10 Tools Every Homeowner Should Have Handy
Whether you're a new homeowner (congrats!) or have been one for years, chances are you're all too familiar with the harsh reality that when things break, need repairing, or updating, it's up to you—not a super or landlord—to figure it out. Or, on the flip side, you might be a renter who doesn't want to wait around for the landlord to get to a quick problem at home. Although even the smallest of home fixes can seem intimidating to many, they really shouldn't be, says Chris Marcum from the DIY blog Chris Loves Julia. Having a fully stocked tool kit makes it easy to tackle DIY projects for everyone. "Tools have come a long way, and when you're armed with the right ones, it can really streamline any project you have."
If you're unsure as to what tools to invest in first, Marcum suggests looking for tools that can be used for any number of jobs around the house—whether it be a larger, more complicated renovation project or a simple repair. "Multi-use tools are the way to go," he says. "The most handy tools are the ones that do lots of different jobs."
Plus, if you don't have the room to store a ton of tools, these multi-taskers will help you save on storage space. To help you figure out what the best tools to have in your arsenal, we spoke to experts from The Home Depot, Marcum, and another of our favorite DIY bloggers, Nicole Balch from Making It Lovely.
Drill and Driver Kit
Ryan Duffy, senior merchant of power tools for The Home Depot, says that a good power drill—which is handy for everything from drilling holes in your wall to mixing paint—is an absolute must-have. "New technologies in cordless power tools make it easier than ever to finish pretty much any project," he says. Duffy suggests that when looking for a drill you should buy into a battery platform: "Once you have one tool on the battery platform, you can easily expand your tool shelf with other tools to help you complete your projects like saws, sanders, and more."
Shop Now: RYOBI "18-Volt One + Lithium-Ion Cordless Compact Drill/ Driver Set," $69, homedepot.com..
Groove Joint Pliers
For pliers that will handle a multitude of jobs, Marcum suggests a pair of groove joint pliers. "These are super versatile. They have a lot of good grip because of the way that they're designed. You can achieve great leverage with your hand even at odd angles, and the "mouth" opens really wide for use in complicated jobs." he says. "I use these for turning tough nuts and bolts but also for clamping or gripping oddly shaped objects."
Shop Now: Craftsman Pliers 2-Piece Groove Joint Set, $14.98, amazon.com.
The jigsaw, a favorite power tool among DIYers because of its versatility and ease of use, is a favorite of Balch's. "Marking a line and following it with the jigsaw blade is meditative, like an adult coloring book can be," she says. "It's the least intimidating of all power saws, light and easy to use, and handy for small cuts, curves, and cutting out holes."
Shop Now: Dewalt 6.5 Amp Corded Jigsaw Kit With Kit Box, $149, homedepot.com.
When it comes to projects around the house, one thing is certain: You're going to need to measure. A lot. "A stack of tape measures is a must—you need a few!" says Marcum. "I recommend three 16 feet, one 25 feet, and one 35 feet. Tape measures end up all over the house, and it's hard to track them down. Have enough so that if you're looking for one, you're likely to stumble upon it in the room that you're in. The 35 feet. tape measure is especially useful when measuring entire rooms."
Shop Now: Milwaukee "STUD" Tape Measure Set, 25 feet and 16 feet, $29.97, homedepot.com.
"A nail should sit flush against the surface or slightly below if it's to be covered with wood putty. A nail gun will usually do the trick but it does sometimes miss, and if you're using a hammer alone, you'll never get that nail perfectly sunk," says Balch. Not only that, you could end up damaging your baseboard, trim, or whatever you were trying to hammer. The solution? "A nail set is inexpensive and will give your projects a more professional finish," she says.
Shop Now: Qualihome Four-Piece Nail Setter & Center Punch Set, $9.99, amazon.com.
Rip Claw Hammer
Of course, every household needs a hammer. Marcum suggest a 20-ounce hammer as this makes it light enough for everyone to use, but heavy enough to compensate for arm strength in bigger jobs. The value of a rip claw hammer, specifically? "The back end is straighter, and the value of that is that in demolition, for example, you can pull out sheetrock," he says.
Shop Now: Husky "Ripping Hammer," 20 Ounce, $18.97, homedepot.com.
Compound Miter Saw
For those new to DIYing around the house, many kinds of saws (and power tools in general) can be a little intimidating, but Balch says this one is a must for every homeowner. "Cutting wood with a miter box and hand saw takes more effort and time than one would think," she says. "A compound miter saw is so easy! An absolute must if you're planning to do any projects with molding." It's also the perfect tool for cutting picture and door frames, as it easily makes angled and beveled cuts.
Shop Now: Dewalt "DW713" Portable Compound Miter Saw, 10 inches, $209.88, amazon.com.
Picture Hanging Tool
It may seem like hanging art and frames on the wall are the least of your worries, but when it comes time to put together that gallery wall, things can get pretty tricky. "Hanging pictures on the wall can be quite daunting for a lot of homeowners, so why not get a tool to make it easier?" says Arianna Jackson, building merchant at The Home Depot. "This tool is easy to use, and allows you to mark exactly where the nail goes the first time, plus it includes a level so there are no crooked pictures."
Shop Now: Under the Roof Decorating "Hang & Level" Picture Hanging Tool, $14.98, homedepot.com.
When it comes to tools that you'll come back to time-and-time again, the screwdriver is at the very top of the list. Specifically, a ratcheting screwdriver, says Balch. "The kind with the interchangeable bits stored in the screwdriver itself is immensely helpful! You need a screwdriver for just about every task it seems, and the ratcheting action makes it far easier on your hands." No more cramping hands after using a standard screwdriver means you won't have to take as many breaks, and you'll get your task done much quicker!
Shop Now: Husky Ratcheting Screwdriver Set, $19.97, homedepot.com.
An Oscillating Multi-Tool
A true champion of multi-tools, this can pretty much change into anything you need it to, says Marcum. "It has a chuck on the front that you can switch out for different accessories: saw blades, sanders, etc. I use it to trim baseboards, to cut out sheet rock, to make holes in the wall to install light switches," he says. "It's an easy-to-control tool and something I have close by in all of our projects. Also, cordless is the way to go."
Shop Now: Dewalt "20V Max XR" Oscillating Tool, $109.87, amazon.com.