Essential Tools for A New Homeowner

Buying a home for the first time is exciting but overwhelming. So much goes into the process that seemingly benign things like sudden repairs or DIY projects may not even be in mind.

Here’s the thing:

You’re going to need the right tools in order to deal with these projects and repairs as they come up. There are a few essential tools every new homeowner should have so that they can be prepared for anything.

I’ll take you through these essential tools, from hand tools to power tools and more. Remember, you did just buy a new home, so it’s okay to gradually add these tools to your arsenal.

Power Tools

When you get into power tools, it is imperative to know how to use them right. Some can be incredibly dangerous when improperly handled, and that’s the last thing you need on top of a whole new house to maintain. Many power tools do the same thing as hand tools, but with substantially more force and power.

The following are a few essential power tools to get you started on more complicated repairs and projects:

1. Angle Grinder

Used to polish and grind, the best angle grinders have a wide variety of disk attachments for different projects. Some can act as a sander, too, and getting one of those instead of a separate grinder and sander may be more friendly to your budget.

2. Saw

An electric saw will help in instances where your hand saw just doesn’t cut it. They can handle concrete, drywall, metal, and more. If you do any woodworking or remodeling, they’ll be a great help then, too.

3. Impact Driver

Somewhat like a drill, an impact driver uses brute force to hammer things into place. They’re perfect for more significant projects and can handle large screws with ease. With a wide range and several attachments, this is a great tool to have.

4. Jigsaw

For more delicate projects that require precision, a jigsaw might be just what you need. Cutting intricate patterns into various materials is its specialty. Much like the angle grinder, it comes with a few different blades that are better for certain activities.

5. Sander

Woodworking tends to require a lot of sanding things down, which can be tedious to do by hand. Luckily, power sanders help the process move along with ease. Whether you choose a large, powerful one or a smaller, more lightweight one, a sander will take you a long way and save your arm strength for other situations.

6. Cordless Drill

If you have to limit the power tools you buy, a cordless drill should be the first thing on your list. The number of bits included with one can make your head spin, but as long as you know what you need, you’ll be fine. A drill comes in handy when you least expect it, and that’s why it’s so vital to have.

Hand Tools

Simple hand tools come in handy for more than just repairs. From hanging paintings to measuring furniture and rooms, you will likely need many of them for the move itself. Some projects are almost impossible to handle without specific fundamental tools.

Hand tools also tend to be more intuitive, so you may want to prioritize them instead of power tools. You probably already have some of these tools, which gives you a good start for keeping up with repairs as they come up.

7. Hammer

Hammers are a necessity to strike something with great force. Useful for removing nails, breaking things, and even removing residue, you should have at least one hammer. They come individually or in sets, so you are free to choose what’s best for your situation. At the least, you’ll want a claw hammer and possibly a rubber mallet.

8. Tape Measure

Without a quality tape measure, measuring anything large with ease is impossible. Ensure that any tape measure you consider is durable and at least 25 feet long. An auto-retractable one that has a moveable hook makes solo DIY a breeze. Also, the ability to lock into place is incredibly useful.

9. Level

Even the slightest imbalance can be an eyesore. Crooked paintings and uneven furniture are easy to avoid with a level. Levels are easy to use and will help prevent a lot of uncertainty when trying to use only your eyes as judgment. You’ll have plenty of options, too, including digital ones that are particularly user-friendly.

10. Pliers

When it comes to sensitive, detailed work, pliers are a must-have. There are several varieties, but needlenose and cutting pliers are versatile enough to handle just about anything. Bending, gripping, cutting, and holding is their primary job, but you can use them for many other things.

11. Screwdrivers

Screwdrivers are a staple for any toolbox. They open things, tighten screws, let you check connections, and more. They come in many sizes and bit shapes, so a set of at least 40 (make sure it includes precision screwdrivers) or one with interchangeable attachments is ideal. For potentially challenging projects, it’s best to get heavy-duty screwdrivers the first time.

12. Wrenches

Nuts and bolts are impervious to screwdrivers, and that’s where wrenches come in. There are two types of wrenches, adjustable and nonadjustable, and having both isn’t always necessary. Again, something heavy-duty is best, and for simple DIY, an adjustable wrench will do just fine.

13. Carpentry Squares

For DIY, a carpentry square provides a straight edge and helps you find or create 90° angles. Handy for stairs and roofing, there are all sorts of numbers and tables on it that make it more than a simple ruler.

14. Chisels

Are you working with a lot of metal, masonry, or wood? Chisels are simple and effective for dealing with these materials, especially when it comes to building things. They come in types and sizes, and what you need depends on the intended use.

15. Saws

Out of the many types of saws to choose from, a hand saw is the one you’ll probably get the most out of. These saws can cut drywall, plywood, pipes, and even trees. There’s not too high a learning curve, but proper handling is vital for this tool’s success.

16. Utility Knife

Even if you don’t plan on doing much DIY, a utility knife is pretty much obligatory. Things from opening packages to trimming a carpet are much more straightforward with one on hand. A utility knife should feel comfortable in your hand, be easy to use, and sturdy enough to last for years with frequent use.

17. Prybar

When used to create leverage between objects, a pry bar lets you use a considerable amount of force to separate them. The two ends of this metal bar are useful for removing nails and, of course, for prying things, especially wood, apart.

18. Aviation Snips

Cutting sheets of metal is no problem with an aviation snip on hand. They tend to be color-coded by the direction in which they cut, so ensure that you’re using the correct one for the project you’re using it for. Of course, these might not be something you use often, but when you do need them, they’re invaluable.

Miscellaneous

Besides hand and power tools, there are other ‘tools’ that will make your life easier. Some of them may seem to go without saying, but it never hurts to have a list to come back to. Things are likely to fall under the radar during the madness of moving and adjusting to the new house.

Here are just a few of the miscellaneous tools you’ll be happy to have on hand:

19. Extension Cord

An extension cord is vital, especially if you’re using many tools that require that kind of power. Even if you don’t, extension cords are just flat out necessary at times. Always having a backup power strip or cord serves you well, even if you suddenly need it for your entertainment system. If you use a cable, make sure not to plug in anything that requires a wall socket to avoid electrical mishaps.

20. Safety Glasses

Protecting your eyes from stray debris and other dangers is a huge deal. With higher standards to conform to, you know that you’ll have a guaranteed amount of protection. Glasses only get the ‘safety’ glasses title when they meet these guidelines, so you want to ensure that the ones you get explicitly state their compliance. Luckily, prescription safety glasses are available if you’re like me and can’t stand two sets of glasses on your face.

21. Shop Vac

A shop-vac is way more useful than you may think. You use it as a vacuum for dirt and debris, but you can also put it in reverse and use it as a blower. Shop-vacs have wheels and can handle large particles like nails and chunks of wood. If you happen to get a wet/dry shop-vac, you can get rid of standing water with it, too.

22. Ear Muffs

Working with power tools tends to be incredibly loud at times. To protect your hearing, you’ll want to have ear muffs to drown out potentially harmful decibel levels. They don’t block out all of the noise, but sometimes you want to be able to hear if something goes wrong. Not only that, but they can also act as a buffer if something were to attempt to hit your head.

23. Screwdrivers

Being able to get onto your roof or address something higher up on your house is essential. If you get one small enough to fit inside your home, you can use it there, too. It’s always better to change your approach instead of struggling with something just out of reach. A short-to-medium height ladder will serve you well in the beginning.

24. Flashlight

If for anything, you should have a flashlight for when the power goes out. Flashlights also help you see into dark crevices and find small tools that may fall or roll away during a DIY project. Bright light and a focusable beam make the best flashlight for most situations.

25. Duct Tape

Duct tape is everything. Especially for temporary fixes, you want to have it hanging around. You never know when something can be fixed with duct tape, even if it has nothing to do with your fixing up things in your home. A roll of duct tape should be in everyone’s arsenal, even if they don’t own a home.

26. Toolbox

What is a collection of tools without somewhere to store them? Probably a big hot mess. A toolbox keeps everything together in one place and has many compartments to organize things so that they’re easy to find when needed. Consider using your toolbox for commonly used tools and managing everything else differently.

27. Work Gloves

Protecting your hands from potential harm and the inherent messiness of DIY projects is critical. You want your work gloves to be thick and protective. Splurging on a good pair is entirely worth it, especially if you’re going to use power tools frequently.

28. Voltage Tester

This critical yet straightforward tool will help you determine currents and achieve proper grounding. Using the two insulated wires, all you need to do is touch them to the circuit you would like to test. It will also help you figure out if something has adequate voltage. You’ll want to get one that is rated by testers for up to 500 volts.

Final Thoughts

While you might not want to think about things going wrong in your newly purchased home, preparing for setbacks anyway will save you from a lot of headaches. Saving money by doing your own repairs can help immensely in the first year of owning a home. 

When making initial purchases of these tools, keep in mind that 12% of people reported that the first repair they had to deal with was within the first month. With this and the current state of your home in mind, make your purchasing decisions wisely. Regardless, enjoy your new home and life, and congrats on taking this huge step!