18 Must-Have Home Depot Tools Under $20 for Homeowners and DIY Enthusiasts

Written by Brian Funes | April 8, 2021

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When it comes to basic home repairs and maintenance or taking on a new home improvement project, many people choose to take the do-it-yourself route rather than hiring a contractor. If this is you (or future you), then it’s important to have a well-equipped and diverse toolbox that carries the essential tools. As you probably know, Home Depot is a great place to start building your home tool kit or to add to your collection. Plus, they always offer an abundance of wallet-saving discounts on select tools from premium brands.

However, we know that a trip to Home Depot can send even the most seasoned homeowners and adept fixer-upper experts down an endless rabbit hole of materials, tools and products. Don’t worry, you’ve come to the right place. With quality and functionality in mind, our team put together a list of must-have Home Depot tools that every homeowner and DIY enthusiast should have to complete household repairs, renovations, and unexpected home emergencies—all under $20!

1. Milwaukee 10" Adjustable Wrench

Price: $18.99
Used for: Adjusting nuts and bolts, tightening and loosening pipes

If you only own one wrench, make it an adjustable wrench; and, if you had to pick one wrench for under $20, you can’t go wrong with the Milwaukee 10" Adjustable Wrench. Along with a hex key, all homeowners should have an adjustable wrench in their toolbox.

What sets this wrench apart from other adjustable wrenches is its proprietary adjustment screw. Many adjustable wrenches require constant retightening during a job, but the Milwaukee wrench guarantees a tight grip throughout your session. Its ergonomic handle fits comfortably in your hand and is chrome plated for rust protection and durability. This wrench also has a limited lifetime warranty, making it a purchase that is in it for the long haul.

2. 25 ft. PowerLock Tape Measure

Price: $11.97
Used for: Measuring dimensions to ensure the accuracy of any DIY project

The tape measure is an indispensable tool that every homeowner should have in their arsenal. From home renovations and craft projects to one-off situations like measuring whether that new sofa fits in your living room (or through your doorway), having the right measurements for the task will save you time and eliminate needless complication.

For under $12, the 25’ Stanley PowerLock Tape Measure is a solid choice at a bargain price. Its Tru-Zero® Hook gives you accurate inside/outside measurements, and the tape-housing case boasts impressive durability. We wouldn’t go as far as saying it’s indestructible, but many people end up owning the same unit for decades.

3. Empire True Blue Professional Torpedo Level

Price: $9.88
Used for: Keeping your installations straight and level (i.e. pictures, shelves, plumbing installations)

If you’re planning on doing light home renovations like hanging pictures or shelves, the 9" True Blue Professional Torpedo Level from Empire is the perfect tool for a variety of DIY projects. It’s compact, has high-contrast vials that are easy to read, and features a sturdy aluminum reinforced frame. It also has a magnetic edge that allows for hands-free use on metal surfaces. When you’re done with it, the level’s magnetic edge can stick to your refrigerator or workbench for convenient safekeeping.

For projects on a slightly larger scale like hanging cabinets, upgrading to a 24"-48" level like the Empire 24" Aluminum Magnetic I-Beam Level is the way to go.

SAVINGS TIP: Take advantage of Home Depot's tool saving kits that offer incredible discounts and feature deals from Milwaukee, DeWalt, Makita, and Ridgid.

4. Stalwart Screwdriver Set with Magnetic Tips (18-Piece)

Price: $17.55
Used for: Removing screws from appliance; it’s usually the first and last tool needed for most home repairs

If you’re looking for a standard screwdriver set to tend to basic household tasks, the 18-Piece Stalwart Screwdriver Set with Magnetic Tips has you covered. This set comes with Philips, slotted, and Torx screwdrivers of varying sizes. Each driver tip is magnetized for added precision and made from high-strength chrome vanadium blades. The included wall mountable rack makes it easy to organize your set and choose the right tool for the job with little hassle. Overall, a great value for under $20.

5. Stanley Pliers Set (3-Piece)

Price: $12.97
Used for: General repairs that require gripping, bending, or cutting

If you’re searching for a well-rounded plier set for general home repairs, the Stanley 3-Piece Plier set is a jack-of-all-trades tool to cover all your bases. With exceptional grip strength and cutting capabilities, this set comes with slip-joint pliers that are great for adjusting nuts and bolts, long-nose pliers that expertly grip small objects and wires, and diagonal pliers that are ideal for cutting and skinning wires. No one plier can do it all, but the Stanley Pliers Set from Home Depot comes pretty close to doing so.

6. Husky 16 oz. Fiberglass Claw Hammer

Price: $10.97
Used for: Basic carpentry, home repair, assembling furniture, nail removal

The Husky Fiberglass Claw Hammer is a great starter hammer for general-purpose housework, like pounding in or ripping out nails. At 16 ounces, it’s sturdy enough to hammer in nails and has a forward-weight design for additional striking power. The top of the hammer head has a magnetic nail starter that helps with hands-free nail setting, and the hammer head itself is made of durable heat-treated steel. It also feels great in your hand thanks to its ergonomic hatchet-style grip. Add in the Husky Lifetime Warranty and you have a mainstay tool in your kit for all the rest of your DIY and home improvement days.

7. Milwaukee FASTBACK Folding Utility Knife Set (2-Pack)

Price: $19.97
Used for: Scoring, cutting, trimming, wire stripping

Whether you need to score drywall or cut pictures for a photo collage, utility knives are great for crafts and housework alike. This set of two Milwaukee utility knives comes with one FASTBACK™ Compact Folding Utility Knife and one FASTBACK™ Folding Utility Knife with Blade Storage.

While each knife can handle a multitude of jobs, the FASTBACK™ Folding Utility Knife with Blade Storage has extra features such as a gut hook and wire stripper for more technical demands. It can also hold up to five extra blades within its onboard blade storage. Both knives have a durable wire belt clip and make use of the FASTBACK™ press-and-flip mechanism for easy, one-handed opening. Keep one in the house and one in the garage for maximum convenience.

8. AdirOffice 12" x 18" Self Healing Reversible Cutting Mat

Price: $19.25
Used for: Surface protection; avoid leaving battle scars on your desk or counter space

Consider pairing a cutting mat with your latest utility knife purchase. It’s one of those items that might not seem urgent if you’re not big into crafting, but trust us—the moment will come and you’ll be happy you prepared beforehand.

For under $20, the AdirOffice cutting mat is a tool that will give you both protection and precision when cutting. The cutting surface is 3mm thick, self-healing, and reversible. It also has calibrated grid lines in various measurement units for easy cutting references.

SAVINGS TIP: Sign up for The Home Depot newsletter and receive information on the latest exclusive deals as soon as they’re available. With so many active promotions underway, especially during the holidays, the newsletter will ensure you don’t miss any last-minute flash sales.

9. Defiant 1200 Lumens LED Flashlight

Price: $12.97
Used for: Visibility in dark or blackout spaces

You wouldn’t know the Defiant 1200 Lumens LED Flashlight was under $20 without looking at the price tag. This flashlight has a beam throw of 885 ft. (270 m) and cuts through darkness like butter—convenient for those unexpected breaker box trips in the middle of the night. With 3 hours of operation time and a study aluminum construction to boot, there are many things to like about this bargain buy. Plus, aside from repairs in darkened spaces, having a bright light that’s ready for use is always a good idea to have, especially in emergency blackout moments.

10. DeWalt 13" Stackable Flat Top Tool Storage Case

Price: $19.95
Used for: Storing tools in your garage, on-the-go tool container

Stackable tool boxes are essential to expanding the capabilities of your growing tool collection. Whether you need a toolbox on the go or want a solid first piece for your tool organization system, DeWalt’s TSTAK II 13" Stackable Flat Top Tool Storage Case is up for the job.

This toolbox can safely hold up to 66 lb. of tools and is modular, allowing you to stack and lock multiple units on top of each other. Ideal for hand tools like hammers, screwdrivers, pliers, circular saws, and more. With its heavy-duty metal latches that are rust resistant and a limited lifetime warranty, this DeWalt product lives up to its durable, tough reputation.

11. Rack-A-Tiers Stud Ball Magnetic Stud Finder

Price: $16.78
Used for: Locating studs through drywall/ceramic tiling/plywood, detecting screws or nails in wood frame walls

This magnetic stud finder by Rack-A-Tiers is a no frills all function tool that will find every existing stud with no false positives. It’s able to detect metal through 1/2" or 5/8" drywall and other thicker building materials. With 27 lbs. of magnetic pull and no batteries required, this tool is ready to go when you are.

SAVINGS TIP: Maximize your savings by paying attention to Home Depot’s Special Buy of the Day and Special Buy of the Week promotions. These flash sales will feature specific product categories at reduced prices, with discounts typically hovering in the 10% to 40% off range.

12. Arrow T50 Heavy Duty Staple Gun

Price: $19.97
Used for: Fastening fabric, carpet, ceiling tiles, wires, foam

The Arrow T50 is one of the best-selling staple guns of all time. With its jam-resistant mechanisms, durable chrome build, and affordable price point, it’s no wonder both professionals and DIYers alike make this their staple gun of choice. If you’re ready to start your next insulation installation or reupholster some furniture, the Arrow T50 is a great tool to have on standby.

13. Arrow T50 1/2" Stainless-Steel Staples (1,000-Pack)

Price: $13.64
Used for: Reloading your Arrow T50 Heavy Duty Staple Gun

Now that you have a staple gun, it’s time to load it with quality ammunition. Nail down your home renovation and DIY projects with some Arrow T50 1/2" staples. These fasteners are made of heavy-duty, corrosion resistant steel. If you decide to go with a different staple gun model, these staples are also compatible with Black and Decker, Powershot, Craftsman, Stanley, and Ace staplers.

Keep in mind that different tasks benefit from specific staple sizes, so do your research before buying a set of staples and squeezing the trigger.

14. Gorilla 1.88 in. x 12 yd. Black Tape

Price: $4.97
Used for: Patching up holes in fabric like tarps, sealing minor leaks, as additional pipe insulation

Move over, duct tape. Gorilla Black Tape is up to 3x stronger compared to the leading brand of duct tape and its application is essentially limited to your imagination—just remember to keep it safe.

While Gorilla Black Tape is rugged and weather resistant, it’s still easy enough to tear from the roll by hand. The tape grips to smooth and uneven surfaces like wood, stone, stucco, brick, metal and vinyl. Even if you don’t have an immediate use for it, it’s worth the early purchase as it’s a great preventative tool to have on hand.

15. 3M Patch Plus Primer Spackling Compound (16-Ounces)

Price: $5.84
Used for: Repairing drywall, stucco, plaster, and wood

If you’ve ever nailed a hole in the wrong place and want to erase all signs of your embarrassing mistake, this one's for you. The 3M Patch Plus Primer Spackling Compound repairs small nicks and nail holes 3x faster than traditional vinyl spackling. Once the spackle is dry and sanded off, the repaired area will hold new nails and screws just like new. Spackling compound and duct tape are the MVPs of miscellaneous repairs.

Pair this purchase with the Warner 3" Full Flex Putty Knife and you’ll never fear hanging picture frames on your wall ever again.

16. HDX 9" Heavy Duty Professional Caulk Gun

Price: $17.97
Used for: Touching up tile and sealing windows and gaps in exterior surfaces like stucco, brick, stone, and metal

Caulk may very well be on the same level as duct tape when it comes to home repair utility, but its application, depending on the dispensing tool used, can be a bit finicky.

Take the headache out of caulking by choosing the HDX 9" Heavy Duty Professional Caulk Gun. This caulk gun is as good as magic when dealing with gaps and sealing leaks. It has a puncture rod near the hand grip to open a fresh caulking tube, and an ergonomic grip that is easy to squeeze for effortless application.

Pair this purchase with the Dynaflex 230 10.1 oz. White Premium Indoor/Outdoor Sealant and GE Advanced Silicone 2 10.1 oz. Clear Kitchen and Bath Silicone Sealant Caulk for a well-rounded sealing kit.

SAVINGS TIP: Enjoy 10% off select furniture, home accents, bedding and bath when signing up for Style & Décor emails from The Home Depot. While much of home improvement is done through hands-on home renovation, styling your house is a great way to enhance your living space.

17. Wooster Paint Brush Set (3-Pack)

Price: $19.47
Used for: Interior paint jobs like painting window frames, cabinets, walls, or on craft

Every paint brush has a purpose, and this Wooster set comes with three different-sized brushes for a variety of indoor painting applications.

The 1" thin angle sash and 1-1/2" angle sash brush are best used for craft projects and indoor trimmings, while the 2" trim brush is better for larger surfaces like interior walls, cabinets, and stairs. Each brush contains a unique filament blend that gives you smooth paint flow and precision when tackling more detail-heavy projects.

For exterior paint jobs like fences and doors, we suggest the larger-sized Wooster 3" Pro Nylon/Polyester Flat Brush.

18. Gorilla Ladders 2-Step Compact Steel Step Stool

Price: $19.98
Used for: Extra height to access hard-to-reach areas

The Gorilla Ladders 2-Step Compact Steel Step Stool is a handy accessory to have around the house. Each step contains non-slip treads, supports up to 225 pounds, and the ladder’s safety latch ensures the steps stay locked in during use. With its slim, lightweight design, it’s easy to move around during use and you won’t even notice it in the room when folded up.

Two steps may not seem like much, but oftentimes that’s the difference between reaching the top cabinet, setting a decorative shelf, or dusting that spiderweb in the corner of your room.

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