10 Essential Tools for Every Home

Build your own tool kit to tackle any household job.

You know the old saying about having the right tools for the job? The following 10 pieces are absolute musts to have on hand for everyday household fixes:

  1. Hammer – The truly perfect tool, a lightweight claw hammer is ideal for hanging pictures and pulling out nails. A finish hammer (meaning one with a flat head and curved claw) that’s about 16 ounces in weight with a handle 16 inches long is a great starter hammer, and probably the only one you will ever need.
  2. Screwdriver set – Just one standard manual flat-head screwdriver and one Phillips head can tackle most household jobs, says Lee Wallender, the expert guide to home renovations on About.com. “You’ll find that each has an amazing ability to accommodate screw heads of practically any size.” Although you may also consider a miniature screwdriver set for fixing computer equipment, electronics and eyeglasses.
  3. Nails and screws – A box of assorted nails and screws from the hardware store will take care of basic wall hanging and repair needs. Wallender also recommends having drywall screws on hand that are 1 5/8-inches long. “They are the duct tape of today,” he says. “You’ll use them for tacking up everything but drywall.”
  4. Tape measure – If you need to arrange furniture, hang drapes or picture frames, or paint a room, a tape measure that’s at least 25 feet long is a big help. More ambitious do-it-yourselfers will find it useful for bigger jobs, such as flooring or tile work. Look for a wide tape that can extend far without losing its rigidity.
  5. Wrench – The only option when things go wrong with kitchen or bathroom pipes, a wrench helps you loosen or tighten pipe fittings and valves. It can also come in handy putting together furniture sets. Go for an adjustable crescent wrench that can be tailored to handle different sizes of pipes, nuts, bolts and other fasteners.
  6. Cordless drill – While a power tool may seem intimidating, the cordless drill has become an essential part of any homeowner’s tool kit. Even if you don’t use it to drill, you will more often use it as an electric screwdriver when putting together furniture and shelving. Look for an 18-volt drill for increased power, and be sure to find one with a lithium-ion battery, because the alternative nickel-cadmium (NiCad) batteries are being phased out.
  7. Pliers – There are several different types of pliers that are handy for grabbing, holding and even cutting wires or pipes. Pump or tongue-and-groove pliers work kind of like a wrench to help turn stuck pipe fittings, nuts and bolts. Cutting pliers can help you cut through wire and metal. Needle-nose pliers can help you grasp wires in tight spaces when doing electrical work. Be sure to look for insulated pliers, which have coated handles that protect the user from electric shock.
  8. Utility knife – Known to many as a box cutter, a utility knife has retractable and replaceable blades that can be used for scraping paint, cutting tape, exposing wire and much more.
  9. Duct tape and super glue – Keep both in your toolbox for quick fixes, or to use as a stopgap until you can perform a proper repair or call in a professional.
  10. Saw – Depending on your dwelling, this may be an optional choice. But if you plan on doing home renovations, or just have a tree in your yard that may need some branches trimmed, a basic handsaw will eventually come in handy.

Have a garage or tool shed where you like to tackle do-it-yourself projects? Make sure you have coverage for property not attached to your house, such as a detached garage or gazebo. Call your Nationwide representative today to request a free On Your Side Review of your property coverages.