The 10 Tools You Absolutely Need in Your Home

Consider this your ultimate starter kit.

Starter tool kit for homeowners and renters: saws, hammers, drills, knives, screwdrivers, wrenches, pilers
Vaidas Bucys / EyeEmGetty Images

Every homeowner, renter and DIY lover has a toolkit somewhere, but if it's dollar-store plastic or a super-basic set that came with flat-pack furniture, it's time for an upgrade. Don't worry, we've got you. These are the best tools for everyday emergencies, big and small. Bonus: Everything is multi-use, giving you the biggest tool kit on a budget.

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Must-Have Home Tool Kit
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Read on for a breakdown of each item, and why it's worth adding to your toolkit.

2 DEWALT 20-Volt Brushless Compact Drill/Driver
DeWalt
DEWALT
$179.00

We've said it before and we'll say it again, DeWalt's 20v Max line of drill kits have the perfect amount of punch for small fixes and big jobs alike. Use it in drill mode to handle wood and plastic pieces with ease. Switch it to hammer mode to bust through brick, metal, and even concrete. Plus, DeWalt tools are made in the USA and offer a three-year limited refund for any mechanical damage.

3 Stanley 16-Ounce Curve Claw Fiberglass Hammer
Stanley
Stanley
$19.03

Someday soon you'll move on from hammering frames onto your wall to hammering out a built-in, and that budget-store tool isn't going to help anymore. Fiberglass hammers have the highest durability, more than wood or plastic. The unique material protects the tool from rot, humidity, separation (wood handles often pull off the steel head) and their lightweight form can absorb higher impact. So even large fasteners are no match for this Stanley tool.

4 Flyshop 1-1/4 Inch Rubber Caps
Amazon
Flyshop
$17.99

Looking to hammer your Ikea pieces together without damaging the wood veneer? Rubber chair caps are a cheap hack to turn your everyday claw hammer into a rubber mallet. All you have to do is pick right diameter for your hammer (Tip: Most claw hammers are between 1 to 1.5"), and slide it on. Your neighbors will also thank you for turning the volume down, the rubber cap doubles as a sound dampener. 

5 Adjustable Wrench
Channellock
Channellock
$29.96
$24.93 (17% off)

Part wrench, part lifesaver, adjustable wrenches do a lot more than tighten nuts and bolts. This multitasker can pull hard-to-reach nails, pop a lug nut in a pinch, and replace any bendable wrench that's included in assemble-yourself furniture

Bonus: Channellock's version comes engraved for quick diameter measurements, so you know exactly what size fastener you'll need on the spot.

6 Set of 4 Pliers
AmazonBasics
$15.00
$12.70 (15% off)

Pliers are the Swiss army knife of any tool kit, mainly because there are so many to choose from: cutting, lineman, slip-joint, needle-nose. From jewelry making to wire cutting, pliers are the bread and butter of any DIY-er. Amazon's affordably priced set makes sure you're never missing a tool when you decide to try that deceivingly easy craft video

7 Orbital Sander
Black + Decker
BLACK+DECKER
$30.26

Painting thrifted finds? Patching over drill holes? You could use some elbow grease and a sheet of sandpaper, but thankfully orbital palm sanders under $75 exist, like this Black + Decker detail sander. It's iron shaped body allows for more precise sanding and it's dust attachment helps keep the job clean (You should still always wear a mask when sanding!). Buffing in hard to reach corners? The kit comes with a finger attachments for slim spaces and delicate details. 

8 TEKTON 3/8-Inch Drive 6-Point Socket & Ratchet Set, Inch/Metric
Tekton
TEKTON
$60.00

There's more to car ownership then gas prices. Every car owner needs at least three major tools: jumper cables, a tire gauge and a ratchet set. Even if you don't plan on maintaining your car by yourself, a ratchet is a must-have in emergencies and one size does not fit all. Own a foreign car or applicance? You'll need a set with interchangeable metric sockets. If you only buy made in the USA, a standard kit should help you with your car, indoor plumbing, even washer installation. This Tekton set includes both, for American homeowners with a foreign ride. 

9 Finder Standard Size 10oz Silicone Caulking Gun
Finder
FINDER
$15.21

If you're renting you can call your super for a quick fix, but as a homeowner its up to you to plug the leak and keep the heat in. My mother always keeps a caulk gun and two colors of quick seal tubes in her home at all times, one white and one clear, to stop holes in their tracks. Windows getting drafty? Re-caulk the frame before winter with a putty knife, sander and gun. Bathtub coming unglued? Tape it off and re-seal. 

10 VOXON Precision Screwdriver Set, 70-in-1
Voxon
Voxon
$18.99

60 bits or 60 screwdrivers, which is going to take up more space in your toolkit? More than just a space-saver, interchangeable screwdriver magnetic hex bits can be purchased separately for a number of different jobs: foreign appliances, your kid's robot set, the motherboard of your computer. This Voxon set puts precision in your hands with a full range of bits from standard phillips to Apple's 8 star key, un-screw any fasteners with ease.

11 Sure-Grip Lock Back Utility Knives
Husky
Husky
$20.30

You might be able to open your Amazon packages with a butter knife, but for around the house, a box cutter does more than slice cardboard. If you're installing temporary anything, this compact tool is a lifesaver. It will cut through vinyl backsplash, slash perfect lines in wallpaper and score snap-together wood flooring in seconds. 

12 Laser Measure
Tacklife
TACKLIFE
$29.97

Moving into a new home? Whether you're renting or owning, put the tape measure away. Laser measures, capable of providing angles, distances and volumes, do it all for fast, precise information on everything you need to know about your new space. Tacklife's pocket laser measure can take distances up to 196 feet, calculate square footage, and even store up to 20 measurements for quick references of an entire space. Next time you find the perfect piece of furniture, you can make sure it will fit. 

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