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Which tools are worth the money (and which are not)

Choose your tools wisely and they will serve you well for a lifetime. This list is just some of the most basic home maintenance tools that every home should have readily available for quick use. Conversely, some simple tools are worth spending some extra money on to ensure high quality performance, while bargain versions of some more complex devices work just fine.

Worth going high end


person hammering a nail into a thin board

Buy the best you can get and pamper yourself from low cost low quality. A well-designed hammer should be longer than you. Choose a forged hammer, not a cast one, and get a model with a fiberglass handle for long life. Although it will be slightly more expensive, it will work effectively for many years.


Again, choose forged pliers for strength and longevity. Pliers should have a lifespan of at least several years with constant use. Pliers are great for holding things like nails to save your fingers when you hammer in them, twisting wires and many other things too many to mention. Choose a pair that fits your hand comfortably and is ergonomically correct for you.


If you do any home maintenance or repairs, you know that screwdrivers play an extra big role. Get screwdrivers of better quality, possibly as a kit with different sizes and types such as flat blades, Phillips and Torx to name a few. Modern fasteners use all of these types, so be prepared. Make your ultimate choice based on your ergonomic needs – the handle should fit your hand comfortably and not cause stress or pain.


person shining powerful flashlight on tree

A good flashlight is a must for home maintenance, especially in areas that are prone to power outages. There are many powerful, compact choices today, so choose the form factor that you find most appealing. Modern LED lights are so much brighter than previous flashlights and have a much longer battery life, plus the higher versions are cheaper than they used to be. Buy a good one and take care of it – it will be worth the cost.

Stud finder

You may ask: “Is it necessary to find a bounce?

The answer is “yes” in most cases. Any homeowner trying to hang a heavy picture or install shelves on a wall will find that a stick finder is well worth what it costs. Being able to locate a pin in a wall to more securely attach an object to the wall without damaging the wall with repeated attempts to find a pin by “poking and hoping” will justify the cost of a pin finder and choosing one that is reliable and easy reading makes your job much easier.

Basic models are fine


hexagonal mirror hanging on a blue wall

A mirror is invaluable in home maintenance, as it allows you to see behind appliances, reflect light in dark spaces and otherwise see invisible objects. Cheap is okay here, because mirrors can break while in use, which requires replacement.

Measuring instrument

Tape measures and yardsticks are a homeowner’s necessity for determining sizes and determining the placement of objects in the home. Measuring tapes are cheap and in many markets measuring sticks are free as advertising. Buy what you need but do not overdo it. Most homes do not need a 100-band. A 12 ‘to 25’ works in most situations.


level with bubble in the measuring container

Look for a sturdy wooden or metal frame and do not think about this – a 2 ‘level is enough for most homes. If you have taken care of it, you can expect a lifetime of service. Levels are very useful when hanging pictures or installing shelves to get them “just right”.


A multimeter is a convenient tool to have for electrical maintenance in the home. With a little information and training, you can soon use one like a pro. They can test electrical outlets, switches, battery voltage and conductivity of wires to name just a few. Best of all, cheap but effective versions can be purchased from many different suppliers.

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