Hand Tools

Take matters into your own hands

Hand tools simple, relatively inexpensive items that are essential to the care and maintenance of any home. For simple home improvement projects from putting together furniture to hanging pictures, you'll find that hand tools come in, well, handy.

To get the most for your money, choose high-quality hand tools from a reputable company. These may cost more initially, but they are more likely to stand up to rough jobs and last years longer than cheaper alternatives, saving you money in the long run. You can select your tools individually depending on your specific needs and then package them in your own case or tote, or you can pick out prepackaged tool kits for extra convenience and savings.

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Selecting Screwdrivers and Wrenches

The foundation of any tool kit is a wide selection of screwdrivers and wrenches. You'll need anywhere from 4 to 20 or more of each, depending on what type of jobs you plan to do. For a comprehensive kit that can be used to tackle just about any home repair job, make sure you have Phillips head and flat head screwdrivers in a variety of sizes, as well as a few of the more unusual head types, such as square and star head screwdrivers. Don't forget your hex and nut driver tools to complete your set.

When it comes to wrenches for your tool kit, you'll want to get a full set of hex keys or Allen wrenches, as well as a combination wrench set. Pick wrenches that fit well in your hand and feel solid and heavy.

If you'll only be doing occasional handiwork and aren't prepared to make a big investment, look into beginner tool sets. Usually, these contain a few different types and sizes of screwdrivers and wrenches, and they are often sufficient for people who just need to tighten the odd nut or put together furniture every now and then.

Selecting Cutters, Hammers, Saws and Scissors

To round out your home tool kit, you'll need a few other items. A good hammer is essential — look for a dense-feeling hammer with a comfortable grip. A hand saw can also be useful if you'll be working with wood or other hard materials. Choose a small to mid-sized saw with a good thickness.

An excellent pair of scissors is a highly versatile tool that many people forget to include in their hand tool kit. Scissors are useful for cutting a variety of materials, from paper to cardboard to fabric, and they can be easily manipulated to cut intricate shapes and patterns. Some pairs of scissors also have other integrated tools, such as a wire stripper, bottle opener or hole-cutter.

For precise straight cutting, include a utility knife, and if you'll be working with wires or coax cable, you'll probably want to invest in dedicated wire cutters, as these produce the cleanest cuts and won't fray the wire. Other specific cutters, such as vinyl cutters and tile cutters, are worth investing in only if and when you have an actual project in mind for which you'll use these materials. For most impromptu home repairs, a utility knife or scissors will suffice.