Must Have Tools for Your First Tool Kit

Which tools are necessary — which are not?

Whether you’re newly married, a new homeowner, or you just want to save money with do-it-yourself jobs around the house, you need a good set of tools. Trouble is, there are a million and one tools out there to choose from and this gets confusing. Here’s a helpful checklist for you to use to get you started.

Basic tools for every home

Some tools are necessary, some you don’t need unless you’re doing a job that requires specialty tools. Before you buy tools, review this list of hand tools and power tools to see what you need.

Tape measure

25-foot with easy to read markings. Look for models with automatic tape recoil.

Claw hammer

16-ounce hammer with steel or fiberglass handles. Fiberglass handles help absorb shock while using. Look for heat-treated and rim tempered hammers for durability and safety.

Utility knife

All metal with a multi-position blade and blade storage. Plastic knives are less expensive but break easily. Spend the $6.00 on a metal knife and it will be with you for years to come.

Screwdriver set

Buy a set with flat head and Phillips head screwdrivers. The set should have flat head screwdrivers in 1/4, 3/16, and 5/16 sizes. Phillips should come in sizes No. 1 to No. 3.

Look for ergonomic handles molded onto the bar. Screwdrivers built this way can handle more torque and will last longer. Nice rubber grip handles protect your hands when you have a big job to assemble.

Wrench set

Set should have standard and metric sizes to handle a variety of jobs. It’s best if you choose a set that comes with a storage case. This helps keep all your wrenches neat, organized, and easy to find.

Hand saw

For cutting wood. A good size is a 15″ hand saw with 9 TPI. Look for induction-hardened teeth. They stay sharp up to 5 times longer than standard teeth. Ergonomic handles are also a plus.


For cutting metal – should have a high-tension frame and a closed-handle design.


Stick with a spirit level instead of a fancy laser level. Spirit levels are cheaper and do the same thing. Buy at least a 24″ level.

Cordless drill

Drills that come with two batteries are best. This way, you can recharge one battery while continuing to work. Look for models with 14.4 and 18 volts of power.

Circular saw

This is a basic piece of equipment for doing cutting around the home. Look for 7 1/4″ models with carbide-tipped blades. Corded circular saws outperform cordless models.

These tools minus the cordless drill and circular saw should cost you no more than $200 if you choose the most expensive sets, or they cost $72 if you take the economical route. To get the best deals, watch your local paper for sales and fill up your tool bag then.

Now that you know what tools you need, go ahead, buy your tools and you’ll be set to tackle all those jobs around the house that have been waiting on you.