17 tools you need in your toolkit

Things need to get done around the house. That frame needs to go up on the wall, blinds need to be put up, you need that new railing along the stairs, and the bathroom needs a complete gut job. Whatever the size of your project, there are basic tools that you’ll need for your toolkit. For pretty much any tool, padded or cushioned grips go a long way.

Hammer. This basic tool comes in different shapes and sizes, but you’ll need it to drive nails or break apart objects.

Pliers. They’re used to hold objects securely. Try 8 inch needle-nose pliers and 10 inch groove-joint pliers.

Screwdrivers. Make sure you get a large and small set of each flat head, Phillips and Robertson. You can find basic sets for a reasonable price, but if you’re looking to save space, try a multi-head screwdriver.

Saw. The manual version is always handy for cutting pieces of wood. Go basic and grab a general purpose saw with a 15 inch steel blade.

Safety glasses and quality work gloves. Safety is always important, so invest in some safety equipment.

Adjustable wrench. A great multi-purpose tool. Eventually, look to splurge on a set of combination wrenches.

Utility knife with extra blades. Whether you’re cutting sheets of drywall or removing caulking, you’ll need a good blade to cut through a variety of things.

Carpenter pencil. Contrary to a regular pencil, a carpenter pencil is usually rectangular or elliptical so that it doesn’t roll away. This may seem trivial, but you’ll know exactly where you left it when you set it done to do another task. Overall, they’re stronger than regular pencils to withstand the construction environment.

Flashlight. Useful for plumbing or fixing a washer, flashlights will help you illuminate dark areas that have low visibility.

Super glue. Used as a strong adhesive for most job fixes.

Pry bar. Before getting a job started, you may need to tear something up. Do yourself a favor and invest in a decent pry bar, somewhere between 7 and 15 inches.

Duct tape. Need I say more? The ultimate utility tool.

Putty knife. A two inch wide blade is sufficient to handle most jobs, from applying drywall mud to scraping away extra paint.

Allen key set. When a screwdriver can’t be used, it’s usually because you need an Allen key. Grab a set so you have a variety of sizes.

Tape measure. Most jobs require measurements. Depending on what you’re doing, those measurements could be quite long, so look for a tape measure that is at least 25 feet long.

Level. A handy tool when you’re putting up shelves or building a structure. You’ll need to ensure things are level so that your structure doesn’t topple over and things don’t roll off your shelf. You can buy small levels, but a foot long can be used for most jobs.

Drill. A cordless drill that is at least 18 volts can handle pretty much anything. If you don’t use a drill often, try a corded drill with a heavy duty, long extension cord. And don’t forget to grab a drill bit set.

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