Whether you’ve moved from an apartment, a rental house, or Mom’s basement into your first home, you will quickly discover you need tools to stock your first toolbox. The last thing you want to become is that new neighbor, always borrowing something. But because purchasing your first home has likely left you stretched thin money-wise, it’s a good idea to buy only the essential tools you'll likely need now.
We’ve created this list of must-have tools as a starting point. Without it, your first trip to your local hardware store could be a dangerous one for your budget. All of those gleaming new tools will be begging you to take them home!
Before you head to the store, however, look through your garage or junk drawer (or maybe your packing boxes) and cross off any items you already have. With list in hand of the tools you still need to fill your first toolbox, you’ll be better able to keep to your budget. And you might more easily resist the tempting thought that will inevitably pop into your head: “I’m sure I will need that 100-piece titanium drill bit set some day…”
16 Essential Homeowner Tools for Your First Toolbox
- Toolbox (you need a place for everything!)
- Claw hammer (the claw is essential for pulling nails)
- Crescent wrench (small and adjustable)
- Electrical extension cord (for outdoor use; minimum 25 feet)
- Flashlight and extra batteries (heavy duty for those accidental drops)
- Flat-head screwdriver
- Level (handheld size)
- Phillips-head screwdriver
- Pliers (locking and adjustable)
- Power drill (with drill bits)
- Putty knife
- Safety goggles
- Scissors (heavy duty)
- Tape measure (minimum 12 feet)
- Work gloves
- Utility knife
Bonus: Cooler (Okay, it won’t fit in the toolbox, but you are going to want one to keep ice cold beverages on hand after working on your new house all day.) If your budget is tight, or you just like to re-use whenever you can, you may want to check local second-hand stores, salvage yards, or garage sales, where you can pick up many of these essential tools, maybe even an old toolbox, as well as other small, used tools on the cheap.
Pro Homeowner Tip
Always return tools to your toolbox after every use, so you can find the tool you need when you’re in a hurry, or when you have an emergency repair to make. (And you will always know where to find at least one flashlight when the power goes out.)