DIY Network Pros Talk About The Tools They Can't Live Without

Peek into the experts' toolboxes and see what tools they use most often.
Amy Matthews

Amy Matthews

Photo by: Jackson Riley Parker

Jackson Riley Parker

Amy Matthews, host of Sweat Equity and This New House, holds a cordless tool she uses for her projects.

Our top experts name their five favorite hand tools and their five favorite power tools.

Amy Matthews, host of Sweat Equity and This New House:

  • A kick-butt titanium hammer
  • 6-in-1 reversible screwdriver
  • A good-quality 16' tape measure (don't forget a set of carpenter's pencils)
  • Folding utility knife (and extra blades)
  • Variety of levels (torpedo, 24" and 48")

  • A 12- to 18-volt compact/lightweight lithium-ion cordless drill kit (for everyday jobs)
  • A standard bit set (at least 32 pieces)
  • Wet/dry vacuum
  • An oscillating multi-tool (used for plunge cuts, routing, grout removal, sanding, scraping, etc.)
  • A power tool combo kit, which normally includes a circular saw, reciprocating saw, a drill or hammer drill, batteries and charger, and a work light, is a must-have for any savvy DIYer.

Chris Grundy, host of Cool Tools:

  • Tape measure
  • Multi-head screwdriver
  • Hammer
  • Pliers
  • Crescent wrench

  • Cordless drill
  • Reciprocating saw
  • Chop saw
  • Oscillating multi-tool
  • Circular saw

John DeSilvia, host of Run My Renovation and 10 Grand in Your Hand:

  • 25' tape measure
  • Hammer
  • Drywall knife
  • Combination square
  • 4' level

  • Cordless drill
  • Circular saw
  • Reciprocating saw
  • Miter saw
  • Jigsaw
Jason Cameron

Jason Cameron


Man Caves

Photo by: David S. Holloway

David S. Holloway

Licensed contractor Jason Cameron works to complete Food Network’s Ace of Cakes host Duff Goldman’s man cave, as seen on DIY Network’s Man Caves.

Jason Cameron, host of Man Caves and Desperate Landscapes:

  • 25' tape measure
  • Carpenter's pencil
  • Ratcheting screwdriver with assorted bits
  • 16- or 20-oz. nailing hammer
  • 6" speed square

Jason says, "I picked these hand tools because I use them most frequently on the job. My two bonus picks would be a retractable utility knife and a 9" torpedo level."

  • Cordless drill
  • Cordless or corded 7-1/4" circular saw
  • Cordless or corded jigsaw
  • Cordless or corded oscillating multi-tool
  • Corded 5" random orbit sander

Jason adds, "I prefer the cordless option (18 volt) because it's more versatile and convenient. However, the corded option is generally less expensive with more power. You need to choose what's best for you."

Dean Marsico, host of Indoors Out and Rock Solid:

  • Hammer
  • Utility knife
  • Pry bar
  • Socket set
  • Sawhorses

  • Cordless drill with screw bits
  • Grinder with diamond blade
  • Circular saw
  • Palm sander
  • Reciprocating saw

Kayleen McCabe, host of Rescue Renovation:

  • Pencil and paper
  • Tape measure
  • Knife
  • Multi-tool (Leatherman)
  • Flashlight

Kayleen says, "I had a really hard time narrowing down my top five power tools. The list is closer to 8,000."

  • Quality cordless drill
  • Compressor and nail gun
  • Chop saw
  • Track saw
  • Reciprocating saw
Matt Blashaw

Matt Blashaw

Matt Blashaw, host of Money Hunters, says he won't leave home without his cordless multi-tool.

Matt Blashaw, host of Money Hunters:

  • Multi-tool — "This tool in your bag is like having turkey in your belly at Thanksgiving — it just has to be there. In fact, I never leave home without it. Make sure to get one with a Philips head, flat head, knife, saw and needle-nose pliers at least."
  • Channel locks — "Versatile tool for plumbing, electrical projects and tearing the tops off beer bottles."
  • Speed square — "I can't tell you how many times I use this a day. It is a must-have for any carpenter. Use it to find angles, make straight lines and keep that shelf you are making nice and square so nothing slides off."
  • 10- to 22-gauge wire stripper/cutter — "If you are working on any electricity around the home, you'll be in the dark without one of these."
  • Hammer — "If I'm going to be hammering all day, I'll grab my lighter hammer with a wood (hickory) handle and for moderate days my steel hammer does just the trick."
  • Reciprocating saw — "Commonly known by the popular brand name Sawzall. My favorite saying: 'Sawzall solves all.' This is a truly versatile tool that can saw wood, rip up tile and just about any job you throw at it."
  • Cordless impact driver — "Slowly becoming my favorite power tool ever, this little beauty can drive even the most stubborn screw home."
  • Compound miter saw — "Straight cuts every time. It is a must have for any finishing woodwork."
  • Cordless drill — "For a lightweight drill that packs a punch, get a Lithium drill. If you can count the number of times you have used a cordless drill this month on one hand, do your wallet a favor and just stick with the less expensive Ni-Cad."
  • Cordless multi-tool — "If you haven't heard of this tool yet, do a quick search on the Internet and buy it. This relatively new tool to the industry can do things no other tool can even come close to. It has so many attachments to it; I still don't think I've seen them all."

Matt Muenster, host of Bath Crashers and Bathtasic!:

Josh Temple

Josh Temple

Josh Temple, host of House Crashers and Disaster House, says a good level is one tool he can't live without.

  • 14-oz. titanium-head hammer
  • Lineman's pliers
  • Spring-loaded nail set
  • Channel-lock pliers
  • Speed square
  • Powerful cordless impact driver
  • Multi-master cutting tool
  • Worm drive saw
  • Cordless drill and pocket-hole jig
  • 12" sliding miter saw

Josh Temple, host of House Crashers and Disaster House:

  • Tape measure
  • Hammer
  • Utility knife
  • 4-in-1 screwdriver
  • Level
  • Drill
  • Circular saw
  • Reciprocating saw
  • Jigsaw
  • Impact drill

Billy Derian, host of Extra Yardage:

James Young

James Young


I Hate My Kitchen

James Young, host of DIY Network's Hate My Kitchen, brandishes the cordless drill he uses for projects.

  • Small garden set with hand shovel, hand hoe, weed claw, etc. — all in a cool case
  • Mortar and grout trowels — they work better than hands or kitchen spatulas
  • Grout bags for grouting tile, pavers, stones — like decorating a cake
  • A good power nozzle for the garden hose is essential
  • Hacksaw with blades that can be used on wood, pvc plastic and metal — good for jail cell bars too
  • Power auger for digging holes
  • Reciprocating saw — man's best friend
  • Small electric jackhammer
  • Powered ditch digger — like a Ferrari to any yard DIYer
  • A chainsaw to massacre an unruly landscape

Nicole Curtis, host of Rehab Addict:

  • Hammer
  • Tape measure
  • Flat-head screwdriver
  • Phillips-head screwdriver
  • Pry bar
  • Cordless reciprocating saw
  • Cordless circular saw
  • Compact impact driver
  • Chop saw
  • Power nailer

James Young, host of I Hate My Kitchen:

  • 24" level with three vials for easy reading
  • 10-in-1 screwdriver/nut driver — all the right attachments, right at your fingertips
  • 12" multipurpose pry bar — can't demo a kitchen without it
  • A good-quality tape measure
  • 8-piece clamp set — definite must for a wide range of building projects

  • Oscillating multi-tool — it can trim, cut or sand just about anything
  • Random orbital sander — delivers a smooth finish every time
  • A 4-1/2" angle grinder with a diamond blade — great for cutting stone and tile
  • 120v spiral saw — makes tricky cuts simple
  • Cordless drill/driver — comes in handy on almost any job

Marc Bartolomeo, host of Kitchen Impossible:

  • 16- or 20-oz. claw hammer
  • 25' tape measure
  • Adjustable flip-joint pliers
  • Utility knife
  • 6-in-1 multi-screwdriver

  • 3/8" cordless variable speed drill
  • 7-1/4" hand-held circular saw
  • Jigsaw
  • Palm sander
  • Shop vac

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