The 21 Tools Your Home Can't Live Without

The 21 Tools Your Home Can't Live Without is sponsored by Affiliate Links and American Home Shield, the leading provider for your home warranty.

When I think of the word "tool". three things come to mind: hot glue guns, Jersey boys at the beach (sorry!) and the intimidating sections of the garage and basement.  Now while I actually ENJOY crafting tools and toys (like the ubiquitous hot glue gun!), I realize that it is ridiculous to be intimidated by basic household tools.  At the very least I should be able to ID these tools and have a basic understanding of what they do, as opposed to asking my husband where that "wrench thingy is that locks when you squeeze it??"  (That would be a VICE GRIP I have now learned :)

So today I've invited my friend DIY Doug to share the 21 most basic tools everyday household should have for basic repairs and projects.  Doug is the DIY DUDE (you should SEE his Google + DIY community -- SO MUCH GOOD INFO!), so listen up and take notes of his tips, k??

This article is for two very basic groups of people:

A -- Are you confident you can ID and use the very basic of household tools? I challenge you to scroll through the list and see if you can picture each tool and what it does in your head.  Successful??  You are a TRUE DIY girl or guy and I am seriously impressed!

B -- Are you confident that you have NO IDEA what most tools are actually called?  I challenge YOU to scroll through the list and see if you can picture JUST ONE tool and name exactly what it does.  Successful?  YOU TOO are on the path to DIY household freedom!  Keep reading and learning -- this is simpler stuff that you might imagine!

I have linked each tool to a reasonably priced (low-midrange $$) example on amazon that is a solid brand.  Once you see the photo of the tool, you will most likely recognize it even if you don't know the name!!

OOOOOOOOOK-- enough chatter!  WELCOME DOUG!

An A-Z of Lesser-Known But Important Home Improvement Tools

Knowing the right tool and how to use it is essential to completing your next DIY project.  By having a general idea of the different tools and their uses, you'll have enough confidence to undertake any DIY task you choose.  So let's take a looks at a variety of different tools -- from saws and pliers to screwdrivers and wrenches -- all of which are essential for the serious DIY enthusiast.
  • Ball-Peen Hammer: Primarily used in metalwork, ball-peen hammers possesses a spherical-shaped head that is used to strike metal and other materials to help chisel it into place.
  • Box-End Wrench: Box-end wrenches are two-sided wrenches with a closed loop that fits over nuts and bolts for easier application.
  • Carpenter’s Square: A carpenter’s square is an L-shaped tool that is primarily used in measuring right angles. Lightweight and usually made of steel, a carpenter’s square helps calculate the proper angle at which something should be built.
  • Circular Saw: Circular saws are mounted saws that are used to accurately and cleanly cut wood or other materials. Containing a circular fine-tooth blade, circular saws typically require their materials to be clamped or held and are slowly fed into the powered saw.
  • Claw Hammer: Claw hammers are the typical standard of hammers. Used to hammer nails into a particular surface, claw hammers contain a claw-shape on the hammer’s head that is used to extract nails.
  • Club Hammer: Club hammers are hammers that contain a club-faced head. Usually heavier than other hammers, club hammers are used in building projects that involve splitting or chiseling rock, stone and other substances.
  • Combination Square: Combination squares are multi-purpose measuring tools that are usually used in woodworking. Possessing a typical ruler-type blade, a combination square has an interchangeable knob that helps check particular angles.
  • Crosscut Saw: A crosscut saw is a saw designed to primarily cut wood. These saws come in many different sizes and contain a serrated edge.
  • Electric Drill: Electric drills are drills that are automated drills that are used as a more effective and faster means of drilling. Electric drills come in many different options and can be either battery-powered or require a plug.
  • Hacksaw: Generally smaller and handheld, hacksaws are used to cut through certain plastics or metals. Hacksaws usually contain a serrated blade and a metal or wooden handle.
  • Hand Drills: Hand drills are an umbrella term for all drills that are handheld. Most forms of hand drills contain a circular crank that you move in order to push the drill. Generally considered old-fashioned, hand drills are still used by many who prefer to use a self-powered drill instead of an electric one.
  • Level: A level is a tool designed to ensure that you’re working on a horizontal or vertical level. Levels are usually used by carpenters or other builders.
  • Needle-Nose: Used in both gripping and cutting, needle-nose pliers are characterized by a handle with long, narrow ends that help grip or cut excess material.
  • Open End: Also known as an open-end wrench, box-end wrenches are double-ended wrenches that contain a u-shaped top, allowing for more versatility.
  • Push Drill: As implied, push drills are drills that are used by applying force or pushing down on the drill. Push drills are simple, lightweight tools.
  • Saber Saws: Saber saws are also known as oscillating saws, meaning a revolving motor moves the saw up and down when cutting an object. Unlike the circular saw, saber saws are usually handheld and are a faster alternative to circular saws.
  • Slip-Joint: The most common type of plier, slip-joint pliers is used by a mechanism that allows you to adjust the size of the jaw.
  • Socket: Socket wrenches are wrenches that contain a hollow cylinder which you put over nuts and bolts to tighten. Most socket wrenches contain handles which you turn to tighten the bolts.
  • Stud Finder: A handheld measuring tool that is used to find the location of beams behind walls. Stud finders are small, circular and are generally either electronic or magnetic.
  • Torx Head: Different from the classic flat or Phillips head screwdrivers, Torx head (or star screwdrivers) are the ones in which the head is in a six-pointed shape.
  • Vice-grip: Vice grip pliers are ones that are generally locked into position to remove the bolt or nut. Most vice-grips contain either an adjustable or motionless knob that will help scale the plier to a particular setting.

Knowing the right tool for the job is the first step towards being a happier, more informed, and more successful home improver. It really is true – anything is possible with the right tool. For my next few posts, we’ll be discussing some great projects that you can do yourself or fix yourself – so get excited!

About Doug! Our own DIY Doug Harris is a home repair man, do-it-yourself’er, and general “thing” fixer. He’s been fixing things since he was 6 years old and is a passionate DIY advocate. Be sure to connect with him over at Google+ and on his blog DIY Home Repair & Maintenance for more tips on improving and renovating your home.  



Felicia Kramer said…
Great article! I'm proud of myself - I actually own all but four of these (not as pretty as the new ones). And you're right, I didn't know the correct names for some of them. Thanks!