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Homeowners Tool Box - The Basics
Dated: June 11 2020
When you own your own home, there are a lot of small repairs and similar tasks that you’ll have to do at some point. You may also want to tackle some DIY projects or make some changes around the house from time to time. Regardless of what’s going on, you’re going to need some tools to get things done.
Which tools should you get, though? A lot of homeowners opt for basic premade tool kits but find that they don’t always contain everything that they’ll need for various home repair and improvement tasks. Whether you’re thinking of getting a kit or wanting to build your own tool collection from scratch, here are some of the basics that you should make sure that you have.
One big thing that you should always have around the house is a few tools for measuring things. The most obvious tool for this is a tape measure, but there are a few others to consider as well. Pick up a level (or two, in different sizes) and a carpenter’s square so that you can always tell when something is level and when corners are actually squared off. A stud finder and a plumb bob should also be in your collection.
When it comes to hammers, most of the time you can get by with just a standard claw hammer. Picking up a rubber mallet to supplement your tool collection isn’t a bad idea, though, especially if you plan on working outside or want to go camping. There are a few other specialty hammers that you might have specific need for, but you should only pick one of those up if you actually need it.
Despite what most people think, screwdrivers aren’t a one-size-fits-all tool. You should have both flathead and Phillips head screwdrivers (and star and square head screwdrivers wouldn’t hurt), and ideally you should have at least two or three different head sizes to accommodate different screws. While the wrong size driver head will often work, you can damage both the head and the screw by not matching the tool to the job. Picking up a screwdriver with interchangeable head bits is a great way to make sure your needs are met.
Wrenches and Sockets
You’ll almost certainly run into bolts at one point or another, and having a wrench and socket set will ensure that you have what you need to handle them. Get a decent wrench set and a decent socket set, making sure that you have both metric and imperial options. In most cases you can find a tool set that includes both, along with Allen wrenches (which are sometimes called hex keys); get that set, since it’ll cover you on all three fronts.
Pliers and Channel-Locks
There are a few different types of pliers and adjustable wrenches out there, and it’s hard to say exactly what you’ll need from the beginning. Having a set of channel-lock pliers, a good adjustable wrench or two and both basic and needle-nose pliers will meet your needs most of the time. You may run into a few instances where you need more specific tools such as a pipe wrench as well, but that’s not a must-have when you start building a tool collection.
Locking clamps or adjustable clamps are great to have; even if you don’t use them very often, they’ll be more than worth it in those instances where you actually need one. Other fasteners such as zip ties are also good to have on hand. If you’re planning on getting into woodworking or similar DIY projects, then you might want to pick up some extras(I always seem to need more than I have).
There are many other tools that you might consider, though whether you need them will depend on you and the sort of work you plan to do. A drill with a basic assortment of bits is good to have, and an electric sander can be useful on some jobs(you'll agree after hand sanding a few projects). Utility knives, wire cutters and other cutting tools can be handy as well. You may even find a need for a table saw or other larger power tools. Just make sure that you have a good reason for bigger purchases to keep from buying things you won’t actually use. You can always call your local Home Improvement store to rent some of the bigger tools that you only need a time or two.
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