When it comes to home repair, having the right toolkit at your disposal is often the difference between doing it yourself and never getting it done. With these ten homeowner must-haves, you'll be prepared to conquer DIY home repairs like a master.
It's not all pounding and pulling nails. There are some key features that you'll want your hammer to have:
- A vibration-dampening grip, which can reduce arm fatigue
- A straight or "rip" claw (in lieu of a curved claw) that can help you master demolition projects
- A smooth (not dimpled or checkered) hammer head, which will minimize surface damage and nail slippage
- Pro Tip: If you use a hammer several days a week, you're at risk for hand and wrist injuries. Be sure to look for a shock-resistant grip and anti-vibration handle when it's time to buy.
2. Combination Wrench Set
More often than not, home repair or assembly projects call for hex nut and bolt manipulation. Grab a few adjustable wrenches in different sizes and be ready for it all.
- Pro Tip: When using a wrench, always pull it toward you – pushing on it could cause injury.
3. Utility Knife
From cutting open boxes to cutting through plaster, a utility knife with retractable blades is far more effective than scissors.
- Pro Tip: Keep spare blades handy – you're more likely to hurt yourself using a dull blade than a sharp one.
4. Screwdriver Set
Owning a durable set with 3-4 sizes of Phillips and flatheads will provide you with tools for tons of jobs and confidence in your own handyman skills.
- Pro Tip: Magnetic tips mean less dropped and lost bits.
A 9" torpedo level is the sweet spot of size and utility. Torpedo levels are smaller than most, and are perfect for maneuvering in tight spaces. Its curved edges extend its use with everything from hanging art to leveling shelves and furniture.
- Pro Tip: Make sure you buy a sturdy and durable torpedo level that can withstand a drop (or three). Anything that is flimsy or made with cheap materials won’t stay level for long.
6. Safety Glasses
Every space inside and out of your home has its own safety challenges. Keep your eyes protected from dust, debris, and danger with a proper pair of safety glasses.
- Pro Tip: To avoid fogging and poor visibility, look for safety glasses that have built-in ventilation or anti-fog lens coating.
7. Plier Set
Pliers come in different shapes and sizes to serve a range of repair needs. Common DIY home repairs will usually call for pliers like:
- Locking pliers, which are versatile and can grip most surfaces from any angle.
- Groove-joint pliers are particularly useful when it comes to plumbing, but can also be adjusted to grasp many small or large items.
- Needle-nose pliers excel at everything from working with wire to retrieving objects from tight areas.
- Pro Tip: As you get comfortable with home repairs, you may want pliers with a wire stripper – so plan ahead when purchasing.
8. Cordless Drill
Cordless tools are easier to maneuver than traditional ones, and meet almost all home DIY needs. Each cordless drill is weighted differently, so you may want to try a few before purchasing one. A 14-volt or 18-volt variable speed reversing cordless drill will cover most DIY jobs, but you’ll want to invest in a good drill bit set with metal, wood, and universal bits.
- Pro-tip: Rechargeable lithium batteries provide power longer than NiCad batteries.
9. Tape Measure
From replacing appliances to measuring space for furniture, a tape measure is an especially invaluable tool for your kit.
- Pro Tip: Pick up an easy-locking ¾-inch-wide model because skinnier tape measures may fall out of place and wider ones can be overkill.
Many overlook the necessity of tool organization. But without this central repository, even the best tools can disappear or get damaged.
- Pro Tip: Look for a toolbox that is designed to fit small, medium, and large sized tools. Toolboxes with removable caddies or trays make it easy to keep your most-used tools accessible at all times.