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First home Starter tools

I am going to be a home owner soon. Do you have a list of the first tools (i.e. hand, power) I should invest in as a new home owner. Any assistance would really appreciated.


A. Spruce
Re: First home Starter tools

As attractive as cordless equipment is, you're actually better off with corded equipment, reason being is that your batteries will deteriorate faster without regular use and charge cycles. Nothing worse that grabbing a dead tool when you need it.

If you're on a budget, Sears tools are not too. Stay away from Ryobi, off brands, and Harbor Freight tools, they're cheap, don't work very well, and won't last long.

Brands I'd recommend are Skil, Milwaukee, Makita, Bosch, Porter Cable. Rigid will do in a pinch if you have to.

Look at your tool set as an investment, just like your home. Buy quality tools and products and your projects will go much more smoothly and last a long time.

Re: First home Starter tools

That is a wide open question and the answer will depend on what you will actually be doing. Screwdriver set, hammer, pipe wrench, multimeter or wiggy (I prefer the wiggy) Avoid large sets like the Sears mechanics tool set, as they are filled with pieces you will never use. A pair of needle nose pliers, side cutters and a electric drill are always handy. Then buy tools as you need them or as your hobbies develop.

If you become an avid DIYer you will grow your line of tools to match your skills and abilities. And as Spruce mentioned stay away from battery tools until you get to the point you will be using them on a regular bases.

I have a fairly complete wood working shop which includes table saw, router table, routers, thickness planner, drum sander, drill press, lath, compound miter saw, etc. And a metal working shop with welder, A/O torch set, pipe bender, metal cutoff saw, angle grinder , etc. Not to mention a slew of hand tools. And am still acquiring tools as needed.


A. Spruce
Re: First home Starter tools

Oops! I read your question as "power tools" not hand AND power tools. :o

We've had a few topics of this nature over the years. The thin blue tool bar above that has "user cp", "faq" "community", etc., has a search button for searching the forum. Click there and enter "hand tools" or "tool kit" and see what you find there.

This is a list that I came up with in a previous thread of this nature.

A. Spruce wrote:
  1. Good quality screwdriver set. Something along the lines of a Stanley with the rounded handles, not the cheapy squarish handles (black and yellow ).
  2. Flat bar - will deal with a multitude of tasks and sins.
  3. 16 ounce hammer or larger, whatever is comfortable to your hand/arm. I personally like the Estwing with the metal head and shank with the rubberized handle because it's a beast that will give a punishment and take a punishment and never give in. Not a big fan of the "curved claw" because it limits the amount of destruction that can be had. Go for the straight claw and when the pulling gets tough, get a block to put under the head for extra leverage. At the very least it should have a fiberglass handle. Leave the wood handles to the framers because they are useless to the average homeowner.
  4. Pliers - regular, needle nose, vise grip (small and large ), and channel lock style. While Fencepost may not like the channel lock style, a good quality brand such as Channel Lock will hold together and provide many years of good service. Off brands such as Master Mechanic and others will slip and crack knuckles.
  5. Cats Paw style pry bar. I like this style because you can beat on it with a hammer from either end and it will do it's job.
  6. An adjustable end wrench, better known as a crescent wrench. While this can get you into trouble if used inappropriately, it does take the place of an entire end wrench set for most household issues.
  7. Allen wrench. Again, I prefer an "all in one" set rather than an individual set because invariably you never have the single wrench you need. With an all in one, you will always have the size you need at hand. They come in both SAE and metric, and the great thing is that they are all captive on a single handle so you can't confuse the two together (SAE vs metric )
  8. Measuring tape. If you live in an SAE world, then get a tape that is ONLY SAE, if you live in a metric world, then get a tape that is ONLY metric. Don't get a "dual read" tape that has both because you'll only confuse yourself.
  9. A 5-in-1 tool This is a multi-purpose tool that works in a number of situations that others don't or can't.
  10. Crap chisel set. This is the one and only time that I'll recommend a cheap tool. The reason for this is that with a cheap set of wood chisels (again, Stanley low end ) is that they will do a vast variety of jobs from scraping to chiseling and can be sharpened as necessary for more intricate work. As time and money allow, get a second set of EXCELLENT wood chisels that are ONLY used on wood and fine cutting. Until then, the cheap set will suffice.
  11. Nail sets. These little babies work as both a nail set and a punch.
  12. Eye glass repair kit. Sounds weird maybe, but you'll be surprised how often you need that micro screw driver or the screws provided for some minimal task.
  13. Outlet tester with a built in GFIC tester. This is good for a number of things, from testing for a dead outlet to figuring out why an outlet isn't working properly. It has a few other uses too, but I won't divulge that to those not familiar with elecumtrickity.;)
  14. Utility knife and a box knife. Both have their place, both have replaceable knives.
  15. Tool Box - You need something that will not only hold this basic set of tools, but be able to hold at least a dozen more as your needs and collection increases. This tool box should be kept in a handy location so that you have it at hand when necessary for your typical home improvement needs.
  16. A second or third tool box in other areas so that you always have what you need where you need it. For instance, tool box one should be inside the house where most household needs are (laundry room or mud room is a good choice ). The second tool box should be in the garage so that exterior needs can be attended to. If you've got hobbies that require similar tools, get another tool box filled with the tools of that need, so that you don't steal tools from one location to another, then not have them when needed where they should be.
  17. Your contractor of choice on speed dial when your internet connection to the TOH host of regulars is not at your fingertips to help you through your predicament. :p Ok, this last one isn't mandatory, but it is a good idea when you get in over your head.
Re: First home Starter tools

obviously deadshort you dont know the right people, guys that actually know what they are doing and have the tools to do it dont cost pennies. trust me i know. im one of the guys that knows what im doing along with the rest of the crew im on

the guys who do it for nothing only cause more problems to the house they try to fix. guys who know what there doing not only do it right the first time but will make the house much more valuable in the event of the owner selling down the road. the last two houses i worked on which were later sold went up by 30% in price

Re: First home Starter tools

I agree, a corded equipment is far more reliable for the maintenance work of your house. I just got some rubber mallets of different sizes that I am really happy with. I think you should just first set them on categories and make a list for each category, you decide where to stop. As for me, anything that goes over $500 is not worth the effort. I am strictly referring to tools, not machines.

Re: First home Starter tools

The first time I needed to cut a 2x4, I thought about how nice it would be to own a power miter saw. But, I figured I wouldn't use it enought to justify the cost.

Several projects and 4 years later, I'm wondering why on earth I didn't shell out the cash and save myself countless hours of hard work.

If you take on any minor carpentry work, you're probably ambitious enough to justify buying a power miter saw. I'd get a compound miter saw. You'll be glad you got one.

Re: First home Starter tools

Congratulations on the purchase of your new home!

If you like to do things, if you are handy, if you are going to use your tools frequently, go ahead and buy quality tools, as listed above.

But if you don't like doing repairs, if you don't know how, if you don't have the time or the patience to learn, your most important tools will be the telephone to call repairmen, and the pen to write checks.

Re: First home Starter tools

A Klein Tools Rapi-Driv screwdriver:

It looks goofy but it's just the ticket for driving long screws, like the ones holding switches and outlets in the box. The shaft spins in the handle; you turn it like a crank. It's easier than it looks.

Re: First home Starter tools

If I was given $1,000 to buy tools for my non-existant brother to use in his new fixer-upper home, I'd buy:

1. A good quality tape measure.
2. A wet/dry vaccuum cleaner.
3. A digital multimeter.
4. A step ladder that can be converted into an extension ladder.
5. A Bosch jig saw (you can make more kinds of cuts in more kinds of materials with a jig saw than any other kind of saw, and Bosch's barrel grip jig saws routinely win the "best in class" awards when it comes to jig saws.
6. A Turbotorch STK9 torch or any propane torch with a "bunsen burner" tip that mixes the propane and air before igniting it (for much higher flame temperatures) and a propane canister.

7. A complete set of screw drivers, pliers, side cutters and channel lock pliers.
8. A pipe wrench for plumbing.
9. A computer to document what was done when, what observations were made, the model numbers of items installed and the manufacturer's customer service 1-800 phone numbers.
10. An Olfa H-1 razor knife and a package of replacement blades.

Re: First home Starter tools

My wife and I just moved into our 1923 renovation project.

>A good half mask respirator has been my ****en purchase
>My ripping bar and small metal mallet has had a lot of use.
>So has my wet/dry vac. (make sure to get one that has a wide diameter hose. I have a small diameter hose on a Ridgid *on sale* and it gets clogged quite a bit)

Nice tools cost money but I have found that you can pick up really nice tools for good prices at pawn shops. Just make sure you plug in the equipment and test it before you walk out the door. I have also made friends with contractors who know people that need to sell extra tools. This has been very helpful in getting quality tools that do not cost an arm and a leg.


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