Fortunately tools for DIY projects have become more affordable and there is a wide range available, when you purchase tools for a DIY project you obviously have to consider your budget but in my experience you “only get what you pay for”, that said you can get some very good deals when the sales are on and keep a lookout for promotional days at tool shops, I recently picked up an 18volt battery drill, a very good quality laser level, battery handlamp and 1hr charger including a protective carry case all made by Dewalt for £240, and considering the laser level bought separately would have cost £130 I got a great deal.
I would recommend buying tools that carry a British kite mark and take time to read the instructions thoroughly so you are familiar with the safe use of the tool and which safety equipment you need i.e. mask, safety goggles etc.
Read this page: Bosch 18V Cordless Drills
The one tool I never buy ‘on the cheap’ are screwdrivers, a good quality set will last for years, personally I prefer electricians screwdrivers as they are usually completely insulated, fit the screw heads much better and the tips are much harder and don’t break up easily. From the safety point of view should you be unfortunate enough to put a screw through a live cable, aside the ‘bang’ you will stand a much better chance of not being electrocuted which as a regular DIYer I regard as a major bonus!. Other hand tools I buy tend to be of the mid-range price but have a good look around and compare prices.
There are of course numerous 240 volt and battery tools available nowadays and there price varies greatly, but for DIY projects you don’t need to spend a fortune as it is unlikely the tool will be used as much as say on site. With battery powered tools you can pay £200 + for a good quality drill with a hammer function, and you can of course buy one for a lot less, the main difference aside the durability of the tool is the batteries they use, on a good quality tool you will get at least one spare battery and they are generally more powerful, last longer, will only take 1 hour or less to recharge and be able to be recharged more often before they start to lose there full capacity. Again it all depends on your budget, but don’t worry as I said previously there are a lot of tools cheaper and still suitable for DIY, just make sure to have a good look around and ask in the store how good the tool is and is it suitable for your DIY project.
I would recommend purchasing a battery/hammer/drill, and aside paying what you can afford get one at rated at 12 volts minimum and preferably with a spare battery. They are an invaluable tool even if you only use it as a screwdriver, the time you can save makes it a very worthwhile purchase.
If your budget is limited there are plenty of 240 volt corded drills available at reasonable prices.(I WOULD STRONGLY RECCOMEND USING A RCD PLUG/SOCKET WHEN USING 240 VOLT POWER TOOLS). The downside to using corded tools is less speed/torque control, the power cord itself and the probable use of an extension lead which helps to clutter up the work area. Only you know what the job is and if you are unsure which model/make/tool is most suitable, ask the assistants in the store for advice, a lot of people won’t do and end up with the wrong tool for the job.
There are a lot of tools I would recommend, one of which is a portable workbench, I bought a Black & Decker Workmate years ago and it has proved invaluable, an electric wood planer bought for around £20 can save an awful lot of hard work and time. A half decent toolbox preferably with drawers or space for fixings will protect your hand tools, make them easier to locate and keep them from inquisitive little hands, but buy one bigger than you need at present, they become full up very quickly once the DIY bug bites!
You will no doubt need a retractable tape measure but buy one with a wider tape, e.g. 15 – 20mm it makes measuring when the tape is outstretched easier as the thinner ones tend to kink easily.
A spirit level is usually required for most jobs, two would be ideal, one a small ‘boat’ level around 125mm long and one at around 600mm long, these should be suitable for the majority of DIY projects. When you have chosen your level(s) whilst in the shop put it on a shelf (the shelf doesn’t have to be level) and note where the bubble sits in the sight-glass, turn it around and once more note where the bubble sits in the sight-glass, if its in the same position the level is ok, if not choose another and repeat the test.
Another very useful tool is a cable/pipe/joist detector which are fairly inexpensive and can save an awful lot of time, money and guesswork, there is nothing worse than putting a nail/screw through a pipe or live cable as putting it right using a tradesman can be a very unwanted expense compared to the cost of the tool.
Don’t forget to keep a couple of pencils, marker pen, spare Stanley knife blades, insulation tape and other handy bit’s and pieces in your toolbox, I am the worlds worst for having all the tools and materials ready to start the job but nothing to write or mark out with as the kids have took the lot!.
Ask friends and family if they have any tools that are collecting dust that you could use (and return eventually) or if they are thinking about doing a similar DIY project why not purchase the more expensive tools between you and save a lot of money.
Don’t forget, take time to read the safe use instructions that come with the tool and wear the appropriate safety equipment.