As I mentioned yesterday, we recently moved. Unpacked? Ha!
Most of my tools are sitting tight in large tool boxes, all wrapped together. But before I did that, I made sure to separate the tools I use most often and thought I might need sooner. I knew that it might be days, maybe even weeks before all my tools were properly unpacked.
I went a little overkill, packing up a small cantilever metal tool box with more tools than most new homeowners, renters, or apartment dwellers have. But my favorite tool selection is already coming in handy.
These aren’t the only tools I use regularly, but they’re the ones I use most often.
We could perhaps call this a “thank goodness I made sure I could find these tools immediately” list.
0. Safety Gear
This should go with saying – make sure you’ve got your PPE and personal safety gear easily accessible. I use my goggles and ear muffs most often, but also have disposable respirator masks and gloves nearby. Somewhere around here I also have a face mask.
1. Hex Keys
I use these PB Swiss inch hex keys a LOT. More than any other hex keys, drivers, or L-wrenches, at least all of the inch-style ones.
Sure, they were very pricey. Maybe it’s my imagination talking, but they certainly do seem to fit a little better than standard tools.
If you’re putting together or taking apart furniture, such as from Ikea, you’ll want your own full-size hex keys. Maybe not a set from PB Swiss, though, in which case you should consider going with a Bondhus hex key set setup. T-handles also work well for things like knock-down furniture assembly.
Need more hex in your life? Check out these additional options.
2. Tape Measure
Milwaukee’s tape measures are my absolute favorite to use (chime in here about your best tape measure), but I’ve definitely found myself reaching for think Stanley’s FatMax Auto-Lock tape.
Out of all the other tools, I’m sure that tape measures are among the most popular. What do you use more than a tape measure?
A 16-footer works well for most indoor use, and its small size makes it a tad bit easier to carry around. A 25-footer often has more reach, a wider blade, and its not that much bigger.
Bosch’s GLM 15 mini laser distance measuring tool is a great complement and can swiftly handle longer indoors distances too cumbersome for a single person.
Whether a utility knife or folding pocket knife, I’m sure you do as much cutting as I do, if not more. If you’re a pro, I’m sure that you use utility knives or pocket knives far more often than I do.
Sometimes I’ll use a utility knife more, other times a folding pocket knife. This week and next, I’ll be using my utility knife a lot more than any pocket knife.
Most of my pocket knives go back into an EDC gear box when not in active use/rotation, but utility knives are notorious for misplacing themselves.
4. Lineman’s Pliers
I’m going to be honest here – I fudged the truth. I normally use long nose pliers much more often, but if it came down to one or the other, lineman’s pliers see more crucial action.
These pliers, made by NWS for Irwin, are a great choice for all-around gripping and wire cutting tasks.
5. Cordless Drill
I use my drill more than any other power tool, and even more than many of my hand tools. How about you?
Shown here is the new Dewalt DCD791 brushless cordless drill. It might just be my new favorite, beating out my personal Bosch by a long shot.
6. Phillips #2
I’d be in deep trouble if I didn’t have a Phillips #2 screwdriver handy. Slotted screwdrivers have their uses, but Phillips #2 possibly much more so.
I have so many different kinds, and might eventually show you what all the different styles look like, and how I like them.
Other Frequently Used Tools
It was difficult to keep the list short, because there are so many other must-haves:
- Adjustable wrench
- Mini socket set
- 16 oz claw hammer
- LED flashlight (can this count as an everyday essential?)
- Adjustable pliers
I’ve got a list of 12+ essentials for homeowners and DIYers, but wanted to keep this post focused on more frequently used tools.
So what do you use most often? Maybe it’s a reciprocating saw? Pipe wrench? The same types of tools as on my list?
Which are your top most used tools?