Whether you plan on doing a lot of DIY projects or not, you’d be amazed at how often you need at least some basic tools once you enter adulthood. Need to figure out if something will fit in your space? You’ll need a measuring tape. Hanging your favorite picture? Grab that level. 

Below is our list of seven basic tools every adult should have. 


Why: Hands down the most common tool used in SO many household items—from opening battery compartments on gadgets to tightening the inevitable screw that comes loose. 

Suggested: A simple set of 6 with flathead and Phillips heads in various sizes will cover most of your needs. JZ’s first screwdriver set, bought at 17 years old, was a lot like this little set. It was compact enough to store in a dorm, but had enough attachments to make it useful. If you have a little more space, we recommend something like the Stanley set below, which you can find on Amazon. 

Stanley 60-060 Standard Fluted Screwdriver Set, 6-Piece




Why: When a screwdriver won’t do, it’s probably because you need a ratchet  Get a set that has metric and imperial, and you’ll be set. 

Suggested: This one has a range of sizes—imperial and metric—and would be a great start.

Stanley STMT71654 201-Piece Drive Mechanics Tool Set




Why: You know why. How else will you know if that new thing will fit in your car, or room/apartment/house? We keep a few measuring tapes in the shop, and one in the car. 

Suggested: We’re huge fans of the Stanley Leverlock measuring tape with magnetic tip. The lever lock on the bottom makes it easier to use than traditional measuring tapes, and that magnetic tip comes in handy when measuring long areas by yourself. Bonus, it’s not terribly expensive. 

Stanley 33-281 Leverlock Fractional Tape Rule with Magnetic Tip, 1-Inch X 25-Feet




Why: Whether you’re hanging pictures in your room or need to tap something back in on an item you bought, a hammer is a good tool to have around. 

Suggested: Hammers are pretty standard, and inexpensive. But you still want a solid one that will stand up to repeated impacts. Something like this Stanley hammer should suffice:

Stanley STHT51304 20Oz Rip Claw Fiberglass Hammer,


Why: Ever dropped something in a tight space? That’s why. 

Suggested: We couldn’t find the grabber we use online, but this one looks pretty close. A good grabber should be long enough to actually help you reach things, but still fold in half for storage. Also, rubberized tips will aid in gripping items as you grab them, like this one.

Reacher Grabber Tool, 32″ Foldable Grabber Reacher (Blue)



Why: If you hang anything on a wall—art, shelves, or a mirror, you’re going to want to be sure it’s straight. The great news is that levels are relatively inexpensive, even ones with a few extra features. You *can* use a level on your smartphone, but having a dedicated level will keep you from putting your phone in a precarious spot. 

Suggested: Levels are relatively inexpensive overall. We liked this one from Qooltek, as it goes beyond the usual vertical, horizontal and angle levels to provide a laser level line as well. Pretty nifty. 

Qooltek Multipurpose Laser Level Laser Line 8 feet Measure Tape Ruler Adjusted Standard and Metric Rulers



Why: Some of the first DIY projects most adults undertake aren’t crazy big projects. They’re smaller things like hanging curtain rods or towel hooks. While these projects can seem daunting at first, having the right tool—in this case a cordless drill—makes them so much faster and easier. 

Suggested: For smaller projects around the house, a simple 12volt cordless drill like the one below should be sufficient. It wasn’t until we got into bigger, crazier projects that the 12v didn’t quite cut it. Bonus tip: if the one you buy doesn’t come with a stud finder, then definitely pop for a stud finder. You’ll thank us later. 


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