Woodworking is one of the most versatile and adaptable DIY experiences there is and can involve anything from constructing an entire table to making small changes in a wooden ornament or surface. However, varied jobs call for varied tools, so only having one or two pieces of woodworking gear will severely limit the kinds of work you can actually do.
Even if you have one tool for every job, there will be specialized tools that are theoretically better at very niche roles or certain pieces of gear that offer better protection and reliability than the standard option. There is almost always something better you can upgrade to, and you just need to decide whether or not it’s worth the time, money and effort.
Below are twelve of the best woodworking tools we could find, as well as a handful of reasons that they might make a great addition to your toolbox.
View the Best Woodworking Tools, Below.
- WEN 4208 5-Speed Drill Press
- DEWALT DW745S Compact Table Saw
- Can-Do Clamp
- Dewalt DCD771C2 Compact Drill Driver Kit
- WEN 6530 Electric Hand Planer
- DEWALT DW735X Thickness Planer
- BLACK+DECKER BDEJS600C Jig Saw
- DEWALT Random Orbit Sander
- PSI Woodworking LCHSS8 Chisel Set
- DEWALT Router Fixed/Plunge Base Kit
- BOSTITCH BTFP3KIT Air Compressor Combo Kit
- DEWALT DWS779 Sliding Compound Miter Saw
1. WEN 4208 5-Speed Drill Press
This 5-speed drill press is designed to work at a range of different pre-set speeds, drilling a half-inch hole into a wide range of materials (including almost any kind of wood) with ease. The ball-bearing-based induction motor has a longer lifespan than many other designs, and the worktable attached to the frame can bevel up to 45 degrees for more precise drilling. There are plenty of other ways to adjust the exact drilling angle and depth to stop yourself from going too far, making it much more reliable than a standard handheld drill.
This table drill press is perfect for creating very precise holes in wood, avoiding the usual problems caused by an inaccurate hand drill.Check Price on Amazon ➞
2. DEWALT DW745S Compact Table Saw
This compact, heavy-duty table saw is perfect for slicing through thick pieces of wood, using a strong 1850-watt 15-amp motor for high cutting power in a small body. The sawblade can move at up to 3850 RPM, enough to be effective for almost all woodwork jobs, and the adjustable feet mean that it can still be used on uneven ground. Not only that, but it bevels by up to 45 degrees, so you don’t have to use it for straight cuts exclusively. The whole unit can be folded down into a compact size for easier transport or storage.
This compact saw is able to quickly and easily cut through most kinds of wood and is compact enough to carry in the back of a truck or similar vehicle.Check Price on Amazon ➞
3. Can-Do Clamp
These simple angle clamps are easy to set up and provide a precise hold on any kind of wood, securing them in place and letting you quickly and easily drill through corners or right-angled pieces. The simple and easy-to-use design makes it perfect for very quick drilling jobs, and a very secure grip means that it won’t slip easily when you’re dealing with very important and precise holes or cuts. The design of the entire clamp is meant to use as much pressure as possible to hold the two pieces together, and even if something goes wrong, the durable aluminum body can withstand dozens of bashes or bumps.
This clamp is strong, reliable and easy to use, making it one of the best woodworking tools on the market when you need absolute precision.Check Price on Amazon ➞
4. Dewalt DCD771C2 Compact Drill Driver Kit
This compact drill is perfect for lightweight woodwork jobs, using an ergonomic and low-weight design that makes it extremely easy to carry around as part of a mobile toolkit. The 300-watt motor is strong enough to push through most kinds of wood, especially softer layers, and it can be switched between two different speed settings of 450 RPM and 1500 RPM at any moment. Not only that, but its ergonomic design makes it far more comfortable to use in a wide range of situations, including awkward angles that you can’t easily reach with a larger, heavier drill.
This drill is one of the best woodworking tools for small jobs, acting as a much more portable option for people who need to drill things regularly.Check Price on Amazon ➞
5. WEN 6530 Electric Hand Planer
This hand planer uses a strong 6-amp motor that can cut at an extremely high speed, slicing through all but the thickest materials in very little time. You can adjust the cutting depth to a wide range of different settings without putting yourself in any extra danger and can use the planer to create rabbets of varying sizes without needing extra tools. Thanks to its lightweight body, it only weighs around 6 pounds, making it fairly portable and easy to transport compared to larger and heavier models. It also comes with multiple extra accessories, including a dust bag and a fence bracket.
Hand planers are easy to overlook, but this model combines a low weight with a great range of features and adjustments that make it perfect for DIY use.Check Price on Amazon ➞
6. DEWALT DW735X Thickness Planer
This 15-amp planer is powered by an incredibly strong 20,000 RPM motor, making it capable of slicing through sturdy and durable materials much faster than you'd expect. The three separate cutting knives on the head take some of the pressure off, increasing their lifespan by up to 30 percent compared to a single-knife design, and the built-in gearbox lets you choose between 96 and 179 CPI depending on the situation. It also has a fan-assisted ejection system to get rid of wood chips and shavings automatically, as well as a range of other adjustable parts and features.
This planer is designed with cutting power and efficiency in mind, focusing on a long-lasting design and excellent protection to the user.Check Price on Amazon ➞
7. BLACK+DECKER BDEJS600C Jig Saw
This jigsaw offers a wide range of customizable and adjustable parts, including 4 pre-set Curve Control options for angles cutting. The 5-amp motor provides a relatively high 3,000 SPMs of cutting power without the need for any external tools or extras, and the entire unit can bevel by 45 degrees to get specific cutting angles on surfaces that aren't completely flat or straight. It also has a built-in wire guard to prevent it from trailing back in front of the blade, a problem that's destroyed many jigsaws over the years.
This jigsaw is simple and effective, solving a lot of the problems that less-useful units run into quite often (such as cut wires).Check Price on Amazon ➞
8. DEWALT Random Orbit Sander
This orbit sander uses a 3-amp motor that can produce up to 12,000 OPM of sanding power, allowing it to slowly wear down even the most durable surfaces quite easily. All key parts are dust-sealed to prevent wood debris from getting in and jamming the mechanisms up, while the vacuum locking system means that you can suck up and dispose of any leftover dust and woodchips easily, as well as attach a dust bag that only needs one hand to connect and remove. The rubber over-molded grip provides far more comfort and stability than the bare frame, while the overall design of the unit allows it to contain dust and vibrations more often.
This orbit sander is a great mixture of heavy-duty power and compact size, giving you a small tool that’s incredibly easy to use in a wide range of situations.Check Price on Amazon ➞
9. PSI Woodworking LCHSS8 Chisel Set
This set of eight chisels takes a classic woodworking technique and upgrades it with modern materials, giving you eight different scrapers, chisels and gouges to work with. Each one is made with extremely durable steel, designed to endure much more damage than regular high-carbon steel parts and well-crafted wooden handles that are both elegant and comfortable. The display box they come with also doubles as an easy-to-use storage rack, one that you can place almost anywhere in your home. Each chisel is different, meaning that they are all suited to taking on different jobs and tasks that the others can't.
These chisels are some of the best woodworking tools for beginners who want to do things manually rather than relying on machines, especially thanks to their attractive and stylish shape.Check Price on Amazon ➞
10. DEWALT Router Fixed/Plunge Base Kit
This two-style router combo takes the best parts of fixed and plunge routers, combining them into a single tool that offers plenty of cutting power and depth. The adjustable speed settings meant that you can easily switch from anywhere between 16,000 to 27,000 RPM, allowing you to tailor the speed to the material you are trying to cut through, and the soft-starting motor is designed to keep a consistent speed no matter how tough the material is. Not only that, but the unit’s translucent base has two LED lights that illuminate what you’re cutting, making it much easier to see and reducing the number of mistakes you’ll make.
This is one of the best woodworking tools for people who need the specific cuts that only a router can provide, especially if you don’t want to buy separate plunge and fixed models.Check Price on Amazon ➞
11. BOSTITCH BTFP3KIT Air Compressor Combo Kit
This multi-purpose air compressor and nailer kit boasts an extremely efficient motor that can compress up to 6 gallons of air at once, providing around 150 PSI that you can use to drive nails directly into a wide range of surfaces. The kit includes four tools: the compressor itself, a Brad nailer for 18-gauge Brad nails, a straight-finish nailer that uses 16-gauge nails and a heavy-duty crown stapler for stapling down different surfaces and materials. It also includes a 15-foot air hose that’s designed to handle high amounts of air pressure, even while being bent around or twisted, as well as standard fasteners that allow the tools to be used together straight out of the box.
Every tool in this kit is designed for maximum efficiently and a good amount of strength, making them some of the best woodworking tools for serious projects involving softer wood types.Check Price on Amazon ➞
12. DEWALT DWS779 Sliding Compound Miter Saw
This miter saw offers a cutting speed of 800 RPM thanks to its strong and reliable 15-amp motor, letting it quickly work its way through all kinds of treated wood, lumber, and other related materials. It can be adjusted to cut at multiple different angles, slicing through just under seven inches of wood as standard.
To help prevent the build-up of dust, it has a built-in collection system that collects an average of 75% of all dust it generates, keeping the air breathable and safe for longer. Thanks to its back fence design, it can even trim down pre-cut lumber in a range of different sizes and ways.
Miter saws are often a heavy-duty tool, but the design of this particular model makes it great for taking on almost any project, especially if it involves lumber or thick pieces of wood.Check Price on Amazon ➞
Woodworking Tools Buyer’s Guide
Even if you’ve had a lot of experience using certain tools for different woodworking projects or purposes, you might still feel stumped when it comes to buying something to solve a problem that’s completely new to you. For example, if you’re only used to using machines, you might have no idea what to look for if you need manual cutting or chiseling gear – the opposite can also be true since traditional woodworkers often feel overwhelmed when they try to buy their first piece of automatic gear.
Thankfully, there are a few ways you can filter down what you should be looking for: not every tool can solve every problem, so it’s important to be aware of what you’ll actually need and what kind of equipment you should be looking out for.
Woodworking, as a whole, has hundreds of tools associated with it, from small handheld chisels to car-sized industrial cutting equipment. However, the average person will only touch anywhere from six to ten tools in their normal life – if you have woodworking as a hobby, that number might stretch up to twenty or more, but you’ll still never need the majority of the items on the market.
For example, let’s take a standard woodwork saw. They’re good for slicing through solid pieces of wood, regardless of whether you’re building a table, repairing your house, or cutting down some lumber to sell. However, something like a miter saw only fits specific roles, so not everybody will find them useful – generally, it’ll be far better than generic tools at those roles, but it’ll struggle to achieve anything else.
This means that identifying the purpose or role you need to fill is extremely important. One kind of saw, chisel or sander might not fill the same niche as another, and buying the wrong one can make a simple task extremely frustrating, and might even cause damage to the tool if it’s used in completely the wrong way.
What’s most Important?
If you’re starting completely from scratch, you should have priorities when it comes to building up a toolbox. While there’s usually a logical order to the things you buy (such as getting a basic saw and sander before anything else, since they cover some basic needs), everybody has their own priorities, and each job or task will need different tools.
Some tools are clearly more urgent than others. Equipment that’s meant to help improve finished products is generally the lowest priority for most people, whereas general tools that deal with things like constructing, cutting, destroying and attaching pieces of wood are the top priority. Not all of it has to be an actual “tool,” either: items like workbenches, cutting boards, and safety gear are also really important, and many people overlook them in favor of bigger and flashier items.
This isn’t always the best advice to follow, of course. If you’re just building up a collection of tools for future use and don’t have an immediate project to work on, then you should think about what’ll be important in the future rather than right now. You never know when you’ll want a tool you don’t have, so it’s a good idea to just build up a solid collection of basic equipment if you don’t know what you’ll need.
Traditional or Modern?
There are two major types of woodworking – conventional woodworking, which is done with all kinds of mechanical and electric tools, and traditional woodworking that focuses more on manual labor and craftsmanship. In many cases, you’ll use a little bit of both, but some people prefer to commit to using one or the other exclusively.
If you’re sticking to your preference, it can drastically limit your options when it comes to buying tools and equipment. Traditional woodworking has far fewer heavy-duty options barring larger and tougher versions of existing saws, chisels, and other items. However, conventional woodworking has a lot of items that are only meant for experienced woodworkers, meaning that it’ll take more time to learn how everything works.
There’s a reason they’re often used together since they both cover different parts of woodworking as an activity. Try to avoid restricting yourself if you’re completely new – there’s nothing wrong with using both at the same time, and it opens up plenty more choices that you can use to get the exact gear you need.
What about Upgrading?
Upgrading your arsenal of tools is sometimes worth the money, especially if you’re planning to take on larger projects in the future that your current gear might not be prepared to handle. For example, while hand saws are perfectly fine for smaller amounts of wood, they can wear out quickly if you’re cutting through half-a-dozen inches of tough wood – replacing it with a stronger and more powerful electric saw can be a good way to ensure that you’ll not run into any future problems, and you’ll still be able to cut through softer wood as you could before.
The same can be said for sanders – sandpaper is ideal for small-scale sanding, but when you get into larger projects, you might want something that’s automatic. Not only will it be much faster, but it saves you a lot of physical effort, making it a worthwhile upgrade if you’re planning to sand a lot of things quite often.
Think about more than just Woodwork
Remember that woodwork is only a small part of general DIY, too. Ideally, you’ll want to minimize how many different tools you own, so it’s not usually a good idea to buy separate tools for every possible surface or material. While some woodwork tools are only meant to be used on wood, others (such as certain electrical saws or sanding tools) can actually be used on quite a large range of materials, making them far more space-efficient and reducing how many items you’ll need to buy before your toolbox is fully stocked.
Not all wood-related DIY jobs can be classed as woodwork, either. For example, if you’re painting or plastering a wooden surface or piece of furniture, you probably won’t need many major woodwork tools, and it’s entirely possible to do quite a lot of different DIY jobs without using even the most basic pieces of woodwork equipment.
Business and home use
It’s also important to consider when and where you’ll be using your tools. If the woodwork is a large part of your job or hobby, you’ll want to put more time and money into choosing tools than if it’s just a tiny part of your life. The more you rely on woodwork for income, entertainment, or relaxation, the more important it becomes to choose good equipment that can help you create good-quality finished products.
On the other hand, if you’re only getting the tools out of necessity rather than because you’re a fan of woodworking, don’t worry about spending a little less on them: as long as they’re functional and can do their job correctly, there’s nothing wrong with spending less, and you’ll not feel as bad if they end up being left in a box for months.
Make sure you have somewhere safe to store small tools. Big ones are easy enough to spot, but without a proper holder, your smaller tools can end up all over the place. A dedicated storage toolbox, drawer, or display isn’t hard to get hold of, and it’s worth the extra money.
Did you know?
You can cut off the fingertips on old work gloves to make them more suitable for gripping tools. While this obviously puts you in slightly more danger, most tools would be able to cut through the gloves anyway, and removing the fingers allows you to be more dextrous and accurate in general.