Woodworking is an enormously rewarding hobby, whether you are semi-professional or a weekend warrior. However, setting up initially can be a daunting prospect. Making informed choices about the must-have woodworking tools can go a long way to easing the process.

The astounding selection of tools in well-stocked power tool outlets can leave the would-be carpenter confused and overawed. Don't despair, though. Understanding the different types of woodworking tasks will make choosing your roll-out equipment a lot simpler.

As a beginner, it's unlikely you will be tackling any overly ambitious projects. In fact, you may find that woodworking is not for you, after all. That said, breaking the bank initially on equipment is neither necessary or sensible.

Essentially, hobby woodworking processes fall into a couple of broad categories, namely cutting and trimming, joinery, and finishing. Your start-up list of must-have woodworking tools need only include seven items to cover all of these categories.

Comparison Table

What Are The Must-Have Woodworking Tools When Setting Up A New Workshop

When you start woodworking projects, you will probably be buying dimensional, or standard-sized, prepared timber. This means you won't be doing much preparation of the wood outside of cutting or trimming it to length.

You will typically use your table saw to cut large sheets of plywood or particle board to size. Your circular saw is the ideal choice for cutting narrower timber sections and making angled cuts if required.

The jigsaw will usually be the smallest power saw in your collection. Jigsaws are light and portable and ideal for all your minor cutting and trimming work. They're also the only saws that can cut curved or irregular profiles.

When you're ready to prepare your project for assembly you'll be reaching for your drill, compound miter saw, and router. You'll use your drill and router to make the holes, slots, and joint profiles used to put everything together.

A lot of your joinery work will require you to cut timber at precise, consistent angles. This is the domain of your compound miter saw. Once you finish construction, you'll need to sand all surfaces smooth to be ready for sealing, painting, or staining. You may do some sanding by hand, but most will be completed with your orbital sander.

Now let's take a closer look at good examples of must-have woodworking tools.

Main Power Drill

DEWALT Hammer Drill, 1/2-Inch, 7.8-Amp (DW511)
  • 7.8 Amp motor provides high performance and overload protection
  • Variable speed allows for precise hole placement on work surface
  • Dual mode: hammerdrill/drill for wood, steel or masonry applications

The first on the list of must-have woodworking tools is your main power drive. Your workshop drill will most likely be one of the hardest working and versatile tools in your workshop. When choosing your drill, there are a couple of points you should consider.

Power rating

Chuck capacity

Hammer action

Reverse switching

Speed control switching

 Chuck locking

Circular Saw

SKIL 15 Amp 7-1/4 Inch Circular Saw with Single Beam Laser Guide -...
  • Powerful 15-amp motor delivers 5 300-RPM for greater speed and faster cuts
  • 7-1 4-inch carbide-tipped blade included. Spindle lock for easy blade changes.
  • 51° bevel capacity with a positive stop at 45° for a wide variety of cuts

Next on our list of must-have woodworking tools is the circular saw. You'll find that your circular saw will most likely become one of your best workshop buddies. These are some points to keep in mind when you choose a circular saw.

Drive type

Maximum blade size

Braking system

Blade guards

Angle adjustable foot piece

Power rating


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The jigsaw will be your weapon of choice for most cutting of lighter material and for making curved or irregular cuts. Also, the broad range of material the jigsaw can cut makes it a very versatile part of your arsenal. This makes the jigsaw an integral part of our must-have woodworking tools list.

Let's look at some of the essential features you should look for when choosing a jigsaw.

Speed control

Orbital action control

Adjustable foot piece and guides

Quick-change blade system

Table Saw

DEWALT 10-Inch Table Saw, 16-Inch Rip Capacity (DW745)
  • 22 kilograms unit weight and optimized footprint make this the most portable saw in its class. Shoe bevels 0 to 45 for...
  • Steel roll cage protects saw against jobsite drops and impacts, rack and pinion fence system, front and rear fence lock...
  • Powerful 1850 Watt motor for high performance in all applications. Max Rip To Left Of Blade 12 inch. Max Rip To Right Of...

The large support area of the table saw allows you to accurately and safely cut large sheets of timber. You want to check out the following when choosing a table saw.


Extendable tables

Blade sizes

Riving knife

Robust blade guards

Dust control

Compound Miter Saw

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Cutting framing and box sections require you to cut accurate 45-degree angles to get the sections to line up square. So, on this list of must-have woodworking tools is the compound miter saw. Although you can do this with your circular saw, a compound miter saw is more accurate. Look out for these features when you choose yours.

Smooth operation

Clear angle markings

Solid fittings

Dust control

Power rating


Makita RT0701C 1-1/4 HP Compact Router
  • Variable speed control dial (10,000 to 30,000 RPM) enables user to match the speed to the application
  • Smooth rack and pinion fine depth adjustment system for more precise settings
  • Slim and ergonomically designed body for increased comfort and control

Don't overlook routers when setting up, as they are indispensable joining and finishing tools. Used for precision cutting slots, rebates, mortices, and decorative moldings, they are an essential addition to your list.

Here are some important considerations when selecting your router.

Power rating

Soft start feature

Variable speed control

Interchangeable base

Power rating

Orbital Sander

Bosch 3725DEVSN 5 In. Rear-Handle Random Orbit Sander
  • Sander/polisher design – with pad that both orbits and rotates, delivering a smooth, well-blended surface finish
  • Integral pad-dampening system – helps prevent swirl marks for consistent fine finish
  • Micro filter dust system – Filters fine dust as small as a 1/2 micron in diameter

The last item on our must-have woodworking tools list is also the last tool you'll typically use on any project. Sanding, or smoothing, your workpiece in preparation for painting or varnishing is usually the final step in most projects. An orbital sander can make light work of what would generally be an arduous hand-sanding process.

Consider these pointers when choosing your orbital sander.

Speed control

Disc pad dampening

Sanding and polishing feature

Dust control

Time To Go Shopping

Hopefully, this must-have woodworking tools list will make the tool purchase decisions for your new workshop a little easier to make. Good luck!
If you found this article to be useful or have suggestions of your own, please leave a comment below.

Featured Image: Unsplash License, by George Pastushok, via Unsplash

Last update on 2022-01-26 at 18:20 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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