All you need to build a modern desktop computer is a screwdriver. That is it. But if you want to have an easier or safer time with it, there are a few simple tools you can add on top to keep everything running smoothly. Once you̵
A Driver Kit
A single screwdriver is sufficient for a PC build, but having multiple size options (especially from the near-universal X-shaped Phillips screwdriver) makes it a lot easier. We have been recommending the iFixIt driver kit for this for years. The primary screwdriver is a super tough piece of steel with kerning for grip, and this kit comes with 64 high quality magnetized steel drivers to cover almost every small screw imaginable. These kits are so good that Apple is known to use them to design new computers.
By the way, if you’re considering using a drill or electric screwdriver, don’t: Using a lot of speed or torque for the screws in a PC case can break circuit boards or thin steel plates. Stick to your trusted fingers.
iFixIt driver kit
An anti-static wrist strap
Many modern builders consider anti-static equipment to be overkill – as long as you’re working in a cool, dry place, you’re unlikely to short out any components from a static discharge. But if you want to play it safe – and if you’re building an expensive high-end rig, why not? – then an old-fashioned anti-static bracelet is the right choice. Place one end on your wrist, clamp the other to a piece of grounded metal and you don’t have to worry about static electricity anymore.
Anti-static wrist strap
A silicone work mat
One thing that might surprise you when building a PC is the number of screws you have to manage. You can use cups or bowls from your kitchen to keep them straight, but this handy silicone mat is even better: it has built-in dividers to keep things organized, backed with magnets to keep them from flying. The silicone material allows you to rest parts directly on the mat without worrying about static discharges.
Silicon organizer work mat
A telescopic magnet
We’ve all been there: getting a clunky little screw perfectly into a case goes wrong, and the screw is now stuck somewhere your chubby fingers can’t reach. This telescopic magnet can grab them without the need to remove entire components … or let them rattle around the innards of your PC case forever.
Some zip ties
It can get messy in a PC case, with data cables going from your storage and disk drives to the motherboard, and power rails from the power supply to the motherboard, CPU, GPU, storage drives, and all fans. Grab some of these reusable Velcro closures to keep things tidy. Not only do they keep cables out of the way while building your computer, but the interior also looks neat if your case has a transparent window. They are also a better option than zip ties because they are reusable.
AmazonBasics reusable cable ties
A set of spare screws
A new case and fans should come with all the mounting hardware you need. But if you manage to get rid of something, or if you upgrade an existing build, you might be running out of screws. (Literally.) This kit contains spare parts for just about everything you could ever need, including the hard-to-find motherboard spacers, fan mounting screws, and thumb screws.
Space computer and case screws
Reserve thermal paste
If you bought a new processor or CPU cooler, it should come with a small tube of thermal paste, which is a substance that helps dissipate heat from the processor to the cooler. But if you lose it or you need more, it’s easy to find. We recommend a reliable PC building favorite, Arctic Silver 5. If you don’t know how to apply it, read this How-To Geek article.
Arctic Silver 5 thermal paste
A Canless Air Tool
Canned air is a favorite for PC builders who are upgrading or simply cleaning their machines. But it’s not ideal: those cans are basically built to be disposable and the chemicals in them are very unfriendly to the environment. Instead, use this tiny, cans-free electrical appliance – it’s basically a leaf blower for the inside of your PC. It’s also great for cleaning your annoying keyboard.
Opoplar wireless air duster
If you need a more direct way to clear up trouble spots on your computer, especially the critical electrical contacts on plugs and circuit boards, isopropyl alcohol is the way to go. Use cotton swabs to gently apply the alcohol to a thin sheet. It is sterile and removes all gunk and then evaporates so your components are ready for action.
If you still need help selecting the actual PC components of the computer you want to build, check out these online tools to determine compatibility and pricing. And of course, if you want a step-by-step guide on every part of building the PC itself, check out How-To Geek’s comprehensive guide.