These 10 Must-Have Tools Will Help You Tackle Any DIY Project


If you’re a homeowner, you need a basic toolset, even if you don’t plan on doing any home improvement. Basic tools can empower you to complete small repair jobs or even tackle minor installations, such as that new towel bar or TV wall mount.

1) Claw Hammer

There are dozens of kinds of hammers, and each has its own purpose, but for most uses around the home, you’ll need a claw hammer.

A claw hammer has a flatted striking surface and a curved claw that can be used to extract nails from wood. A 16-ounce claw hammer is ideal for most household uses. Grab one with a synthetic handle, since it’ll last longer than wood. Find one that feels well-balanced in your hand.

If you plan to do a lot of hammering, investing in a shock-absorbing hammer is a good idea.

2) Ratcheting Screwdriver

Ratcheting screwdrivers are easier to use than the old-fashioned kind, since it has a mechanism that allows you to apply force to the screw in only direction, and move the handle freely in the other direction.

That means you don’t have to remove and reset the bit after each turn, or turn your screwdriver in endless circles. Grab an adjustable one with a set of interchangeable bits in various types and sizes.

3) Level

A large, sturdy torpedo level can help you drill holes or drive nails in a straight line, hang a picture, or install a shelf. Levels are also good for installing patio pavers or creating a level area for your Intex pool.

4) Cordless Drill

You can use a drill to drill holes or to drive screws when assembling flat-pack furniture or tackling home improvement projects.

Get one that has multiple speeds and is reversible, so you can pull screws out as well as putting them in. The higher the voltage, the more the drill will weigh – a 12-volt drill is sufficient for most home improvement and repair needs. Invest in a quality drill from a well-known brand like Milwaukee Tools, and it will last you for years.

You’ll need drill and driver bits, and a stripped screw extractor isn’t a bad purchase, either.

5) Socket Set

Socket sets are ideal for jobs that require loosening and tightening nuts and bolts. You’ll use this for repairing appliances, and it’s also useful for working on skateboards, bicycles, and cars. A socket set can take the place of a wrench set in many applications.

6) Utility Knife

Whether it’s slicing open those Amazon Prime packages, tearing out some old carpet, or repairing a torn window screen, there are myriad uses for a utility knife. Get the kind with the sliding button that allows you to easily retract and extend the blade. Grab a pack of extra blades, too.

7) Crosscut Saw

A crosscut saw is used for cutting wood against the grain. You can use it to cut branches out of shrubs and trees or shorten planks of wood. A handsaw is also good for trimming PVC pipe. If you plan to do a lot of sawing, however, you might need a power saw too.

8) Tape Measure

If you plan to build anything from scratch, you need a tape measure.

You can also use one to measure rooms and areas before purchasing furniture, help you decide how big of a TV will fit on your living room wall, or record your children’s growth over the years. A 25-foot tape measure should be long enough for your needs.

9) Vise-Grip Pliers

Vise grip or locking pliers can be locked closed, making them useful for a number of applications.

Use them as a clamp, an adjustable wrench, a pipe wrench, or a ratchet. You can even use them as wire cutters or, you know, as pliers. The standards 5-10WR pliers are good enough for most jobs around the house.

10) Crescent Wrench

A crescent wrench is adjustable, with a sliding jaw that changes the width of the wrench. That means you can use it for any size nut or bolt. Make sure to rotate towards the adjustable jaw so that it doesn’t slip while you’re turning it.

Owning a home means being responsible for repairing and maintaining it, and you can’t do that without a good, basic toolkit. The right tools will help you tackle any job, so you can do your home up right.

Jeff Campbell

Jeff Campbell is a husband, father, martial artist, budget-master, Disney-addict, musician, and recovering foodie having spent over 2 decades as a leader for Whole Foods Market. Click to learn more about me

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