Not every person is a tool person. If you’re not into carpentry as a hobby or committed to doing your own home repairs and renovations, then you’re not going to have as many tools. But you should always have some tools. You’ll need some basic tools at home just in case you need to measure a room, hang a picture, assemble something or perform one of a myriad of other small jobs around the home. Go get these tools, and put them in your toolbox, so you’re ready the next time something comes up.
You can use a utility knife to open boxes and sharpen pencils, or to cut just about anything around the house. Whether you’re tearing up old carpet or sprucing up the weather stripping around your doors, a utility knife is the cutting tool you need.
You need more than one screwdriver – ideally, you need a whole set of them in different sizes. Look for screwdriver sets that include both flathead and Phillips head screwdrivers. You can either get a bunch of separate screwdrivers or an all-in-one screwdriver with interchangeable bits.
Hex keys or Allen wrenches are good for tightening hex bolts in tight spaces. Your own set of hex keys will come in handy whenever you’re assembling flat pack furniture, bicycles, or other items that require it. You can buy a set of loose hex keys, or you can get sets that fold up into a grip like the blades of a pocket knife.
You’ll need wrenches to work on machinery or engines, including things like bicycles and skateboards. Buy a set of adjustable wrenches with variable handle sizes. You’ll need small wrenches for getting to tight spots under sinks and behind toilets, but you might also need longer wrenches for leverage.
You should get at least five pairs of pliers: tongue-and-groove pliers, needle-nose pliers, a large pair of adjustable slip-joint pliers, locking pliers, and lineman pliers. Whether you’re cutting wire, fixing a leaky pipe, tearing out carpet, or repairing electronics, these five types of pliers should meet all your needs.
There are lots of different kinds of hammers, but for most basic home chores, a simple claw hammer will do just fine. Get one with a textured, milled face so that it doesn’t slip off the head of the nail as easily when striking.
A tape measure is absolutely essential – it’s one of the first tools you should buy for your home toolbox. You’ll need to use it to measure your rooms, so you’ll know what furniture pieces and appliances will fit in your space. You’ll need it to measure your walls so you can calculate how much paint to use. It will also come in handy for any carpentry jobs or home renovations you take on.
A putty knife might not seem like the most useful tool, but it’s one that has a surprising diversity of uses. You can use a putty knife to reglaze a window, scrape off wallpaper or paint, or fix a hole in the drywall with spackle. A two-inch putty knife won’t take up much space in your toolbox, but it’ll come in handy whenever you need to scrape anything.
A handsaw is just the tool you need to cut wood, metal, and plastic down to size. A handsaw is perfect for cutting wood trim and PVC pipe, while a hacksaw is better for cutting metal pipe. Choose a saw with fine teeth for a smoother cut, or large teeth for a rougher cut.
If you want to hang a picture properly, you need a level to make sure it’s straight. The same goes for any shelves, decorative or functional, that you want to hang in your space. A small level will be adequate for most household tasks – but if you decide to take up carpentry as a hobby, you’re going to need at least one big one.
When you hang heavy things on the walls in your home, they need to be anchored into studs so that they don’t fall. While you can locate studs by knocking on the wall, it’s safer to use a stud finder – that way you can locate the middle of the stud and know that you’re driving your nail or screw into the middle of the beam, not the edge.
Every homeowner should have a few basic tools on hand. Fill your toolbox with these necessities, and you’ll be ready to handle anything that comes up.