Hanging a picture, tightening a screw, building a shelf: There are some household jobs for which you just need a toolbox. But do you really need all the other things DIY markets are trying to sell you? How many tools do you really need? Some would say a lot – and then take out three suitcases filled with nothing but drill bits. Others just have a hammer and a can of nails. What do the experts say?
A simple hammer, a pair of pliers and a Phillips and a flat-head screwdriver in two different sizes are enough for the average household with little to repair.
“With these tools, you can certainly hang pictures on the wall and tighten loose screws, ” explains Susanne Woelk from an organisation for home safety.
Peter Baruschke, editor of a home maintenance magazine, also suggests getting a pair of pliers and a wirecutter. A pipe wrench will also help you open and close bolts on pipes in various sizes in the kitchen or bathroom.
Likewise, a few spanners will come in handy sooner or later when loosening and tightening nuts or bolts. For better grip and more versatility, there are also such things as open-ended combination spanners and ring spanners.
A tool set for varying nut sizes is also a good idea. You’ll easily pick up one of these in a DIY shop, and many come in small sizes. “This is often cheaper than buying each tool individually, ” says Baruschke. Tool sets like these often contain other handy items like a boxcutter or a spirit level, which you can use to straighten picture frames on the wall.
You might also need some electrical tape and a few cable ties. “With these things, you can solve many repair problems, if the right tool or material isn’t at hand, ” says Baruschke. A bit of tape can help insulate a broken pipe seal until you get the right part or an expert arrives.
When you want to handle DIY jobs with a bit more comfort, that’s when things tend to get a bit more expensive. A power tool will help you screw in a screw or drill a hole in the wall more easily than a normal screwdriver, for instance.
“In order to drill in wooden or plasterboard walls, a conventional cordless screwdriver is sufficient, ” says DIY pro Michael Koswig. “For concrete walls, you’ll need a hammer drill.”
Those who don’t want to deal with heavy-duty drills or the like can often get the same results with lighter power tools. “It’s not just people with smaller hands who will benefit from a small cordless screwdriver, ” says Koswig. With compact devices like these, it’s also easier to get into tight spots. – dpa
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