Keeping a toolbox full of the essentials around the house is a necessity for any home owner. You never know when you might need to make those small repairs around the house, assemble new furniture, or work on a DIY project. So which tools do you really need for a basic toolbox? While some specific tools will vary for some people depending on what they’re using it for, the following is a list of the essential tools that you’ll want to include in your new toolbox.
You Don’t Have to Buy Them all at Once
We would suggest buying high-quality tools that will stand up to the passage of time, even though it might take you a little bit longer to stock your toolbox.
So here are our suggestions for the essential toolbox that will work for anyone’s needs.
The Hammer is one of the most important tools when it comes to the toolbox. It’s integral to one of the oldest tried and true methods of repair since its invention: pounding on something until it works! It’s also good for driving in nails, destroying walls, tapping the lid closed on a paint can, pulling out nails, and inventing new words when you hit your finger. If you feel like getting fancy, you can equip your toolbox with several different sized hammers that are meant to work better for different applications. However, when choosing a single hammer to include in your essential toolbox we would suggest a classic 16 ounce hammer.
Screwdrivers are some of the most versatile tools in the tool box. They can pry off paint can lids, chip away at ice, chisel mud out of your boot or open a bottle. Oh yeah, and they’re also really great for tightening or loosening screws. You might want to consider an all-in-one screwdriver, that way you can save some precious space in the toolbox for other items. There are many different types of all-in-one drivers so you might want to think about any specific applications you might be using it for. If you just need to keep a screwdriver around the house then you probably just need one that contains a few size variations of phillips head and flat head attachments.
For those times when just eyeballing it doesn’t work, you’ll probably want to keep a handy Tape Measure around. Of course the concept of a tape measure is pretty straight forward, but there are some options you might want to consider like: overall length of the blade, measurement type, and the material that the blade is made from.
Similar to the tape measure, a Level could make all the difference when it comes to working on a project that requires precision. Keeping an eye on that little bubble in the glass tube might mean the difference between things staying still on the shelf you just installed or falling off! If you’d like to take a more high tech and hands-free approach, you could try using a Laser Level.
Emergency repairs generally occur when you least expect them (thus the term emergency). It’s frustrating enough having to make that plumbing repair under the sink, but if you can’t see anything while you’re trying to work down here then there’s a good chance that you’re probably going to lose your cool. Pre-emptively save your family from learning colorful new vocabulary by keeping a nice bright Flashlight or Worklight on hand. In addition to the flashlight, you may want to buy some extra batteries to keep in the toolbox for backup. You may also want to consider keeping a little LED Headlamp in the toolbox, because it can be quite frustrating trying to find just the right place to prop up your handheld light so that it illuminates whatever it is that you are working on.
While the Electric Drill is less of a necessity and more of a major convenience, it still has an important place in the beginner’s toolbox. Tightening and loosening screws with an electric drill will rescue your wrist and save you time. Drill bit options are also an extremely important advantage of owning an electric drill. A corded electric drill is one option, but if you can keep up with recharging the batteries, a battery powered drill is also a convenient tool to keep in the toolbox.
Sometimes you just need to cut something. That’s why the Utility Knife is an extremely important item that holds a place in the quintessential toolbox. The disposable blades mean that you never have to worry about sharpening it and the retractability makes carrying one around in your pocket relatively safe. Some knives even have a built in storage area that can conveniently hold new blades for quicker replacement.
What good is using that measuring tape and level if you can’t put a mark on the area that needs cutting? You can really only hold your finger there for so long. Pencils are also ideal for putting behind your ear and instantly making you look smarter.
Locking Plier Wrenches, also known as lever pliers or vice grips, are a great tool to have in your arsenal! Because of the many applications they can be used for, they may quickly become an invaluable asset. Among many other things, locking pliers can be used as a wrench, a wire cutter, or even a clamp!
Needle Nosed Pliers
Needle Nosed Pliers are another multi-purpose tool that you don’t want to do without. As you might be able to tell from their name, Needle Nosed Pliers have a long nose which gives them excellent control while reaching into small areas where cables and other materials have become stuck or unreachable by fingers or other tools.
Who hasn’t started pounding nails into the wall hoping that you’ll hit something solid? Instead of spending time and money filling all of those “survey” holes with spackle, how about taking the initiative and knowing where to stick the nail before the actual hammering begins? Stud Finders are fairly inexpensive and will save you time, money, and frustration in the long run.
The Hacksaw, which is sometimes referred to as a tension saw, is a great all-in-one saw for the toolbox. It’s a fine-toothed saw that was originally designed in the late 1800’s for cutting through metal. It is also an excellent solution for cutting through things like PVC, plastic, and wood. One of the best features of the hacksaw though is that fact that the blade itself can be easily and cheaply replaced after you’ve been putting a hurtin’ on it.
Adjustable Crescent Wrenches are ideal for the toolbox because it’s like having several wrenches in one, essentially saving space in the box for other important items. You’ll probably be using it quite a bit for plumbing and/or tightening up and loosening bolts. It’s an essential tool for the box and you’ll probably be using it quite a bit more than you might imagine.
If movies have taught us anything at all, it’s that a good set of Wire Cutters can make a difference when breaking out of a Nazi POW camp or cutting the correct colored wire of an explosive device. Even if you aren’t planning on disarming terrorist bombs or doing any DIY electrical work at home, Wire Cutters are great for liberating toys from packages during the holidays. If you do plan on doing some electrical work, you might consider also getting a Wire Stripper or looking for a combo Wire Cutter/Stripper.
-Written by Dane Gustafson