Maybe it’s just us, but we can’t flip past a home improvement show without stopping for at least a minute to check it out. The best tool shows on TV gave us laughs or taught us something new…Like how to wrap up an entire bathroom tile job during a commercial break!
While these shows may not have shown you the boring hours of backbreaking work. They did inspire you to attempt new projects. And who doesn’t like inspiration? While you may not get that entire bathroom renovation or custom headboard finished in 30 minutes, you might just get enough gumption to get the project going. We picked the 7 best tool shows on TV that inspired us or helped us laugh the most throughout the years.
Framework ran for one season in 2015. but it was a decent show. This SpikeTV show centered around a competition amongst 13 aspiring furniture builders who competed across a series of challenges to compete for a prize.
The builders used both unconventional materials and techniques to rethink classic furniture pieces. The goal was to convey a mastery of furniture creation skills and techniques to a panel of judges including Nolen Niu and Brandon Gore.
The show was stalled a bit by overemphasized drama but eventually settled down into what we appreciated most about it—watching craftsman ply their craft in unique and inspiring ways. Unfortunately, the series only lasted a single 10-episode season before it was seemingly abandoned.
6. The Woodsmith Shop
If you are into woodworking, this is a great TV show that covers just about anything related to the subject. While most of their projects cover more advanced topics like dove joints and fine furniture building, they offer a wealth of knowledge for the woodworker.
5. Holmes on Homes
With the “Make it Right” slogan fully in hand, Mike Holmes “makes it right” even if doing so costs more than tearing the house down and starting again (and believe me, at times we’ve wondered). While it has higher production values and tons of product placement, the best part is seeing and hearing Mike tear into someone else’s sub-par work. Someday he’s going to write a book naming all the shoddy contractors and builders he’s had to clean up after and we’re going to buy it.
4. MacGuyver (the Original Series)
While not necessarily a tool show, MacGuyver had all the elements we like. Solving problems? Check. Ingenuity? Check. Using anything within reach to get the job done? Check. MacGuyver epitomizes the creative genius every dedicated builder and hobbyist wants to have. That’s why we can’t leave Angus off our list.
3. The New Yankee Workshop with Norm Abrams
This is a great series that airs on PBS stations weekly. Over the years, literally hundreds of projects have been tackled from building shelves, cabinets, outdoor furniture to wood toys, and nearly anything that can be made of wood.
This is a great show because he talks a lot about techniques and tools throughout the presentations. We also love how Norm can seem to come up with $500 single-purpose tools nobody but a professional craftsman would be able to afford in their workshop. For most of us, the projects would take a lot longer and become twice as hard.
2. This Old House
While not devoted to tools, there almost nothing that can’t be done without using some kind of hand or power tool on the show. They to highlight certain tools at times in how they pertain to doing specific repairs on you guessed it… some old house. There is also a comedic aspect to this show as, seemingly with magic, various steps of a project seem to magically happen between commercial breaks.
1. Tool Time! (Home Improvement) Best of All Tools Shows
Okay, technically Tool Time was the show within Home Improvement but we have to say, if it was a real show, we’d watch the heck out of it. Home Improvement with Tim Allen and Richard Karn is an obvious choice. It included cars, power tools, yard tools, and “fixing” things.
Of course, the comedic character of Tim Allen also helped to make the show a success during its run from 1991 to 1999. It was a shame that the show was canceled for a variety of reasons.
One More Best Tool Shows Pick: Assembly Required
We can’t leave off without plugging a brand new show that started in 2021 called Assembly Required. Assembly Required is a reality build show starring Tim Allen, Richard Karn, and April Wilkerson as hosts.
The show basically takes Tool Time and turns it into a bit of reality TV. It follows various home repair experts who compete to rebuild and breathe new life into everyday household items.
We can’t wait to see how this show does. It’s certainly exciting to see those two back together—and we love April, so adding her to the mix is sure to bring some flavor to the mix!