Tools you shouldn’t live without

Owning and maintaining a home can be expensive so it helps if you can take care of (at least some) repairs and home improvements yourself.


To that end, you’ll want to make sure there are a handful of must-have tools in your toolbox. Which ones? We’re glad you asked:

  • A claw or utility hammer: The good news is even the least repair-savvy among us has one, however not all hammers are alike. A claw hammer has a heavy head attached to a handle, with a forked tool on the back of the head to pull nails. You’ll want one with an extreme claw curve to make pulling nails as easy as possible and a handle made of steel or fiberglass, which are easier to hold than hardwood. A cheap and lightweight hammer may only cost you $5 but look to spend $20 to $30 for a good-quality one.
  • A screwdriver set: There’s no shortage of different screwhead varieties and you’ve likely found yourself missing the one you need. Invest in a set that includes drivers with replaceable or interchangeable bits. You also want to make sure your set features rubber or plastic handles — these will protect your from electric shocks should the screwdriver ever come into contact with a live wire.
  • A level: If you’re planning on hanging a shelf, a mirror or wall art, a proper level is a must. Laser levels are cool but they can be expensive. An old-fashioned spirit level, with a bubble inside a liquid-filled vial, is cheaper plus it allows you to rest it against the piece you’re trying to straighten, which makes it more convenient that the laser variety.
  • A battery-powered drill: It’s just as good as the plug-in but more convenient and, frankly, safer. No electrical cord means fewer worries about finding an outlet or tripping on cords.
  • A digital tape measure: While we poo-pooed the fancy level, we highly recommend a high-tech tape measure. It’s mighty convenient when you’re measuring an awkward space and don’t want to step away to scribble down measurements.

What tools can’t you live without? Share your two cents with the Shop Talk community!


Did you know? D-oh!


It goes without saying that all tools should be handled with care. And if you’re wondering what the most common tool injury is, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, it’s hitting your own fingers with a hammer. Be careful out there!