Tool Sets Buying Guide

Whatever type of tools you need for your next project, there's likely a tool set that can provide you with all of the sizes and designs you'll need to accomplish the task. However, choosing among them can seem overwhelming. This buying guide can help you find just the right set for your upcoming projects.

Types of Tool Sets

Types of Tool Sets

A variety of tool sets is available, and you may need to buy several types of sets to outfit your home workshop. Some sets include a several different types of hand or power tools for general use, while others offer various sizes and designs of one specific type of tool. You'll find sets with just a few select pieces, as well as sets with hundreds of different components. What type and how large of tool set you should choose will depend on what types of projects you plan to work on and how often you plan to use the tools. Here are a few common tool sets that you may find handy for do-it-yourself projects around the house.

Cordless Power Tool Sets

These kits include several different types of power tools (often a drill, reciprocating saw, and circular saw), as well as batteries and chargers that work with all of the included tools. Because the tools use the same batteries, it's usually less expensive to purchase a tool kit than to buy the tools separately.

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Wrench Sets

This type of tool set can include various wrench sizes and types (crescent, box, combination, and adjustable wrenches, for example) that can be used to tighten and loosen nuts and bolts, as well as help you with a variety of other tasks around the house.

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Screwdriver Sets

This type of tool set can include multiple sizes and types of screwdrivers, or one screwdriver handle and many interchangeable blades to suit various tasks. Keep in mind that interchangeable blades can easily be lost, so you may want to look for a set with a storage case or opt for a ratchet screwdriver with internal storage.

Socket Sets

These sets commonly include various sizes of sockets that can be used with a socket wrench to tighten nuts and bolts. Some sets include both the wrench and sockets, while other sets include only the socket attachments.

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Pliers Sets

These tool sets can include a variety of pliers designed for holding, turning, and cutting tasks, such as working with wire or tightening and loosening nuts and bolts. A set can include various types of pliers or several sizes of one particular type.

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Punch and Chisel Sets

This type of set includes a variety of punches (for starting drill holes, marking metal, and other tasks) and chisels (tools with a sharp beveled edge that can be used in woodworking, stone working, and metalworking). Sets will usually include tools of varying sizes and designs.

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Purchase Considerations

Purchase Considerations

As you compare various tool sets, the most important thing to consider is what type of project you'll be working on and what type of tools you really need. Large sets with hundreds of pieces may be exciting, but they may not be worth the cost if you only use a few of the pieces. Also be sure to consider quality—quality tools can be well worth the extra price. If you're buying a set of power tools, you'll also need to think about how much power you'll need for the work you'll be doing.

Project Type

You'll find plenty of tools to choose from at your hardware store—but you can end up walking out of the store with a lot more tools than you really need. Before you go shopping, consider the type of project you'll be working on, and figure out what steps are involved. Then buy tools accordingly. If you understand exactly what your project entails, you're a lot less likely to walk out of the store with a lot of extra tools—or a set that includes every tool size except the one that you really need.


The old adage that you get what you pay for rings true when it comes to buying tools. Expensive tools are usually higher quality and likely to last longer. That said, you may not need expensive tools if you are only planning to use them once or twice a year. And keep in mind that the more expensive tools can also be more complicated—so they may exceed your skill level if you are a beginning do-it-yourselfer. Consider your skill level and needs as you shop, and when in doubt opt for quality over quantity. You're likely to get more use out of a small but well-made tool set than a poor-quality tool set with hundreds of pieces. Also look at warranties as you shop; many high-quality tools are available with lifetime warranties, which can be well worth the price if you plan to use the tool for years to come.


If you're purchasing a cordless power tool kit, consider how much power you need. Higher-voltage tools are better suited to heavy-duty tasks, but they are also heavier and bulkier to handle. Lower-voltage tools, which are smaller and lighter, may be all you need for light household tasks. Also look at battery type. Lithium-ion batteries offer more power with less weight than nickel-cadmium batteries—plus, they're more environmentally friendly.

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