What tools do you need while owning a home?

The title does express the need for tools when owning a home, but of course, renters would benefit from some tools as well.

Tools are everywhere, whether we’re talking about hand tools, electric, pneumatic, automobiles, or the infamous office “jock”.

But, some people don’t really know where to start, or how crazy to go. It’s understandable, because walking into a big box store (like my favorite.. Lowe’s) leaves us wandering around the store for 45 minutes in awe, when all we really needed was to use their restroom.

But anyway, what tools do we NEED can vary depending on a few areas.

The type of home purchase you’ve gotten into

Brand New Home

How “brand new” are we talking?

When moving into a freshly built home, or a fresh modular home, the need for a lot of tools really is not there.

If some future projects are in the forecast, by all means, get some tools now or when/as you need them.

I won’t judge!

An inexpensive set of cordless tools that are pretty capable of light duty work are the Black-and-Decker brand. Their 20-volt MAX system is rather good for a light use home owner.

Old Home [“Fixer-Upper”]

In this particular situation, a home is in various form of disarray. Which could mean it’s just in need of some touching up.

“A little elbow grease and a fresh coat of paint” – You can get away with borrowing a relatives tools for this if it’s light work. No sense in dropping thousands of dollars on a set of expensive power tools!

Well, getting an inexpensive set like the Black-and-Decker I mentioned above could be an option.

“This home needs some serious work” – Please assess the situation carefully, it’s not financially logical to buy an extra mortgage payment worth of tools if the work they’ll do won’t increase the value of the home by at least the cost of the tools.

The kind of work/updates will be done?

It’s sometimes hard predict the future projects because we change our minds as time progresses, and needs change as well.

Light work

Planning to hang a few picture frames? Maybe tighten up a loose screw or that ever-spinning knob on the kitchen drawer?

There are “tool kits” specifically directed toward home-upkeep and light work. They’ll include some screw drivers, sockets, a ratchet, and a hammer (along with some other odds and ends that may or may not ever get used).

If the need for more sophisticated machinery comes up, deal with the needs at that time.

Moderate Duty

For some people, hanging picture frames could be considered “moderate”, but let’s pretend it’s not for the purpose of this.

If the home has a garage or some type of space where maybe custom shelving would look great (that’s how it starts, then you’re building a toy chest for your 6 year old to put at the foot of her “rustic platform bed”), then you’re going to need a small collection of tools.

I would suggest a well priced, capable set of power tools for jobs of this nature.

For example, to build a good set of shelving you’ll want:

  • Miter saw – These can be had for under $120, and they serve a good purpose. While a hand-held circular saw could technically get the same job done most of the time, the stability and clean cuts from a miter saw can’t be beat by anything other than a table saw (which I would not deter anyone from buying second hand either).

    The back stop of a miter saw makes for straighter cuts, without the “wiggle” you may see from a hand-held circular saw.
  • Drill – It’s not necessary to use screws in shelving, as plenty of people will use nails or glue and joinery, but I try to keep it simple. You’ll need the drill and a set of bits to drill pilot holes (and possibly drive the screws if you don’t want to spring for an impact driver too).
  • Tape measure (kind of silly to put this down, but it’s needed)
  • “Speed Square” – Personally, I LOVE these things, not only can you draw a straight light that is square to the board you’re drawing it on, but this works great as a “fence” for a circular saw, to give you those clean cuts I was doubting above.

That’s pretty much all for shelving; honestly, it doesn’t take much, and once the tools are purchased, doing other projects will go much easier (and cheaper) if a quality tool was purchased.

Heavy Duty

Setting up a workshop, are we?

Great to hear!

If a workshop is in the future, the more tools available, the better.

I know that a drill press, a table saw, lathe, and a slew of power tools are dreams only Tim Allen could possible appear in, grunting and cheering.

But, it’s true; more tools, more power, more projects to nail and enjoy!

If you’re building a woodworking shop, visit my other blog post here where I go way more in depth.

Your Occupation

As a homeowner, the need for some tools will always be there, but depending on your job, those tools can potentially pull “double-duty”.

You are a Dentist

I’m sorry, but none of your dentistry tools will prove useful when trying to redo your roof, or remodel the kitchen.

Contractor (Carpenter, Plumber, Electrician, etc)

Now we’re talking. Justify the purchase of extra tools by linking their use to tasks that are common within your profession.

If a carpenter needs saws, drills and tapes, then borrowing tools from work to make updates or additions will be the smartest path (but, you probably knew that if you’re a carpenter).

The same goes for plumbers and any other contractor that may have a hand in home improvements.


This may not be as obvious, but auto mechanics need some unusual tools within their field.

It’s not unusual to pull open a toolbox draw to see a regular 1/2″ chuck cordless drill (12V, 18V, or 20V+). They’ll come in handy in all types of jobs, the same goes for impact drivers and wrenches.

If you’re new to mechanics, make sure you weigh the options while standing on the Snap-On tool truck. If home improvements can be made with the tool you’re considering, AND making money with it in a regular work day is guaranteed, pick it up.

At the very least

Everybody who owns a home should have basic hand tools that include screw drivers, hammers, and measuring tapes to get through the irregular need for such.

More importantly

If projects and home improvement is not your strong suit; get to know your local contractors and make a contact list of people to call when you need work done.

  • Carpenter
  • General Contractor/Handyman
  • Plumber
  • Electrician

They’ll get you through and difficulties!

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