Essential Tools for Homeowners

If you don't have a handyman in your family and don't have a clue where to begin when it comes to assembling a proper home-repair tool kit, there’s good news: you only need a few tools to tackle most home-repair jobs. The key is to buy only good tools from reputable, name-brand manufacturers.

You will need a tool box to help keep everything together. A good toolbox can save as much time on a job as having the right tools inside. Alternatively, lightweight canvas tool bags often feature a number of pockets and compartments that can help with organization.

A lightweight (16 oz.) finish hammer with a curved claw to pull nails should handle most home repairs. Swing several before you decide on one. You should be able to grip the handle comfortably and the weight should feel balanced. Lighter claw hammers are available for smaller hands but won't drive nails as efficiently.

Screwdrivers (mixed set)
You'll save money and get the most use out of a good-quality mixed set that includes 1/4-inch and 3/8-inch flat heads and No. 1 and No. 2 Phillips head drivers. Magnetic heads come in handy too.

Tape measure
Tape measures are especially important for new homeowners and will be heavily utilized when planning out empty rooms. An easy-locking 3/4 wide model is recommended. A 25-foot tape should be long enough.

Reversible drill with bit set
A 3/8th-inch reversible drill is the only electrical tool that you have to have. A 14-volt or 18-volt variable speed reversing cordless drill will cover most jobs. A keyless chuck makes changing bits easier and a rechargeable lithium battery will power longer than older-style NiCad batteries. Don't forget a set of drill and driver bits too.

Utility knife
Utility knives are handy for a wide variety of cutting tasks and are far better for opening boxes and clamshell packages than cheap paper-cutting scissors. Be sure to always keep a few replacement blades on-hand.

At one point or another, you’re going to need to cut things. A good choice is a new hybrid saw that slices on both the push and the pull stroke, giving you steady control and a straight, easy cut.

9-inch torpedo level
Always use a level when hanging horizontal art, shelves and window treatments to ensure they are perfectly placed on the wall. These palm-size levels with the bubble that floats to center are essential to leveling everything. Add a board to the level if you need to level something longer.

Dripping faucets, clogged sink traps and stuck radiator valves all require the turning strength of a wrench. Get two: a crescent wrench (the kind with the thumb wheel to widen and narrow the jaws) and a larger monkey wrench, just in case you have to turn off a stubborn plumbing valve in an emergency.

American Home Shield is providing the information for general guidance only. Due to the general nature of the property maintenance and improvement advice in this material, neither American Home Shield Corporation, nor its licensed subsidiaries assumes any responsibility for any loss or damage which may be suffered by the use of this information.