Power Tools: The Top 11 Must-Haves for New Woodworkers

Each woodworker develops their own sense of what tools are vital over time, but when you are just getting started, understanding what you truly need might be intimidating. It can be hard to know where to start. There’s the planning, the building, and then there are the tools. The right tools can make a huge difference in how well your project goes. This is why we’re going to show you 11 of the essential power tools every beginning woodworker should have on hand. So if you’re looking for some inspiration for your next project, read on!

Just a reminder that this list does not include things that need replenishment, such as glue and sandpaper, or necessary equipment, such as clamps, squares, and measuring tapes. Today, I will be discussing mainly essential power tools.

Our toolkit would need to be adaptable. I had no notion that I would ultimately work as a professional handyman, deck builder, house remodeler, woodworker, landlord, and new-home builder when I was younger.

I mentally organize my tools, assigning them a priority based on their frequency of usage.

Here is my list and the reasoning behind it; I hope it inspires you to help fill out someone else’s tool collection or to add to your own via seasonal bargains.

Here is my list and the reasoning behind it; maybe, it will inspire you to assist someone else completes out their tool collection, or to add to your own with the aid of seasonal specials.

Plan your next project:

If you’re a beginner, one of the first things you may need to do is plan a project. And this can be difficult if you don’t know what tools do what.

In order to figure out which tools are best for your needs, it’s important to think about the type of project you’ll be working on. For example, if you’re building furniture, then a table saw will probably come in handy. But if you’re making smaller items like picture frames, then a jigsaw or scroll saw would be more appropriate.

You also have to consider the space available for your project and whether or not electricity will be an issue. A drill press might not work as well for a small space without an outlet as it would for a larger space with an outlet nearby.

There are so many different types of woodworking projects that it can be hard to know where to start! The planning stage can help you decide which tools will work best for your needs and help make the whole process easier!

Start with the right tools

Starting a woodworking hobby is an exciting time. There’s so much to be excited about: all of the projects you can make, all of the different materials to work with, and learning about new tools that will help you reach your goals.

It’s also overwhelming, especially when you’re just starting out. It can be hard to know where to start and what tools are going to be best for you.

As a beginner, your priority should be to get a few essential power tools to help you get started. Here are 11 of the top power tools every beginning woodworker should have on hand.

A list of 11 top power tools that every beginning woodworker should have on hand

This list of essential power tools is a great place to start if you’re looking for your first power tools set. When the time comes to buy your own tools, this is a great resource.

orange and black black decker cordless hand drill

Power Tool # 1 : Cordless Drill:

Without a doubt, this is the most important tool I utilize in my life – both professionally and personally. A cordless drill is useful for daily activities such as installing shelves, or hanging a baby gate, as well as for larger projects like constructing a complete deck.

I received my first as a college student, and during the course of my career, I’ve probably loved six models to death.

The best cordless drills use lithium-ion batteries, which means that even little drills have a lot of power. For major building tasks, I use a large, powerful model capable of handling a half-inch bit, as well as a diminutive model for hard-to-reach areas.

If you are unfamiliar with power tools, this should be your first buy. If you’re considering giving one, make sure to include a set of pilot hole drill bits in addition to an array of drive bits. Screws have progressed much beyond the Phillips-head form, and you’ll want to invest in a package that includes a range of star-shaped drivers.

A chop saw is a necessary tool or equipment for home improvement jobs. If the room is at a premium, choose a compact model such as this Makita 10-inch Compound Miter Saw.

industrial worker using a  compound mitre saw

Power Tool # 2: Chop Saw

The chop saw is a close second as the most often used tool in my garage. Furthermore, generally, its other name is “compound miter saws.”

Chop saws use a big blade to quickly and correctly slice dimensional timber, such as 2-by-4s. Additionally, they are capable of cutting PVC piping, composite decking, and even large timbers such as 4-by-8-inch beams.

They’re a must-have if you’re going to create correct angled cuts for basic do-it-yourself tasks like trimming and picture framing.

Not only do higher-end versions spin side to side, but they also bevel for intricate miter cuts such as those required for crown molding. For added reach, larger versions have movable arms.

While many contractors and semi-pros use a platform to make cutting long, heavy timbers more comfortable, working from the ground is practically as simple.

Chop saws are very large, so if space is under the limit, a smaller basic type would generally serve. However, if you’re going to use it often, this is absolutely the spot to get a model with all the bells and whistles. The broader the blade and the longer the reach, the more substantial the wood that may cut.

Circular Saw

Power Tool # 3: Circular Saw

This oldie but a goodie is a lightweight power tool. With its circular blade, you may shred lengthy pieces of timber lengthwise or cut large panels of material such as plywood. A height-adjustable blade enables you to score or cut completely through the wood. I’ve used mine in the past several weeks to create a rustic table out of massive logs and to notch a post for a deck railing.

A worm drive is an option available on higher-end versions that provides more power and torque. However, for occasional usage, a simple device such as the traditional Skilsaw remains an excellent option.

A circular saw is arguably the most often used saw on building sites and by homeowners doing do-it-yourself tasks. However, it plays a significant role in the woodworking shop. A circular saw, rather than a track saw, is the optimum tool for chopping down huge, heavy sheet materials such as plywood. It’s compact and portable, as well as easy to use and modify.

Purchase a 7-14 circular saw. If you have some additional cash, you can consider investing in a battery-powered version.

table saw - power tools

Power Tool # 4: Table Saw

A table saw is an essential tool for any woodworker and is often used for cutting large pieces of wood such as plywood or sheet goods.

If you ask any woodworker what the most important tool in their shop is, they will almost invariably respond with the table saw as the answer. And I agree with you. The major benefits of using a table saw are the speed with which it cuts and the accuracy with which it cuts. Cutting rip cuts…cuts down the length of a board, and cutting saw cuts along the edge of a board are both possible, enabling you to dimension wood to almost any size you choose. In addition, you may customize your table saw with a variety of shop-made jigs and attachments to accomplish particular jobs and develop your woodworking skills and techniques. To be quite honest, I wouldn’t advocate doing any woodworking without a table saw.

A good rip fence and a 10″ table saw are two things to look for while shopping. Inspect the miter slots to ensure that they are standard 3/4 by 3/8 deep.

Angle grinder - power tools

Power Tool # 5: Angle grinder

Even though it is a relatively recent addition to my tool collection, my angle grinder is put to unexpected good use. In fact, I’m starting to wonder how I ever lived without one.

This compact instrument rotates small disks at a rapid rate of rotation to cut and grind a variety of materials. The disks themselves are simply a few bucks, and the majority of them are specifically intended for use with metal or stone surfaces.

Regarding trimming metal pipe, rebar, hog wire, or tile, as well as clipping off rusted nail heads, thin disks intended for cutting are quite beneficial. A wide variety of tasks are accomplished with the large grinding disks, including smoothing rough places in concrete, eliminating rust, and sharpening instruments.

Impact Driver

Power Tool # 6: Impact Driver

This is another tool that I can’t believe I didn’t possess sooner. Additionally, you may be familiar with the impact driver as the tool that produces a clicking “brrrupph” sound while in use.

The construction industry has shifted dramatically toward bigger-designed fasteners fitted using an impact driver. Instead of several little screws and nails, parts usually connect using bigger hex-shaped screws. Forget about manually cranking something for 10 minutes when your power tool can do it in ten seconds.

Like a torque wrench, impact drivers use a series of brief, strong bursts to turn something without damaging the fastener or the tool’s motor. While you may often use a standard drill to install an engineered screw, you will quickly burn up your drill.

With an impact driver, you may use fewer, stronger fasteners and do the job faster. If you’re doing any kind of new building, this is a right-hand tool. However, I’ve discovered that I come in when constructing shelves, connecting beams, and removing difficult deck screws.

Impact Driver and Drill

Impact Driver and Drill

While you can get by with only a drill, believe me on this one. After purchasing an impact driver, you’ll wonder why you waited so long! These two power tools are commonly sold in couples, and I recommend buying them in pairs to enable battery switching.

You’ll need a drill to dig holes for the well. You’d be shocked how often holes are required in woodworking. Additionally, although a drill may be used to drive screws, an impact driver is much superior. Along with twisting in the same way as a drill, it taps in the same direction as the screw is driven in.

Purchase both at the same time to ensure they share the same battery system. If possible, get a third battery to ensure that you always have one charged and ready to swap out. Additionally, get a drill and driver set that includes drill bits and drivers for a variety of screw heads.

Orbital sander - Power Tools

Power Tool # 7: Orbital sander

An orbital sander can be used to smooth surfaces and remove imperfections from materials like hardwoods or metal. They use an oscillating motion which means you need less pressure which reduces the risk of burns and dings in your project. It’s also much faster than sandpaper because it covers more surface area at once.

Isn’t it rare that a home repair job would necessitate the usage of an electric sander?

This is one of those instruments that everyone, from the general contractor to the do-it-yourselfer, should possess. Sanding anything substantial is very slow, exhausting, and messy. An electric sander can do the task in a fraction of the time and provide a better finish.

The majority of electric sanders are random orbital, which means they sand the wood without leaving a visible scratch pattern. Additionally, they are adept at smoothing the edges of completed drawings.

Sandpaper disks are Velcro-attached, making it easy to replace them or move between grits.

Sanding is a necessary part of so much woodworking. If you don’t do a good job smoothing out your work, any flaws will show up when the finish is done. A random orbit sander is the most flexible and cost-effective tool available.

While a random orbit sander revolves, it also oscillates randomly to avoid circular scratch marks. You won’t be able to sand within curves or tight corners, and the sander’s height may prevent you from reaching tiny areas, but you can sand 90% of what you want. The remainder of the surface may be sanded using hand sandpaper.

Recommendation: I believe it is preferable to get a corded sander than a battery-powered sander simply because certain sanding sessions may take an extended period of time and plugging it into the wall eliminates downtime. Ensure that the one you purchase accommodates 8-hole hook-and-loop sanding discs.

Nail gun and air compressor

Power tool # 8: Nail gun and air compressor

When it comes to major tasks like framing, roofing, and trim work, nothing beats the versatility of a nail gun combined with an air compressor.

The use of a nail gun is a requirement when conducting final work since the alternative is to bash nails in by hand, which typically results in sloppiness in the finished product.

Nail guns are available in a variety of gauges, all of which are compatible with the same compressor and airline.

Using an 18-gauge gun and thin nails on trim boards where I wanted my nail holes to be undetectable has been standard practice for me for years. When I needed to make a new room and add siding to my house, I bought a powerful framing gun for work.

It is also possible to utilize the air compressor in conjunction with a paint sprayer or a blowgun.

Jig saw - power tools

Power tool # 9: Jigsaw

A jigsaw is one of the most useful and inexpensive power tools you can acquire. After you begin woodworking, it will not be long before you want to carve some curves. My first jigsaw experience was in middle school shop class, building kid-friendly art projects. My artistic activities have gotten more pricey, yet I still use a jigsaw on a daily basis.

While a band saw is a ubiquitous tool for cutting curves, it does have certain restrictions. For one thing, you cannot make a hole. Additionally, if you have a really huge board, it will not fit on the table. I do not believe that a band saw is a necessary power tool for beginning woodworkers. A jigsaw can do all of your curved cuts at a fraction of the cost of a circular saw. You can even configure it to create straight cuts in the same way that a circular saw does. Surprisingly, as I gain expertise, I find myself reaching more for my jigsaw and less for my band saw.

Occasionally, no other power tool is more suited to removing a little detail or cutting a precise curving line. Their expertise is cutting through thin, lightweight material using low-cost reciprocating blades that, at utilizing on wood, metal, or plastic.

This is a tool that some people would never use, but I’ve used mine on practically every deck I’ve constructed. It’s a handy small gadget at a reasonable price.

Purchase a variable speed jigsaw compatible with t-shank blades.

Oscillating cutter - power tools

Power tool # 10: Oscillating cutter

Certain tasks require using an oscillating cutter. Suppose a 2×4 that has to be trimmed within a wall. It’s difficult to get to, and you don’t want to rip the entire wall down. The tiny blade of an oscillating cutter may fit into that hard-to-reach location without requiring extensive destruction.

A flat-bar vibrates quickly, like a hair clipper, and tiny teeth on the bar help with medical precision cutting.

Once you have one, you will find that you may put it to a variety of applications. Trimming protruding pipes, removing old grout, and opening up clean rectangles in drywall are all feasible with different blades. Some have sanding or grinding heads.

If you’re renovating, you’ll almost certainly run into problems that none of your other equipment can properly fix. Now is the time to get the oscillating cutter.

Miter Saw - Power tools

Power tool # 11: Miter Saw

Using a circular blade, the miter saw may be used to create crosscuts, bevels, and miters at a range of different angles. If you’re going to build anything that has angles, a miter saw will be necessary.

I’d want to start with a miter saw since I feel it’s the best tool for swiftly building amazing things. Because it’s so simple to do crosscuts, of course, miter cuts, you’ll probably keep using a miter saw even if you move to a table saw. Additionally, it’s an excellent tool to keep on hand for a variety of house repairs and other do-it-yourself jobs.

Recommendation: Begin your search for a ten-inch compound miter saw. I see no need to spend extra for a sliding or 12″ miter saw if you already own a table saw.


With any luck, this list will assist you in selecting the power tools that you’ll need. You’ll be well on your way to becoming a confident and accomplished woodworker. You’ll be more confident in your ability to complete any assignment if you have these power tools on hand.

If you can’t find what you’re looking for on this list, you may check your local hardware shop. They could have what you’re looking for, and they should be able to assist you. The basic line is that this isn’t a definitive list in any sense. Over time, you will compile a list of the most important power tools that you will require for your job. Please don’t hesitate to contact us if you have any queries or need assistance. Thanks for taking the time to read this post; we are always excited when one of our posts can provide useful information on a topic like this!