10 essential tools you need to build a PC

10 essential tools you need to build a PC

You can build a PC with just a screwdriver or two on hand, but you’ll have an easier time of it if you have all the essentials on hand. That includes tools to get you out of sticky spots, which always occur when you assume they won’t. Keep these 10 items on hand for builds and they’ll keep your assembly woes to a minimum.

We’ve divided the list into the absolute essentials (for the minimalists out there) as well as our recommended additions for a well-rounded kit. But really, there’s no need to scrimp. All of these tools are very affordable.

Bare essential tools for PC building

Screwdriver (Phillips #2)

phillips #2 screwdrivers pc building tools Alaina Yee / IDG

Phillips #2 screwdrivers in various forms. We recommended getting a magnetized version (or magnetizing a standard one).

Nearly all screws in a computer case require this cross-head screwdriver. Any Phillips #2 screwdriver will do—be it the plain, trusty Craftsman in your toolbox, the fancier ratcheting type with swappable bits, or kits with a full array of bits that include a PH2 head.

We highly recommend getting a magnetic screwdriver, or buying a magnetizer to convert your existing tools. You can get a magnetic screwdriver kit with interchangeable bits for quite cheap, usually around $15. Regardless of what you choose, this purchase will save you the time and hassle of fussing with screws that refuse to stay put as you attach them and / or that fall into hard-to-reach places.

Should you have hand injuries or tendonitis, look into ratcheting screwdrivers, which help reduce fatigue. For more torque, get a screwdriver with a fatter handle.

Screwdriver (Phillips #1)

phillips #1 screwdriver pc building tools Alaina Yee / IDG

Installing an M.2 drive? You’ll need a Phillips #1 screwdriver.

Adding an M.2 SSD to your build or laptop? You’ll need a Phillips #1 screwdriver, as a Phillips #2 will be too large for the screw drive (the indentations on the screw head used to turn the screw).

Since M.2 SSD mounting screws are delicate, you won’t need much torque to get them in or out and thus a slender or small screwdriver works fine. You should get a magnetized one though, as screws that take a Phillips #1 tend to be small and easy to lose track of.

Builds that don’t use any M.2 SSDs can get away with just a Phillips #2, but we’ve found that it never hurts to have a Phillips #1 on hand.

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