Having just moved into a new house, here’s a list of tools that I think you’ll need, from personal experience. Especially since it really sucks to get a new item for the house, or have an issue with your new home, and not be able to do anything about it.
Every new homeowner needs a tool set unless they expect to hang pictures and draperies by driving nails with the heel of their shoe and hire a handyman for every little repair that will inevitably be needed. The question becomes not “why a tool set?” but “what does a homeowner tool set consist of?”.
The first concern is often cost and is a valid one. A small tool set for the first time homeowner should be able to be assembled for $200 – $300 and can be spread out over time as necessary. This is a small cost for the returns it can offer – quick, easy repairs and easier work on everyday tasks. A homeowners tool set can be put together for much less, but be aware that cost usually correlates to quality – low cost tools are usually of low quality and will often either not do the job or at best make the task much harder. Be prepared to buy not the most expensive, professional quality, tools but a collection of good quality tools intended for occasional use by a homeowner.
You will definitely need a screwdriver some time in your life. And very probably, VERY SOON. I would recommend buying a set of screwdrivers that will include the small, medium and large flat screw drivers, and the Phillips Screwdriver (a.k.a. Star screwdriver).
Levels can be quite expensive, so unless you really are planning on doing a lot of maintenance (like putting up new cornices), you should be able to get by with a 30cm Level. This should help you when hanging paintings, mirrors or even when adjusting the level of your fridge or washing machine. You will also definitely use this often.
This isn’t as crucial as the screwdrivers, but they can come in handy when you’re assembling things like garden tables (can you tell I needed it for that? ). Again, I’d recommend that you buy a set that ranges in size, as opposed to buying them one by one.
You will not know how you lived without a tape measure once you buy one. In fact, I can almost recommend that you buy 2! One for around the house, and the other to keep in the car… If you’re furnishing a new house, having a tape measure handy while shopping around is excellent!
I really like the tape measure that I own, because instead of having to lock the tape in place whenever I’ve extended it, my tape has a spring-loaded brake that I have to release when I want to extend the tape, or roll it back in. So there’s no worries about the brake not being locked properly, as the spring takes care of that.
Do I even need to talk about this one? Unless you’re 8 feet tall, you’re going to need a step-ladder to change light bulbs, clean those top shelves, etc. So get a good (safe) ladder.
Something every new home-owner will use often, and soon after moving into the house.
You will need this to hang painting after painting after photo…
According to Wikipedia, this is also known as a utility knife, a box cutter, a razor blade knife, a carpet knife, or a stationery knife. This is one of the most used tools I have. If only because I’m lazy and use it to open boxes and bags (like compost bags). Get a good quality, strong knife with replaceable blades.
And, something to keep all your new tools in. Get a large toolbox, with compartments for screws, nails, etc and space for your hammer, screwdrivers, spanners, etc…
I found out I needed this the hard way. New houses always have the kinks. And, thanks to careless builders who tend to block up the drains, a plunger is definitely something you’d rather have and not need, then need and not have. So get one just in case.