13 essential tools for homeowners: New homeowner toolkit

Updated May 15, 2024  |   Published April 3, 2023

If you’ve been a renter your whole life and just bought your first home, chances are you don’t have all the proper tools for basic repairs. After all, fixing things around your apartment was always the landlord’s responsibility. As a new homeowner, maintenance is now your responsibility, and you’ll need a toolkit to fix those everyday repairs. The hardware store might seem a bit intimidating at first. To help, we’ve compiled this list of essential tools for homeowners. With these tools, you’ll be prepared for minor repairs, basic renovations, and decorating.


Must-have tools for homeowners


1. Measuring tape

A measuring tape is first on the list of tools all homeowners should have because it’s useful before you even buy a house. Maybe you’re at an open house and want to know if the couch you already own will fit into the living room. Your handy measuring tape can let you know! Measuring is necessary for many home projects and a regular ruler won’t always do the trick. A 25-foot measuring tape is the ideal length for a non-professional measuring their own home.

2. Hammer

Have a claw hammer on hand for placing and removing nails. A claw hammer might also work for small scale demolition, but if you’ve got bigger demo projects planned like removing walls, get a sledgehammer as well.

3. Screwdrivers

With all the different types of screws out there, you never know which you will find in your furniture, walls, or floors. Screwdrivers come in many different shapes and sizes for this reason. There are Phillips head screwdrivers, flathead screwdrivers, tri-wing screwdrivers, and more. While you could buy a set of many different screwdrivers to be prepared to encounter any type of screw, buying one handle with changeable heads of multiple shapes and sizes will save you some storage space.

4. Nails and screws

Nails and screws are inexpensive and good to have on hand for hanging framed art on the wall, securing floor boards, or changing hardware.

5. Pliers

Pliers are another tool that have many different options to choose from. The most useful to you will be locking pliers (also called vise grips), needle-nose (perfect for grabbing very small things), and channel-lock (best for gripping nuts).

6. Wire cutters

Wire cutters or lineman’s pliers are another type of plier which are used to grip and cut wires. These are useful if you are doing electrical work or if you plan on crafting. If you are doing electrical work on your own, it would be a good idea to also buy a plug-in circuit analyzer. This will not only tell you if the electricity is running to your outlet (we don’t want to be electrocuted) but it will also let you know if the wires have been crossed/reversed. They have no batteries, simply plug them into your outlet for the results.

7. Wrenches or socket wrench set

There are many different sizes of wrench to fit different nuts and bolts. To cover all your bases, you could buy each different size wrench. But to make it easier on yourself, get a socket wrench set and switch out the socket to fit the size you need. Much like the screwdrivers, having a changeable head and one handle will save you storage space.

8. Flashlight

Flashlights are a necessity in your home in case of a power outage, but can also help you see in tight spaces that may not have overhead lighting – like an attic, basement, or crawl space. It’s good to have a heavy duty flashlight with long-lasting power on hand.

9. Stud finder

When you want to hang things on your wall with nails, it’s important that you find a stud for the nail to go into. If you put a nail into a spot that doesn’t have a stud, the nail will not be as secure. This could cause it to fall out of the wall, sending your art or family photos crashing to the floor. You can buy a level to make sure your wall art is straight, but most smart phones now come equipped with a level app, or have one available for you to download for free.

10. Drill

A wireless drill is essential for any homeowner. An electric screwdriver could get the job done, but a drill will get the job done ten times faster. It’s ideal for bigger projects that will require a lot of screwing or unscrewing. Like adding or removing trim from your walls, for example.

11. Miter box/saw

A miter box is what you can use to cut your trim. There are inexpensive miter boxes with hand saws that you can find for under $20 and require no power or battery. If you plan on doing some more heavy duty wood cutting, you can invest in a more expensive, electric, miter saw.

12. Utility knife

A retractable utility knife is perfect for opening boxes or cutting anything that you wouldn’t want to use a kitchen knife for. It’s much sharper and more powerful than a pair of scissors. The farther you extend the knife, the stronger your cut will be.

13. Toolbox

Once you’ve purchased everything from our list of essential tools for homeowners, you’ll need a place to store and organize them. A toolbox is a great purpose-built item that will keep everything easy to find and ready for your next project.