Being a first-time homeowner can be overwhelming:
You know your new home will need maintenance. That’s why one of the first things you should do is buy a well-stocked toolkit. Having the right tools on hand early on is a smart way to save time and money in the future.
But what kind of tools you will need?
Well, that’s where this guide comes in. We’ve put together a list of the basic tools that all homeowners should own. These essential hand and power tools will be enough to tackle 90% of problems you might encounter around the house.
Building Your Toolset
Measure twice, cut once.
A measuring tape is one of the most useful tools to have around the house that you’ll get tons of use out of.
Maybe you need to measure space for an appliance or furniture. Or you need to measure an entire room to purchase a carpet. You’re bound to run into a situation where you need a tape measure at some point.
Look for a standard ¾-inch width tape measure with an easy lock to get the most utility. A smaller pocket-sized measure is also worth picking up down the line. While they can slip, they are still useful for measuring in the store.
When choosing a hammer, the most important thing is a comfortable grip. Ideally, you’d like a grip you can firmly hold without any chance of your hand slipping, and padding to reduce vibrations is also a plus.
For your first home toolset, you’ll want a standard claw hammer so you can also remove nails. Make sure to get one with a smooth head to reduce the chance of a nail slipping or accidentally damaging the surface.
When it comes to screwdrivers your best bet is buying a set rather than individual tools.
A good set of screwdrivers should include a variety of different sized flathead and Philips head screwdrivers. These are the two most common screw styles and should cover you for most scenarios. A larger set certainly wouldn’t hurt to have around though if you find a good deal.
Some people prefer ratcheting screwdrivers with magnetic heads. This just comes down to personal preference, but if you do opt for magnetic heads make sure you have a way to store them.
Another essential tool for around the house, different kinds of pliers are useful for different jobs so it’s important to have a good set.
The must-have pliers for a home-owner are:
- Needle-nose pliers
- Slip-joint pliers
- Linesman pliers
- Locking pliers
A good set of wrenches is another must-have for any tool kit.
The choice between open-end and adjustable wrenches really comes down to personal preference. Choose whichever one you are more comfortable working with. In time you’ll likely want to pick up a ratchet set as well, but for now, a good set of wrenches will get the job done.
Allen wrench and hex key sets can also be useful to have around the house and are often used to assemble furniture.
This handy tool is a must-have for everything from hanging a picture frame to installing new shelves or cabinets.
While electronic levels do exist, manual levels are inexpensive and highly accurate. There’s no need to overspend on an electric model.
You might be confused about the inclusion of a flashlight on this list. But, the second you need to make your way to the fuse box in the dark you’ll be thankful it was.
Your phone’s flashlight may work in a pinch, but picking up a real LED flashlight will make your life much easier when you need it.
You’d be surprised how many uses you can find for a plain old Stanley utility knife.
High-quality utility knives are cheap and infinitely useful. There’s no reason not to pick one of these tools up.
A combination wire cutter/wire stripper is a necessary tool to handle any electrical issues.
Choosing a model with a cushioned grip will make this tool more comfortable to use.
A handy handheld tool that finds the support beams (studs) in your wall. This tool will save you time and frustration putting up shelves, cabinets, or picture frames.
The two main varieties are cheaper magnetic tools, and the easy to use electric models the pros use. An affordable electric model is going to be your best bet here.
Probably the most common power tool. A cordless drill is the first power tool every homeowner should purchase.
Owning a cordless drill significantly shortens the amount of time it takes to complete many projects.
When selecting a drill look for one that’s lightweight, durable, and comfortable to hold. You’ll want to have a wide range of drill bits to get the full use out of your drill. Look for a drill bit set that includes storage to keep your collection organized.
Once you have your toolset, you’ll need a place to store and organize them. A toolbox provides you with that place to store your tools and keep them organized.
There’s no reason to break the bank on your first toolbox. An inexpensive toolbox will do perfectly for storing your first set of tools. You can always invest in a larger high-quality toolbox down as your collection goes.
If you need to hold something in place, then you’ll need a tool to do it with. A pair of clamps or a mounted vise are both handy for this job.
A vise is larger than a pair of clamps and is often mounted on a workbench. Clamps are smaller, but more mobile and don’t need the dedicated space that a vise does.
You should choose whichever option fits your needs best.
This efficient multitool is called a wrecking bar for good reason. does the job of a prybar, nail puller, and a hammer.
If you need to do any remodeling then this cost-effective tool makes prying off old flooring or cabinets a breeze.
Probably the tool you’d be least happy to not have when you need it. A plunger should be one of the first things you buy for your new home.
High-quality extension cords are important to have around the house. Outdoor extension cords are especially useful for powering electric lawn tools.
When selecting an extension cord consider where you’re going to be using it. Outdoor extension cords are more heavily insulated and have thicker wire gauges. This gives them more durability, but that level of protection isn’t required indoors.
Choose the length that fits your needs the best.
This isn’t a comprehensive list of every tool you may ever need. But, it puts you at a great starting point to handle most common jobs around the house.
Don’t be afraid to grow your collection of tools as needed. The versatility of a diverse toolset is never a poor investment.