I remember back in the days when I moved out, I owned nothing but a few boxes of my personal belongings, a bed, and a desk. I was 19 years old, and simply couldn’t wait to get my own place.
So, shortly after I got the keys to my first apartment, I did my first IKEA haul ever. But little did I know, everything came in boxes and every bit required at least 10 steps of assembly.
It didn’t take long, before I started realizing I needed a set of essential tools to get on with the assembly. Heck, I didn’t even have a screwdriver!
Fortunately I found myself a basic set of tools at a discounted rate, so at least I could still afford to eat while sitting comfortably in my newly assembled chairs.
Now, many years later, I still have few of these tools, but I’ve added a few extra items to my toolbox as well. They often come in handy whenever something needs a fixing, and I would never recommend anyone to move out without at least getting a set of essential tools for their new home.
So without further ado, here are a list of the essential tools every homeowner should have at hand.
Also worth reading: Great Tool Storage Ideas for Small Spaces
1. A Screwdriver (Or a Bit Driver)
A screwdriver is the most essential tool, and has a ton of possible applications. However, you can’t just get yourself one screwdriver, you have to get a complete set of Philips screwdrivers, flat-head screwdrivers, and Torx screwdrivers.
Here’s what you should get:
- A bit driver handle (also called hex bit holder)
- A bit set
Tip: Choose a bit driver handle that is soft/rubberized, if you have sweaty palms. It will give you a much better grip.
If you’re into electronics, you may also want to get a special screwdriver kit for additional precision when loosening/tightening housings, cords, and circuit boards.
Special screw driver kits are also considered an important tool needed to build a PC.
2. A Hammer
Quite simple really, but a hammer is a great tool for multiple purposes. Not only does it sink nails into wood and drywall, it can also pull them out afterwards.
You’ll find a hammer quite handy for a lot of various tasks, so make sure you get one that fits in your set of tools.
I recommend this compact hammer, or this American made heavy duty hammer.
Also check out the best selling hammers, if you want one with special features.
3. Measuring Tools
Before getting started with any DIY tasks, you need proper measurements. This is to ensure the precision of the work you’re doing, but can also be used to measure if a specific furniture fits in a given space.
Besides the ability to do linear measurements, you definitely want a level as well. A level makes use of a small tube full of liquid with a small air bubble inside, and the air bubble has to be centered to ensure a 100% level surface.
For starters I’d recommend you get the following:
Choose a metal level with a length of appx. 24 inches for extra precision, and if you want to splurge, you can get a short one too.
- Wooden rule
While this may be optional, it works very well when you need to make numerous measures, and it basically lasts a lifetime when used properly.
- Tape measure
A tape measure is very useful, and has a retractable blade of 25 feet or more.
Pliers can be used for multiple tasks such as gripping, clipping, pressing, and loosening. Because of the design, you’re able to put a lot of force into the action, and that’s why they are very popular.
I recommend this WORKPRO 7-Piece Pliers Set, because it includes all essential pliers that you’ll need around the house.
A wrench may not seem like an essential tool for homeowners, but trust me: I’ve lost count of the times I’ve needed a wrench, because it basically works for anything from fixing water pipes under the sink, to tightening the bolts on a bike.
When it comes to wrenches, you have two options:
- Adjustable wrenches
An adjustable wrench works for most bolts you’ll come across in a regular household, and doesn’t take up much space.
- Wrench sets
Wrench sets usually include combination wrenches in all the popular sizes. These are great if you use wrenches a lot.
6. Hex Keys (Also Known as Allen Wrenches)
IKEA loves hex keys, and most of their furniture require at least one of these in order to assemble it properly. If you can’t live with the tiny hex keys they usually include in the box, you should probably get a set for yourself.
Hex keys are widely used to tightening/loosening screws on bikes, cars, appliances, and furniture, so they are among the most essential tools for any homeowner.
I recommend one of following options:
- Hex key wrench set
These sets come in many different sizes.
- Fold-up hex key set
These sets are compact, and usually include the most popular sizes only.
7. Cordless Drill Driver
A cordless drill driver is a must, if you’re going to drill holes and drive screws into wood and drywall.
It doesn’t really make sense to get a corded drill, unless you’re going to work with concrete and stone. Most cordless drill driver combos have plenty of power to solve regular DIY household tasks, so this is definitely the way to go.
I recommend one of two options:
- BLACK+DECKER 20V MAX LD120VA
This is an affordable drill driver set, that has everything you need to get started.
- DEWALT 20V MAX DCD771C2
This is a great buy for those seeking a professional-grade drill driver.
8. Tool Storage
Last, but not least, you’ll need a tool box or tool bag to store your essential tools in a proper manner.
Here are the options I recommend:
- Tool box made of plastic
A plastic tool box is durable and keeps your tools neatly organized and sorted into small and large tools. It has a lid that locks into place, so you can easily carry it around and store it without worrying if your tools get wet or damaged.
- Tool bag made of fabric
Tool bags are usually made of a durable nylon fabric, and have open storage pockets and compartments. These tool boxes are popular because you always have an overview of your tools, and they remain easily accessible.
Perfect Gift Idea: A Set of General Hand Tools
A set of general hand tools come in many varieties, and is a great gift idea for anyone moving out.
It usually comes in a neat carrying box for proper storage and organization of your new tools, and it will make you able to take care of all sorts of rasks, ranging from hammering, screw tightening, cutting, and measuring.
If you’re in the market for a set of general hand tools, I would recommend looking for a set where these essential tools are included:
- Screwdrivers (usually in the form of a bit driver)
- Hex keys
- Tape measure
With these tools you can take care of most basic tasks around the house.
What Are the Best General Tool Sets?
I’ve been looking at the options, and there are definitely a lot of sets to choose from.
I wouldn’t recommend going with the cheapest options, simply because the build quality may end up causing frustration and there’s a chance you won’t be able to carry out the tasks you originally bought the set to do.
Here are the best general tool sets as of now:
- Apollo Tools DT9706 39-Piece Set
Best value. This set has all the essential tools needed for one who just moved out, and has a very reasonable price tag.
- CRAFTSMAN 57-Piece Home Tools Kit / Mechanical Tools Kit
Upgrade pick. This set has essential tools for DIY household repairs, but also mechanical tools to carry out basic tasks on your car.
- WORKPRO W009037A 322-Piece Home Repair Hand Tool Kit
All-round solution. This 322-piece set comes in a carrying bag, and has all the tools you can imagine to do most things you can imagine.