Let’s face it: not everyone was made to be a handyman. There are some people out there who couldn’t loosen a bolt without guidance. And that’s okay. But if you’re a new homeowner or you just want to learn, you can always start learning.
The first thing you need to do is create an essential toolbox that you can work with to finish any job that comes your way. It can be difficult choosing between the hundreds of different tools that are out there, but there are a few that you must have if you have any hope of fixing problems. Here a quick guide to three of the most important tools you can have in your toolbox.
Wrenches are some of the most versatile tools you can find. They can help you with everything from changing a toilet to working on your car, so you need to make sure to have a few good wrenches among your collection of tools.
There are several different types of wrenches, each with its own purpose. Open ended wrenches are your typical wrench, which slides around a nut or bolt from the side. These are great if you have a lot of room to work with, but if you don’t you can buy the most versatile wrench of all: the socket.
Sockets (like these from RS Components) fit right over the bolt head or nut to give a tight grip and prevent slippage. If you pair the socket with a ratchet handle, then you can use the locking mechanism of the ratchet so that the bolt will only turn one way, allowing you to tighten and loosen without having to refit the socket after every turn.
As with wrenches, pliers come with many different designs, but you can probably get away with having one two, depending on how specific your tasks are.
Needle nose pliers are pliers that come to a sharp point at the end and allow you to do delicate tasks like bend wiring and can even be used for fixing jewelry. Combination pliers have a fatter end and are useful for gripping. Both types of pliers also come with wire cutters built in, so you can snip any wiring that you may need. Although you should always cut the power to any wires you are working on, both pliers are typically insulated to protect you from small electric shocks.
It may seem like a no-brainer, but having a tape measure can come in very handy in many situations, especially around the home.
Tape measures are compact and easy to carry around — as opposed to yardsticks and other stiff measuring tools — and give you the spatial awareness you need to complete a lot of jobs, like centering picture frames or figuring out how much material you’ll need for certain jobs.
If you’re not handy but want to learn, these three tools are a great start.
Victoria O’Sullivan shares some DIY tips and tricks around the web. She herself learned the basics of repair jobs around the house and which tools to have in her toolbox from her Grandad.