These are the must have tools every homeowner needs including essential hand tools, yard tools, and power tools for your home repairs and DIY projects.
Whether you’re just trying to step up your DIY skills or you’re moving into a new home, it certainly helps to have all of the basic tools needed. Even if you happen to be the type who calls in even the most basic of handyman jobs, it still helps to have these tools handy so that you can accomplish simple projects and basic repairs.
It can be anything from hanging wall art to getting new shelves installed. These tasks may sound simple but surprisingly, they require a myriad of tools right from the get-go for you to get them done. This is why it’s important to invest in a basic tool kit for the home.
Essential Hand Tools For Homeowners
Here’s a list of the most basic tools every homeowner needs.
If you’re just starting with your toolbox, the hammer will be one of the first tools you need to get your hands on. There are two types of hammers to acquaint yourself with: the ball-peen hammer and the claw hammer. Both are invaluable to your home projects. They also each have their specific uses.
• Claw hammer – Claw hammers have a V-shaped claw on one end, and a solid steel head on the other. The V-shaped claw is meant to pull out wayward nails whereas the solid steel end is meant to drive the nails in.
When it comes to purchasing claw hammers, quality is usually key. If a hammer tends to cost more, this is usually a pretty good indication that it’s made out of higher-quality materials.
• Ball-peen hammer – A ball-peen hammer, on the other hand, is much smaller than claw hammers. This makes them very ideal when you are trying to work with metal. Ball-peen hammers also come in several sizes but they are always on the smaller end, such as making jewelry, small metalcrafts, and the like.
It doesn’t matter how big or small your home project is. You are going to need a solid set of screwdrivers almost every time. When you think about it, it makes every sense.
After all, there are so many different projects and products you can use a screwdriver on. There are also different types of screwdrivers. You can, however, opt for a screwdriver that has replaceable parts, something that does it all.
A lot of screwdriver sets can be purchased like this. They are easy to use and you can attach and detach the bits that you need at any point in time. If you want to stick to singular screwdrivers though: here are the most common ones.
• Flathead or slotted screwdriver – The most common type of screwdriver. This tool has a flattened tip used for screws that have linear intrusions at the head.
• Philipps screwdriver – The second most common type of screwdriver. Fits right into Philipps screw heads or those that have cross-shaped intrusions at the head.
• Star or Torx screwdriver – Torx is a type of screw head that has a 6-point star intrusion. This is why its more generic name is the star screwdriver. These types of screw heads usually have more torque and are oftentimes used in commercial production or purposes.
• Hex screwdriver – This screwdriver type is used to tighten or loosen hex screws. The same function can be done by a wrench or an Allen screw but a hex screwdriver is solely for this purpose.
• Pozidriv screwdriver – This type of screwdriver is kind of like an updated version of the Philipps screwdriver. It is specially designed to reduce instances wherein a screwdriver will slip out of the screw head after the application of a large amount of torque.
• Square or Robertson screwdriver – True to its name, this type of screwdriver will fit into square-shaped intrusions. This type of screwdriver can speed up the fastening process tremendously for slotted screws.
• Tri-wing screwdriver – This type of screwdriver is usually used on electronics such as cameras, consoles, mobile phones, and other similar gadgets that have screws holding them together. They are usually mistakenly interchanged with the tri-point Y0 screwdriver. But they are not the same.
A measuring tape can come in handy for a variety of uses and mini or major projects in and around the home. It seems to be a simple enough tool but knowing how to properly use its lock and hook features as well as reading it correctly is key.
The first thing you need to check is whether or not you are getting the measurement units right: Are you using imperial or metric? Most of the measuring tapes in the US will offer both of them.
The metric units are usually printed in black whereas the imperial units are printed in red. Keeping this in mind will ensure that you get the most accurate reading all the time.
Also, the end of the measuring tape is always curved. It’s called the blade. This is designed in a way wherein you will be able to easily latch it onto whatever it is that you’re measuring. It also has a lock button that will stop it from releasing back into the holder if you ever need to pause for a bit to draw out markers, and so on.
Wrenches or a wrench set is also another essential handheld tool. When looking for one, size matters. There are different types of screws and bolts as well as different types of fasteners.
They all vary in size. You will want a wrench that will match exactly so that it doesn’t potentially cause any harm. There are different types of wrenches from adjustable ones to socket ones.
Each of them has its uses and merits. This is why it would be smart to opt for a set of wrenches instead of just getting one or two. This could save you from the hassle of having to run back to the store because you don’t have the right one with you at home.
A crescent wrench or an adjustable wrench, for example, has two jaws. One stays in place whereas the other one moves. This way, your wrench can adjust to however large or small your fastener is.
Too much pressure can ruin the moveable jaw though. Fixed wrenches are more fixed and can take on more pressure.
Nails, Screws, etc.
Having the right tools at home is great and all but they will be rendered useless if you don’t have the right amount of screws, nails, and more, to keep your projects going in the first place. It’s always smart to keep a wide assortment on hand with you at home.
There are endless ways for you to use them, from hanging new wall art, to simply just putting a piece of furniture together. Nails and screws can come in all sorts of sizes and sturdiness.
There are brad nails, box nails, finishing nails, and so much more. Then, there are also specialty nails such as floor nails, drywall nails, roofing nails, framing nails, and other specialty nails for specific projects.
As for screws, there are various types from screwed hooks that are meant for hanging pictures up on the wall, and other screws that are meant for heavier types of ventures. It’s easy to keep up with a wide array of collections. You just need to make sure that they are properly organized.
This tool gives you a step up. This is great for when you have areas that are hard to reach. The ladder can give you just that. It all depends on how high you need to get at in your home.
Based on this, the ladder you need might differ or vary greatly in terms of height. There are step ladders, then there are tall ladders. It would usually be smart if you have both with you at home.
Ladders can be a bit of a safety concern though so make sure that you know how to use them for safety purposes. Check out our guide to the types of ladders for more related information.
There’s also the extension ladder. When using one, make sure that you’re locking the sides so that the height stays fixed and in place. Also, make sure that it’s securely propped against a structure so that it won’t move. Also, make sure that you face toward the ladder and not away from it when you’re climbing down.
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A level is meant to keep things straight. This is the best way for you to get your mirrors, wall art, shelves, and pretty much anything you’ve got hanging from an angle to be installed or hung up straight. Invest in a level.
You can rest assured of the fact that it will be worth it at the end of the day. There are spirit levels and laser ones. What you pick out is really up to you but they each have their unique ways of keeping things “straight”.
The spirit level is the more manual type of the two. It features a bubble that’s been encased in a liquid. You can move this tool around until you find that the bubble is sitting perfectly right in the middle of the level or the middle of the tube. You can use it vertically or horizontally. It all depends on what you’re planning to hang out with in the first place.
A laser level is a little more hi-tech. It comes in a wide variety of styles. It can come with a rotating laser indicator or a chalk line indicator.
It uses a laser display to indicate either a vertical or a horizontal line. You can easily mark out a spot on the wall with this. You can also affix it on a tripod or a ladder so that you can keep the laser line up while you’re hanging objects out.
For DIY home projects, you should leave the scissors out. Save them for your crafting functions. If the purpose is for heavy-duty cutting, you can’t beat the versatility and functions of a utility knife.
There are tons of unexpected ways for you to be able to use this tool in and around the house. It will usually require little to no experience at all. You’ll be able to cut through tough materials in a breeze.
You can use a utility knife to carve right into carpets, trim window edges off, cut through various types of wood, or even keep paint jobs from looking messy. Not only that, it’s useful for slicing boxes open, making simple and precise cuts on home projects, and any cutting needs you may have: large or small.
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It might surprise you to know this but there are different types of pliers out there. There’s the adjustable type, the slip-joint ones, the needle nose, and wire fencing pliers. It all depends on what you want to do. Some pliers can be more versatile compared to others.
Slip-joint pliers are meant for lightweight and uncomplicated projects. Adjustable pliers adjust based on whatever it is you’re working on. Needle nose pliers work best in tight spaces. Fencing pliers, on the other hand, are multifaceted. They can grip, carve, or even be used as a hammer.
The whole point of needing pliers is so that you can get a grip on certain objects that you’re working with. They can make jobs so much easier for you or even straighten out or curve certain objects.
You can even cut through hardware such as tough nails, and even splice wires. The whole point of this is that you are going to need at least a pair of pliers in your home.
Power Tools Every Homeowner Needs
Here’s the most frequently used power tools that homeowners need for day to day projects.
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For fastening jobs, a staple gun is an absolute must-have. You may be working with carpets, fabrics, or insulation. Having one on hand will be helpful for you. It can make your basic fastening tasks a breeze.
Staple guns are also great for light construction work. They’re amazingly versatile. For example, if your carpet has started to come up from the floor, a staple gun will come in handy.
The same thing’s the case if your laminate or hardwood floors start to come undone. If your furniture needs fixing, your staple gun will also come in handy. You can also use a staple gun for small wood projects such as birdhouses, frames, and so on. Always make sure that you wear protective goggles when using a staple gun.
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If there’s one tool that you wouldn’t imagine much until you will need one, it would have to be a cordless drill. The truth of the matter is that it is one of the most indispensable power tools you will ever get your hands on or need at home.
It can be convenient to use in hanging wall décor. You can also use it frequently for home repairs. There are just so many uses to a cordless drill that we can’t stress enough how you need to have one.
One of the conveniences of having a cordless drill is the fact that you can work on your projects even without an electrical outlet near you. The only downside is the overwhelming selection of cordless drills available in the market. It all comes down to the pricing.
Here are some things to consider before buying one: the projects you will potentially be working on, whether they are heavy duty or simple, and whether or not a cordless drill applies to most of them.
Once you’ve determined that you need a cordless drill, the next thing to look at is the features. The main ones are the speed range switch, the grip, and the voltage.
More voltage would mean that the drill will be heavier, but also that it’s more powerful. You will want a grip that will make the drill comfortable enough for you to hold.
And of course, the speed range switch makes it more versatile. Low speeds are usually for driving screws whereas high speeds are for drilling in general.
An extension cord can come in handy whether you’re trying to work with something that needs to be plugged in and you’re away from an electrical outlet, or whether you’re just trying to plug in some string lights for an outdoor party. It’s one of the most essential tools every homeowner should have, even if you aren’t that fond of DIY projects.
Since you’re dealing with electricity, it’s important to make sure that you aren’t skimping on quality by opting for the cheaper but low-quality ones. There are usually three options for extension cords: light, medium, and heavy-duty.
Light-duty ones are for smaller items such as lamps, alarm clocks, phone chargers, and other similarly small items. Go for something heavier though if you plan to use more than 7 amps of electricity.
Medium-duty extension cords are for 10 amps of electricity use such as a TV, and other medium-sized electronics. Heavy-duty ones are reserved for 10 to 15 amps of electricity use such as power tools and other heavy-duty items.
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One of the most underrated tools you will ever hear about would have to be a stud finder. This device is essential because it can keep you from damaging your walls while you’re trying to hang heavy items.
As the name suggests, a stud finder is exactly how it sounds: it’s meant to find studs in the wall. A stud finder can detect nails and screws embedded and concealed inside a wall.
If you plan on hanging heavy objects on a wall, you must find the support of a stud. Instead of driving a nail or screw directly into your drywall, it’s always safer to find a stud, which is usually where a wood stud is, for added support.
Installing shelves, mirrors, and other similarly heavy items don’t have to be risky at all. A stud finder can give you extra security when it comes to this, knowing that you’re getting the support of a wood stud hidden inside the drywall.
They’re also incredibly easy to use. They’re battery operated so you don’t have to worry about wires or getting a nearly electrical socket.
Hold it up against the wall and wait for a beeping sound or a flash, depending on the actual type of stud finder you bought. Mark all the studs out with a pencil, and that’s it. You’re ready to hang whatever it is you need to hang.
An oscillating multi-tool is every DIYer’s dream. You can cut, sand, and trim with it. This is far easier to handle compared to larger power tools.
This means that you will be able to handle even big objects or projects all on your own. This tool comes with multiple attachments: sander, blade, or scraper. It also allows you to be able to move swiftly across different directions.
As an added benefit, this device works well even in tight spaces. It’s a huge win for compactness and versatility. This tool can easily turn into your toolbox’s main star.
Essential Yard Tools
To expand your list of must-have tools, even more, we’ve decided to include essential tools that you will be needing in your yard. Outdoor tools are just as important as indoor tools.
Here are the most essential yard tools every homeowner needs:
This is a no-brainer. If you’ve got a lawn, you are going to need a lawn mower. Your yard’s terrain and size will usually determine the type of lawn mower you will need; whether it’s self-propelled, push-type, stand-on, or ride-on.
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A weed whacker is a great tool to have if you have hard-to-reach areas in your yard that your lawn mower just can’t get to at the end of the day.
A wheelbarrow is an essential tool needed in your yard. Its purpose is mainly for transporting mulch, gravel, dirt, or just about anything else you can think of. You never have to manually carry anything in your yard ever again.
Gardening and other household chores can wreak havoc on your hands. Make sure that you have a pair of gloves in your yard tool kit for that extra layer of protection.
Hose & Sprinkler
For a lot of yards out there, a hose is necessary. You might need a couple of sprinklers or so for larger yards but the concept is pretty much the same.
Unless you already have an underground system of sprinklers already in place, then you do need to invest in a high-quality hose and sprinklers. Hook these hoses up to your outdoor faucet spigots to water potted plants or wash the car.
You’re going to need a nifty tool that will help you evenly distribute dirt. That’s exactly what a garden rake was made for. We certainly aren’t exaggerating when we’re saying that you need one for your yard tool kit.
A garden trowel is a smaller version of a small garden hoe. It’s used to help weed your garden out and even loosen up some dirt or soil. Although you might initially think that trowels are meant for smaller gardens, we would like to disagree. A trowel can come in handy no matter how small or big your garden is.
Leaves and other types of plant debris falling from trees, bushes, and other plants in your garden can be pesky, to say the least. You can keep them at bay by making sure that you have a handy leaf rake handy. These types of rakes are meant to quickly get rid of fallen debris in the quickest amount of time.
There are bound to be instances in your yard wherein you’ll find yourself faced with the herculean challenge of needing to prune shrubs, trees, and the like.
You don’t have to dread this task as a pair of reliable gardening shears will help you breeze through the task in no time. It’s also great for when you want to cut fresh flowers from your yard that you can bring indoors.
There are bigger and tougher trees and shrubs that your gardening shears just won’t be able to handle. For this, you can have pruners step in to get the job done. It’s sharper and more durable and it can handle the extra pressure from those toughened-out branches.
Another nice tool to have for breaking up or loosening up stubborn soil or dirt in your garden is a garden spade. It’s also great for when you have annoying lumps that you would like to break up in your garden.
A gardening fork is a necessary tool to have if you would like to easily be able to turn the soil over, or lift and loosen it up with little to no effort at all. This tool works immensely well alongside your trusty old garden spade.
A tool that’s highly effective in loosening up tough soil and getting rid of weeds in the garden is a gardening hoe. It’s also one of the most common tools out there. It’s hard to imagine any decently maintained garden that doesn’t pride itself on a functional garden hoe.
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It’s not something that you hear about a lot but hear us out when we say that you also need an edger especially if you’re a bit of a yard perfectionist. What an edger does is that it puts the final finishing touches on your yard, making it look clean. If your yard has concrete pathways or footwalks, an edger might be a smart investment to consider.
Hori Hori Knife
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A Hori Hori knife is nicknamed the Swiss Army knife of the gardening world. This is because of its amazing versatility. You can use a Hori Hori knife to cut roots, get rid of weeds, prune plants, transplant, and pretty much anything that you can think of that’s garden related. It is so multi-purpose that some people have even brought them along for fishing and hunting trips.
A gardening shovel’s purpose is pretty simple and basic. It’s meant to till, dig, and plant. Do you need one? Absolutely yes.
One of the most taxing tasks in yard work would have to be the cleanup. This is mainly because of the large areas involved. This is why you need to invest in a push broom, also nicknamed a leaf blower. You’ll particularly appreciate this during the fall season as the leaves pile up.
Other types of brooms that are useful include an upright broom with dustpan or a hand broom for those harder to reach areas under kitchen cabinets or in corners.
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It’s annoying to have to deal with unruly shrubbery, hedge plants and small trees all the time. Your hedge clippers can take care of this pretty easily and if you like the extra convenience, it would be smart if you can go ahead and invest in one at some point or so.
It doesn’t matter where you live in. The point of the matter is that any self-respecting yard owner needs to invest in a good shovel, period.
A shovel is one of the most versatile and common gardening tools you will ever get your hands on. You can use it to loosen up the soil, make holes for transplanting, or even just scrape dirt and rocks to the side while you’re clearing up a gardening plot.
There are many different types of shovels to choose but a good round point shovel with a fiberglass handle should complete most jobs around the home.
We’ve initially mentioned that you need a ladder for your indoor house project needs but you will also need one for the outdoors. A ladder can be helpful when you’re putting up string lights for an outdoor party, or for when you’re just trying to reach trees that have become too tall for you to get to without some added help.
For more related content, visit our shed organization ideas here.