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DIY Tools for Success with Home Improvement Jobs

Having the proper home improvement tools is essential for success in do it yourself jobs around the home. With the high cost of living these days, being able to undertake elementary repairs and modifications is a logical undertaking.

A couple of days ago while walking through a department store I overheard part of a conversation between a young woman and a store clerk. She said something like, “Every time I ask my husband to fix or repair something or do something different to our house he says he doesn’t have the tools and takes off for the home improvement store. The job eventually gets done but it’s always preceeded by these trips of his. What are some of the basic tools we need to have at home just to do regular repairs and small projects?”

The clerk began crafting an answer saying that all depended on what category the repair or small project fell into. For example, a bathroom plumbing repair, putting in new kitchen lighting, or perhaps fixing a step outside on the deck.

All these projects might require different hand tools or power tools. The lady countered with, of course she understood that but there must be some basic hand and power tools used in most jobs that she and her husband could begin outfitting themselves with.

The clerk made a number of basic tool suggestions and then moved on to remind her that they could find lots of items, sometimes at sale prices, on the store’s website. These might not necessarily be available in each store branch.

That seemed to set off lights and bells for her. The suggestion of sale prices, easy comparison shopping from home and of course a wider selection than was available by digging through the store shelves while trying to read the specs off the sides of the boxes all sounded like a great new approach. She thanked the clerk saying “oh this sounds like fun” and left with a smile on her face.

The points made by the store clerk should be taken into consideration. Website prices are comparable to and often better than off the shelf, in store pricing. Side by side comparison of features is vastly easier. Web shopping makes it possible to find the best model of a particular tool for your individual job. This may not necessarily be one of the top sellers at the local hardware or home improvement store.

Shopping for home improvement tools online can be a pleasant and gratifying experience, and you can find great things at great prices. It sure beats the alternative of calling every tool outlet in town and then spending hours driving across town to pickup that item you may have spent half the morning trying to find, only to learn that the clerk you spoke to, who assured you they had what you wanted, was just mistaken or hadn’t read the specs on the box very carefully. Then in disappointment and frustration you opt to buy something that’s not quite what you needed because you’ve already put a half a day into getting the right tool for the job.

It should go without saying that buying tools online takes a little preparation and planning because shipping is involved. But let’s face it, we now live in the age of easy digitally processed mail orders and worldwide overnight delivery. You’ll always have to pay the freight to someone whether that’s the store or another shipper. So plan three to five business days ahead of when you need to set that first screw or make that first cut. It’s worth the tiny extra effort to get just exactly what you want and need.

Returning to that woman who was asking about getting some basic tools that everyone might need. There are a lot of ways to approach that answer, but dividing areas of use is a helpful way to start. There are of course small hand tools that will be used daily and for everything on repairs and projects, for example a ratcheting screwdriver with a variety of bits, a stiff tape measure, several types of pliers, a utility knife, a medium weight claw hammer a socket and ratchet set with a good case and several types of wrenches. This only scratches the surface and isn’t even the bare minimum.

Just think about the types of jobs you might do. Pliers for replacing a faucet water filter make sense. A utility knife for when you are adding attic insulation and cutting it to fit, makes sense.

Another category is power tools, AKA “boys toys.” Some guys will tell you there’s no such thing as having too many power tools. Pros and experienced do it yourselfers will tell you they get comfortable using, transporting and storing a more limited number of power tools that serve a variety of applications. While there is a legitimate argument to be made for having the proper tool for each different job, that’s an expensive proposition especially for the DIY home improvement do it yourselfer who engages in a wide variety of projects for a limited time and may not be using that $200 to $500 tool on a daily or even weekly basis.

A light to mid-weight drill/driver or impact driver is a must. Convenience is what you want in this tool. Bigger isn’t necessarily better here. A 7+ in. or even 5+ in. electric circular saw, a jig saw and a reciprocating saw will take care of most home carpentry jobs.

Whether corded or cordless tools are better can be an endless debate. The main points are convenience of use vs working time and the extra expense of cordless models. Several medium weight good quality electrical extension cords, preferably with lighted ends are necessary even if most of your tools are cordless. some kind of portable work or shop light and of course the bits, the different blades and possibly adapters to fit your specific brand and model tools.

When it comes to saws there are scores of different types and hundreds of different models. Many are for special applications of limited use, though some like table saws and miter saws have wide applications. Depending on how often the do it yourselfer is likely to use a given specialty tool, renting for one project may make the most sense.

Tools for outdoor use, both hand and power tools are two more major category areas. Common garden tools are certainly available online, but most folks don’t need to put much research into buying a shovel or a leaf rake.

The availability and variety of power gardening and landscape tools, especially large tools may be limited at your local store. In this case the internet is the perfect vehicle to compare brands, prices, specs and features. Internet shopping can also help if you’re trying to budget for purchasing multiple tools at once. Some brands of gardening power tools can save you some money on a multi tool purchase. They offer models which can serve a variety of functions with different attachments. Buy the basic unit and then attachments as needed, instead of investing in three to six totally different tools. The string trimmer, brush cutter, leaf blower, flowerbed tiller and tree saw is a good example of these multi purpose machines.

One of the most valuable applications for internet tool shopping and comparisons is when a specialized tool or machine is needed. If you need to compare several large log splitters, or high horsepower well pumps or large floodlights for a stage, the home improvement hardware store isn’t going to have the models and information available.

The internet may not be the best tool to solve every problem, but when it comes beating the high cost of living, and to finding the best tools, both basic and specialty, at competitive prices, internet shopping is the best way to find exactly what you need.

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