15 Tools a Homeowner Should Own

The following items are essential tools, but this list is by no means exhaustive. Feel free to ask an inspector during your next inspection about other tools that you might find useful.1. Plunger: A clogged sink or toilet is one of the most inconvenient household problems that you will face. Ugh...2. Combination Wrench Set: You will always need the size that you don't have. Better get a full set (I like Husky wrenches for price and quality).3. Slip-Joint Pliers: Use slip-joint pliers to grab hold of a nail, a nut, a bolt, and much more. Beware, they will leave 'teeth prints' on plumbing fixtures if you don't cover the finish with a cloth. Learned that one the expensive way.4. Adjustable Wrench : Adjustable wrenches are somewhat awkward to use and can damage a bolt or nut if they are not handled properly. Some call this tool a 'Crescent Wrench.' Same tool but with a brand name.5. Caulking Gun: Caulk should be applied only to areas that are clean and dry. For a good bead, have a wet paper towel on hand and wet your finger, then run your finger along the caulk.6. Flashlight: None of the tools in this list is of any use if you cannot visually inspect the situation. L.E.D. lights are smaller and use less batteries. Let there be light!7. Tape Measure: Measure everything at least twice to ensure accuracy and avoid repeat trips to the hardware store.8. Hacksaw: A hacksaw is useful for cutting metal objects, such as pipes, bolts and brackets. Torpedo levelHacksaws look thin and flimsy, but they’ll easily cut through even the hardest of metals. Blades are replaceable, so focus your purchase on a quality hacksaw frame.9. Torpedo Level: Only a level can be used to determine if something, such as a shelf, appliance or picture, is correctly oriented. The app on your phone just isn't going to cut it.10. Safety Glasses / Goggles: For all tasks involving a hammer or a power tool, you should always wear safety glasses or goggles. They should also be worn while you mix chemicals. Or, in my case cook dinner.11. Claw Hammer: A good hammer is one of the most important tools you can own. A 16-ounce hammer is the best all-purpose choice, nevermind the old saying of a bigger hammer.12. Screwdriver Set: It is best to have four screwdrivers: a small and large version of both a flathead and a Phillips-head screwdriver. Watch your knuckles with these guys.13. Wire Cutters: Wire cutters are pliers designed to cut wires and small nails. The side-cutting style (unlike the stronger end-cutting style) is handy, but not strong enough to cut small nails.14. Respirator / Safety Mask: While paints and other coatings are now manufactured to be less toxic (and lead-free) than in previous decades, most still contain dangerous chemicals, which is why you should wear a mask to avoid accidentally inhaling. A mask should also be worn when working in dusty and dirty environments. Disposable masks usually come in packs of 10 and should be thrown away after use. Full and half-face respirators can be used to prevent the inhalation of very fine particles that ordinary facemasks will not stop.15. Duct Tape: This one goes without saying. Judging from the inspections I've done, I'm pretty sure most people know how to use duct tape.