The Top Five Basic Tools Every Home Should Have

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image: hot black, morguefile

There's no getting around the fact that tools are needed for everyday home maintenance. 

From hanging pictures, to fixing that sliding screen door that got off track (I've done that recently) a pack the right tools can make a nice gift for a new home owner.

But which ones are the most important? And what does every home owner need? I'll let you know that I'm still begging for my circular table saw but until I get that here are the top five basic tools every home should have.

1. Hammer

There's no doubt about it – a hammer is one of the most important tools you can have around the house. The most versatile type of hammer is a claw hammer, which has two flat prongs on the end through which you can pry out a nail. The claw can also work to pry other things, like tiles from a bathroom wall or linoleum from the kitchen floor.

2. Screwdrivers – Phillips and Flat Head

Even though I said the hammer was #1 I probably look for the screw driver several times a week. My tip is to get several of these. I finally gathered all the stray screw drivers and put them in the tool but a few have already migrated out again. These days, you can't even change batteries on a kid's toy without a screwdriver. And you'll need a set of each – they usually come in three sizes, so you'll need six screwdrivers. The uses for these tools around the house are too numerous to list here, but everything from assembling furniture kits to hanging pictures requires a screwdriver.

3. Needle-Nose Pliers

You'll find more uses for this tool. Needle-nose pliers can be used for anything from making jewelry to working on your home's wiring. A couple of sizes won't hurt – sometimes the smaller size is good for tight places. The larger ones are excellent for any job where you need to grasp and move something within a small space.

Some needle-nose pliers come with a wire-cutting blade at the base near the plier's hinge. This makes a 2-for-1 tool if you can find it. Speaking of wire cutters…

4. Wire Cutters

Even if you have the cutters on the needle-nose pliers, it's a good idea to have another set of wire cutters as well. You can more easily “nip” a wire in a tight place if you need to without the “nose” of the pliers in the way. Wire cutters are very handy, even for decorating (like cutting floral wire).

5. Tape Measure

A good tape measure with a lock feature (so the tape doesn't whiz back into the case the moment you take your finger off of it. I am so scared of this happening) is indispensable around the house. You'll use this tool to center pictures, measure furniture, and determine the size of your house's rooms and/or yard. If you're thinking about getting windows replaced, fencing put in, carpeting put down, or any similar job, you'll need a tape measure. Most recently we've used our tape measure to get custom blinds in several rooms, measure out our square foot boxes and help our cabinet man measure the closets for custom shelves.

These are just the top five but really there can be a few more. Great tools are a great investment.

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