8 Tools Every Homeowner Must Own—and Why

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Every homeowner should be sure their toolbox has the necessary items to handle common problems around the house. If you don’t already have a well-stocked toolkit, then now’s the time to gear up. Even if you’re already pretty handy, it’s not a bad idea to run through the list below and make sure you aren’t missing any of the essentials. Here are the top 8 tools for every homeowner, along with examples of why you should keep each tool within reach.

1. Assortment of hand tools

Screwdrivers, a hammer, a utility knife, pliers, and a tape measure: These make up the bare minimum for every homeowner.

Screwdrivers are useful for assembling and disassembling just about everything. You never know when you might need a hammer to secure a nail. A sharp utility knife is also important to have around. Pliers are also useful in lots of situations, including minor plumbing repairs. You may want to have a set of Allen keys for disassembling or repairing common items.

2. Stud finder

The stud finder locates sturdy beams inside the wall where you can safely secure heavy artwork, mirrors, and other decor. A basic stud finder costs less than $10.

You may also want to stock up on drywall anchors for situations when you can’t find a stud in the right spot. These plastic pieces help keep heavy wall decor in place without damaging your drywall.

3. Level

A level is another useful tool for hanging wall decor, towel bars, and toilet paper holders. The bubble inside the level helps you determine whether your item is straight or crooked. Keep both a 6-inch and 12-inch level on hand, along with an assortment of small nails and screws in different sizes so that you’ll always have the part you need.

4. Ladder

Need to change a light bulb or replace the battery in your smoke detector? Or need to knock leaves out of the gutters? Even the tallest among us can use a lift from a ladder on occasion, so be sure to keep one around. A basic 6-foot ladder generally costs $50 to $100. For a more versatile option, splurge for an adjustable multiposition ladder.

5. Safety equipment

Take a cue from the professionals, and stock up on basic safety equipment. That includes safety glasses, dust masks, work gloves, and chemical-safe gloves. You can use this gear for anything from cleaning with strong chemicals to spray-painting an old piece of furniture. Work gloves also provide traction when moving heavy furniture.

6. Multitool

This vibrating tool features an interchangeable head so you can use different blades for different purposes. You can use it to cut a hole in drywall, or—for more advanced DIYers—to cut the jambs off doors when you’re installing flooring. And the list goes on. This versatile tool will set you back about $100, but if you foresee a lot of renovation projects in your future, it’s worth the investment.

7. Saws

A reciprocating saw, also known as a Sawzall, is great to have when navigating close quarters. Advanced DIYers should also make sure to have a circular saw, which is better for making straight cuts.

8. Sawhorses

Another tip for the handy homeowner or aspiring DIYer: Stock up on plastic sawhorses from the hardware store. They’re more versatile than you might think.

If you’re feeling overwhelmed by all of the tools you need, remember this: For big projects with a very specific goal (e.g., tiling your bathroom or installing a deck), you can wait until you get started to stock up on equipment. Don’t stress about buying everything at once.

Article originally appeared on Realtor.com.

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