As a homeowner, you may be inclined to call in the pros for large repair jobs, but there will be plenty of small repair and renovation jobs that you’ll need to do yourself – everything from patching drywall to hanging shelves. Once you’re responsible for a home, you’re going to need to have some basic tools in your toolbox so you can handle those jobs. Here are the tools that every homeowner needs – even those who aren’t so handy.
If you only buy one power tool, make it a cordless drill. You can use a drill to hang things on the wall with anchor bolts, assemble new furniture, and even mix paint. You can even buy a drill bit with a brush on it and use it to scrub your shower tiles!
You’ll need screwdrivers to assemble new furniture, tighten loose hinges, assemble toys for Christmas morning, and even change some items’ batteries. A ratcheting screwdriver will allow you to drive screws in and out without wearing out your wrist. A multi-bit screwdriver should come with all the bits you need for any size or type of screw, including some hex-bit screws.
You’ll need to be able to measure your home for new furniture or center pictures on the wall, and for those tasks, you’ll need a tape measure. A 25-foot tape measure is adequate for most home tasks.
You can use staple-gun-type staplers to reupholster furniture, install carpeting, tack down wiring, and even do crafts and home decorating. A flat staple gun will be sufficient for most jobs in the home.
You won’t need locking pliers as much as you’ll need some of these other tools, but when you do need them, you’ll sure be glad you have them. These pliers lock in place, so you can use them to tackle harder jobs like pulling a broken key from a lock or loosening a stubborn nut.
A claw hammer is good for limited demolition, as well as driving and removing nails. You’ll need one to hang pictures on your walls, driving finishing nails to install moulding and millwork, drive a post into the ground, or close a paint can. Choose a well-balanced hammer with shock-absorbing grip.
Whether you’re doing arts and crafts, ripping out old carpeting, stripping wires, scoring wood, or simply breaking down all those Amazon boxes, you’re going to need a utility knife. Get the kind with a retractable blade, and pick up a package of replacement blades, too.
Unless you’re unusually tall, you’re going to find yourself in need of a step ladder from time to time. Grab one that can hold your weight, but that folds up easily for storage. Make sure it’s stable and has a non-slip design.
Some people say you need two levels in your toolbox – a short one and a long one. Split the difference and grab a 24-inch level so you can be sure you’re hanging your TV, shelves, and pictures properly.
You’ll need a hex key to assemble most flat pack furniture. Buy your own set of hex keys so you can tighten assembled furniture, towel bars, and anything that has a hex screw or bolt in it.
Duct tape is the fix of last resort for many homeowners. Make sure you have a roll in your toolbox at all times to seal boxes, organize cords, plug leaks in your garden hose, and more.
WD-40 is great for lubricating squeaky hinges, loosening stuck zippers, oiling up sticky locks and windows, and even removing stains.
A good pair of pliers is good for grabbing, holding, pulling, and loosening objects. Grab a pair of slip joint pliers for most jobs and a pair of needle nose pliers for delicate work.
If you end up doing any of your own plumbing, you’ll need an adjustable wrench. An adjustable wrench can allow you to grasp and turn any kind of fastener on a pipe, appliance, home fixture, or vehicle (including a bicycle).
Don’t rely on the old “knock on the wall” trick to find the studs under your drywall. You don’t really know what’s inside your wall. A quality magnetic stud finder can locate your studs for you quickly, easily, and with little margin for error.
When the power goes out unexpectedly or you have to go into the crawl space or attic, you’ll need a flashlight. It’s a good idea to have multiple flashlights. Headlamps are good for when you need to keep your hands free, but if the power goes out for any length of time, you’re going to wish you had more, not fewer, flashlights.
If you’re a new homeowner, make sure your toolbox is stocked with all the basic tools. You’ll be glad you already have them and are able to spring into action when, not if, something goes wrong in your house.