For better or worse, homeownership is a never-ending project. And as with any project, having the right tools at your disposal can make or break the experience. No matter your proficiency with home maintenance and repairs, there are a few essential tools to have in your homeowner toolbox. Read on for our top picks.
Drill With Bits
A dependable cordless power drill is essential for homeownership — as are the right drill bits to complete every job on your to-do list.
Having replacement drill bits at the ready can also prevent home project delays. It’s not uncommon for broken screws, thick walls, and other obstacles to cause drill bits to become stripped or break inside the wall (this is especially true when using thinner bits).
Claw or Electrician’s Hammer
A dependable claw hammer or an electrician’s hammer is another crucial tool for every homeowner. Both models feature claws that come in handy when removing screws, stripping paint, smoothing walls, and peeling plaster.
The difference between these models? Whereas a claw hammer is considered the standard hammer model, most electrician’s hammers are made using rubber, insulated fiberglass, and other materials that will protect you in the event of an electrical hazard (e.g. accidentally hammering into an active wire in the wall). For that reason, an electrician’s hammer may be a more versatile option for new homeowners looking to build their tool kit.
Modern stud finders can quickly locate drywall fasteners, active wires, pipes, and potentially motion (helpful in the event of rodent problems). Stud finders are useful when making major renovations — but also when working on smaller projects, like hanging a painting with a half-inch nail.
In recent years, there have been a number of apps that claim to be a good substitute for a physical stud finder . . . but these come with a catch: variable quality is seen in the performance of these stud-finder apps. Currently, there’s no viable alternative to a physical, modern stud finder (at least not yet).
Tape Measure and Level
Whether you’re hanging paintings, fixing a door frame, constructing furniture, or orienting a room, a tape measure and level can ensure even spacing and proper angles, which leads to a more balanced and comfortable atmosphere.
Buying a tape measure? Look for a longer one: 25 feet is ideal so that you’ll be able to measure larger areas. When it comes to levels, it can’t hurt to have a couple of different sizes. If you’re hanging a shelf, for example, a small level (1-2 inches in length) can be handy to position the shelf’s hanger, while a longer level (about a foot in length) can help you check the position of the shelf itself.
It’s helpful to have options when it comes to screwdrivers . . . but owning multiple can lead to a messy tool kit. Multi-head screwdrivers are a great solution; they usually include screwdriver bits beneath removable caps, making it easy to switch between Phillips head and flat head options, as well as various sizes. Additionally, most multi-head screws are magnetic, which helps hold the screw in place before it’s fully lodged into a surface.
A final, unexpected tool for your (virtual) toolkit? HomeKeep! This all-in-one home maintenance and management solution helps homeowners know exactly what, when, how, and how much is needed to take care of their home. It simplifies the process by creating regular, easy-to-follow plans, specific tutorials, and timely maintenance reminders.
Homeowners simply add their home’s systems, components, and appliances — and HK does the rest:
- Register each major home product so that they are under warranty
- Automatically adds product manuals
- Creates customized plans and instructions to ensure every part of the home remains in top working order.
Like any other essential tool for your toolkit, HomeKeep allows you to spend more time enjoying your home — and less time working on (and worrying about!) its upkeep. Learn more about HomeKeep here.