There are a few tools that every homeowner should have in their bag to perform basic repairs and maintenance. The 8 tools listed below will allow you to complete almost any basic task.
If you only buy one power tool, make it a cordless drill. Accessories like drill bits, hole saws, and screwdriver bits make the drill very versatile. Cordless drills are run off rechargable batteries and eliminate the need for an extension cord. Drills are differentiated primarily by their voltage. If all you need to do is small projects like assembling furniture a 9.6 volt to 12 volt drill is suitable. On larger projects like drilling holes through wood, a 14.4 volt or larger drill will be needed. Keep in mind, higher voltage drills weigh more, but have more power and last longer.
A multi-bit screwdriver takes the place of the traditional screwdriver set. Most 5-in-1 screwdrivers contain Phillips bits, flat head bits and handy nut driver bits. Cheaper than a traditional set of screwdrivers, this tool also saves space in your tool bag. The 5-in-1 is perfect for most projects, but if specialty bits are needed combination screwdrivers up to 11-in-1 are available.
One of the first tools invented, the hammer and is essential to any tool bag. A basic claw hammer can set and remove nails quickly. Heavier hammers are more effective at driving nails, but the additional weight makes them more difficult to use. Hammers are available with handles made of vibration absorbing wood or a more durable composite material. Weights can vary from 10 oz. to more than 20 oz. A 16 oz. hammer is ideal for projects like hanging pictures and removing old nails.
Adjustable pliers enable the user to tighten or grip objects of different size, shape, and thickness. Great for tightening those pesky toilet bolts or assembling furniture. These pliers come in sizes ranging from 6” to 20” in length depending on how large of objects need to be gripped.
One of the most universal tools out there, the tape measure has thousands of applications. It’s a great reference tool when checking to see if a TV will fit on the wall or if a couch will fit through the doorway. Tape measures are available from 12′ to 30′ in length. A 20′ tape measure is a very popular size for the average consumer.
The hacksaw is a multipurpose saw that can cut materials like metal, plastic and wood. Great for cutting off rusted nuts, drain pipes and other materials. Hacksaws come in full size and compact.
When hanging something on a wall, a level will ensure that the object is straight. A standard three-bubble level can be used on a vertical, horizontal or 45-degree angle surface. Levels are available in lengths of 9” up to 12’. Longer levels will give a more accurate reading, but are difficult to keep steady on smaller surfaces.
In dimly lit places nothing comes in handy more than a flashlight. Newer models are equipped with L.E.D. bulbs that last longer and use less power. Flashlights are also available in combo kits with a drill that use the same batteries for convenience. New flashlights are much improved over the traditional design that was popular for so many years. These new designs feature longer run time, increased brightness and adjustable positioning.