A couple of years ago, I created a quick roundup of DIYer and Homeowner tool recommendations, focusing on the most important 12 tools or so.
I’ve been meaning to follow up that post with an update. A long-time friend of mine recently moved into a new house, and I had the idea of creating a starter tool kit for an upcoming editorial review, and then sending it to them as a housewarming gift. She recently had a baby, and so I have some time to plan and buy until they want to start working on things.
As I mentioned recently, we have a paid partnership with Home Depot right now, where they send me a bunch of tools for review consideration every so often. The monetary part involves sponsored projects, since I wanted the reviews to be independent from all that.
The review selection has actually been nice, because some of those tools aren’t quite tools or accessories I would ordinarily be interested in. For instance, they sent 3M ear muffs, and I would have skipped that particular model based on its being made overseas. But my Peltors were in another room and I needed something quick, so I used the 3M ear muffs, finding them to be well made and quite comfortable.
Now about that bucket full of tools…
There are several Home Depots close to me, and the nearest Lowes is a too-far distance away to visit casually, and so I’ve been doing most of my tool, accessory, and supply runs at Home Depot.
I’ve been meaning to work out a new “DIYer and Homeowner tool set” post, I want to buy a friend a housewarming tool set, and Home Depot has thrown some sponsor money our way.
So here’s the plan:
I’m creating a DIYer and Homeowner tool kit, and buying 3 or everything. One as the “example” set I’ll be sending to my friend, who will provide review feedback and commentary as things get used, and 2 more sets for reader giveaways.
I visited my local Home Depot yesterday for a few supplies. They had a few promo displays and so I grabbed a bucket and figured I might as well start my DIY tool kit and giveaway shopping, rather than putting it off some more.
The above is the result of my first outing.
What surprised me at the end of the day was how many Milwaukee tools there were. There are a few Dewalt tools in there too, but not a lot. There are some other brands, such as Estwing, Mayhew, and 3M.
I’m not done yet.
Part of the challenge is balancing anticipated needs and my own preferences.
My friend has a lot of projects on her to-do list, and I’m also shopping with ToolGuyd readers in mind, and so I’m choosing the tool kit and giveaway items based on my own personal decisions.
Milwaukee combination screwdriver vs. Klein? Which would I buy? Milwaukee, so it went into the bucket.
There were 2-packs of Milwaukee 16-foot tape measures on sale, so I grabbed 2 packs. I went looking for Stanley 25′ PowerLock tape measures, but there were a couple and they all showed signs of stressed plastic. So I’ll look for them at a different Home Depot.
I went with 16 oz claw hammers, because that’s most useful in my opinion. If a DIYer is going to be doing demo work, they’ll likely have to make a trip to the store to buy a better bar for what they want to do. I also bought a 12 oz claw hammer for myself.
I debated about brand – Estwing vs. Husky or Crescent, and went with Estwing. Because that’s what I like using for myself.
In a general purpose DIYer tool kit, there are plenty of options, and the choice depends on the user. I have not yet bought better bolt cutters, unless you consider the folded-handle ones I bought.
Years ago I debated about this – Home Depot’s house brand bolt cutters, or HK Porter bolt cutters, back when they still made in the USA. At the time, I was looking to cut a lot of closet-style wire shelving, and went with the Home Depot store brand, despite wanting the HKs.
I spent $15, maybe $20, on the Workforce bolt cutters, compared to $60 for the HK Porter model. That other money was spent on other tools that new projects demanded, giving me added functionality over what was currently in my tool set.
Because of all these decisions coming back at me at once, we were at Home Depot for quite some time. That’s why this was just Round 1, and there’s at least 1 or 2 more shopping visits to go. I’ll need to make a few purchases outside Home Depot though, such as for individually wrapped respirator masks and Bondhus ball hex keys, at the least.
I also don’t know if I’m happy with the tool bag and box selection at Home Depot. They don’t carry the Milwaukee 13″ jobsite work tool box in stores anymore. Maybe a Husky tool bag will be a good fit; I wish I bought some promo Husky bags during the Father’s Day shopping season.
I do want to include Home Depot buckets in the giveaway and DIYer tool kit too, but that might make the shipping fees much more painful due to the bulky size. And I would still want a tool bag as part of the kits – and not just a bucket tool organizer, in case that’s what you’re thinking.
There won’t be any power tools in the kit, although I did send a Dewalt DCD777 brushless drill kit in advance as part of the housewarming gift.
There might be some funds left over by the time I’m done shopping for giveaway items, but at this rate I’ll likely have to dip into regular ToolGuyd funds.
I do have to say – I’m having a really fun time with this. It’s fun having to make hand tool decisions all over again. Although I have a greater working budget than when I bought my own tools, I find myself still weighing quality over value.
Do I buy a rubber mallet, or not? Without a rubber mallet, one could sometimes get away with using a hammer and block of wood. But if someone has a mallet available, they’re going to use it.
Then it comes down to Estwing white non-marring and heavier head, vs. the lighter black rubber head, vs. much cheaper store brand mallet. I ended up going with the not-outlandishly-priced Estwing black rubber mallet.
As an aside, it seems like every tool has California Prop 65 warnings these days. The same with the screws and other hardware. I think even the stainless steel ones had a warning!
In apples to apples comparisons, I’m trying to go the “buy USA” route, but I’m also trying to go for the better tools. For example, in the case of a Milwaukee multi-bit screwdriver for $8, or Klein for $10, I went with the Milwaukee. I love my Klein multi-bit screwdrivers, but the tips tend to be softer than my Milwaukee’s. I like the Milwaukee one better, so that’s what I bought for the editorial and giveaway kits.
I’ve got more planning to do, and then I need to turn my attention to the upcoming giveaway.
Transparency: We’re using Home Depot paid partnership/sponsorship funds for the DIY tool kit project and giveaway item purchases. Most of the purchases are being made at Home Depot because they carry the brands I like and several stores are accessibly close, but the partnership factors into this as well.