When I was 18, and bought my first car, and thought I was the coolest girl in town with a little zippy sportscar – sorry, just a little trip down memory lane. My parents gave me my first tool kit. That tool kit is still with me today and I do use it a lot. The set has a series of sockets, crescent wrenches, interchangeable screwdriver bits, allen (hex) wrenches, needle nose pliers, and locking pliers.
That set got me through several repairs (both auto and home). Now, as a homeowner, I have found that there are a few more tools to have on hand.
You will likely want to look for a multi-piece set like this one:
This will give you a wide variety of tools for a low cost. If you want a deal, try shopping for these sets around Father’s Day or Christmas. The set above was listed on Amazon.com for approximately $50 – $60.
Regardless if you are buying these items in a set or separate, these are the tools I recommend:
- Screwdrivers – Phillips head and a flat (straight or slotted) head. Try to buy a small and medium size of each.
- Allen (Hex) Wrenches in several sizes
- Adjustable Crescent Wrenches – I suggest buying at least two. One 6″ and one 10″
- Slip Joint Pliers (handy for overall gripping)
- Needle-nosed pliers
- Vice grips (Locking pliers)
- Tape Measure
- Level – 24″ is preferrable
- Utility knife (mat knife)
- Safety glasses
- 12″ Handsaw
- Stud Finder
- Pry bar (must have a flat sharp side and the other side a notch for pulling nails.)
- Tool box or case to keep all of the above in
- My favorite DIY guide to my home: Home Depot’s Home Improvement 1-2-3 – the best $15 I ever spent!
Last but not least, the most indispensable tool I’ve ever owned:
Cordless Drill with screwdriver bits and a small set of drill bits
For Electrical DIY:
- Wiring instruction book or guide
- Wire Cutters/Strippers
- Electrical Current tester
- You only need the simple tester with two probes and an indicator light to test if the power is on.
For the committed DIYer:
- Palm sander
- Carpenter’s square
- Staple gun
- Power Circular Saw
- Be sure to hold one in the store and feel how the grip feels in your hand. This is especially important as a woman with a smaller hand size. (more on power tool shopping in another blog post – coming soon!)
- Jig Saw
- Saw Horses or Folding Work Bench
- Clamps – A Variety of Adjustable Clamps and Clips
I hope this list gives you some good information so you won’t feel overwhelmed when buying tools. Definitely ask a sales person for help or opinions. Don’t tell them you are new at this. Ask them for the tool they would purchase if they were buying one for their shop. You should aim to buy a quality tool (especially power tools) that will last your lifetime. A cheap tool will either break or not have the power to do the job you need it to do. However, you don’t need to buy top of the line or break the bank to get a good tool.
Savings Tip: Many of the big box home improvement stores will usually price match tools that are priced cheaper at a competitor if it is the same make and model, plus take 10% off the price. Be sure to bring the ad with you or they will need to call or look up the price online.
Home Depots price guarantee:
NOBODY BEATS OUR PRICES
If any competitor tries, we’ll beat their price by 10%. Guaranteed.*
*If you find a current lower price on an identical, in-stock item from any retailer, we will match the price and beat it by 10%. Excludes special orders, bid pricing, volume discounts, open-box merchandise, labor and installation, sales tax, rebate and free offers, typographical errors and online purchases.
Lowe’s price guarantee:
Everyday Low Prices, Guaranteed
We guarantee our everyday competitive prices. If you find a verifiable lower everyday or advertised price on an identical stock item at any local retail competitor that has the item in stock, we’ll beat their price by 10% when you buy from us. Just bring us the competitor’s current ad or we’ll call to verify the item’s price that you have found. Cash (charge card) and carry purchases only. Competitor’s closeout, special order, discontinued, clearance, liquidation and damaged items are excluded from this offer. On percent-off sales, Lowe’s will match the competitor’s percent-off offer. Limited to reasonable quantities for homeowner and one-house order quantities for cash and carry contractors. Current in-store price, if lower, overrides Lowe’s advertised price. Price guarantee honored at all Lowe’s retail locations. Labor charges for product installation are excluded from our price guarantee offer in our stores with an Installed Sales Program. Visit store for complete details.
Sear’s price guarantee:
If you find a lower price on an identical branded item with the same features (in Home Electronics identical brand and model number) currently available for sale at another local competitor retail store, Sears will match that price plus, give you 10% of the difference. Just bring in the original advertisement to a sales associate at the time of, or within 14 days after, your purchase. More fine print…