How To's - Tools You Need to Install New Cabinets

Tools You Need to Install New Cabinets

Installing new cabinets isn’t hard, but a successful, efficient installation process that looks great requires the right tools. What are the right tools? Let’s find out.


Note: When it comes to home improvement, every home is unique and few are level, even if they look that way. With any home improvement project, you may discover you need additional tools. It happens, so don’t let it frustrate you. If it’s a real challenge, a trip to the local hardware store and a conversation with one of the representatives in the tool department can go a long way to solving any issue you face.

Tools Needed to Install New Cabinets

We want to make it simple for you to install new cabinets. Here’s a list of tools you will need:


4’ to 6’ Level


Levels come in many sizes, but when working with cabinets, you need a level that can span several cabinets to ensure they’re level. It’s especially important for floor cabinets that will hold a countertop.


Tape Measure


A 25’ tape measure should be able to handle a job inside most kitchens.




Pencil marks can be erased and washed off a wall, cabinet or wherever you need to mark. You’ll need to record all your measurements during the process, too.


Stud Finder


Cabinets weigh a lot. They need to be anchored into studs, which is always a challenge as they sit behind a wall. A stud finder lets you find them without putting a bunch of holes in the wall with a hammer and nail.


With that said, when installing cabinets, you want to anchor into the center of the stud (as much as possible), so once you find the stud, you will want to test with a hammer and nail to confirm, then mark with a pencil.


Don’t worry about the holes though; you can patch them if you like, but they’ll be behind a cabinet and out of sight.


Cordless Drill/Driver


Who wants to fight with a power cord while moving a drill into position, especially on wall cabinets? A cordless drill makes the work easy. You’ll need both a drill bit and a driver bit, and it can help to have a separate drill and driver to avoid having to switch the bits repeatedly.


Drill Bits – 2 Types


You’ll need bits to drill holes and you’ll need bit that can countersink. To countersink means to drill a hole that allows the surface of a screw to sit flush with the surface of the interior cabinet wall. (A screw that protrudes into a cabinet can spell a quick end to glassware that gets bumped into it.)


Clamps – Minimum 8”


During cabinet installation, you will need to hold cabinets together while you secure, level and make sure they’re flush.




When you put wall cabinets up, it’s recommended to use a ledger board to support it in place. Since you will remove it after the wall cabinets are installed, you can put it up with nails.


Circular Saw & Workbench


If you will install toe-kick trim boards, you will probably need to cut them to size.


Materials Needed


In addition to the tools you will need, you’ll also need some materials. These include:

• Wood shims to level cabinets
• Finishing nails, for the toe-kick board
• 2 ½” screws—a 1 lb. box should do it
• 1x2” ledger board


Some new cabinets may require additional materials. You will want to consult with your cabinet provider to confirm all the materials you will need and identify any additional tools your cabinets may require.

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