Every owner or renter of a home should have a toolkit with everything they need to handle simple home chores and repairs. If you have a comprehensive set of dependable, high-quality tools, you’ll be equipped to confidently handle any tiny problems that crop up, whether they include leaky faucets, loose cabinet hinges, or a picture frame that has to be hung.
But with so many different sizes, styles, and pricing ranges of tools, it’s simple to become confused. We gathered our carpentry and do-it-yourself knowledge to offer some fundamental tools for this article. We’ve put up this list of 16 indispensable items that every homeowner or renter needs using our combined experience.
25-foot measuring tape
You need a tape measure whether you’re building out a tool shed, making sure that couch will fit before buying it online, or finding the center of a wall to hang a picture. Even if you believe you can “eyeball it,” you can save a lot of time and money by using a tape measure to confirm. There are several variations, but the traditional Stanley PowerLock is always a good choice. It is inexpensive, easy to use, and virtually unbreakable.
People choose Fiskars tape measures for minor jobs or mobile measuring. Although its 16-foot length means it may not be ideal for measuring full rooms, its low weight and portability make it ideal for DIY projects, in-store measurements, and ensuring a Facebook Marketplace purchase will fit in your car.
You’ll need more than one or two screwdrivers on hand if you want to be ready given the broad range of screw shapes and sizes utilized today. A full set of individual screwdrivers is ideal, but for the majority of simple jobs, a multi-bit model will do. A multi-bit has an interchangeable head that permits removable bits to be swapped in and out rather than a fixed tip like a conventional screwdriver. Since each of these bits is self-contained in the handle, you may adjust the driver to fit every screw you encounter.
When it comes to creating power and leverage, hammers are vital, and this 16-ounce Irwin Hammer is a good mid-sized model for everyday housekeeping. You can alter the striking area to make it even more adaptable in addition to heavy-duty jobs like hammering nails or carrying out minor demolition. You can put a wooden block between it and the hammer while hitting while working on projects that call for a softer touch. The hammer head will still convey energy while any dents or damage are absorbed by the softer wood. This method works well for firmly securing obstinate Ikea tabletops.
Pliers that lock
These vice grips may not get as much use as some of your other tools, but you’ll be pleased you have them when you do. Instead of needing to maintain pressure like ordinary pliers, their adjustable jaws may lock in position, allowing you to work on challenging tasks like removing a key that has become stuck in a lock or loosening stripped nuts. The versatility to handle both more precise work and heavy-duty tasks will be provided by having both a full-size model and a needle nose alternative, such as the Irwin Vise-Grip Original Locking Pliers Set.
Telescoping utility knife
People prefer retractable knives to folding ones because of how much more useful they are. The blade may be completely extended for difficult work or retracted to a very small point, making it ideal for opening delivery packages without destroying their contents. Although it lacks the bells and whistles of more recent models, it is constructed like a tank and is extremely dependable.
It’s incredibly unsafe to use a dining room chair, barstool, or countertop to reach elevated goods, even though you’ve probably done it before. The firm base you need to do your work more quickly is provided by a dedicated step stool like this one, which is also considerably safer. The top rubber handle on this Rubbermaid 3-Step Steel Step Stool helps you maintain your balance while working and can support up to 250 pounds.
Kit for drywall anchors
Drywall anchors are your best alternative to studs when fastening items to your wall. Anchors are placed initially to provide a sturdy base for your screw to bite into because drywall is too fragile to be screwed into directly. There are several ways to use this kit in drywall.
Paintbrush or putty knife
No matter if you’re taking on major DIY projects or simply crossing a few tasks off your to-do list, an angled putty knife or painter’s knife is incredibly useful around the house. This one is 1.5 inches wide and a little flexible, making it ideal for modest drywall repairs, removing paint that is peeling, and sporadically chipping off dried paint or spackle. Additionally, it has a soft rubber grip that is secure in sweaty palms and easy to handle for extended periods of time.
Magnet for finding studs
Always mount heavy objects to wooden studs hidden behind your drywall, such as a TV, wall mirror, floating shelf, or coat hooks. I switched back to a magnetic stud finder since I found electronic stud finders to be rather problematic. A magnetic stud finder detects metal nails or screws in the wall, which is typically a sure sign that you’ve found a stud. When a stud is found, this one simply magnetizes to the wall and is small enough to put into a toolbox or work belt.
Set of sockets and ratchets
Unfortunately, not all furniture or lighting fixtures are assembled using Phillips head screws; some instead use hexagonal-shaped nuts or bolts that must be tightened from the outside rather than from a drive (the straight or cross-shaped notch in the head of a screw). You can tighten and loosen nuts and bolts on a variety of objects using a basic ratchet wrench and socket set.
Accuracy is crucial since even the smallest leveling error can cause the entire project to become out of balance. By ensuring that you always work with a perfectly straight line, self-leveling lasers like the Tacklife SC-L01 save you time and hassle in the long run. They are easy to set up, and the laser is projected where you want it all day long, unlike manual levels that need you to smear messy pencil lines up your wall. They work well for both smaller chores like mounting a floating shelf or hanging picture frames as well as bigger ones like laying patio pavers or putting in kitchen cabinetry.
Even simple tasks can become tedious and time-consuming when working in dimly lit locations. Adjustable work lights allow you to direct the beam of light exactly where you need it, so you don’t have to balance your phone on your desk or juggle a flashlight. This Bosch 12-Volt Max LED Cordless Work Light is portable, has a remarkable range of motion, and is bright enough to mount to a tripod for further illumination. When working in confined spaces, its built-in magnets are particularly helpful because they let you secure it to pipes or the side of huge equipment.
Work gloves give you a firm hold on materials and tools while also shielding your hands from wood splinters and other sharp edges during home improvement chores. When working outside in chilly weather, you can keep them on while answering calls because to their touch-screen-friendly fingertips.
A cordless drill can be used for a wide range of activities due to its power and functionality. One of my favorite tools is this tiny Bosch 12V model, which is perfect for anyone. Without the extra weight and bulk of larger power drills, it has adequate strength to accomplish the majority of drilling and screwing operations. When assembling lightweight or particle board furniture, which is frequently damaged by larger drills, its compact size is extremely useful.
Not only professional roofers or tile installers should wear proper knee protection. Even if you only sometimes find yourself kneeling, the cumulative pressure on your kneecap might eventually lead to major joint issues including bursitis and osteoarthritis. Not only that, but they also guard against unexpected injuries like tripping over a loose screw or nut. These NoCry Professional Knee Pads have long been a favorite of mine. They are ideal for indoor tasks like replacing lower cabinet doors or fixing baseboards because they are incredibly comfy and not too cumbersome.
Backsaw and miter box
A miter box is your new best buddy if you need to make a few cuts on trim or tiny pieces of wood but aren’t ready to invest in a power saw. With the help of this convenient set, you can saw without holding the pieces stable with your other hand because they are clamped firmly against the side of the box. It works well for cutting angles of 90, 45, and 22.5 degrees, and the lip on the edge keeps it firm on a work surface without the need for a clamp.