Must Have Tool List

Must-Own Tool List

Everyone needs a few tools. Not hundreds, not even dozens, but day-to-day life requires things like hammers, screwdrivers, and maybe a wrench or two.

Tired of calling handymen, carpenters, and friends for things you can fix yourself? All you need is a little knowledge and some very simple tools. This site aims to provide you with the bare minimum tools you will need for your home. Nothing more, and nothing less, than what is necessary to get by. What follows are tools that everyone should own.

NOTE: For the sake of brevity, all the lists should be read to include the items in the previous section!

Must-Own Tools for Apartments

Apartments are small and often rentals, so you don't need a lot of tools to get by. That said, you'll be a whole lot happier if you don't need to call your maintenance staff to hang a picture or put together a shelf.

Must-Own Tools for Small Homes

In addition to owning everything in the Apartment list (above), people who list in small homes and want to be self-sufficient wil also want to own the below items. This section will assume you have a minimal yard or someone else is taking care of your outdoor space.

Note: At this point it might make sense to consider a basic tool kit. We like this 65-piece kit from Stanley. It's under $40, comes from a trusted brand, and it includes lots of basics that you'll need to have, plus a number of nice-to-own tools. As a bonus, it comes in a heavy-duty carrying case, so you won't have to worry about storage or transportation. On the downside, you'll miss out on the fun and flexibility of customizing your own toolset.

Must-Own Tools for Homeowners

You own a full-on house with a yard. Time for some big-boy tools.

Handy Andy

When someone doesn't have a tool, you're the guy they call.

The Best Multi-tool For Every Home

Multi-tools are jack-of-all-trade tools that work well enough in a number of circumstances but don't excel at anything. That said, they are undeniably handy. They aren't cheap, but multi-tools can be an OK stand in for a much larger box of tools, which means they are a must-have for anyone who is concerned about space -- apartments, campers, recreational vehicles (RVs), and vacation homes in particular. The best multi-tool, in our experience, is the Leatherman New Wave. At $75-90 it's no small purchase, but it's sturdy, it's compact, and it has all the essentials. Plus, it comes from the most trusted name in the multi-tool game. Best of all, the Wave has a 10+ year track record, so you know the New Wave is going to be good. If you want something a bit more robust then the Leatherman Surge is the tool to look into.

Power Tools List

An ordered list of the order in which you should buy your power tools. You can decide for yourself when you need it, since some of these will be largely independent of your home size and depend more on your activities.

  1. Cordless drill: This is the first power tool you should buy. Cordless drills are super handy, used often, affordable, and safe to operate. Some people opt for a cordless screwdriver, but we'd recommend against that. Those things tend to be under-built, under-powered and never charged when we need them. Get some good screwdrivers and then go ahead and get a real drill when you need it. Look for something from a name you have heard of before, like Dewalt.
  2. Compact circular saw: OK, now we're getting to an advanced tool that requires some real caution. That noted, if you need to cut though a lot of smaller lumber, this is a great option. A full circular saw doesn't cost much more but that's a much heavier duty tool with a whole lot more power. Unless you are a pro, or you are building an entire deck, any circular saw is probably overkill, but a 7.25-inch circular saw certainly is.