and then had some rivets Or nut inserts which he placec on both ends of the piece of wood. It took him about 5 minutes. Then he demonstrated how well it worked, then he demonstrated how fast you could do it freehand and they toss the newly built jig to a very sad looking Kreg owner and he said, ” there, you can keep that on. it’s twice as effective as the one you paid $150 for ….lol….you can take that back and I’ll let all the guys know that you now have 150$ and you are buying beer after work….plus now we can all have a good laugh about your wonderful purchase.”
Craig somehow convinced everybody that it is completely fine to be incompetent or lacking any skill for unwilling to learn something and has a jig for almost everything . Now, I for one love the jig that can raise and lower your under the table router. For that alone they should be reserved a special place in heaven. But on the pocket holes, my uncle would’ve laughed at somebody who bad I just like that and I think he showed me how to do a pocket hole when I was about 13 and it took me about five or 10 times to get it right but then I’ve done thousand since then and this idea that you have to go by pocket hole screws for four times as much is regular screws is just the most brilliant marketing move by Craig ever.
CHEAP GOOD TOOLD
My advice to those of you looking for tools on The cheap IS to watch craigslist and every once in a while you’ll see a woodworker or a carpenter who is retiring and they ARE SELLING EVERYTHING. don’t ask questions…. don’t argue over prices…. just get in the car and immediately go over there with as much money as you can spend. I have walked in TO places where it is insane so many tools and we start saying to 20 for this and 30 for that and before you know it …..if the guy likes you/me and believes you’re not going to abuse his tools that he has used for the last 25 years he will say what many of them have said to me which is, “I tell you what …. I hate all these hipsters coming over rand telling me how much better a carpenter they are thsn me……how about 500 bucks and you can have all of it.” It is not uncommon to get thousands and thousands of dollars worth of equipment for 500 bucks.
one time a guy gave me about $6000 worth of stuff including three table saws, 2 of which I immediately re-sold for $500….. so I was even at that point I had about $5000 with a free tools, but it was such a good deal and he was such a nice guy that I drove back and gave him the extra $500 that I had just made selling his size. He was so happy and impressed that he went in the back and brought out another 4 Paslofe. Nailguns Worth about $1000 and he said, “I’m glad you came back because I forgot to give you these and I didn’t have your phone number.” It’s all Karma in this worldt. . We actually became friends and he helped me build some cabinets in my house …..that he would only accept beer and food for, but when his mom passed away, I handled the will/estate for him.. worth..about a million…. meaning that I was entitled to about $60,000 in legal fees, which I of course accepted….and then refunded 59,900$ to him. The $100 was for our lunch and that day I got about three hours to just ask every woodworking/construction question I had ever had and I learned so much that afternoon and I made a great friend.
I have a saying, ” we don’t really own tools, we are just borrowing them and holding them and taking care of them for our time on this planet and then they go to the next Carpenter or woodworker and we try to take care of those tools as well as the person before us. We try always to help those Who are younger and more inexperienced than we are, we try to learn from those who are more knowledgeable and experienced than we are, and we always give grief and a hard time to those in this world that deserve it . I cant believe you are not remarried! All the best. Jay.