Wobbly furniture legs right before a lunch party? A clogged sink moments before your in-laws arrive? Or that one time your child flushed a toy down the toilet. Yikes!
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Home emergencies come uninvited. While it’s always possible to ring up a handyperson for help, it’s also a little embarrassing and, quite frankly, a waste of money.
But what if you don’t have “that” to tighten a loose doorknob or “that thingamajig” to clear a clogged drain? Not everyone (luckily) gets a toolkit for their eighteenth birthday.
So, to handle such situations like a pro – and save some bucks while you’re at it – here’s a list of essential tools to keep around your house. Some of these are multi-purpose and will be your go-to for various tasks.
A pressure washer is a cleaning tool that uses high-pressure water to clean surfaces. They’re great for cleaning driveways, patios, and decks. Pressure washers can also be used to remove paint from surfaces. Doesn’t that sound like something useful to have around your home?
Pressure washers come with either an electric or a gas motor. Electric pressure washers are cheaper and easier to maintain but less powerful than gas models. It is because electric models use less water and generate lower pressure.
Comparatively, gas pressure washers are more expensive but offer more power. You’ll need to refill a gas pressure washer regularly, but they’re much better for big jobs.
The eager beaver of the tool world, hammers are known for being able to do it all. From driving nails and screws into walls to prying open paint cans, hammers are one of the most versatile tools you can own. You should have a few types of hammers on hand, including a claw hammer for general purposes and a sledgehammer for more challenging projects.
Other useful hammers include a ball peen hammer, used for riveting and metalwork, and a soft-faced hammer, perfect for delicate tasks.
You can’t have a functional home without screws, which means you can’t do without a screwdriver (or two).
Just like hammers, screwdrivers come in various shapes and sizes to suit different purposes. A flathead screwdriver is perfect for, well, flathead screws. Meanwhile, a Phillips screwdriver is ideal for those pesky Phillips screws.
It’s always helpful to have different sizes on hand to ensure a perfect fit every time. If you can’t buy a separate screwdriver for each size, look for a set with interchangeable heads. They’re a blessing.
Need to grab onto something tightly or remove a nail? Pliers will come in handy.
Pliers have types, each designed for specific tasks.
- Slip-joint pliers have an adjustable jaw that can grip various objects.
- Lineworker’s pliers are designed for cutting and stripping wire.
- If you ever need to remove a stubborn nut or bolt, you’ll be glad you have a pair of locking pliers in your toolkit.
Most hardware shops have a set of pliers that come with all the different types – so you can save yourself a trip (or two).
There’s nothing quite as frustrating as trying to remove a nut with your bare hands. Cuts and bruises aren’t worth it. That’s where wrenches come in. These super handy tools allow you to apply the perfect amount of torque to loosen or tighten a nut, bolt, or pipe.
There are a few types of wrenches, each designed for different purposes. But you’d want to add an open-end and a box-end wrench to your toolkit for most nuts and bolts.
There’s also the all-purpose wrench, a combination of the two. What you’ll need the most around the house, however, is an adjustable wrench. This type of wrench can be adjusted to fit a variety of bolt heads and nuts.
A measuring tape
What do you do when you need to hang a picture or mirror? Or when trying to figure out if that new piece of furniture will fit in your living room? You reach for a measuring tape, of course.
A good measuring tape should be at least 25 feet long and have metric and standard units. Look for one with clearly marked numbers and a durable case.
If you want to take your home improvement game a notch higher, invest in a laser measuring tool. These gadgets use lasers to measure distance, making them perfect for larger projects. But if you don’t have one, you aren’t missing out – a good old-fashioned measuring tape will do just fine.
No matter how steady your hand is, it’s always best to use a level when hanging pictures or shelves. Or, your deep-seated need for perfection might just necessitate it.
A level is a simple tool that consists of a long, straight board with a bubble in the middle. When the bubble lies in the center, the surface is level.
Most levels are made of wood or metal. They are available in different sizes. If you’re unsure which one to get, opt for a shorter level – it’ll be easier to handle.
Some homeowners believe that levels aren’t essential. But if you want your walls to be completely level (and who doesn’t?), it’s worth having one on hand.
You might not need a drill every day, but when you do need one, you’ll be glad you have it. Drills are great for making holes in walls, cabinets, and furniture.
There are two types of drills: corded and cordless. Cordless drills are more expensive, but they’re also more convenient. If you have extra cash, we recommend going for a cordless model. You can easily carry it around the house and use it without worrying about an outlet.
Corded drills, conversely, are cheaper and will never run out of power. But you’ll need to be near an outlet to use it, which can be a pain.
You’ll also need to decide which size drill to get. The most popular choice is a ½-inch drill, but if you’re unsure, ask the salesperson for help.
These are a few essential tools that every household should have. With these around, you’ll be able to take on just about any project – big or small. We didn’t pay much attention to the toolbox itself, but having a designated place to store all of your tools is also important. It will help you keep your workspace organized and tidy. And when you start considering the bigger projects, you might want to invest in a power tool or two. But that’s a topic for another day. Until then, happy DIY-ing!