In my experience, building a tiny house requires a lot of things: it requires creativity and determination; It takes willingness and motivation to learn and try, to fail, to problem solve, and continue; It takes patience.
Those are the intangibles. What else does it take? The proper tools are essential! It’s hard to know how important some of these things are until you realize the hard way (by wasting a lot of time!) how much energy and frustration a good tool can save you. So, without further ado, here are my top 10 must have tiny house tools.
In almost all cases I have used these exact tools to build my tiny house and I can vouch for their quality and effectiveness. Some are more expensive and some are cheaper, but ALL are essential, at least in my experience. I’m also going to provide links to the best prices I can find on these (from Amazon, for your convenience). Unless you can find a special sale at your local store, these are probably the best deals you’ll get!
I’m starting with this, because it’s definitely the single most-used tool of them all. Every day, for nearly every task, you’ll be using either the drill or impact driver. If you are framing your house with screws, the impact driver will be your very best friend!
In my experience, this Dewalt 18v XRP set is really a great product. These tools are solidly built, are heavy (in a good way) and well balanced. The XRP Li-Ion Battery Packs are far more powerful and longer lasting than the standard 18v or the 20v MAX. There are 12v systems that are lighter and may be easier to use (for some), but in my experience the extra power (to do anything!) of the 18v XRP is totally worth it! Also, don’t let the higher voltage of the 20v model fool you. Most 20v models are cheaper to appeal to the average DIY consumer, and are not as solid or long lasting. If you get one tool to start your tiny house, get this!View product details on Amazon
I don’t have any connection with Dewalt, but I do really like many of their products. You’ll see some more Dewalt items below and I’m recommending them simply because I’ve personally used them and love the job they did for me!
Once you have the drill and impact driver, you’ll need drill bits, adapters, screw driver bits, and other accessories to tackle all the various sized holes and fasteners you’ll need to build your tiny house. These sets will get you basically all you will ever need: star drive, flat, phillips, hex, or socket, plus the standard assortment of drill bit sizes. For large holes (drain pipes, for instance) you probably need a hole saw set, or you can buy a couple of hole saws individually as you need them (based on your pipe sizes).34-Piece Impact Ready Accessory Set on Amazon 20-Piece Drill Bit Set on Amazon
A tape measure is, of course, the simplest and maybe most obvious tool of them all. You’ll be making hundreds of measurements throughout your build, so this is an absolute must for daily use! Get 2 of them at least so you don’t loose your only one, and so you have at least one extra when your friends come to help you build.View product details on Amazon
No human being has enough hands to hold a tape measure, pencil, speed square, hammer, impact driver, and a hand-full of screws or nails at once. That’s why you can’t live without a good, heavy-duty tool belt. I love this 5 pocket style with plenty of room for the above mentioned items, including loops to hang hand-held power tools as needed. Get one like this that’s tough enough for constantly being thrown on and off as you are building.View product details on Amazon
Particularly when you are framing, you will use this ALL THE TIME. It’s the perfect size to carry at all times in your tool belt, so you can easily create perfectly square cut lines for each 2×4 stud you measure and cut, check corners for square throughout your build, determine roof rafter angles, etc. It’s large enough to span a 2×6, but small and light for super easy use.View product details on Amazon
Here’s something else you will use every day (especially when framing, sheathing, or anything that involves measurements and cutting of any kind). Having a nice pencil is a must! You’ll use them a ton, sharpen them many times, and drop or lose at least a few. So make sure you get a whole pack of them and a sharpener too!View product details on Amazon
Part of your job when building a house is protecting yourself. For safety and for comfort, you absolutely need some good work gloves. Whether it’s for hauling potentially splintery plywood sheets or other lumber, using sharp tools or when handling sharp materials like wire or aluminum flashing, or when handling messy caulk, stain, or other finishes, taking care of your hands is very important. Get some durable leather gloves that will last a while even with heavy use.View product details on Amazon
Here’s another obvious one! Some tiny house builders will use more screws than nails, but no matter what, you’re still going to use a lot of nails! Even if framing with screws, there are a ton of nails needed for tension ties, rafter ties and header hangers, plus all the finish nails for interior millwork. Spend a few extra bucks on a hammer that is comfortable for you to use so you don’t give yourself blisters on a heavy-use day!View product details on Amazon
When building a house, you’re gonna use a lot of adhesive, caulk, or other sealants, so a caulking gun is a must. Simple is usually fine in this case, so no need to spend a ton of money at first. (There are fancy pneumatic ones if you really want). Caulk can be messy, and there’s no way to dispense it without a caulking gun, so this will definitely be one of your first basic tool purchases.View product details on Amazon
Safety goggles, like gloves, are one of the absolutely safety and protection necessities. I like this goggle-style (Dewalt again, I know) as opposed to just safety glasses because having them sealed around the edges of your eyes is far better protection from all the dust, and other debris that can AND WILL fly at you from all directions. These will keep far more of the nasty, dirty, potentially damaging bits and pieces out of your precious eyes. Just think about drilling holes through your trailer from below, with metal shavings falling into your face. Yeah, you definitely need some goggles!View product details on Amazon
I know this is expensive, but a good miter saw is an absolute must! There is no way you can make hundreds of accurate, perfectly square cuts with a hand-held skill saw. A miter saw will make every perpendicular cut (mostly studs, joists & rafters) you’ll ever need with absolute ease! I personally have this model and I love both the 12″ blade and the sliding feature because it allows you cut larger boards (or extreme angles) when needed with a single cut. Also, being able to cut compound angles (on two axises, not just one) on any board size really makes framing, finishing and just about every single sawing task far easier and more precise. Do you research and scope out local deals for sure, but one way or another, you’ll need a decent miter saw to build your tiny house!
Author: Alek Lisefski