10 Tools Every First-Time Homeowner Needs

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Overhead shot of a woman looking at a tool kit

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Homeownership is a thrilling journey, but with every exciting moment, there is a fair share of reality checks, too. Without an apartment superintendent there to quickly save the day when there's a leaky pipe or a crumbly paint job, these things can feel like even bigger fiascos. Your best defense system? A fabulous tool kit. But where does a newbie even begin? There are a lot of tools for homeowners out there, some of which may be familiar and others you didn't know existed—but let's start with the basics.

As a first-time homeowner, you have enough on your plate as it is. While the last thing you need is another list, this particular one will help rather than hinder. Having these essential tools on hand will prevent many headaches down the road. Read on for a helpful compilation of tools that might already be on your shopping list or something you might've missed.

Craftsman Hammer, Fiberglass, 16 oz.

Craftsman all-purpose hammer


Tiny taps or a thwacking thud, hammers provide the extra power needed for a wide range of projects, from gently inserting a nail or tearing out a wall during renovations. If you want to go a little more in-depth, there are hammers made for specific purposes, such as multipurpose option or deadblow hammers, which keep damage to a minimum when needed. Dive into research and find what works best for you.

FOLAI Stud Finder Sensor Wall Scanner

Stud finder with battery


In a home setting, conversations around stud finders usually revolve around hanging up pictures and artwork, but they're much more helpful than that. These mighty sensors can prevent disaster by alerting you where wires, tubes, and steel frames are situated behind your walls—preventing a costly bill or dangerous encounter.

Stanley PowerLock Tape Measure


Courtesy of The Home Depot

Put simply, tape measures make home repairs, reno, and design way easier. Without precise measurements, a lot can go awry in a new home. A bed frame that doesn't fit, an oven that's just an inch too narrow, and a much-too-long couch can all be avoided with this compact little tool.

Klein Tools 11-in-1 Screwdriver and Nut Driver

Klein Tools 11-in-1 Screwdriver


Arguably one of the most important tools for first-time homeowners is a screwdriver. Screws won't budge without the help of one of these, and even better is finding an option, like Klein Tools', that has multiple heads. Being able to switch out the tips leads to less panic when an unfamiliar screw appears and less spirited arguments when putting together furniture.

Empire EM81.12 True Blue 12-Inch Magnetic Tool Box Level

Blue Empire level


Let's be honest: "just eyeing it" never produces the perfectly-straight results you hope for. Without a level, things can look pretty crooked or at the very least, a little off-center. Hanging that gallery wall or even putting down flooring can be much more productive and successful when a level is in your tool kit.

Gorilla Ladders 5.5 ft. Aluminum Dual Platform Heavy-Duty Ladder with Project Bucket


The Home Depot

There are some things the kitchen chair can't help you reach. For a higher (and safer) alternative, a step ladder is a must for first-time homeowners. A 12-foot behemoth isn't necessary, but something between four and six feet is a great starting point (like this five-foot option), whether it's used for painting, hanging lights, cleaning gutters, or reaching those boxes of holiday decorations.

Ryobi ONE+ 18V Cordless 3/8 in. Drill/Driver Kit with 1.5 Ah Battery and Charger

RYOBI cordless drill

The Home Depot

Some people may not consider a cordless drill to be a necessary first-time homeowner tool, but it's too helpful to do without. RYOBI's battery-operated version can be toted all around the house (no cords). The list is endless for tasks a drill can assist with, but mixing paint, hanging hardware for wall art, and quickly fixing screws or driving them in for the first time are just a few.

Workpro 3-Piece Adjustable Wrench Set

Set of three wrenches


Tightening the odd bolt or leaky sink pipe is a piece of cake when you have the right wrenches. The chromium-vanadium steel heads on this trio are durable and the rubber grips ease the frustration and injury that typically come with a slippery wrench. Don't be intimidated by the dials and numbers, they're simply there for measuring and adjusting the heads (which isn't always necessary anyways for quick home fixes).

Mulwark 17pcs Folding Allen Wrench Set

Hex key allen wrench set


Hex keys—also known as Allen wrenches—seem to come in every flat-pack furniture kit. You may have a handful of them floating in a junk drawer, but it's rare that each one fits in every bolt or screw top around your home. This set comes with 17 hex keys attached to a cover in both metric and SAE measurements, so you can tighten a loose bolt in a chair or fix a screw in a futon frame without needing to scramble to find one that may or may not fit. Plus, the handy system keeps them all together.

Cartman 148Piece Tool Set General Household Hand Tool Kit with Plastic Toolbox

All purpose tool kit


Looking to make this list even easier to compile? Opt for a well-equipped kit that has everything you need and more to complete simple fixes and DIY projects around your home. This set comes in 52, 136, 148, and 160-piece options that are all tucked away in a protective case. It makes for easy storage and less likely that you'll lose smaller tools.

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