6 Tools You Need for Your Tool Box – On the House

6 Tools You Need for Your Tool Box

By on March 29, 2015

We’ve listed only six tools for now. But, there are more than these that any competent DIYer should have, and any pro. We’ll be revisiting this list soon and share some more insight. For now 6 tools you can’t do without include:

hammer and nails


For most jobs the 16-ounce, curved-claw carpenter’s hammer is best. There are two types of faces for hammerheads. If you intend on doing a lot of rough carpentry work a wooden handled hammer with a straight claw is best. The straight claws can be used for prying, moving walls and pulling large nails with a sideways pry. If you intend on doing work in close quarters like cabinet building and installation a curved claw hammer works best for pulling nails out in tight spots. Also, the curved claw shortens the overall head length of the hammer and makes it easier to use in confined spaces.

various screwdrivers

Screwdriver (flathead and Phillips)

A number 2 Phillips head screwdriver and a quarter inch flat blade screwdriver will probably fulfill every task you require of a screwdriver. However, you may be money ahead to purchase a good quality set to be sure that you have the right tool for every job. Buy the way, screwdrivers are not meant to stir paint with. In any event, make sure to have a cleaning rag ready when you use one for a stirring stick. Even if you have a driver drill (and a set of screwdriver bits) there will be times when plain old fashioned screwdriver works best.

tape measure

Tape Measure

You don’t need to be a pro to feel lost without a measuring tool. Just think of the times while out and about when you wished that you had had something to measure with. It’s an essential tool every tool box needs. Tip: When using a ruler or measuring tape, always read it straight on. Reading to one side can produce a distorted resultant. For a super accurate measurement, hold a measuring tape on its edge rather than flat against the surface. It is easier to read and to transfer a mark to the surface being measured.

Using a smart phone app like (Smart Measure) can be used for general measurements, where exact is not necessary.

crescent wrench

Crescent Wrench

For plumbing, electrical, gardening, equipment repair and more a versatile set of gripping tools is a must. A 10 inch set of pliers may seem a bit larger for your tool box — until the first time you need to hold something firmly. A 14 inch crescent wrench may also seem somewhat oversize. But more often than not when it comes to gripping — bigger is better.

rockwell drill

Cordless Drill

An electric drill can be used for more purposes than we have space to mention here. Drill bits can be used to bore holes for drawer and door hardware and to bore tap holes for gate hinges and hardware. With the right accessories a driver-drill (combination electric screwdriver and drill) can be your single most valuable tool. Rockwell 20V MaxLithium Brushless Drill & Driver (reviewed elsewhere on our site) has a comfortable grip, a quiet motor and rechargeable lithium battery (with a life-time replacement guarantee.)

bubble leveler


Levels have traditionally been available in a host of shapes and sizes depending upon the job. The most prevalent style is the “carpenter’s level.” It comes in various lengths and has two or more fluid filled vials that are used to establish plumb and level. It is often called a “bubble level” — when the bubble in the fluid-filled vial is situated between lines on the vial the object is plumb or level. There even is an app available for your tablet or phone called Bubble Level  that you can download in case you don’t have a leveler available. If you need something to work with chair rail, cabinets or interior trim installations you can use DeWalt’s Self-leveling line laser.

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