DIY is a challenge. If you’ve chosen to face that challenge squarely, you’d better get prepared with good tools and the needed knowledge. Previously, digging the internet was your only source of reference, and it’s still a great way to learn about things, but with that powerful computer in the form of a smartphone in your pocket you shouldn’t miss the chance to learn on the go. With plenty of creative apps for both the iPhone, the iPad and Android devices, you can even use your handset as a tool to help you measure, calculate and model designs.
But in the deep woods packed with myriad of apps, which ones should you pick? The first thing that we noticed when doing our own digging for apps, is that there’s just too many junk apps that you’d be better off without. For some of the most common tasks like unit conversions, a Google search usually does a better and faster job than an application, so we’ve only partially covered this area.
Also, we should mention that DIY has grown and now has a much broader meaning that just home remodeling and renovation - the term applies to pretty much every sphere of the arts and crafts, but we’ve focused on the original meaning.
We’re open to hearing your suggestions as well - have we missed something essential or have we added something unnecessary? Let us know in the comments below, but now, with no further ado, we’re jumping right into our app selection with separate categories for iOS and Android.
iOS DIY, home renovation apps
iPhone construction calculators, organizers
Home Builder Pro Calcs
- $4.99. Our personal favorite, this application unlike the heaps of other semi-useful/functional DIY apps, actually gives you well structured and purposeful information about home construction.
BuildCalc - Advanced Construction Calculator
- $19.99. The price tag might seem might scare some of you, but that’s for the good. This construction calculator lives up to its “advanced” title, but delivers just as advanced functionality. Works on both the iPhone and the iPad.
Handy Man DIY
- $2.99. Home improvement from the ground up - categorizing products to estimating their cost. Also, the app comes with nice step-by-step tutorials for the absolute beginner.
- $19.99. Again, this is on the pricey side, but it seems well worthit for the advanced DIYer. It will accurately estimate costs of projects for drywall, painting, tiling, landscaping, conrete, roofing, flooring or general construction. It also leverages the full HomeDepot catalog and offers great support with instructional videos.
Straightforward in functionality, these apps are pretty comprehensive and pretty affordable.
Concrete Calculator Pro
- $0.99. Straightforward as the name, the app allows you to calculate the amount of concrete you need for a regular floor, but also more complex shapes like a circle. Word of caution - it works only with imperial units.
Civil Engineering Calculations
- $9.99. Another app stamped “For professionals.” This one is great for Pipe Flow, Channel Flow, Vertical Curve, Tangents, Traverse, Area Calculations. It’s designed for Civil Engineers and Land Surveyors, so it might actually be a tad advanced for the casual DIYer, but nonetheless wins our sympathy with unmatched functionality.
iPhone Measuring tools
- $1.99. How much paint or sheets you need for those walls? This app will calculate it for you.
- $1.99. Now, using a meter is definitely a bit more comfortable but having a meter in your pocket is definitely handy. It has a total of five tools - a plumb bob measuring how perfectly vertical are your walls, a surface level for flat surfaces, a bubble level, steel protractor and steel ruler.
Convert Units for Free
- free. It’s not like a Google search can’t handle the task of converting units. If for some reason, though, you want an app for that - the Convert Units for Free app will help.
iPhone DIY reference guides
- Free. Just as the name implies, you can use a snapped picture, pick a color and get a color palette with the match and a color theme.
wikiHow: How to and DIY Survival Kit
- Free. Before you start doing something - read about it. Whether it’s building a house or escaping a minefield, this app is both informational and humorous.
- $4.99. Now, that’s a great wood guidebook. It will answer your questions about the differences between different types of wood, and what they’re good for. All the information is inside the app, so you’d be able to access it even without an Internet connection.
Home Improvement Glossary
- Free. You wannabe DIYers will find this app particularly useful and look a bit more advanced when you start asking questions.
iPhone home renovation shopping
- free. Check prices, look for materials, tools - the HomeDepot app let’s you choose what you need and check in-store availability.
NaviCAD for iPad
- $0.99. having a 3D model of a project is useful if you’re building something but also even if you want to show off a particular design. NaviCAD allows you to rotate and zoom models.
- $14.99. Google SketchUp is probably the most popular free 3D modeling application, but viewing your models on a mobile device requires special software. SightSpace 3D is that app. It supports .KMZ files and adds a layer of Augmented Reality to the models.
iPhone interior design apps Dream Home
- $4.99. If interior design is your passion, this app filled with high-quality pictures illustrating trends and ideas, would be a great choice. It’s also compatible with the iPad for less strain on your eyes.
- Free. Finally, if you’ve given it all up on DIY, a contractor is your best option. This app helps you locate and contact one, and it’s free.
Android DIY, home renovation apps Smart Tools
- $2.29. The app allows you to measure the length, angle, distance, height, direction.
Unit Converter Plus
- $1.99. This application supports pretty much everything you’d expect converting from imperial to metric units, but also includes currencies, density, etc.
Construction Master Pro
- $19.99. A construction calculator that speaks and calculates in the same terms that you do - feet, meters. You can easily convert between units as well.
Bubble - Free
. Use your phone to measure how perfectly horizontal something is. This buble level app is simple and free.
Laser Level HangAPIc
- $0.99. This application leverages your camera when measuring how perfectly vertical or how well aligned objects are.
- $1.99. The iOS app has been ported to Android and it’s equally functional.
- $9.99. Probably the most comprehensive color themes and palettes app. Allows you to extract themes from pictures or create your own.
- Free. Inspirational app for interior design. Tons of pictures and videos to help you make the right decision for your design projects.