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Pro Tips

10 Must-Have Tools for New Homeowners

Becoming a homeowner brings both joy and, well, a little stress. But don’t worry: with a few of these must-have tools, you’ll be able to do some routine maintenance and make common repairs yourself.

Person using a measuring tape

Tape Measure

Having a tape measure on hand to measure anything from moulding thickness to the floor area is a must. Make sure to pick one that extends to at least 16’ so you can measure distances both long and short.
Kobalt claw hammer


A claw hammer is great for driving nails into (or pulling nails from) wood, drywall, and other materials or objects. To nail a great hammer, look for an ergonomic grip as well as materials that can resist harsh weather and reduce vibrations, such as steel.
Person using a long bubble level


Whether you’re installing cabinets, laying ceramic tiles, or hanging a new picture frame on a freshly painted wall, you don’t want to end up with crooked lines or displays. Make sure everything is straight by using a good old bubble level.

Pro Tip

Most of levels feature measurement markings. This means they can also be used as a ruler. To get a truly multi-purpose tool that you can use for years, choose a good quality 4’ level.
Set of Kobalt manual screwdrivers

Manual Screwdrivers

You’ll need screwdrivers for a variety of tasks such as installing light switches, tightening hardware, opening paint cans, and assembling new furniture. These must-haves are among the most frequently used tools in any household, so make sure you have multiple tips and sizes.
Person using an all-purpose knife to cut mesh

Utility Knife

From opening boxes on moving day to cutting vinyl flooring, you’ll be reaching for this tool over and over. Make sure to pick one with a comfortable ergonomic handle and to grab some replacements blades, just in case.
Woman using a stud finder

Stud Finder

One day, you’ll be able to determine the location of a stud simply by knocking on a wall. Until then, it’s safer to use a stud finder before starting any project that involves drilling or hammering into walls.
Set of pliers


Whether you’re replacing a faucet or twisting wires, make sure you have a good grip on using pliers. These simple and inexpensive tools are useful for all tasks involving fastening, gripping, and crimping.
Set of Allen wrenches

Hex Keys

Allen wrenches (those small, L-shaped hex keys) are often included when you buy build-it-yourself furniture. However, they tend to go missing just when you need them. That’s why it’s always useful to have a versatile hex key set on hand. It’s the perfect fit for furniture assembly, bike repair, and basic plumbing repairs, among other things.
Person using a Kobalt cordless drill

Cordless Drill and Drill Bits

Chances are that you’ll need to drill lots and lots of pilot holes and drive tons of screws when you first move in. Having a drill that you can take anywhere will save you time and extra work.

Pro Tip

Having trouble choosing? Check out our Power Drill Buying Guide.
Craftsman handsaw


Less intimidating than power tools, a trusty handsaw can be useful for a range of wood-cutting projects, such as trimming lumber or mitring decorative moulding.

Tools You Might Also Need

There are tons more tools and items you might need to add to your tool kit over time to make home maintenance and small repairs a breeze:

Pro Tip

It’s also a good idea to have a large-capacity toolbox where you can store your growing collection of bolts, screwdrivers, and more.

Tools You Might Not Need Just Yet

A nice big circular or table saw looks pretty good, we’ll give you that. But if you’re new to the home-improvement world, better leave all heavy-duty cutting tools to the professionals… until you become one yourself, that is!

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