Build the Basic Tool Kit

Hey, you, new homeowner! Channel your inner “Tim the Toolman” Taylor—and fix anything—with the right tools on hand.

Keeping House
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Be prepared for anything home life throws at you with these toolkit basics.

Screwdriver Set

Phillips-head, flathead, little, and big—be prepared to attack anything with a good set of screwdrivers. Remember, you don't need professional grade. Stanley make a 10-piece set you can buy for a song.

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Hammers

Invest in a 16-ounce claw hammer with a cushioned grip to protect your hands and a rubber mallet which is helpful if you need a more gentle touch. It also won't crush a misplaced finger the way a claw hammer can.

Pliers

The basic kit requires three kinds of pliers. You'll need a set of long-nose pliers and 10-inch groove joint pliers (which are helpful because they open really wide). You'll also want a pair of cutting pliers for those times a scissor just wont cut it.

Power Drill

Besides making you feel like a pro, a power drill will help you when you need more than a basic screwdriver, or when you need to make a hole in something, somewhere. Educate yourself about the best options available with Lowe's power drill buying guide.

Measuring Tapes

We'd be lost without our measuring tapes. Invest in a 25-foot model with a blade lock. The tape should be at least one-inch wide so it doesn't collapse when you have to extend it. If you're in decorating mode, you might want to keep a pocket-sized measuring tape in your car or purse—which is handy when you're shopping for furniture and perusing flea markets.

Adjustable Wrench

From fixing a leaky pipe, adjusting your kid's bicycle seat, or installing a mailbox, a wrench set is a must. You'll need a wrench whose jaws can be adjusted to fit nuts and bolts of various sizes.

Utility Knife and Blades

Just go for a basic model with a retractable blade. You can use it for trimming wallpaper, opening boxes, cutting rope and more. The Home Depot has a smart guide to buying these and staying safe. (Ever cut your finger with one of these? Not good.)

Level

Don't bother with the question, “Does this look straight?” A level is a must for hanging pictures, shelving, and televisions. A basic nine-inch level is a good place to start.

Ryan Homes Tip: When attempting a new DIY project, research it thoroughly online, and make sure to take the proper safety precautions every time.