List of Carpentry Tools – 10 Tools Every Carpenter Needs


Are you thinking about becoming a carpenter? If so, you’re going to need A LOT of tools. But let’s not overwhelm ourselves. Today, we’re narrowing down to our Top 10 list of carpentry tools for those planning to enter this rewarding trade. Like I said, you’ll likely need more than these 10 carpentry tools. But think of these tools as an appetizer portion at a restaurant – just a small taste to prepare you for the rest of the meal.

Not making a career change?  This list is also great for the DIY’er who just needs the essential tools for home projects.

But first…

3 Carpentry Non-tool Essentials

Before we get started, I want to focus on two aspects that are often overlooked – comfort and safety. Sure, you need the right tools, but you also need supplies that will keep you comfortable and protect you against common accidents. We have a short list of items that fit the bill.

Boots: Comfortable boots are an absolute essential. As a carpenter, you’re on your feet all day. It will add up fast if you’re wearing cheap and poorly made work boots. Save your feet and knees the ache. Just invest in some quality boots.

I suggest a lighter boot so you’re not hauling around unnecessary extra weight. You may have to try a few brands to find one you like. Personally, I like Timberland Pro and Red Wings.

Clothing: For carpentry, you definitely need comfortable clothing – but! It also needs to offer protection. Your shirts, pants, jackets, and hoodies all need to be durable to offer at least some protection from the jobsite.

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE): You will need safety glasses, ear plugs, knee pads, and PPE-specific to the task you are working on.  You only have one body, so treat it well and it will be kind to you in the long run.

Okay…let’s jump into our list of 10 Tools Every Carpenter Needs.

Top 10 List of Carpentry Tools

1Tape Measurer

You can look at this as a disposable since you will either lose it, break it, or it will wear out. But a good tape measure is a carpenter’s #1 tool.  Spend the extra money and get a good tape, actually a couple of tapes.  For me, I like the wider tapes as they have a longer standout, plus I like the 16′ tape because of the size.  However, find something that works for you.

Milwaukee offers a wide variety of strong, magnetic tape measures available in multiple sizes on Amazon.

2Tool Belt

Alright, you found yourself a tape measure you like…where do you put it? You need a quality toolbelt before you get started. A toolbelt keeps all of your essential tools on you and available for quick access.

You need a toolbelt that is durable, comfortable for all-day wear, but isn’t excessively heavy. That stress will build up quickly on your knees and feet. Personally, I like a leather toolbelt.

Browse leather toolbelts on Amazon

3Drill & Impact

A drill and impact driver are must-have tools, but it’s not always the easiest to decide which one to invest in as there are a lot of factors to consider.

3 Questions to Ask Yourself When Buying a Power Tool

  1. “What are you using this tool for?” For instance, heavy-duty applications require a stronger and likely heavier drill or driver.
  2. “Which model feels the best?” Ignore what your parent, friend, neighbor recommends. YOU are using this tool day-in and day-out. It has to feel right for you.
  3. “Which manufacturer can I grow into?” This prevents you from having multiple battery platforms. It also encourages you to look at which brand will be best for your trade.

Milwaukee offers trade-specific lineups of tools. Read our TIA reviews of the M18 Surge Impact Driver and M18 Hammer Drill.

Milwaukee drills and impact drivers are available on Amazon.

4Circular Saw

A circular saw is another tool you will be using a lot.  You might be cutting 2×4 or ripping through multiple sheets of plywood.  My suggestion for purchasing a circular saw is, whatever drill and impact driver you’re interested in, check out that same manufacturer’s circular saws.  Make sure they have a quality saw that can keep up with the demand of your jobsite.

Or, start with TIA Circular Saw Reviews to narrow your search.

Shop Circular Saws on Amazon

5Table Saw

There are a lot of great table saws on the market.  As a carpenter, you will have to make the investment and buy yourself a quality jobsite table saw.  Whether you are ripping plywood or trim, this is a handy tool to have in your arsenal.

Read TIA Table Saw Reviews

Shop Table Saws on Amazon


A speed square is one of the best inventions for the carpenter.  You can do so much with these tools.  Draw straight-cut lines, find angles, and more.  As a carpenter, you will be using this especially if you are framing. This will definitely earn a spot in your toolbelt.

Shop Speed Squares on Amazon


Here’s another tool that will be used throughout the day.  You can go cheap or you can spend some extra money and get a quality hammer.  For me, I suggest getting a quality hammer as you will be using it all the time.  I prefer the wood handles but others like the fiberglass.  Either way, go with a quality hammer.

Shop hammers at The Home Depot

8Hand Tools

Yes, the speed square and hammer could go under “hand tools”, but those two tools are used so much that we had to separate them into their own category.  There are a lot of other hand tools that could be in their own category but the list would get much bigger than 10 tools. So, we want to mention a few generic hand tools you will find yourself reaching for often as a carpenter.

Some of the notable hand tools are a wonder bar or pry bar and a carpenter’s pencil – which is more of an accessory.  You will need items like a punch and more.  But I think you get the point that there are many hand tools you will need for this profession.

Read TIA Hand Tool Reviews


Levels are another must-have tool but here is the problem, you can’t just go with one.  You will need a variety of different size levels and you will have to get some quality levels.  As a carpenter, the level is your friend.  I suggest getting a variety of small and large levels between a range of 2 ft. to 8 ft. to fit the wide array of tasks you’ll encounter.

The Home Depot offers an Empire True Blue Extendable Level Set (two pack) for $174.

10Drill Bits & Accessories

When it comes to drill bits and accessories, do not go cheap.  Yes, you think you are saving money but in the end, you are just wasting money and causing more frustration.  Spend the extra couple of dollars, get good bits that have a case. A case is essential for organization.

Drills and Impacts are becoming more powerful each year.  So you will need to get upgraded bits that can keep up with and not break when paired with the newer, more powerful tools.

Shop Drill Bits available at The Home Depot

Top 10 List of Carpentry Tools Wrap-up

Alright, that’s our Top 10 List of Carpentry Tools that you will absolutely need for entering the carpentry trade.  After you have these you’ll be ready to jump into more equipment like oscillating tools, jigsaws, and more.  We’ll get started on a list for when you’re ready for the next level of carpentry tools.  Until then, happy tool shopping!


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