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

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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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.


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.)


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.