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Essential 'Must Have' Tools for the Bachelor

By Mike Thayer

Screwdriver SetEven if you're not handy with tools, you still need to have some on hand to do simple things like hanging a picture or tightening down loose screws on a door knob.  Yes, even the toilet paper holder may need an occasional adjustment.

Here's a list of the essential 'must have' tools for your house or apartment:

  • Hammer:  No, don't settle for a small tack hammer thinking all you'll ever do is hang a few pictures.  That's all a tack hammer is good for unless you're into cabinetry or upholstering and one of these days you'll find yourself needing something 'beefier'.  Get yourself a 16 ounce claw hammer.  It's a great all-purpose hammer and will suit most needs and basic tasks.   
  • Screwdrivers:  Purchase a nice quality variety set that includes both slot head and Phillips head screwdrivers of different sizes.  Do NOT get one of those cheap "multi-tip" screw drivers with the interchangeable screwdriver bits, they suck, the screwdriver tips are soft, won't last and you'll end up losing a few of those bits over time, rendering that "multi-tip" screw driver useless.
  • Pliers:  There is a large variety of pliers out there to choose from, slip joint, tongue & groove, cutting, long nose, long reach, etc.  Like for any other tools, focus on quality, get yourself a quality set of three pliers that includes slip joint, long nose and cutting.
  • Saw:  No basic tool set is complete without a saw.  An all-purpose crosscut hand saw will suit most needs.
  • Level:  You'll use one of these a lot more than you might think.  Hanging a large picture on the wall, putting up a floating shelf or making sure that new four-tier media shelf is sitting level are just a few uses.  Don't go small in size on this purchase, go with a 24" level, a good size for all-purpose applications.
  • Drill:  This is the only power tool on the list.  A cordless drill for the bachelor is the way to go, but don't go cheap - Black & Decker sucks.  An 18 volt model will suit most all basic needs.
  • Drill Bits:  A drill is pointless without them.  A basic set will do you just fine.
  • Tape Measure:  Here's another tool where you don't want to go small.  Get a 25' measure.  You'll probably reach for this tool more than any other, measuring a space for that new couch, measuring a room to re-arrange furniture, measuring wall space to hang pictures, heck, checking the size of your TV because you can't remember if you got a 62" or 65" model.
  • Wrenches:  A basic set of open end wrenches will help you accomplish many tasks.  Starter sets usually come in 10 piece sets.  For good measure, pick up an adjustable (crescent) wrench to cover anything the open end wrenches can't handle.
  • Duct Tape:  Yes, duct tape is a tool!  If you can't fix it with a nail, screw or some other fastener, duct tape it!

Keep your tools organized and buy a tool box to put them in.  Don't toss them in a junk drawer or have screwdrivers in a closet somewhere and the hammer and tape measure somewhere else in the house.  Having the right tools and keeping them organized is key to making repairs and projects easier. 

$pend Wisely My Friends...

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