18-Gauge Brad Nailer
Installing crown molding is much easier when you can shoot nails rather than hammer them, and when you don't have to drag a hose and compressor around. This gas-powered nailer is reliable and a cinch to stash on your tool belt while you're on a ladder.
About $230; bostitch.com
From deck-building to finish carpentry, the key to neat finish work is accurate cuts. That's what a miter saw delivers. This dual-bevel, sliding compound miter saw has built-in lights that illuminate the cutting table, and a large chute evacuates dust and chips around back.
About $650; milwaukeetool.com
Leave behind the chalk-line dust. When installing kitchen cabinets and bookcases, set plumb and level lines instantly with the push of a button.
About $100; boschtools.com
Table Saw The workhorse of any garage workshop is an accurate table saw that can handle all the lengthwise rip cuts. This one folds up and out of the way so that you can pull the car in.
Bosch, about $600; boschtools.com
If you're going to have one corded tool, make it a circular saw with the power to cut through stone, concrete, and, of course, wood. Worm drives weigh a bit more than sidewinder saws but can handle heavy-duty jobs. This 7¼-inch saw has a magnesium housing to keep the weight just under 14 pounds.
About $190; skiltools.com
Whether you're painting a room or laying some sod, the job goes easier with tunes playing in the background. Ridgid's durable radio keeps your MP3 player safe from dust and moisture and is the only one you can control with a remote.
About $150; ridgidtools.com
Rolling Tool Storage
With all the tools in your collection, you need a rolling tool chest to haul them around. This one expands into four storage sections, including a large base toolbox, while a telescoping handle and beefy wheels make it easier to haul around.
About $100; stanleytools.com
Multifunction Oscillating Tool
Depending on the attachment, this tool can sand, cut, slice, and grind with safe, easy-to-control, super-fast back-and-forth oscillations. The 9-foot cord allows for plenty of freedom, and starter kits include two cutting blades and a detail sanding pad with sandpaper.
About $120; sonicrafter.com
There's no better tool for smoothing out mill marks and getting projects ready to finish fast. Tool reviewers say this sander has good dust collection and vibration control.
About $116; craftsman.com