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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
1

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.
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Kobalt claw hammer
2

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.
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Person using a long bubble level
3

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.
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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
4

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.
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Person using an all-purpose knife to cut mesh
5

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.
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Woman using a stud finder
6

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.
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Set of pliers
7

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.
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Set of Allen wrenches
8

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.
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Person using a Kobalt cordless drill
9

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.
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Pro Tip

Having trouble choosing? Check out our Power Drill Buying Guide.
Craftsman handsaw
10

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.
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11

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.
12

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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