Essential Tools for Every New Homeowner

tools hanging on peg board

As a new homeowner, you likely have a long list of items you need or want to purchase for your new home. From welcome mats to window treatments and wall hangings, there’s lots to buy in the first few weeks after closing on your first home. As you browse through new couches and home decor, don’t forget to stock up on the basic tools every new homeowner needs.

A well-stocked toolbox is essential for every homeowner, but choosing which tools to pack inside the kit can be confusing. What do you really need, and what’s just extra? Can you get by with only one screwdriver, or do you have to buy a whole set? So many questions—and we’ve got answers! Here’s a guide we’ve put together for how to stock a homeowner’s toolbox at every skill level.

Basic tools

If you’ve never pretended to be a handyman, but you’d like to have basic tools in the house in case something needs minor repair, here’s what belongs in your toolbox.

Claw hammer
From hanging up pictures to securing loose railings, a hammer is your go-to tool for most basic jobs around the house. Also consider getting a lightweight pin hammer for smaller jobs.

Screwdriver set
It’s worthwhile to invest in a set of screwdrivers so you have various sized flat-heads and Phillip-heads for any kind of job. You can pick up a set of 10 screwdrivers at your local home improvement or hardware store, or order one from Amazon.

Pliers set
It’s also nice to have a set of pliers with different sizes and types. Look for pliers with a good grip and make sure they’re sized well for your hands.

Adjustable wrench
A wrench will enable you to tighten or loosen virtually anything. It can come in handy for many home DIY projects.

Allen wrench set
A universal allen wrench set will set you back around $10. You’ll use these wrenches anytime you order a piece of furniture that requires assembly.

A handsaw is great for trimming lumber and cutting through drywall, fiberglass and other thin materials.

Extension cord
Every house should have, at minimum, one indoor extension cord and another outdoor cord for jobs requiring electric tools.

Utility knife
Use this handy cutter to open boxes, hard plastic packages, shave wood and more.

Tape measure
A retractable 25-foot tape measure will come in handy when you need to measure space for new furniture or decor items. You may want to get a pocket-sized tape measure as well so you can bring it with you when you measure items at a store.

Keep a generous selection of screws and nails on hand in case you need one in a hurry.

A simple floating-bubble model will help keep your wall pictures and shelving straight.

It’s always a good idea to have a source of battery-powered light in case of a power outage. Also consider a rechargeable flashlight that can be recharged by hand so you’re never without a source of light.

The next step

Once you’ve filled your toolbox with the basics, and you become more skilled at house repairs, consider adding these more advanced tools to your collection.

When working on a woodworking project, a clamp will help you hold the wood in place.

Stud finder
This ingenious tool will keep you from creating unnecessary holes or drilling where nails already exist.

Cordless drill
A cordless drill has dozens of household uses, especially if you get into woodworking or light construction around the house.

These are great for cutting through plastic and metal pipes, tubing, conduit and wood.

Safety gear
You’ll need safety goggles, ear protection and dust masks when using power tools.

Putty knife
Designed for applying spackle, you can also use your putty knife to remove old paint and to apply grout to tile floors and backsplashes.

Advanced tools

If you’re exceptionally handy, consider adding these to your toolbox.

Put the finishing touches on your woodworking projects with a power sander. For best results, you may want to invest in several types of sanders and use each one when it fits the job best. For example, a random orbital sander may be best for simple home projects, while a belt sander is great for sanding rough surfaces and a rotary sander is your go-to choice for edge work.

Carpenter’s square
Made up of a metal ruler and interchangeable heads, a carpenter’s square is used to measure level, right angles, the center of a circle and to check depth. It can be an incredibly useful tool in complicated woodworking, metal and masonry projects.

Table saw
This power tool, also known as a saw bench, is a mounted woodworking tool that is considered the workhorse of any well-equipped woodshop. A table saw can rip, cross-cut, miter-cut, square, rabbet and apply shapes to edges of wood.

Wire stripper
Perfect for cutting materials like aluminum, copper, brass, iron and steel, wire strippers are essential for the committed DIYer.

Your toolbox is all set. Now you’ll be fully prepared for anything that needs fixing in your home. If you need help funding any of your home improvement projects, your credit union has the financial tools to help! Our No-Closing-Cost HELOC is a great way to fund anything from a kitchen upgrade to an entertainment room remodel. You can also use our free online home equity calculators to determine your home’s equity, your payment and more.