Tools you should use

All Ikea furniture includes the tools you will need, right? Not really. If needed the will include an Allen key and in some cases a flat steel wrench. In some cases that may actually be all you need, but using the tools below will save you hours, sore hands and make assembly a breeze.

Cordless drill
Start with a good cordless drill. All drills now has plenty of torque and can move slow enough to act as a screwdriver and that’s what you will be using it as the majority of time. Watch out for sales. The better brands are Milwaukee, Dewalt and Nikita, but you really can’t go wrong here if you go with a lithium battery driven version of any brand. Just don’t get cheap bits.

Buy the brand listed above for trouble free operation. You can mix and match brands as you like. Quick release bits look appealing, but tend to wobble more. I don’t recommend using them. Instead buy a set of good drill bits (10 or more in set). Then buy a box of Phillips screw driver bits (all same size). They are cheap and wear out fast. You will not need flathead bits. But find a kit that contains Allen key bits. These are huge time savers over the key included by IKEA.

I’ve found a good large flathead screw driver invaluable for locking down some of the tightening screws used in cabinets. Or simply to pry things apart.
A wretching screwdriver also is useful where you can use the electrical tool. Don’t buy the cheapest, but find one storing extra bits inside and a handle size that fits your hand.

Tape measure.
Get a good, easy to read steel tape measure without any unnecessary features (such as centering measurements).

Use at least one good level. I use 3! A 12″, a 24″ and a four feet level. You get what you pay for here and cheap ones may be off level. I recently received a very nice 24″ aluminum level with a built in laser pointer. What I deemed a toy turned out to be the best thing ever for any kind of hanging. Suddenly aligning 6 kitchen cabinets became a 5 minute task. Awesome.

level. Test it in the store before buying. Not all levels are in level (you get what you pay for

Pick and hammer
Any hammer will do. Don’t ever use it for anything else than hammering in nails -typically to attach back panels. Every where else what seemed like a good idea for extra force typically ends up breaking something (including your fingers)

Other stuff to get that will save you many (head)aches

When building your own cabinets, you will be moving them around your workspace – a lot. And a few cheap tools will help make this a breeze and stretch your first aid kit another year.

A set of good work gloves will protect your hands from cuts and scrapes when lifting and unpacking. They start at $1.95, but get some in the right size for around $10 and wear them whenever you are opening boxes, moving shelves and frames to and from, and during assembly. Sharp edges are everywhere and large paper cuts is common.

If you can afford it, wear steel toe work boots when lifting, moving and assembling furniture. Sneakers provide great grip, but they are no match for 100 lbs of cabinetry dropped on your toes. And you will be surprised how often pushing, lifting and steering with your feet helps.

Another cheap and absolutely amazing product are push feet that you place under items and you can now push them around with little effort. I have seen hard floor only models, and combination versions that has a hard floor model inside a carpet version – some including a clever lever to use when sliding the feet under the item to be moved. With these a 50 lbs child can easily move a 300 lbs glass table.

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This is one of those “As seen on TV” items that really works. At less than $20, they belong in every home. Get them before you need them.