Last year, dubbed “The Year of the Home” by the editors at homeadvisor.com, saw a huge leap in the popularity of DIY home improvement projects.
Home maintenance projects, especially of the DIY variety, became even more popular, with homeowners, on average, performing slightly more than 7 maintenance projects, an increase of 25% over the previous year.
If you’ll be joining the DIY revolution, you’ll need proper tools. The basics will help you hang shelves, fix a dripping faucet, install a new doorknob and more.
Larger projects, on the other hand, require additional or specialized tools. Though tool prices have increased, there are ways to buy them on the cheap, which we’ll get into later on.
First, let’s start filling your toolbox.
Start with the basics
When it comes to tools, many homeowners feel like we can never have enough. Others just want the rock-bottom basics necessary to perform small repairs around the home. Let’s start with the must-haves in a very, very basic tool kit:
- Protective gear (at bare minimum, goggles and a dust mask)
- Duct tape
- Screwdrivers (both a #2 Phillips and a square-head)
- A 16″ all-purpose claw hammer
- Adjustable wrench
- 35’ Measuring tape
- Utility knife
- Flashlight or headlamp (and extra batteries)
If you’re new to the world of tools, do yourself a favor and learn tips from the pros. We love this YouTube video from Powernation, “You May Be Using The Wrong Tools For The Job, Here’s The Correct Ones.”
The above list of tools should help you manage basic home repairs. Anything larger or more creative will require additional tools. Round out your toolbox with:
- Circular saw
- Cordless drill with screwdriver attachments as well as drill bits
- Stud finder
- 6-foot ladder
Naturally, the list can be endless. Get additional tips on what to add to your toolbox on youtube.com, thisoldhouse.com and popularmechanics.com.
Where to buy these tools without breaking your budget
The least expensive tools are used tools and the best place to buy them is at garage/yard sales, estate sales and online marketplaces.
As you can imagine, used tools are in high demand right now. If you choose to shop at garage or estate sales, get there early because most will be gone after the first hour the sale is open.
Then, the used tools for sale in online marketplaces, such as those listed above, are becoming pricier (especially on eBay). Comparison shopping is critical if you hope to save money.
Use these sources primarily for hand tools, unless you are experienced with power tools. The latter should be checked for problems, such as frayed cords, missing chargers for battery operated tools and ensuring that the manufacturer’s safety features remain intact.
Our handyperson recommends that you also look for corrosion in the battery compartment of cordless tools. If you see it, pass on the tool.
Buying new? Prices can vary on items, according to retailer so make sure you price compare. The obvious outlets are Amazon.com, Home Depot and Lowe’s. But don’t neglect smaller retailers such as:
Once you have the right tools, home projects will go a lot smoother and faster. For how-to tips on common home maintenance projects, visit familyhandyman.com, thisoldhouse.com or bobvilla.com.