4 essential tools every household needs

Some people can fix anything. You may or may not be one of them. But if you follow fix-it pros around, you will quickly learn that efficiency is one of their key traits. They don't waste their energy — and they don't lug around more tools and equipment than they need. Most can get by on a small, broadly useful selection. Here is your must-have list.

4 essential tools every household needs

1. Interchangeable screwdriver

Different sizes and types of heads fit into the end, making this easier to keep up with than a handful of different screwdrivers.

  • It's great for here-and-there jobs (but grab the cordless driver and let the batteries do the work for everything else).

2. Adjustable wrench

Why try to keep up with a tumbling mess of wrenches, when one adjustable wrench fits all?

  • An adjustable wrench will give you a firm grip on anything from a pipe to a loose nut.
  • Put a little duct tape on the teeth to keep it from scarring metal.

3. 500-gram (16-ounce) claw hammer

From tacking up picture hangers to pulling rusty nails up from old salvaged wood, the claw hammer is an absolute must for your toolbox.

4. Continuity tester

The electrician's basic diagnostic tool, a continuity tester is a battery-powered device with a lightbulb, a probe and an alligator clip.

  • With the power off, you can use this tool to detect shorts in sockets, electrical appliances and extension cords. If you can do light electrical work, such as replacing a faulty switch, you'll save a bundle.
  • With a little practice, adequate safety precautions and a continuity tester, you can do it.

Keep these basic tools in a plastic tool tray, and you'll be prepared to tackle most of your home's minor repairs.

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