Ask any red-blooded gear-loving guy and they’ll tell you that there is something viscerally satisfying about hunkering down and getting your hands dirty tackling a D.I.Y. project every once in a while. And the difference between knowing you can do something and actually following through on that knowledge makes it all the more enjoyable. Maybe it is the reassurance that you weren’t just kidding yourself when you set out. Perhaps it’s because there’s still some remnant of our chest-pounding, club-swinging, fire-making caveman ancestry in each of us. In any case, that indiscernible feeling of self-approbation is real enough that most of us continue in our undertakings.
But if you’ve ever embarked on any such enterprise without the appropriate devices, you know there are limits to homespun ingenuity. For example, a saw is great for cutting wood, but it is an utterly useless object in regards to vehicle repair. There’s only so much one can do without acquiring the right implement for the task. And while every project can call for a unique arrangement, there are enough commonalities between kinds of workspaces that – if you’ve gathered a relevant array of gizmos – you can severely narrow the limits of what you can’t do. Curtailed to the typical types of work in which one might engage around the house, we’ve put together our picks for the best tools for the job.
- Amerex Multi-Class Fire Extinguisher ($55)
- Yost Bench Vise ($67+)
- Rigid Heavy-Duty VAC1200 ($120)
- Craftsman 5-Drawer Tool Center ($135)
- Race Ramps ($137)
- Porter-Cable Pancake Compressor ($140)
- Arcan 3-Ton Floor Jack ($250)
- Seville Classics UltraHD Workbench ($255)
- Snap-On Master Tech Starter Set ($5829)
Nowhere is the importance of proper tools more recognizable than in the garage. Motor vehicles are comprised of literally thousands of different parts – many of which require specialized gadgets that see little, if any, use elsewhere. But even the seemingly smallest part can wreak havoc on your vehicle, if you’re not in possession of the appropriate device with which to work on it. If you have the Master Tech Starter Set from Snap-On, however, you need not worry. Possibly the most comprehensive and high-quality set of hand tools on the market, you’ll be able to handle virtually any project from a simple oil change to a complete engine overhaul – whether your competency is high enough to complete such a task, however, is another question entirely.
But even the greatest set of tools isn’t enough on its own. You’ll also need ways to lift your vehicle up – like the Arcan 3-Ton Floor Jack (for tire changes and light maintenance) or a pair of Race Ramps (for longer-form repairs). And unless you want to do everything on your back or on the floor, you’ll need a place to work, like the Seville Classics UltraHD Workbench; something to keep that work steady, for example: Yost’s Bench Vise; and a place to keep your tools when you aren’t using them, such as the Craftsman 5-Drawer Tool Center. It also isn’t a half-bad idea to have Rigid’s Heavy Duty VAC1200 on hand as a means to clean up after yourself, or – since oil is very flammable – an Amerex fire extinguisher. And if you ever wish to venture into the realm of vehicular power tools, like a pneumatic impact wrench, you’ll want to pick up a Porter-Cable Pancake Compressor, too.
- Komelon Self-Lock Tape Measure ($7)
- FastCap Fatboy Extreme Carpenter Pencil ($13)
- Stanley 24″ I-Beam 180 Level ($14)
- Estwing 16oz Straight Claw Hammer ($30)
- Franklin ProSensor 710 Precision Stud Finder ($51)
- Black & Decker Portable Project Center ($60)
- Dewalt Pneumatic Nailer Kit ($68)
- Milwaukee Heavy-Duty Tool Belt ($138)
- Shop-Vac Ultra Pro Vacuum ($126)
- Ryobi One+ Drill and Impact Driver Kit ($140)
- Skilsaw Worm Drive Circular Saw ($160)
One of mankind’s oldest professions, carpentry has been a part of our world for longer than recorded history. A big part of that is because of the overall utility of wood as an easy-to-use, versatile, and long-lasting building material; but it is also because, while it is a very difficult set of skills to master, it is easy to pick up the basics – making for a widely approachable trade and/or weekend hobby. That being said, the evolution of technology over time has offered up some handy devices to make woodworking easier.
For example, the most general tenet of carpentry – measure twice, cut once – is made much easier through the development of things like the Komelon Self-Lock Tape Measure, FastCap’s Fatboy Carpenter Pencil, Stanley’s I-Beam 180 Level, and Franklin’s ProSensor 710 Precision Stud Finer. And once you’ve got said measurements, you can get to building with the help of such tools as the Estwing Straight Claw Hammer, Dewalt’s Pneumatic Nailer Kit, the Ryobi ONE+ Drill and Impact Drivers, and the Skilsaw Worm Drive Circular Saw. Keep your tools and workspace in order with the use of Milwaukee’s Heavy Duty Tool Belt and Black & Decker’s Portable Project Center. And, once you’re all done, clean up the inevitable sawdust mess with the Shop-Vac Ultra Pro Vacuum.
- Fiskars Traditional Bypass Pruning Shears ($12)
- garDspo Expandable Hose ($40)
- Remington Dual Action Hedge Trimmer ($68)
- Bosse Round Point Shovel ($90)
- Black & Decker LCC140 Trimmer and Sweeper Combo Kit ($150)
- Jackson Steel Contractor Wheelbarrow ($151)
- Amer Felling Axe ($182)
- GreenWorks DigiPro G-Max Chainsaw ($220)
- Little Giant 22-Foot Velocity Ladder ($287)
- Honda 3-in-1 Gas Mower with Auto Choke ($400)
Even the finest of automotive collections and the most well-built residences can be made to look out of order if the surrounding yard is haggard and unkempt. But nail-guns and wrench sets will do you no good out in the yard. No, taming the wilds requires a very special set of tools. Take, for example, the GreenWorks DigiPro G-Max Chainsaw and Remington’s Dual Action Hedge Trimmer – these robust power tools can clear even the most unwieldy backyard brush. For hard to reach branches, elevate yourself on the multi-functional Little Giant Velocity Ladder. Take care of the smaller weeds with the Black & Decker Trimmer and Sweeper Combo Kit and the Fishers Traditional Bypass Pruning Shears.
And once you’ve cleared out any unwanted shrubbery with the help of your Jackson Steel Contractor Wheelbarrow, you can keep the rest of the woods at bay with the Amer Felling Axe, get to planting an award-winning vegetable garden with the Bosse Round Point Shovel, keep your lawn in check with the Honda 3-in-1 Gas Mower, and make sure everything stays good and hydrated with your American-made garDspo Expandable Hose.
Jack Of All Trades
- The Art of Fixing Things ($11)
- GardenHOME All-in-One Garden Tool Set ($27)
- Always Prepared First-Aid Kit ($24)
- Bradley Mountain Utility Roll ($29)
- Cha-O-Ha Design Co. EDC Card ($60)
- Mininch Tool Pen ($69)
- Stanley 201-Piece Mechanic’s Set ($70)
- Black & Decker Drill and Project Kit ($78)
Perhaps you are of the mindset that a little bit goes a long way, you don’t mind the connotation of ‘master of none,’ or you’d just rather do base-level spot maintenance with the hopes of staving off impending larger-scale house projects. In that case, you’ll probably want to start off by picking up The Art of Fixing Things – a kind of encyclopedic ‘how-to’ of D.I.Y. fix-it solutions. That won’t, however, excuse you from the necessity of tools. So, along the way, you’ll want to pick up some semi-comprehensive kits – like the GardenHOME All-in-One Garden Tool Set, the Stanley 201-Piece Mechanic’s Set, and the Black & Decker Drill and Project Kit.
But you probably won’t always be within arms reach of those sets or be interested in climbing up to the attic to hunt them down and dust them off. What you will want to do is keep some of your most frequently used tools handy in the Bradley Mountain Utility Roll – like the Mininch Tool Pen. You might even want to keep on you a good pocket-sized multi-tool – for example, the Cha-O-Ha EDC Card – on hand at all times. And you’re definitely going to need the Always Prepared First-Aid Kit for when you inevitably cut, stub, smash, or burn any and all of your extremities.