Home repairs can be expensive, even for the simplest jobs. On some of these basic items on your to-do list, you might be better off fixing them on your own. To do this, it’s a good idea to have at least a basic tool kit around the house for home repairs and other functions such as fixing bikes, working on cars, and whatever else life throws at you.
The basic essentials of a proper home repair tool kit will set you back around $200 (if buying your tools new). Used tools can be purchased from garage sales or Craigslist for much cheaper and they work just as well. “You can spend a little money on a tool or two with each job,” says David Tenenbaum (author of The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Home Repair and Maintenance). “That way, you gather the tools you’ll need slowly and less painfully.”
THE ESSENTIAL TOOL LIST FOR HOME REPAIRS
A tool box is pretty self-explanatory. You will need something to store all your new tools in once you acquire them. Some people with either not have a toolbox or use a makeshift one and their tools are scattered all over the place, which can make it frustrating to find the right tool for the job. A toolbox can be the classic metal compartmentalized box with a handle or something as simple as a canvas back with pockets.
It’s hammer time! A hammer is a must-have to any tool kit. Tenenbaum suggests a 16-oz steel or fiberglass shafted hammer with a smooth head to reduce marring. A rip clawed hammer is also recommended as they can come in handy for demolition projects and removing nails.
3. PRY BAR
Pry bars are very useful when breaking down anything. Buying one made of hexagon steel as opposed to spring steel is recommended.
4. VISE GRIPS
A good set of vise grips can be a lifesaver when you’re in a bind. Also known as locking pliers, vise grips clamp onto anything around the house, such as metal or PVC pipes and allow for some stable grip.
5. NEEDLE-NOSE PLIERS
Any electrician worth his salt won’t enter a construction site without a trusty set of needle-nose pliers. Useful on electrical wiring and countless other situations involving tight spaces, these long, tapered pliers provide a much needed extra grip.
6. SCREWDRIVERS (PHILLIPS AND FLAT HEAD)
It’s recommended to have a mixed set of screwdrivers in your tool bag including 1/4 and 3/8 inch flat heads along with No. 1 and No. 2 Phillips head drivers. Screwdrivers with magnetic heads also help out, especially when working in tight spaces.
7. WIRE SNIPPERS
When doing any electrical job, wire snippers will save you loads of headache. Rather than cutting through the plastic wire casing with a knife, wire snippers make the job simple and clean.
8. TAPE MEASURE
It’s recommended to at least have a 16-foot measuring tape. It should have the the ability to lock in place and be at least 3/4 inch thick to provide the necessary sturdiness when measuring off something around the house.
9. ELECTRICAL TESTER
You can either get the fancy testers with screen displays and all the bells and whistles or just opt for the simply $2 tester with two probes and a lightbulb. Testing for electronic current prior to working on anything with wiring could save your life.
10. REVERSIBLE DRILL AND DRILL BIT SET
The standard 3/8 inch drill bit set is arguably the only electrical tool you need in a basic tool set. Make sure your drill is powerful enough to get the job done and will hold a charge (if battery operated). It’s recommended to opt for the plug-in drill though as you will also have power as long as you have a good extension cord.
11. 1/2 INCH STEEL CHISEL
Chisels are one of the most ancient tools in existence and they are still heavily used without much change since the old days. They come in handy more than you know.
12. UTILITY KNIFE
Utility knifes can be a carpenter’s best friend. Make sure you have plenty of blade replacements on hand as they can dull quickly.
Even if you have a circular saw, there may come a time when you will still need to revert back to the trusty old handsaw.
From handing picture frames to kitchen cabinets, you don’t want to risk doing a shoddy job by eyeballing anything. Ensure that what you’re doing is level before securing it permanently.
15. SAFETY GLASSES
It’s important to wear eye protection when working on any home construction project as debris or other material can get in your eye causing permanent damage.