In my limited home renovation experienceI've come across a few tools that made me go, "Whoa, how did I even function without this??!!". Please feel free to share the life-changing tools that make your life worth living. Here are mine:
1) Cheap Harbor freight ear muffs
It's like BOSE noise cancelling headphones: You don't realize how fatiguing an airplane's background noise is until it is cancelled. I never fly without mine. Similarly ear muffs make noisy work much more manageable. Sawing sheets of plywood and especially working with an air powered nail gun. It turned a barely tolerable process into a positively fun one. If you want to have your ears destroyed leave that to your HT sound system. By the way a benefit of the BOSE is that you can watch those in flight movies and actually hear what they are saying.
2) Bosch PS21 Pocket driver
After years of stripping screw heads with regular drills and cordless screwdrivers, a friend recommended the Bosch PS41 impact driver to me. I scoffed at the puny thing until he demonstrated it. It is awesome! I bought the Bosch PS21 by mistake but it has worked fantastically. Get the Bosch CLPK27 that comes with both of them.
3) Dewalt DW511 hammer drill
The DW511 was fostered onto me by a craiglist seller who was flogging a table saw. I reluctantly agreed to take it for $10. After all what did I need another drill for?? Serendipity.. It's like a Ford F350 to other drills' tiny Rangers. It has incredible torque and make a meal of jobs other tools, even the amazing Bosch PS21, struggle with. Through away your weedy drill and get a REAL one! P.S. keep in mind the length of the drill. I had to shave off about a 1/4 inch off the back end of the drill in order to fit it between some narrowly spaced joists.
4) Irwin Speedbor drill bit
This is a bit I am in total awe of, but at the same time incredibly terrified of. It drills through wood like butter. One slip and it will turn you into minced meat! The only catch catches are that it needs a beefy drill like the DW511. Which means that in the very rare instance that it seizes, it can nastily torque your wrist. I drilled about 200 holes though joists in one evening in order to run MC cables. Couldn't have done so without this bit.
5) Hammerhead HLCL01
A laser level that works as it should is priceless. I've never had great experiences with laser levels until this one. Everything is so much easier with a good laser level!
6) Dyson DC41 Animal
No, don't use your dyson for home renovation work. Under an extreme deadline with one project, and frustration with a compact Craftsman wet\dry vac that lost suction within a few seconds of being cleaned, i grabbed the Dyson. Poor thing never signed up for this work. It is a champ at sucking up dust. It keeps asking me when it can retire and get a deep detail clean. "Just one more day. I promise!!"
An old Matika right angle drill to get into those nooks and crannies.
Miter saw - if you are framing without one you are wasting your time
Please share the essential tools that are now part of your family tree!