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Customer Discussions > Home Improvement forum

New home-owner tool recommendations

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Showing 1-15 of 15 posts in this discussion
Initial post: May 14, 2012 6:49:18 PM PDT
R. Bailey says:
Hello all,

I am a new home owner and I would like a little advice.
First of all I live in Trinidad where the houses are mostly made with concrete and red brick, mine is also.

My question is what power tools would you recommend that a new home-owner get?

The first (and only) power tool that I got was a hammer drill/driver. Living in a masonry house the hammer action is a must.

I think I should also get a power saw, but I am wondering if it should be a circular saw or jigsaw.

At this time I am not terribly handy around this house, this might change, but it is because of this I don't want to buy a bunch of tools I will never use again.

So my question is, which tools are must have for a home-owner? Which of your tools as a home-owner so you get the most use and value out of?

Posted on May 14, 2012 10:15:37 PM PDT
Ewok says:
Your best bet is to wait and see what comes up. I know from experience that you can spend thousands on tools you'll never use but thought you "might." Because of this, buy a basic tool set and wait to see what projects you decide to tackle and then go out and purchase them. Not sure if it's possible in Trinidad but in the US I have rented tools at Home Depot to save on purchasing a tool I would only use once.

Congrats on the new house!!!!

Posted on May 15, 2012 7:49:31 PM PDT
Duke Alamo says:
I agree with Rooster. I own and operate a handyman business that is fairly successful. To purchase a tool for every contingency will bankrupt you very quickly. Purchase or rent tools as the project deems necessary, to include bits and saw blades. Good places to find inexpensive tools would be;, local pawn shops, Harbor Freight, even big box stores have great sales tools and combo packs. If they offer a no or low cost membership for deeper discounts or rewards points, do it. Always remember safety first. Eye protection is not to be forgotten. Glasses should fit snugly around the eyes to avoid debris from entering inside, and allow air in and out to increase vision and comfort. I would also recommend an anti fog solution. If you have any further questions feel free to email me at I will be more than happy to answer them for you.

Posted on May 16, 2012 1:06:26 PM PDT
John Cooper says:
The one tool that will do just about anything other (than fine carpentry) is the Milwaukee 6519-31 12 Amp Sawzall Reciprocating Saw Kit. The sawzall will cut just about anything with the proper blade.

In reply to an earlier post on May 16, 2012 2:11:11 PM PDT
mayamaven says:
I consider myself a handy person and have tackled many, many home improvements and repairs over the last 35 years (with only a couple of dismal failures--don't ever take the tension control knob off a sewing machine, for instance!) and I would say one of the most invaluable tools a homeowner could have would be a decent bench vise, bolted to a sturdy work surface. I didn't understand the value of having whatever I was working on being held securely, when I was young and learning. It will make so many things easier and more accurate, though, as hand clamps simply can't substitute in most situations. It will also be safer--the temptation to hold something with one hand while bearing down/stabbing at/scraping on/banging on/sawing, filing, cutting will invariably lead to bruised or bleeding flesh. I've found that this tool will be useful in so many jobs that it will pay for itself easily (despite being a somewhat sizeable investment) in projects not botched and and body parts not bleeding. Get a good-quality one of medium size. Best wishes and enjoy your new adventures.

Posted on May 17, 2012 9:40:57 AM PDT
R. Bailey says:
Thanks for all the advice and well wishes thus far!

I do have a project coming up to install laminate flooring in my house. Will a Sawzall work for that? The impression I get of the Sawzalls is that they are not for fine work, like cutting laminate planks.

I also want to make two sawhorses with some lumber that was left over from the construction that was use as bracing on some brick walls.
So those are the two projects I have coming up.

In reply to an earlier post on May 17, 2012 10:01:12 AM PDT
I used work for Bosch and I was in charge of making the Skil 3600-02 120-Volt Flooring Saw. It is designed for laminate flooring project.

By the way, I have my own company now which imports OEM brand quality (SKIL, Black and Deck) products directly from factories. It is under brand SunZi. We have a great deal on Lithium-ion tool, and AC rotary hammer tools.

There is a combo we offered for you who does concrete and metal works: SunZI PT05625-11 1-Inch SDS 4-Mode Rotary Hammer and 4-1/2-Inch Angle Grinder w/ Tool Box and 5 Bits. It is only $119 with free shipping. It has a keyed chuck ($40 in store) which transfer rotary hammer to regualr hammer drill. The 5 bits (3 masonry bit and 1 point and 1 chisel bit) will cost over $50 in the store. It is a great deal prodcut and hope you can try it.

Please visit us at for more details. All of our products are sold in Amazon with free shipping (except 1 4v) or you can call us directly.



Posted on May 17, 2012 10:16:51 AM PDT
R. Bailey says:
Thanks for the recommendation Ivan, but I don't have a flooring installation company, I'm just a homeowner, so I was hoping for tool recommendations that would be more general purpose.

I might look at renting something like that though.

Posted on May 17, 2012 11:01:51 PM PDT
I am a 77-year old female and I bought my house 36 years ago. It, too, is red brick and I've done most of the maintenance on it. I stopped climbing the ladder and cleaning gutters two years ago because it isn't worth taking a chance on falling and becoming paralyzed or brain damaged.

I rent equipment like powerwashers. My best recommendation is check you tube for instructions and demonstrations with your repairs. I repaired my lawnmower after watching you tube and installed a Kitchenaide dishwasher two years ago by following the instructions on you tube. The people on you tube also tell what parts you need to buy for your project. You Tube is the best recommendation I can give you.

In reply to an earlier post on May 17, 2012 11:14:30 PM PDT
Chris says:

Posted on May 20, 2012 8:17:39 PM PDT
David says:
I am a builder, my father was a builder so I have been around it all my life and I am not young anymore. Buy a circular saw that uses a 7 1/4 inch blade. Every hardware store has the blades in stock. With the proper blade you can cut anything from framing to countertops and even some masonry work. Always think about safety and do not try to cut a very small piece of wood with out clamping it down. Never have your free hand on your work behind a circular saw (like when you are cutting a piece of plywood) because if the saw gets in a bind it will quickly back over your hand. If you can use the saw holding it with both hands and keep it away from your legs you will never get cut with it. It would be best if you could go to a store that has several brands so you can see how they feel in your hand. Buy the best one you can afford and if you have to buy from Harbor Freight get the extended warranty because after the few times you use it it will quit working.

A jigsaw will not cut as fast as a circular saw but it is almost impossible to severely injure yourself with one where a circular saw can remove fingers and do major damage to anything it comes in contact with.

A battery drill is almost a necessity but battery tools even if used often will need replacement batteries in several years so I would stay with corded tools unless you can stand the added expense of the batteries.

If I were you I would buy a good quality level, before you leave the store with it put it up against something vertical in the store and and read it, then turn the opposite side to the same place and see if it reads the same, then flip it end for end and check that. Do the same for a horizontal surface, you will be surprised how often new levels do not read accurately. After you drop a cheap one a few times it will be in the same shape.

One of the best tools you will come across is the internet. There are sites that will help you with appliance repair and just about anything you could ever hope to fix. Think through a job before you begin and know how you are going to finish it before you start.
Anything you can do with a power tool you can do with a hand tool, it will just take longer.

Buy a good quality claw hammer and a pry bar. Open end and box end wrenches. A quality screwdriver set of all sizes. Some wood chisels and some masonry chisels. Channel lock pliers, linesman pliers and vice grip pliers come in very handy. Some quick clamps to help you hold things.

Most tools you want to buy can be had on ebay from large sellers cheaper than the box stores or the local hardware store just watch out for the shipping costs. Always do an internet search on any major purchase and it will save you money. Make sure any tool or blade you buy has a name you have heard of on it. I don't mean "Do All" or "Get Er Done" I mean Dewalt, Bosch, Vermont American, Porter Cable, Klein, Stanley, Black and Decker, Craftsman, well known names that have been around for decades. Almost all tools and blades are foreign made but the name brand people have better quality control. If no one will put their name on it you don't want it.
Look on Amazon or the front of the big box stores there are racks of books on every subject in repair and construction including getting started just like you.

If you are not sure of exactly what you are doing stay away from electricity and high places, they can kill you. A six foot step ladder kills more people than any other ladder.
There are so many things you should learn such as not standing in wet or muddy soil using a power tool, you could be electrocuted.
Always think about safety, it does not come naturally. Buy some comfortable safety glasses, ear plugs, leather work gloves and wear them. Stop and think, can this job cost me an eye? a finger? my hearing? how long would a broken arm keep you out of work? If you are working alone how will you call for help?

Start out small by just buying what you need and it will not be long until you will know what you want. Buy quality tools even thou they cost more you will be ahead in the long run because cheap tools break easily.

Take care of your tools by keeping them away from the weather and thieves. I watch my tools almost as closely as some people watch their children. When you finish a job take an extra minute to look around for any tools you may have left behind.

Good luck and be safe.

In reply to an earlier post on May 21, 2012 2:23:08 AM PDT
E. Snyder says:
I've been putting laminate flooring throughout my house for the last 9 months (it's big and I'm slow).
I used a 10.5" sliding bevel saw (chop saw) and a jigsaw. In some instances where we needed to rip a long board we'd use a circular saw with a removable fence on it. All blades should be carbide tipped. A carpenters speed square (which looks like a triangle) was used constantly in marking the boards for cutting. The jigsaw is handy for making oddball cuts you'll run into. I also had a budget multi purpose oscillating tool for undercutting door jams. Handsaws would never have done it for me. The chop saw was a budget model I got on sale.

In reply to an earlier post on May 23, 2012 6:25:18 AM PDT
G-money says:
Excellent post. You'll be surprised how frequently you find a need for your various tools, even as a new homeowner. No need to go spend a big wad all at once either. Grab them only when you need them, or pick them up on sale. I recently bought a couple of the yellow brand tape measures from the largest store chain. $8.88 for the 25ft with a 16 ft thrown in "free". I already have probably over a dozen at various sites, spare rooms etc, but it's a no-brainer deal. You'll come across your own as time goes on. BTW garage sales can be terrific also. Many people don't even know or care that they are "giving" you a fantastic and valuable old block-plane for a couple of bucks. I'm glad David emphasized safety. Heed every bit of advice that someone might give you. Don't let yourself get distracted by the kids or the dog, or that six-pack of brews. Saw-blade binds don't give much notice - literally a split second. Random info - Johnny Cash's older brother Jack, was killed in a head saw accident, at age 15. Used infrequently these days, a head saw can saw a log (tree basically) at between 1 and 300 feet per minute. Respect your saw! Trivia's over. Thanks for reading. Go make sawdust. Kia ora. GW

Posted on May 23, 2012 9:44:13 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on May 23, 2012 9:45:40 PM PDT
DSM says:
You should consider whether an electric miter saw would meet more of your needs than a circular saw. It's more bulky but much easier to do quick wood cuts on, plus angle cuts like for moulding around doors, windows, baseboards, etc. Only thing is it's more limited on the depth of the wood your cutting - about 6" depth and about 4" height is probably the most you could hope to cut. Another issue that can come up is that a lot of the tools you might buy may be rechargeable, which is fine but often not charged when you need it. Consider whether an electric drill or electric tool might be better for your needs so you don't have to recharge all the time or wait for a recharge. Make sure you have the basics, like an adjustable wrench, pliers, screwdrivers, and hammer. Do you have whatever tool you'll need if a pipe leaks, etc? Hope this helps.

Posted on May 24, 2012 7:08:06 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on May 24, 2012 7:08:59 AM PDT
R. Bailey says:
After reading all your comments and doing some more searching on the internet I have decided that the next power tool I as a homeowner will get is a jigsaw.
I won't get a premium one to start since who knows how much I will use it, but I think it will come in handy for my flooring installation project and to build the two sawhorses.
With the saw I can cut the funny shapes that will be needed to go around door frames and other parts; with a straight edge I can rip and cross cut the boards and I can miter the baseboards when needed.

I will definitely heed to call for safety since I don't want any accidents in my aging youth :)
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Discussion in:  Home Improvement forum
Participants:  12
Total posts:  15
Initial post:  May 14, 2012
Latest post:  May 24, 2012

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