Outfitting a Tool Box - What to Consider When Selecting Tools for Household Tasks

Homeowners are increasingly becoming do-it-yourselfers, choosing to take on more home improvement and repair projects by themselves. According to a 2004 national study on consumer usage of tools by Mintel, an international market research firm, 74 percent of men and 65 percent of women reported doing home repair or improvement projects themselves. Whether you're a confident do-it-yourselfer or an aspiring DIYer, the first step in any home improvement project is to make sure that you have the right tools for the job. Every homeowner should invest in a set of quality tools for minor home repairs or large do-it-yourself projects. Good quality tools that provide optimal comfort and durability make tasks more efficient; and if they are maintained properly, they can last a lifetime.

When outfitting a tool box, users should consider investing in the following basic hand tools:

Hammers: An 8-ounce curved claw or 16-ounce rip claw hammer are ideal for household tasks. A rip claw hammer also works well for demolition tasks. Handles are available in wood, fiberglass or metal. It is important that the hammer feels solid and comfortable in the user's hand.

Pliers : Pliers come in different varieties and sizes. Standard options include 7- or 8-inch slip joint pliers and diagonal cutters. Consumers should look for pliers with handles that are easy to use, have a comfortable grip and a slip mechanism to keep the handles in place.

Level: From laser levels to torpedo levels, this tool is ideal for hanging pictures or wallpaper, laying tile or hardwood, and installing shelving. Multi-functional levels can be used as a square or to measure or copy an angle, offering the benefits of three tools in one.

Screwdrivers: Consider investing in a full set of screwdrivers or one all-purpose tool, which is an inexpensive alternative. All-purpose screwdrivers, like a 6-in-1 model, contain standard and Phillips bits in the handle, which can be easily interchanged. Ratcheting screwdrivers also come with a variety of bits and save the user effort by doing most of the work.

Tape Measure: A 16- or 25-foot retractable tape measure is ideal for most measuring tasks. The best retractable tape measures contain a toggle switch or button to help the user control the speed of tape retraction. Consumers should look for a tape measure with a comfortable, non-slip surface, which provides a more secure grip.

Snips: These versatile cutting tools are ideal for cutting a variety of materials from thin gauge wire to light sheet metal. Snips with comfortable, non-slip handles help reduce hand strain.

Adjustable Wrenches: A set of three quality adjustable wrenches in small, medium and large sizes can fit a variety of nuts and bolts. Users should look for adjustable wrenches with comfortable handles and a smooth adjustment knob making it easier to re-engage nuts and bolts for simple adjustments.

Utility Knife: When selecting a utility knife, it is important to choose one that is suitable for a specific job (i.e. cutting carpet) to ensure quality results.

While having the proper basic tools for everyday projects is important, it is also essential that they are stored in a toolbox to make sure they last a long time. For safety's sake, always replace damaged or ineffective tools.

Courtesy of ARA Content