Whether you live in an apartment or a house, having some simple hand tools is a good idea if you want to save money on repairs.
*Updated January 2017
Hand tools don’t have to be new and expensive
Yard sales and the flea market are great places to find what you need. As you can see, once you use your tools a few times, they are going to get that “well-used” look fast. Back when I bought my house, I went to the flea market and found a great little metal tool box. I still have it, and use it all the time.
I won’t go into power tools like drills, saws, etc. because that is going to depend on the types of projects you are comfortable doing. However, having an inexpensive cordless drill will come in handy for all types of projects.
9 Hand tools that will get the most use:
1. Pliers– this type also can cut wire.
2. Needle-nose pliers – also with a wire-cutting function.
3. Box cutter – not just for cutting up boxes! Great tool if you have carpet to rip out.
4. Hammer – with a claw at one end to use for pulling out nails. I also have a little hammer (pictured) in addition to the regular-size hammer. The little one is great for light jobs like hanging paintings, or where I need to keep it in my back pocket to grab occasionally during a project.
5. Screwdrivers – slotted/flat blade style. It’s best to have a whole array of different sizes and handle lengths so you have lots of choices.
6. Phillips head screwdrivers – cross-head style. Again, have a wide choice.
7. Pipe wrench – Hopefully, you won’t need this tool a lot, but when you do, you will be so glad you have one! I got one after paying a plumber $90 to fix a leak in the kitchen sink. It turned out to be just a loose fitting that was tightened in about 2 seconds. I found the one pictured at Home Depot for about $15, and it’s already more than paid for itself when I fixed that same issue on the kitchen sink myself.
8. Putty knife – for scraping paint, applying taping compound to patch sheetrock, and minor concrete work. It also came in handy for gently lifting roofing shingles when installing a heating cable to melt snow and ice build-up along the gutters.
9. Adjustable wrenches – for loosening bolts.
Add these to your tool box too
Not numbered, but also pictured above:
You will also want to have a tape measure,
pencil (the big, fat ones for little kids are great! So are the flat pencils that don’t roll all over the place while you are trying to work) and
If you have ever put together IKEA furniture, you probably have a few allen wrenches left over.
Also handy to have – especially if you wear glasses – are those teeny, tiny screwdrivers.
I do have a few saws, but don’t use them that often, since I don’t do many woodworking projects. They do come out when I have to cut small branches out in the yard.
These hand tools are the essentials for the most common DIY projects. I keep some of them handy in the kitchen junk drawer, and the rest stay in the tool box.
What hand tools do you use over and over? Let me know in the comments below!