Essential Tools for the Homeowner

Buying a house is a bigger investment than most people realize, and not because of hidden costs or fees. It’s because of all the things you need to buy that you never knew you needed until you bought a house. Things like garbage cans. Step ladders. Brooms. A tool kit. I work with a lot of first time home buyers who are entering into the Peterborough and the Kawarthas market by purchasing homes that need a bit of work. Even if you are not buying a fixer-upper, having some tools are necessary to have around the house to do even some of the most simple home repairs. If you are looking for gift ideas for a new homeowner, this list of tools can be a good place to start!

A word of caution: avoid cheap tools. Spend the extra money for well-made tools and they will probably last as long or longer than you own your home. Also stay away from the infomercial 150-in-one multi-purpose tools. If one component gets damaged, the entire unit is useless.

  • Allen wrench – used to turn screws with hexagonal socketsBall-end Allen wrenches – particularly useful because the wrench doesn’t have to be perfectly perpendicular to the screw so can be used in tight and odd spaces
  • Box wrench – surrounds the nut or bolt for better leverage, used for plumbing and car repairs
  • Brads, nails, bolts, screws and spikes, various sizes
  • Channel-lock pliers (water pump pliers) – plumbing, appliance repair
  • Cordless drill/screwdriver – good for hanging shelves, furniture kit assembly, driving screws, drywall
  • Curved claw hammer – driving and removing nails, picture hanging, building projects
  • Digging spade – gardening
  • Duct tape – temporary repairs
  • Extendable-handle rake – leaf raking and gardening
  • Glue gun – small fabric tear repair, furniture repair, picture matting, hobby projects
  • Lag screws – for mounting large pictures or other large objects like wall vanities or heavy shelves
  • Level (2-inch with aluminum housing) – mounting shelves and pictures
  • Locking long-nose pliers – vise-grips for gripping screws with head broken off
  • Lopper – trimming tree branches and bushes
  • Needle-nose pliers – for small-object gripping
  • Open-end wrench – appliance repair, plumbing, general nut and bolt turning
  • Pipe wrenches – plumbing
  • Portable tool box – emphasis on the word “portable”
  • Pruning shears – gardening
  • Pry bar – opening crates, disassembling walls for remodeling projects
  • ShopVac vacuum (wet/dry vac) – floods or spills
  • Saw – for cutting wood, a 16″-24″ utility hand saw is all you need
  • Screwdrivers, Phillips, Robertson and flathead – available in sets of four or six different drive configurations
  • Snow shovel – winter maintenance, walkways, decks, steps
  • Socket wrench with a ratchet handle – plumbing and car repairs
  • Sheet metal screws – small furniture repairs, shelving
  • Sledge hammer – breaking rock for landscaping
  • Spray lubricant (aka WD40)– freeing up nuts and bolts, lubricating door hinges and metal window slides
  • Staple gun – upholstery, putting up insulation, hobby projects
  • Tape measure – purchase a 25’x1″ in a durable case
  • Trowel – concrete work, forming edges and smoothing
  • Utility knife with a retractable blade – general cutting
  • Wire cutters – electrical work, trimming utility wire
  • Work flashlight

Having a rounded-out selection of tools will help any homeowner make some basic repairs to help keep your home in tip top shape.