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Top 10 Essential Tools Every Homeowner Needs

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Your first toolbox can be small and simple. A plastic or metal box with a handle works well, as does a five-gallon bucket outfitted with a canvas insert that holds the tools around the side. Plan to purchase the following tools early on — or ask for them as house-warming gifts.


1. Screwdriver Set

Screwdriver Set

Use it for: Primarily for driving screws but also for light-duty prying.

Look for: A screwdriver that includes three or four sizes of Phillips and flat head screwdrivers will provide options for a variety of jobs. Magnetic tips are a handy bonus feature.



2. Claw Hammer

Claw Hammer

Use it for: Driving nails and prying things apart with the claw back.

Look for: Swing several 16-ounce claw hammers before you decide on one. You should be able to grip the handle comfortably and the weight should feel balanced. Lighter claw hammers are available for smaller hands but won't drive nails as efficiently.



3. Pliers

Pliers

Use it for: Loosening or tightening hardware and gripping just about anything.

Look for: Locking pliers are among the most versatile type of pliers. Grove-joint pliers adjust to grasp small or large items and are useful for the large fasteners used in plumbing. Needle-nose pliers are ideal for working with wire.



4. Utility Knife

Utility Knife
Use it for: Slicing through all sorts of materials, including plastic sheeting, wallpaper, cardboard, carpet and wire. 

Look for: A standard-size model with a locking blade that easily retracts is your best bet in a utility knife. Buy extra blades to ensure you always have a sharp edge — cutting with a dull blade can be dangerous.



5. Tape Measure

Tape Measure

Use it for: Finding the right spot to hang shelves or art and measuring rooms for painting or before purchasing furniture and appliances.

Look for: A locking 25-foot metal tape measure will suit most of your measuring needs. Heavier-duty tape measures allow long unsupported extension, a convenience when working on your own.



6. Level

Level

Use it for: Hanging perfectly horizontal art, shelves and window treatments.

Look for: A three-foot long levelwill provide you with the most use. Choose a smooth metal model so it can double as a straight edge.



7. Adjustable Wrench

Adjustable Wrench

Use it for: Tightening and loosening nuts and bolts.

Look for: An adjustqable wrench should adjust easily and hold its size after being set.



8. Hacksaw

Hacksaw

Use it for: Cutting wood trim and slicing through metal and plastic pipe.

Look for: A hacksaw should be easy to outfit with new blades. Purchase extra blades because hacksaws can dull quickly.



9. Duct Tape

Duct Tape

Use it for: Patching tears and holding things together.

Look for: The adhesive on duct tape should allow for initial adjustment but become stickier with time.



10. Cordless Drill

Cordless Drill Use it for: Driving screws and drilling holes.

Look for: A 14-volt or 18-volt variable speed reversing cordless drill will cover most jobs. A keyless chuck makes changing bits easier, and a rechargeable lithium battery will power longer than older-style NiCad batteries. Every cordless drill is weighted differently, so try a few before making a purchase.