The tools every home owner should have
PUBLISHED 13 JUL 2021
Proper home maintenance is the key to keeping your home in tip-top shape over the years. If you decide to sell your home in the future, you’ll be glad you put in the work to keep it looking and functioning at its best.
Small hand saw
Nails and screws
Types: The wide variety of screwdrivers available can feel overwhelming, but for basic home repairs you’ll want to have a Phillips head screwdriver and a flat head screwdriver. Many home improvement stores sell screwdriver bases with multiple heads that you can swap in depending on your needs.
What they’re good for: Any time you need to remove or tighten a screw—a quick fix that can actually solve a lot of common home problems.
Types: A basic smooth-faced, clawed hammer should be sufficient. Experts recommend getting one that’s medium weight with a rip claw, which is the part that allows you to pull out nails. If you plan on ever doing some light demolition work, pick up a mallet hammer as well.
What it’s good for: Basic clawed hammers are used to pound nails into and extract them out of surfaces—typically wood. You can use them for demolition work too, though you’ll have a bit more control with a mallet hammer.
Types: You should have quite a few different wrenches as part of your essential tools, including an Allen wrench, open-end wrench, combination wrench, adjustable wrench, and socket wrench. If you don’t want to get all five to start, go with just an Allen wrench and an adjustable wrench.
What they’re good for: Each type of wrench serves a distinct purpose. For example, you’ll use an Allen wrench to do things like building furniture, while other types of wrenches will help you loosen and tighten nuts and bolts. An adjustable wrench—also called a crescent wrench—is one of the most useful wrenches you’ll have, since you can change the size depending on the size of nut or bolt you’re working with.
Types: There are a ton of different types of pliers, but start with the basics—needle nose pliers, slip-joint pliers, and cutting pliers—and then purchase more as needed.
What they’re good for: You’ll use needle-nose and slip-joint pliers to grip, tighten, and loosen metal elements, and cutting pliers to cut wires when you’re doing electrical work.
Types: Also known as a box cutter or Stanley knife, you will have the option get a retracable or foldable knife.
What it’s good for: A utility knife is incredibly sharp, which makes it an excellent tool for precision cutting. The sharp edge also makes it safer than using a dull knife or scissors to make cuts, since you’ll be able to get the job done with just one swipe.
Types: Tape measures are classified according to the material that they’re made out of. For most home repair jobs, you’ll want a self-retracting metal tape measure. You could get away with using a plastic one as an alternative, but it’s a bit flimsy which makes it difficult to work with if you’re measuring on your own. To cover your bases, get a tape measure that shows both inches and centimeters.
What it’s good for: Any time you need to measure. This includes not just home repairs but hanging art and shelving, determining the fit of new furniture, and more.
Types: There are more than 20 types of levels, but most homeowners will get all they need out of a standard carpenter’s level. Pick your preference in terms of material (they come in wood, plastic, or aluminum) and length.
What it’s good for: Ensuring that vertical and horizontal surfaces are completely straight. Before securing a shelf into a wall, for example, you’ll want to use your level to double-check that it’s not resting on an angle.
Types: Hand saws are themselves a type of saw, and within their designation are even more types of saws: rip cut saws, pull saws, back saws, bow saws, keyhole saws, and pruning saws, to start. But you should be fine with just a rip-cut hand saw for general home repairs and improvements.
What it’s good for: Making quick and clean cuts in wood. Hand saws are light and easy to handle, which make them a better option than power saws (the latter of which you can hold off on buying until you have a specific need for it).
Types: The flashlight on your phone is fine for simple tasks, but you’ll want a more heavy-duty flashlight for when you’re doing work around the house. A small or medium-sized LED flashlight will work in a pinch, but if you don’t want to have to worry about how to hold or position the light, get an LED headlamp.
What it’s good for: Providing lighting when you’re working in dark spaces (such as the crawl space under the house or on pipes in cabinets), as well as when you need to hone in on the details of a specific element you’re working on.
Types: Of all the types of electric drills on the market, a 12-volt cordless drill is going to be your most versatile option. These work on rechargeable battery packs to provide power without the limits of a corded pistol grip drill, and can be fitted with various types of drill bits and attachments depending on what your needs are.
What it’s good for: Drilling holes in walls and other surfaces, including when you’re making repairs or building something from scratch.
Nails and screws
Types: It’s always smart to have a bunch of different types of nails and screws in your toolbox so that you don’t need to run to the store every time you need one. Pick up an assortment of finishing nails, galvanized nails, vinyl nails, stud anchors, and drywall screws. You should be able to buy all or most of these in one kit.
What they’re good for: Fastening items to walls and other surfaces. Depending on the project you’ve undertaken, you may need to use more than one type of nail and/or screw, as well as more than one size.
With these essential tools in your home, you should be able to tackle pretty much any basic home repair issue that comes your way.
When you need to call the experts
If you are a novice at using household tools, you certainly cannot be expected to complete complex household repairs on your own. Therefore, when something breaks it’s important to evaluate the situation. If the issue looks complex or involves something that may cause imminent damage to your home, hiring a handyman or a general contractor may be necessary.
• Leaking pipes that is causing damage to walls or ceilings
• Geyser issue
• Large plumbing issues
• Complex electrical work