So you’re probably not a mechanic or carpenter, electrician or plumber, but more often than not, you try to be before you call one of them. At the very least, you’ll find that you need things on a dime in a toolbox that you use often, and the rest you may never have thought you would need…until that day you suddenly do. Whether it’s fixing a toy, scraping old paint from a window, tightening a screw, or hanging a picture, you’ll be really happy that you’re prepared and don’t need to run to the hardware store.
Needle Nose Pliers
These are perfect for repairs and crafting and almost everything under the sun that you’ve never thought of, like fetching something that’s fallen into a space too large for your fingers. You can purchase low-end needle-nose pliers, but the last thing you want is to purchase a pair only to have the handle break or the jaws go out of alignment.
Expect to pay around $10 – $35
You’ll need to apply some due diligence to find the right drill for your toolbox by asking friends and checking reviews. But some key features to look for in your price range are a compact size, great power, and battery life. You’ll also need to be sure it’s a weight you can handle because you might be drilling overhead.
Expect to pay around $30 – $200
Drill Bit Set
There are sets galore to choose from, and some offer you what is purported to be every bit you’ll ever need the world over. But you really won’t need every bit in the world, just the ones you’ll use at home. A decent small or mid-sized kit from a company you trust should do it.
Expect to pay around: $20 – $30
Ratcheting Multi-bit Screwdriver
This is so convenient for saving space and frustration when trying to find the right screwdriver in a pinch because several different types and sizes of bits are stored in the handle under a screw cap.
Expect to pay around $30.
This little darling can be found with the multi-bit storage as mentioned above and is so useful for eyeglass screws, battery compartments, and much more. You won’t regret buying one as it should last a lifetime and will save you in a pinch.
Expect to pay around $6 to $15
Simply put, we recommend getting a 25-foot Stanley PowerLock tape measure for its durability and precision edge.
Expect to pay around $10
Soft Tape Measure
Not normally associated with tools, this is quite useful in your toolbox for a variety of needs. Grab a crafting tape measure from nearly any store for a low price point and you won’t be disappointed the first time you realize you have it within reach.
Expect to pay around $1 – $4
These are typically used for tightening your hose on the spigot, small plumbing repairs, tightening bolts, assembling things, etc. Try to find one that has tapered jaws for tight spaces and an extra wide jaw opening just in case. You don’t want to go cheap on this item because the lower jaw most likely won’t stay tight.
Expect to pay around $25
Like the adjustable wrench mentioned above, you’ll find these ever so useful for small plumbing repairs, connections, fittings, etc. A good tool can sometimes save you a $200 10-minute visit from the plumber.
Expect to pay around $15
Having both a lighter-duty and heavier-duty hammer available is not a bad idea. The lightest, cheapest hammer won’t work well for outdoor projects, but it’s also not the best to nail things indoors either. Typically a 16-ounce or 12-ounce hammer is suggested. The material (all metal or a handle made of fiberglass or wood) do not matter when only hanging picture frames, but if you’re also investing in a heavier-duty tool, you’ll want one that’s all steel so the handle will never break.
Expect to pay around $25
We scoured the Internet and found that The Sweethome has provided an online guide called The Best Stud Finder for Home Use. They said, “If you’re hanging heavy pictures, mirrors, or shelves, you need to know where your wall studs are—and the best tool we found for the job is the C.H. Hanson 03040 Magnetic Stud Finder.” They also list other alternatives, so check out http://thesweethome.com/reviews/best-stud-finder/
Expect to pay around $20 – $30
When you’re in a dark, windowless bathroom, under your kitchen sink, or in the garage, this little headlamp will save you from trying to prop up a flashlight. You can purchase them in hardware stores, camping stores, and online. Look for a long battery life and a pivoting lamp.
Expect to pay around $20 – $40
Regardless of whether you think you’ll be repairing plaster or filling nail holes anytime soon, this is an affordable extra to toss in the box. You really just never know when you can use it for something else, like cleaning. Some come with extra features, but you mostly just need durability.
Expect to pay around $6
If you’re like some of us who have a talent for stripping screws, these are a must-have. Otherwise known as the brand name Vise-Grips, they’re useful for removing things that are broken, rusty, stubborn, stuck, or stripped.
Expect to pay around $25
AKA box cutter, one feature to look for is a utility knife that has storage for an extra blade inside.
Expect to pay around $20 or less
Pry Bar & Nail Puller
We suggest the Stanley 55-116 8-inch nail puller. This pry bar and nail puller combo is something you didn’t know you needed. It doesn’t seem to generally damage windowsills and floorboards, has a bigger curve for better lift, and it’s a more compact size than some pry bars. You just never know when you’ll need one or both!
Expect to pay around $7 for the one suggested
When you stand in the aisle and look at these alien wrenches, you might pass on by. However, if you have ever assembled furniture or lost the hex wrench that came with furniture you assembled two-years ago that now needs tightening, you’ll understand. These are also quite handy for tightening some door knobs, installing towel bars, and more. So, since we agree you need a set, the best thing you can do is find one that comes in a handy and durable storage box.
Expect to pay around $15 – $20
This is such a great multi-tool for so many things, and we found the Hyde 17-in-1 that’s a combo tool (score!) for a great price. For use indoor and out, you can use the scraping feature for more than paint on windows, you can also get your kids’ stickers off there or scrape paint drips off the tub. Other uses include squeezing paint from both large and small rollers, putty knife action, opening a paint can or bottle cap, prying nails, and more. Compare it with other brands on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/HYDE-TOOLS-209651-Painters-Multi/dp/B00RM0NSQO.
Expect to pay around $10 – $12 for the tool suggested
Most would think a level is a level is a level. However, there are some considerations like it’s durability and how easy it is to read. Some come with a squared edge which is nice for tight or small spaces with 90-degree angles.
Expect to pay around $15 – $30.
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