Last Updated on January 14, 2021 by William
The Basic But Essential Tools for Any Handyman’s Toolbox
We’ve all been there. The garage is a mess, and you can only dream of having a shed where all your excess tools could stay stored away forever.
But the funny part is that most of the things you have, most of the hardware that you’ve bought over the years for all those different projects like a hammer drill or portable generator, aren’t really all that necessary.
If you’re trying to pare down your tool collection, or if you’re just now starting your own home repair kit, then check out our list of necessary tools for home tool kits.
They’re all you need, and you’ll never go back to that messy clutter again.
Basic Hand Tools List
- Hammer: OK, so this one is pretty obvious. But really, you only need one hammer, preferably a standard flat-nose claw hammer with a steel head. The hammer handle is up to you, as is the overall weight. Pick one that’s not too difficult to handle, but that isn’t too cheap, either. It’s the tool you’ll most want to last.
- Multi-Head Screwdriver: You want three basic settings out of your screwdriver – flathead, Phillips-head and Torx, which is a six-point star shape. Choose one with a textured or wavy handle for best resistance, and choose a standard size for universal application. Check out our list of great hand tool brands so you know you’re getting a solid screwdriver.
- Cordless Drill: All right, all you DIY-ers. When you’re hanging your own curtains or mounting that heavy art, you’ll need a 12-volt cordless drill. They’re well worth the cost, and they’re easier to use and store than corded models. Find ones with the best settings and applications for your needs. You could even have a mini drill press for jewelry making.
- Putty Knife: Trust me. This is something that you don’t really think you need until you have it. It’s great for removing old caulk, but it’s also perfect for cracking open those paint cans. Oh, and I suppose you can use them for putty application, too.
- Duct Tape: They say it’s like “The Force”: It has a light side and a dark side, and it holds the universe together. Duct tape is perfect for quick fixes, like patching a torn bicycle seat or closing up the last of those moving boxes. This is a definite no-brainer.
- Needle-Nose Pliers: There are always those really small tasks that require big strength that your adult fingers just can’t handle. For minor jewelry repairs and pulling out small nails, these pliers will come in handy more times than you can count. Always invest in a good one, as cheap models can have poor grip. You could also use an awl if you want for similar purposes.
- Slip-Joint Pliers: For a grip tool that can handle items of various sizes, you can never be without slip-joint pliers. They’re an oldie but a goodie, so keep these heavyweight champs in your toolkit at all times.
- Metal Tape Measure: It’s impossible to get any substantial measurements done with fabric or vinyl measurement strips, and they’re messy to boot. For a tidier, more accurate measurement helper, stick to a metal tape measure, at least 1 inch wide for stability.
- Crosscut Saw: There’s always going to be “some small carpentry project,” but trust us, that kitchen knife won’t do the trick. You don’t need anything too heavy-duty, but have a 14- to 16-inch-long crosscut saw, or if you want to get serious, try one of the best worm gear saws.
- Assorted Fasteners: Be prepared for any sort of assembly, with a basic fastener kit, available at almost every hardware store in the world. Your kit should have nuts, bolts, washers, anchors and nails, all in various sizes. Trust us, the Dollar Market may “forget” the extra screws for that table more often than not, so be prepared.
- C-Clamp: Getting glue on is the easy part. Keeping the pieces together for the glue to dry? That’s trickier. Rather than pulling out all the heaviest encyclopedias you have, keep a C-clamp on hand. It screws tightly but carefully around items to keep them together while the glue dries.
- Adjustable Wrench: Save yourself a ton of money on that assorted wrench collection. Those sets are large, expensive and extremely space-consuming. Plus, if you misplace one, you’re all out of luck. With an adjustable wrench, you can keep it on hand always, and it will help with any size screw project.
- WD-40: One of very few hardware chemicals with an indefinite shelf life, WD-40 is a definite garage essential. It removes sap, tar, adhesives, labels and tape from surfaces, without damaging the existing paint, and it’s an effective cleaner for tools, equipment and vehicles. It’s also helpful for lubing bike chains and loosening rusty hinges. Just spray, wait and wipe with a clean cloth.
Honestly, with these key items in your arsenal, there’s not a basic home project you can’t handle.
With a nice tool box and a durable cloth, you don’t need anything else other than maybe some safety googles or something.
Well, except maybe the phone number for your local home improvement specialist. You know, in case you need an extra hand.