Top 10 Tools for New Home Owners
I meet with a lot of home buyers (obviously for my profession), and a large majority do not have even a basic set of tools. However, new home owners especially first time buyers tend to have one common problem; they just bought a house and have no money. I could have drawn up a list of 100 or even 1000 tools everyone needs! I don't usually have a problem justifying the need for more tools, and most guys that grew up similar to me don’t.
Before we get in to the mix of tools to start with let me make one point clear. Nothing drives me crazier then to have people use my tools because they don't want to mess there’s up. Tools were meant to get used, beat up, and banged around. Care for them, but use them! Don’t shy away from using them for their intended purpose, and always remember you use the 1 right tool not 3 wrong tools.
I tried to put these in some type of order to buy the ones you need first but don't stress about that. Get the ones YOU need immediately first but preferably all 10 at one shopping spree.
1. Every home owner will be hanging pictures, tapping rusted and worn hinges, and in general beating stubborn objects. My number one pick is a quality hammer; I use it more then just about any tool in my shop and they cannot be substituted without sacrificing precision, finesse, and fingers!
grab another hammer over my framing hammer. Choking up on the grip gives you good support for driving finishing nails and all the way back will remove a rusted wheel rotor (be careful here because you will damage the hammer head, better to grab the right type of hammer).
Grips change preference by many people, though most prefer a curved wood handle. Wood is easy to replace and lasts a long time, fiberglass handles cant always be replaced. They also seem to balance and generally feel better in your hand. Plus there’s just something that makes you feel like a man holding something your ancestors could have been using to pound their way through history! $24.95
2. Ok so technically 2 tools but since they really go as a pair screwdrivers will be considered 1 tool. For basic jobs you need a flat head and a phillips and they will likely cure anything that ails you. However, an 8 piece Craftsman set is $14.99 and well worth the cost. This set will cover most anything you need it for and will take apart almost anything in your home.
3. Needle nose pliers, can grab about anything you have in the house and can even assist you in reaching those hard to get areas. Believe me the list is endless as to what you will use these for! Wires will need to be re-routed, clasps pinched, and rusted knobs turned. This list truly needs to have more then 1 number 1, because tools like this are invaluable and impossible to substitute.
A lower end but still quality set of channel locks can run you about $15 until you can afford something a little higher end. However I would urge you not to purchase Husky pliers, they seem to break when you attempt to pick up a pudding pack. Stanley may not be the best brand anymore but their channel locks will rip the legs off a bear, that you happened to strangle with your bare hands.
5. Adjustable crescent wrenches are not necessarily fun but a 20 inch one does complete your art of manliness starter package. But lets dial it down for just a bit and look at a 12 inch adjustable crescent. They can fit in to almost any space your home provides (admittedly they can get a little tight in an engine compartment) and are up to the task of most home maintenance projects.
If you're really in a jam you can always grab your channel locks and framing hammer and they will rip the door out of its frame and you can just hang a blanket. Again it’s another item that falls in to that $15 range.
7. Next you need a torpedo! Every guy reading this is salivating right now running to their spouse with their well thought out excuse to buy an underwater projectile that explodes on impact. Unfortunately We are talking about a level that you can use to plumb pictures.
These levels can be substituted for longer ones by strapping a straight edge to it. Though guys do not tend to care if the Wolverine mount in their man cave is level, or if it looks like you bolted it to the wall while you were drunk with a rabid ferret clawing at your genitals, your spouse will thank me for this one and your marriage will likely last at least another 6 months. It’s all about sacrifice boys!
Look for a level with a magnetic strip on one of the sides because when you actually start using it to do minor repairs and remodels the strip is invaluable. Plumbing a metal fence post will never be easier then with two of these with a magnet.
Now you may be tempted to buy the electronic calibrated level for $735 (I’m not joking this really exists) you can pick up a normal duty use level for $15 - $30 depending on the brand. Again though this is another great item to go with Stanley, I’ve had mine for over 10 years and I use it constantly.
The reasons for the flashlight should be fairly obvious; bottom line here is that you cannot do anything if you can’t see. Not to mention often when you are doing home repairs you have to shut off the electricity so you have no light from the inherent light source of the room. So when you pull out your straight razor in the morning and go to trim the neck line of your 2 and a half foot beard and the power goes out, you can immediately wash the razor and realize that shaving is second priority to to swinging a hammer for 8 hours in the dark!
10. Lastly, A ladder though not fun or mannly they keep you from breaking both your legs instead of balancing a bucket on a chair on the hood of your wife’s Honda while your best friend moves it forward as you clean the debris out of the gutters.
This is the most expensive item on this list and brings up the price for the list as a whole. An articulating ladder is best if you're only going to own one and can accomplish almost any home owner task unless have an extremely high roof. 17’ or 19’ articulating ladder is ideal for the home owner and allows you to the highest peaks of 90% of homes. If you do have an exceptionally high roof you can get a 25’ extension ladder and get your man card back from your neighbor who uses an articulating ladder.
The Little Giant is the gold standard for these types of ladders but they are overpriced and knock off brands can be had for less then half the price with the same material quality. You just have to lower your standard of aesthetically pleasing. Northern Tool often has them on sale for $125 delivered to your door, or a little cheaper in stores.
I am a United States Army Veteran with over 10 years construction experience prior to my service. After my time in the military I enrolled in InterNACHI's rigorous course work to become a certified member and prepare for the National Home Inspectors Exam. I continue to push inspection courses and education, attaining and exceeding the required continuing education courses