Most new moms, dads, guardians, and other parent figures don’t quite know what they’re in for. There are a LOT of things to learn and prepare for, and so “hmm, what kinds of tools will I need for this journey?” are the last things on new parents’ minds.
If you’re a regular ToolGuyd reader, chances are that you have a well-equipped tool box at your disposal, whether you’re a pro, DIYer, or hobbyist. But there are a lot of people out there who don’t have much of a tool set.
You of course don’t need tools to care for a child. But, certain tools do make certain tasks a little easier, faster, or more comfortable, at the least.
Following are 5 tools that have or would have made things easier for me. I went shopping at nearby Home Depot stores – they are the exclusive retail source for these brands – and put together what I feel to be a solid kit.
I have all of these tools on-hand and plan to review them separately – please let me know which you might have any questions about.
You of course don’t need to be a parent to benefit from these tools, and I also hope to hear from you – what kinds of tools would you recommend to new parents?
Thank you to The Home Depot for being a ToolGuyd sponsor.
Husky Ratcheting Screwdriver – 30pc Bit Set
Cribs, bookcases, Power Wheels, balance bikes – there are going to be so many things a parent will have to assemble, and some of those things will require screwdriver sizes or styles you might not already have.
The hex bits are useful for assembling furniture, the square drive and Torx bits are useful for when you need to repair something with wood screws (I prefer SPAX brand available at Home Depot), and the Phillips and slotted bits are useful all-around.
Beyond the convenient assortment of bits, you get the ratcheting screwdriver handle which makes for faster and easier work. On top of all that, there’s built-in storage in the handle, so you can load it up with the bits you use most and take just the screwdriver to where the work is.
I opted for this set not only because its ratcheting mechanism can speed up more tedious tasks, but because it has a very useful assortment of screwdriver bits. Are you going to need all of them? Probably not, but I find this set to a great value in how it offers a balance between immediate and potential future needs.
If your needs are a little different, Husky has other ratcheting screwdriver options, but I really think this 30pc set hits the sweet spot.
Milwaukee Side-Slide Utility Knife
New parents will have a LOT of carboard boxes to open. Diapers. Formula. Toys. Furniture. Stuff – there are so many things to buy and open.
In this day and age, a lot of people have utility knives in their homes and tool kits, but I still see people opening boxes with steak knives, scissors, keys, and other implements.
A good utility knife is just so much easier to use.
I’m of the impression that this model isn’t as intimidating as most other types of utility knives. It’s a very well-used tool in our home, and one I can thoroughly recommend.
You might also consider buying special rounded-tip utility knife blades. They might be a little bit safer, and they definitely lower the chance that you’ll cut whatever is in the box you’re opening.
Price: $8 for the knife, $15 for a 50-pack of blades
If You Want a Change of Pace…
Husky is always a good buy when it comes to utility knives as well. They have a couple of value-priced options, and designs that cater towards different needs and preferences. I like this one, which has a wood-accent handle and lockback design.
They also have a new utility knife design that I’m rather excited about – more on that one later.
Husky Diamond Tip Screwdriver Set
You’ll need good screwdrivers – everyone does – and Husky has not let me down yet. Even with much pricier screwdrivers in my kit, I still have a number of Husky drivers that work well and were reasonably priced.
This set features diamond-coated tips for better grip. Even if you have a multi-bit or ratcheting screwdriver for convenience, straight-shaft screwdrivers will fit into certain recesses a lot better, such as when changing batteries in kids’ toys where a bit holder might not allow for sufficient reach. You might also appreciate the color-coded handles and magnetized tips.
Even if you already have a multi-bit screwdriver or ratcheting screwdriver, there are still tasks where you need individual drivers.
I bought this set on impulse, thinking it might make for an interesting review, and so far I like it better than I had anticipated.
If You Want Something Different for a Little Less
Husky’s acetate-handle screwdrivers are also a good option. There are also larger assortments with grippy-handled screwdrivers, but I feel that a 6pc set with Phillips #0, #1, and #2 and slotted from ~1/8″ to ~1/4″ are a good general purpose starting point.
Klein Mini Flush Cutter
Despite all the efforts at “frustration-free packaging” in recent years, the truth is far from it. Clothes come with tags that will inevitably poke and scratch you if they’re not removed all the way, and there’s also all the very many zip ties, strings, and plastic ties that need to be cleanly and carefully removed when unboxing new toys.
Mini flush cutters are the answer. When shopping at your local Home Depot store, you can find these Klein cutters in the electrical tools section, or other excellent brands (such as Crescent and Milwaukee) in the main hand tool aisle with the pliers and diagonal cutters.
There are lots of ways to “unbox” this Transformers action figure. There was no clamshell plastic packaging to contend with, but plenty of elastic ties. You can use a sharp utility knife (even one with rounded tips), scissors, or other such tools, but mini flush cutters work so much quicker and easier. Plus, you have the flush cutters available to remove clothing labels, trim zip ties, and for any other around-the-home (or workshop) needs.
Klein Kneeling Pad
Caring for a newborn often means that you’ll be down on the floor with them. For bath time, at the least, your knees will love this thick and cushioned kneeling pad. Once you try it out, you will inevitably find more uses for it when working around the home.
There are other kneeling pads you can buy, but try to find something at least 1″ thick. This one measures 21″ long x 14″ wide, which I find to large enough without being cumbersome.
Regarding the ratcheting screwdriver, my first thought was to suggest good ball-end hex keys (Husky has a couple of options), which makes knock-down furniture assembly go a lot quicker than with the small straight hex keys often included.
Crib assembly, changing tables, book cases, toy boxes, and things like that all require some assembly unless you build them from scratch or buy them pre-assembled.
The Husky ratcheting screwdriver set has a small but useful selection of bits, including common metric hex sizes. So, it could be useful for a lot of those knock-down furniture fasteners, but also other tasks where different bits (such as Phillips) are needed.
Most people I know LOVE ratcheting screwdrivers, and the Husky seems to be a good mid-range model so far.
The only thing that would make the Husky set *perfect* is a Posidriv bit. I have used Phillips bits in place of Pozidriv for years without too much trouble, but I discovered that assembly actually goes a lot smoother when using Pozidriv screwdrivers or bit tips with Pozidriv screws.
For the new parents that have plenty of Ikea furniture in their future, consider a separate Pozidriv screwdriver.
These types of tools have come in very handy in the past few years, but am I leaving something out? Would you recommend something else over these?
What tools would you recommend to new parents?