Tools handy to have around the house

My friend just bought his first house and doesn't have anything in the way of tools. I told him I would put together a list of tools I think he should get. Now that I've got a basic list made, I'm going to share it here for some input.

I told him he should go to garage/estate sales and pick up miscellaneous tools there, as it never hurts to have backup tools. Craigslist can also be a good source of used tools.

I didn't go into brands, but brand will be important for warranty and overall quality. As with everything, there will be brands that are way overpriced because... marketing. I don't know much about the different tool brands so if you have knowledge on what brands have good warranties or are junk, etc., please let us know.

I'm sure I missed a lot in the list. I was mainly basing it off of what I've collected over the years, and in some cases, what I wish I had. Feel free to suggest some other tools. I just realized I didn't go into yard tools at all. I'll probably add a small section for them. I should also add a section for tools to keep in your RV since Kit and I camp a lot in ours.

The idea of this is tools for the average homeowner. Someone interested in woodworking would have an expanded list, of course.

I appreciate any input.
Thanks,
-BEP

After reading the responses, I've decided to add a "Basic Tookit" grouping. You're out on your own and ready to stop borrowing tools to get basic jobs done? That's what this list is for.

Basic Toolkit

  • Toolbag to hold the everything but the cordless drill. I like the ones some pockets on the outside and a couple hard dividers on the inside.
  • Cordless drill.
  • Small safety glasses.
  • Comfortable work gloves.
  • Drill bits and driving bits ( flat, phillips, hex, torx, square ).
  • Small claw hammer.
  • Screwdriver that takes the same bits as the drill. Magnetic to hold them in place.
  • Utility knife and extra blades.
  • Small and medium adjustable wrench.
  • Small level.
  • Needle-nose pliers.
  • Lineman's pliers.
  • Electrical tape.
  • Socket wrench and small set of sockets.
  • A universal socket like the Gator Grip for emergencies. I'm not a huge fan of them for real jobs, but one could come in handy.

All of this except for the cordless drill will easily fit in a medium toolbag with room to spare/grow. A small cordless drill would probably fit, but if you wanted to keep one in the bag, I'd probably get a small, cordless screwdriver instead.

We keep a version of this in the SUV we pull the trailer with and Kit has a version of this of her own she keeps around the house. Hers also has picture hangers, 3M hanging strips, super glue, and other things she needs now and then.

Hand Tools, Initial Setup Once You Get A Tool Chest

Some of these are duplicates of the Basic set. Either keep them in the toolbag or have the extras in the tool chest.

Rolling tool chest

Safety glasses

Measuring Tapes - try to get one with both Metric and Standard

  • Large one
  • Small one

Flathead screwdriver set
Phillips screwdriver set

A couple screwdrivers that take different bits. Magnetic.

A bunch of bits, something like Big set of bits

  • Flat head, different sizes ( get extra of these )
  • Phillips, different sizes ( get even more extra of these )
  • Torx
  • Hex
  • Nut drivers
  • Extensions

Allen wrench set, folding

  • Metric
  • Standard

Wrench sets plus a couple bigger ones that won't come in the set. Combination with open and closed end.

  • Metric
  • Standard

Socket wrench

  • Metric socket set, small and large
  • Standard socket set, small and large
  • Extension(s)

( you can buy pre-organized sets of these and some socket rack trays to store them on in your tool chest )

Adjustable wrench set - Small, Medium, Large

Claw Hammer ( standard type hammer ) - all metal, 1 piece

Wrecking bar(s) and pry bar(s)

Small level - doubles as a straight edge
Large level - doubles as a circular saw fence and straight edge

Vice grips, at least 2 sizes

Pliers - all types and sizes

  • Lineman's pliers
  • Adjustable pliers
  • Needle-nose ( get several )
  • Bent-nose
  • Groove-joint ( "Channellock" )

Wire cutters

Wire strippers

Cheap utility knives

A good utility knife

Multimeter, Outlet tester, Voltage tester

Cheap clamps

Duct Tape

Nylon and cotton rope

Electrical tape

Teflon tape

Packing tape

Tube of graphite

Flashlights / head-lamp / hanging work light for hand-free work.

_________________________________________________________________________

Miscellaneous

Work bench

Vice

Rollable work table

Wet/Dry Shop Vac

Heavy duty extension cord, medium and long

A good assortment of screws, bolts, nuts, nails, washers, etc. I never throw away any of these things and it comes in handy all the time.

Caulk Gun and a tube of silicon for emergencies
_________________________________________________________________________

Hand Tools - Not as important but nice to have

Small step ladder

Large ladder

Monkey / Pipe wrenches - 2 sizes

Speed square

T-Square

L-Square

Hacksaw

Chalk Line

Plumb Bob ('s your Uncle)

Shop vac

Tin snips

Putty knife

Spackle knife

Sledge hammer, mini sledge hammer

Rubber mallet

Files

Various saws

  • Standard
  • Coping
  • Hack

Wood Chisels

Stud finder

Nice clamps

Drywall knife

Nail punches

Tap and Die sets

Torque wrench

Plumber's snake

Power Tools, Initial Setup

Cordless drill / hammer drill, Lithium-Ion.

  • Extra battery
  • Extra drill, same type

Small Cordless screwdriver

Circular saw

Jigsaw

Hand sander

Rotary tool ( ie. Dremel-type ) and various bits / accessories

____________________________________________________________________

Power Tools - Not as important but nice to have

Corded drill / hammer drill

Mitre Saw, sliding

Table saw

Drill press

Sawzall

Angle grinder

Orbital sander

Belt sander

Air Compressor

  • Accessory Kit ( air chuck, ball needle, blower, hose(s), etc. )
  • Brad / Staple Nailer
  • Framing Nailer ( 8-penny / 16-penny )

Tools to put in your RV
See: Gamers who RV / Trailer / 5th Wheel / Camp / Glamp

Socket wrench and socket to remove old anode rod.

Level

Cordless drill and socket to raise/lower levelers

Screwdriver set

Socket set

______________________________________________

Tools to put in your Truck / Car

Lug wrench

Flashlight

Jack

Jumper cables

Flares or equivalent

Wire cutters, pliers, screwdriver with changeable bits.

Yard Tools, Initial Setup

Branch Lopper / Pruners

Small hand pruners

Rakes

  • Leaf
  • Bow

Shovels

  • Round Point
  • Square Point
  • Digging Spade

Water shutoff key

Gloves, gloves, gloves

_______________________________________________

Yard Tools, More Specialized

Bow saw

Digging fork

Tree Alligator (Like this one...) or small chainsaw

Generic Pickup Tool (see Amanda's pic below)

________________________________________________

Yard Tools / Outdoor Equipment - Cold Climate

Roof Rake

Snowblower

Snow shovel

I swear by my electric screwdriver. It's way better than turning screws by hand.

What do you have on your list already? That seems like the best starting point to look for gaps.

Edit: Oh, you're posting them. I'll wait until you're done.

Gremlin wrote:

Edit: Oh, you're posting them. I'll wait until you're done.

I'm done for now. Gotta go eat and prep for the D&D game. Maybe hang some lights in the garage.

-BEP

Not a tool per se, but every homeowner should own at least one Watchdog water alarm. It’s saved my bacon several times over the years.

https://www.homedepot.com/p/Basement...

Having only owned a house for three years, but with a father in law who works at Home Depot, I've built up a pretty decent tool collection.

For my money, the biggest things you want are a decent set of screwdrivers, a level (probably a short and long one), ladder (6' max for everyday stuff, a big extension ladder if you need it for high ceilings or exterior stuff), a drill (one that's bigger for heavy stuff, a small one or power screwdriver for little stuff), and a saw. A small circular saw is great, a reciprocating saw is also handy for a lot of stuff. An impact drill is something I didn't get until recently, but now that I've got it, it's been SUPER handy, and I wish I'd had it sooner.

For outside stuff, the big lopper is a major one. Hand or electric clippers if you have hedges. If you have room, a wheelbarrow comes in super handy more than you'd think.

On the power tool front, because of the Home Depot connection, I wound up with mostly Ryobi tools that work off the interchangeable battery packs. It's actually been very handy. I have three or four of the big batteries, and they work in all my tools except my miter saw, which plugs in. Hell, even my small chainsaw runs on the batteries. I'm not doing a ton of construction work, but they've worked great for everything I've needed. Something like this is what I have, and it's a great starter set.

Other stuff is make sure the drill bits include hex bits, for all those assembly required furniture pieces that just come with a little allen wrench. I'd also recommend a small tool kit like they make for apartment dwellers that you can keep in the kitchen or somewhere else handy. It's pretty common that I need to hammer or screw something quickly, and having the basics right there is easier than going to the garage. Also, make sure you have the right adapters so you can use sockets on the drill. A hand ratchet is a must, but having the option for power is also great.

Honestly, as long as you've got the basics to be able to screw and hammer things first, I'd say just pick up the rest as needed. Doing a new project means you have to buy a new tool, but you're probably getting supplies anyway, and hey, you get to buy a new tool!

Depending on how many trees you have around your place, and what the weather's like, a small chainsaw does occasionally come in handy.

(Also make sure to have safety goggles, chainsaw safety chaps, and the appropriate container of gas on hand.)

It's not something you need often -- we've lived in an older (built in the late 1950s) suburb (which means lots of trees) for 20 years and have used the small chainsaw three times. But it was really nice to have those three times.

Also not on your list -- a wet/dry Shop Vac. That one gets used much more frequently.

Katy wrote:

Also not on your list -- a wet/dry Shop Vac. That one gets used much more frequently.

Yeah, that'll really come in handy.

For tools in the car, does that include a jack? And something the jump start the battery if it needs it? They're more car tools than general tools, but you didn't list them and they're the kind of things you really want when you need them.

Is this place far enough north to worry about snow? I'm not seeing any shovels, snow blowers, or things of that sort. Get far enough north and I'd also want to throw in a roof rake to get heavy snowfall off the roof--it will only be used occasionally, but a roof collapsing from the weight will really ruin your day.

You got me beat. I was going to say "Scissors and a knife".

Gremlin wrote:
Katy wrote:

Also not on your list -- a wet/dry Shop Vac. That one gets used much more frequently.

Yeah, that'll really come in handy.

I used mine the other day to get a small nut out of an unreachable place in the engine of my '64 Buick Riviera. Added to the list.

Here's what my neighbor made to go on the Shop Vac to get the nut out:

Spoiler:

IMAGE(https://i.imgur.com/nAXJttS.png)

This is where it was stuck:

Spoiler:

IMAGE(https://i.imgur.com/lsAmvQu.png)

Gremlin wrote:

Is this place far enough north to worry about snow? I'm not seeing any shovels, snow blowers, or things of that sort. Get far enough north and I'd also want to throw in a roof rake to get heavy snowfall off the roof--it will only be used occasionally, but a roof collapsing from the weight will really ruin your day.

We're in Oklahoma, so don't see a ton of snow. I'll add a section for cold climate specifics.

Thanks for the input, all.

-BEP

I recently picked up the "DeWalt 181 mechanics tool set" but not from Amazon. Costco regularly has it for under $90, but I don't see it on the website at the moment. Very handy set to have around.

For folks who just need the basics, it's hard to beat the 75 piece homeowner toolkit for $59.99 at costco.com.

Kit Includes:
1 pc 3/8 in Drive Ratchet Wrench (72 Teeth) CR-V
1 pc 3/8 in Drive Extension Bar
5 pc 3/8 in Drive SAE Sockets (3/8, 7/16, 1/2, 9/16 and 5/8 in)
5 pc 3/8 in Drive Metric Sockets (10, 12, 13, 14 and 15 mm)
4 pcs Screwdrivers: SL 5, SL 6, PH 1 and PH 2 (CR-V) with magnetic tips and with comfort-grip handles
4 pcs Precision Screwdrivers: SL 2.5, SL 3, PH 00, PH 0 (CR-V) with magnetic tips, comfort-grip handles
1 pc Ratcheting Bit Driver with magnetic bit holder and comfort-grip handle
27 pcs Driver Bits (4 Phillips, 4 Pozi-Drives, 5 Slotted Heads, 6 Tamper Proof Stars, 6 Hex Heads, 1 Adaptor (for 1/4 in Sockets) and 1 Magnetic Extension all in a plastic carrying case with belt clip
1 pc Adjustable Wrench with comfort-grip handle
1 pc Linesman Pliers (with wire cutters) and comfort-grip handle
1 pc Long-nose Pliers (with wire cutters) and comfort-grip handle
1 pc Claw Hammer (with 16 oz head)
1 pc Hand Saw (foldable and locking) with comfort-grip handle
1 pc Utility Knife (foldable and locking) with quick release button and belt clip
5 pcs Utility Knife Blade Refills (in blade dispenser)
1 pc 7.62 m (25 ft) Locking Tape Measure (high-impact /non-slip molded housing, with belt hook and carry strap)
7 pcs SAE Hex Key Wrench Set (1/16, 5/64, 3/32, 1/8, 5/32, 3/16 and 1/4 in) CR-V
7 pcs Metric Hex Key Wrench Set (1.5, 2, 2.5, 3, 4, 5, and 6 mm) CR-V
1 pc Torpedo Level

A heavy duty extension cord.

Plumber's snake. For when sh*t gets bad.

I would suggest getting a guide for a circular saw, which will enable you to cut straight edges quickly and across spans of up to 4' (width of a sheet of plywood!) or more.

-Specifically for flashlights: LED headlamps. They are light, bright, and allow use of two hands. I use ones with removable Li-ion cells but they can also take Alkaline or other in a pinch.

-Also, I have a few very nice cordless drills but my go to for assembling stuff, removing outlet plates, and other small things is small electric screwdriver with plenty of bit sets.

-Caulking gun and spare tubes of silicone caulk if it is an older house.

-Painting tools? Brushes, rollers, ect.. Of course this can just be picked up when needed.

-Laser level - great for hanging pictures and aligning shelves.

-Voltage test kit - If you are doing any electrical this is a must for safety.

-Regular old fashioned hammer or two - I know you mention hammering stuff a bunch but didn't see it on your list and a small one is nice for pictures and driving in framing nails.

-Wiring snake - I mostly use mine for Ethernet cabling.

For the mildly (or not-so-mildly) OCD, a straight-edge level and plumb bob (for your chalk line) are cheaper, low-tech alternatives to a laser level. Handy for leveling book shelves, hanging artwork and getting things nicely aligned in general.

Zaque wrote:

A heavy duty extension cord.

Done

tboon wrote:

Plumber's snake. For when sh*t gets bad.

Done

EvilDead wrote:

-Specifically for flashlights: LED headlamps. They are light, bright, and allow use of two hands. I use ones with removable Li-ion cells but they can also take Alkaline or other in a pinch.

-Also, I have a few very nice cordless drills but my go to for assembling stuff, removing outlet plates, and other small things is small electric screwdriver with plenty of bit sets.

-Caulking gun and spare tubes of silicone caulk if it is an older house.

-Painting tools? Brushes, rollers, ect.. Of course this can just be picked up when needed.

-Laser level - great for hanging pictures and aligning shelves.

-Voltage test kit - If you are doing any electrical this is a must for safety.

-Regular old fashioned hammer or two - I know you mention hammering stuff a bunch but didn't see it on your list and a small one is nice for pictures and driving in framing nails.

-Wiring snake - I mostly use mine for Ethernet cabling.

Done. Combined Laser Level with the Stud Finder - I use the level in mine all the time. I just wish I could get it to stop making noise anytime I get near it. Regular hammer was there, I labeled it to be more clear. Left off paint stuff.

PewPewRobo wrote:

For the mildly (or not-so-mildly) OCD, a straight-edge level and plumb bob (for your chalk line) are cheaper, low-tech alternatives to a laser level. Handy for leveling book shelves, hanging artwork and getting things nicely aligned in general.

I had assumed straight-edge level when I wrote them, but I should be more specific. I'll add plumb bob for vertical.

-BEP

Quote not be edit.

Running Man wrote:

I recently picked up the "DeWalt 181 mechanics tool set" but not from Amazon. Costco regularly has it for under $90, but I don't see it on the website at the moment. Very handy set to have around.

For folks who just need the basics, it's hard to beat the 75 piece homeowner toolkit for $59.99 at costco.com.

I find I like the small kits I have that are specialized but don't like the one I have that has a billion sockets, a bunch of wrenches, etc. in it. It's a bitch to lug around. That Dewalt set is useful and a nice size.

That Bonaire kit is what I envision as the stuff in a small, portable, tool bag to keep around the house ( and in the car ). Good selection of items. Kit has her own set in a toolbag with items like that.

-BEP

Let’s see, the tools I use on a regular basis are:

Hammer
Pry bar
electric drill
Cordless drill
Medium sized level, small level
Wrench and socket kit
Chop saw
Circular saw
Screwdriver
Pneumatic finish nailer

I’m sure I’m forgetting something obvious but I pretty much gutted and put back together my entire house with these. I didn’t include trade specific tools or garden tools.

IMAGE(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/611BkD05TKL._SX522_.jpg)

What are you guys using a pry bar / wrecking bar for so much that it is in your essentials list? In 10 years the only time I have used one has been when I re-shingled my mother-in-laws roof. I can't think of a need for one unless you are doing a renovation or something big.

I used a wrecking bar last weekend. The previous owner of the house had some landscape timbers in the backyard laid down to be a small garden. It's been a weed bed since I've had the house. I went to remove the timbers and found out they were spiked pretty good into the ground.

The wrecking bar was exactly what I needed to pry them up. A shovel may have worked but the bar is not going to break no matter how much force I can put on it.

Pry bars are even more handy because of how you can get them between things easily for prying. Definitely handy during any kind of renovation, like you alluded to. I've torn a lot of crap up in my life with pry bars. They aren't a need, but for the price of lunch, I'd recommend anyone to own at least one. If I had to choose between the pry bar and a wrecking bar, I'd probably choose a medium pry bar.

I need a new compressor. I've had a cheap one for years that came in handy quite a bit, but it went kaput in the Spring. It served it's purpose for the 15+ years I've had it, and it's always good to go get a new tool, AMIRITE?!?

-BEP

I can't suggest enough to have good safety gear. I spent a few weeks redoing the cement floor in my living room by pouring Portland cement a few years ago and found each of these invaluable. Working on bare concrete with power tools is LOUD. Also, doing any wood work without a dust mask is a bad idea. Fortunately I work for a company that is very safety conscious, so I knew about it in advance. But, the wrong time to realize you needed it is after the fact.

Safety glasses and Safety goggles
good leather gloves - multiple pair, you can never find them when you need them
hearing protection
knee pads
Dust mask

good above ankle work boots, steel toed preferably.

Just save yourself the trouble.

Also, the one thing I thought was a waste was a good stationary work light. Found I use it more than all the other tools I have.

LeapingGnome wrote:

What are you guys using a pry bar / wrecking bar for so much that it is in your essentials list? In 10 years the only time I have used one has been when I re-shingled my mother-in-laws roof. I can't think of a need for one unless you are doing a renovation or something big.

I use it once on almost every project but I do a lot of house and car work.

I will say this light is a must have as it can hang or stick magnetically in helpful places. NightStick work light.

Link doesn't want to work. Bayco Nightstick SLR-2166 .
IMAGE(https://d28dot95cvw30r.cloudfront.net/media/zoo/images/SLR-2166_9fd46a7145939b9e2929cd0feb665e32.jpg)

LeapingGnome wrote:

What are you guys using a pry bar / wrecking bar for so much that it is in your essentials list?

Breaking open crates when I'm low on health.

Spoiler:

That warehouse job didn't last very long at all.

It has been a project on my nerd list to make a break in case or portal storm emergency crow bar case.

I also don't exactly "need a reason" to have bought my 3 foot crow bar. I have named it storm breaker. Has helped more times than I thought. However once I didn't think through how I was using a prybar when breaking up my old deck, I propped it into a board then hit the other side and it launched in a giant arc. Inches from my face. Um yeah, got lucky with no ER visit on that one.

i have a 3 foot crowbar in my car for ragey drivers. I have pulled it out once when some guy thought I cut him off and he wanted to discuss the matter at the next light. Got out of his car screaming some stuff so I got my crowbar out from under the seat and got out myself and asked if he had something to talk about. Turned out he decided discretion was the better part of valor.

Tools: useful for more than a hurting yourself.