When you buy your own home, you’re responsible for keeping it up. And while that might mean calling in the professionals a lot of the time, there are going to be just as many times when you’re going to want to attempt to do the job yourself, either to save money or just out of sheer enjoyment, or both.
As a homeowner, there are some tools you need to have in your toolbox. Without these tools, you’re going to have a hard time doing so much as hanging a picture around the house. Make sure your toolbox has all of these tools, so you can tackle any repair job you need to.
A canoe level, also called a torpedo level or a boat-shaped level, is tapered at both ends and is about nine inches long. An old-fashioned level has two or three vials, known as spirit tubes, built into it. These tubes have a pair of lines drawn around the center. There is also an air bubble inside each tube. You figure out whether a surface is level by lining up the air bubble inside the two lines. A level can be useful for hanging a picture or a shelf, or leveling your refrigerator, for example.
A simple handsaw has a serrated blade about two feet long. A crosscut saw is designed for cutting wood across the grain, while a ripping saw is good for cutting with the grain. A crosscut saw will serve most purposes. Get a 10- or 12-tooth model with a blade about 22 inches long.
A tape measure will come in handy for jobs like measuring the room for furniture or appliances, measuring your walls for paint projects, or measuring wood or PVC to cut. Start out with a 25-foot tape measure. You can always buy a longer one if you need it.
A socket set is essential for working with nuts and bolts. If you want to do small engine maintenance or work on your car, repair a bicycle or put new wheels on a skateboard, you should buy a basic socket set. Shop for socket sets with at least 40 different sockets, including an extension bar, ratcheting handle, carrying case, and adapter.
You’ll need a cordless drill anytime you want to drill a pilot hole or drive screws, which is more often than you think. You might use a cordless drill to assemble flat pack furniture, hang shelves, or complete a home improvement project. If you commit to buying cordless tools from the same manufacturer, you can interchange the batteries.
You can use a screwdriver to open a can of paint, fix a loose door knob, remove or install a light fixture, swap out cabinet hardware, and build flatpack furniture. Buy a set of screwdrivers that includes both Phillips and flathead screwdrivers in a variety of sizes. You can buy short-handled or long-handled screwdrivers. You can even buy multi-bit screwdrivers and screwdrivers with ratcheting handles.
You’ll need a claw hammer to drive nails, including for small jobs like hanging pictures. If you think you’re only going to be driving small nails, buy a small hammer. If you think you’re going to be driving mostly large nails, get a smaller hammer. Make sure you buy the claw type so you can easily rip out nails that bend or need to be removed.
You can use pliers to straighten bent prongs on electrical plugs, do plumbing repairs, and just get a good drip on something. You can buy pliers for cutting wires and needle-nosed pliers for finicky work. Buy a set with needle-nose, wire cutting, tongue-and-groove, and slip-joint pliers. Add a pair of locking pliers to your toolbox, too.
A flashlight will come in handy during power outages and you might need it to peer into your attic or crawl space or into the spaces in your ceilings or walls. Keep it in your tool box so you know where to find it when you need it.
Whether you want to assemble a bike for your kid for Christmas or tackle that leaky shower head, you need a set of adjustable wrenches in your tool box. Get wrenches with different handle lengths – you can use the shorter wrenches to get into tight places and the longer ones for when you need more leverage. When you have a home to maintain, you need the right tools. Keep these in your toolbox, so you can handle anything your home throws your way.