Many homeowners have an assorted collection of one-job tools — the specialty tools bought for a particular project, never to be touched again. At This Old House, we prefer to rent those kinds of tools (or better yet, borrow them). It's smarter, more efficient, and a bit more in keeping with our Yankee background to invest in good, solid tools that we'll use time after time, year after year.
We asked the crew to help us develop a master guide to what tools are the best investments for homeowners of all skill levels. The result is a comprehensive listing of more than 100 items, in categories from basic workshop gear to advanced woodworking power tools. You can start with them on simple repairs, and keep using them as you tackle jobs of increasing complexity. Various pages of this listing, left conspicuously around the house, just might snag you particularly fine birthday or anniversary gifts this year.
Wherever possible, the following pages include links to related articles on This Old House Online, where you can find additional information on choosing and using many of the tools in this guide. Additional information, along with detailed photographs and the crew's advice, can be found in the This Old House series of books, available in bookstores or in our online store.
Safety and Protective Gear
Tools: Beginner and Intermediate Sets
Norm's Power Woodworking Tools
Richard's Basic Plumbing Tools
Roger's Lawn and Garden Tools
Kevin's Favorite Tools