The well-stocked toolbox

The equipment you will need for home projects depends on which ones you intend to tackle. You can progressively add to your collection as you tackle various jobs around the home. If, for example, you decide to install or repair wallboard for the first time, you may already have a hammer, level, carpenter’s square, and utility knife, but will need to buy special taping knives and a key hole saw. If you plan to work on the electrical system, specialized testers and cable- and wire-stripping tools will be essential. If you need to fix a plugged-up plumbing system, purchasing a rubber-cup plunger, drain-clearing flexible auger, or a toilet (closet) auger may be necessary. If you are working with plumbing pipes, crescent-type adjustable wrenches, a vice grip-type wrench and a pair of pipe wrenches (one smaller, one larger) may be essential. In all cases, consider personal safety gear, such as safety glasses (or goggles), gloves, and ear protection, your first priority when buying equipment. Also provide enough light, either with clip-on task lamps or with trouble lights, so you will be able to see what you are doing at all times.
Use the following lists as general guidelines for getting started and
building your basic collection of tools. To save money in the long run, tool experts recommend buying the best tools you can afford, so that subsequent purchases will add to your collection instead of replacing tools you already had.

The Basic Toolbox:

  • Hand Tools

  • 19-inch portable toolbox

  • 30-foot tape rule

  • 16-oz. curved claw hammer

  • Screwdriver set or four-way rachet screwdriver

  • 3/8-inch socket set

  • Flat combination wrenches

  • 6-inch slip-joint pliers

  • General purpose cross-cut handsaw

  • Jig (or sabre) saw


  • Mitre saw and mitre box Utility knife

  • 24-inch level

  • Chalk line

  • Awl

  • Carpenter’s square

  • Power Tools

  • 3/8 electric drill, variable speeds

  • Cordless power screwdriver

  • Cordless, 3/8 power wrench


The Intermediate Toolbox:
  • Hand Tools

  • 20-inch (or larger) portable toolbox or tool chest
  • 16-oz. hammer with steel handle ¼-inch and ½-inch socket sets with deep sockets
  • Screwdrivers of all sizes
  • Needle-nose pliers
  • Heavy-duty utility knife
  • Mitre box with 100 and 90° range
  • C-clamps and bar clamps
  • 48-inch level


  • 10-inch bench top table saw

  • Scroll saw

  • Bench top drill press

  • Combination belt/disc sander

  • 3/8-inch cordless or electric drill

  • 3/8-inch hammer drill, variable speeds

  • 5½-inch trim saw

  • Reciprocating saw

  • Belt sander

  • Power Tools

  • Small pry bars (at least one pair)


The Advanced Toolbox:
  • Hand Tools

  • 32-inch portable toolbox

  • Tool chest and/or cabinet

  • 100-foot tape rule

  • 16-oz. hammer with fiberglass handle

  • Triangular grip screwdriver, professional quality

  • Diagonal cutting pliers

  • Heavy-duty utility knife

  • Crosscut saw with 10 or more teeth per inch

  • Wallboard saw


  • Hacksaw

  • 72-inch level

  • Rafter, combination, and try squares

  • Power Tools

  • ½-inch electric drill

  • Cordless drill/driver

  • Miter saw

  • Plate joiner

  • Laminate trimmer

  • Router

  • Specialty sanders





The Home Repair Guide

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