10 Tools You Must Definitely Know How to Use

Even if you don’t consider yourself especially handy, there are some tools that everyone needs to know how to use. Why? Because having even a basic knowledge of how to use common tools can help with quick fixes and do-it-yourself projects around the house, so you don’t have to hire someone to do something you can easily do yourself.

These basic tools can be found at your local hardware store and should be part of your home tool kit. Keeping them around can help you get out of a jam and fix that wobbly table that has been driving you crazy. It’s also helpful to know the names and proper uses of tools so you can find what you need at the hardware store and use the best tool for the job.

Knowing how to use a basic set of tools can save you money and can help you be more independent. Here are the top 10 tools everyone needs to know how to use.

Tape Measure

A tape measure is an essential part of any tool kit. It comes in handy for dozens of things, from measuring wood before you cut it to measuring the space you have available for that new couch. You’d be surprised at the number of people who don’t know how to take proper measurements. Learn how to measure things correctly and your projects will turn out right the first time. Find a good tape measure that allows you to lock it into place when you take measurements, learn how to use it and then keep it within reach.

Screwdriver and Electric Drill

Who hasn’t had to tighten a screw at some point? Screwdrivers and electric drills are a must when you need to tighten something, assemble furniture or when you’re building your own creations in the garage.

Screwdrivers are best for small projects or to tighten screws. Electric drills are ideal when you need to add a screw to a place that doesn’t already have a hole. The drill will let you place a hole and drill a screw in no time, so big projects are a snap.


A hammer may seem like an obvious choice for a home tool kit, but it’s an essential one. Learn how to use one safely so you can avoid smashed fingers and damaged walls. Also learn how to use the back of the hammer for removing nails.

Here’s a demonstration of how you can use HSS Hire’s Rapid Fire Cartidge Hammer.

Socket and Combination Wrench

A socket wrench is perfect for tightening and loosening fasteners. A complete set will include attachments in different sizes for different projects. Knowing how to use a socket wrench can help with quick repairs around the house.

A set of combination wrenches is a must-have. The sets come with several different sizes so you can tighten and loosen all kinds of bolts. These wrenches have a box-end and an open end, both of which can be used for different projects. Knowing how to use both ends of a combination wrench can save you a lot of aggravation when you take on your next DIY project.


Everyone needs a level on hand. These simple tools come in all sizes but all do the same thing: help you tell if something is perfectly straight. A level is filled with liquid and has a single bubble inside a tube that is marked with two straight lines. When that picture is perfectly straight, the bubble will rest exactly inside the two lines. Small levels are perfect for hanging artwork on walls while larger levels are best for hanging things like shelves or for construction projects.

Needle-Nose Pliers

Needle-nose pliers are an essential part of your tool set. These pliers are small and usually inexpensive, but they can pack a lot of power. They are perfect for working with wires, gripping nails and screws, removing staples and just about anything else that requires a firm grip in a tight spot.

Utility Knife

A utility knife may be one of the most-used tools in a toolbox. The knife lets you cut through anything from cardboard to plastic and many other materials. It’s important to know how to use a utility knife safely, since they are very sharp and if you don’t know how to use them correctly, they can be very dangerous. Learn how to hold a knife the right way and use it safely so you can keep it under control while slicing through materials for your next project.

Electronic Stud Finder

An electronic stud finder makes knocking on walls and listening for the sound of studs a thing of the past. You can run this handy tool against your wall and it will alert you when you have come to a stud. Knowing how to find studs is important when you want to hang pictures or mount heavy objects like shelves or televisions on the wall.

Staple Gun

Staple guns can hold pieces of wood together, attach upholstery to furniture and even hold wires down if used correctly. A staple gun is another tool that is inexpensive but can make a big difference when you’re working on a project. This tool can also be dangerous though, so read the instructions carefully and always wear safety glasses when you use it.

Side-Cutting Pliers

If you ever find yourself needing to cut wire or a heavy cord, side-cutting pliers are what you need. These tools let you snip through heavy materials easily, so you don’t have to try to saw through them with a knife or a pair of regular scissors. Especially powerful pliers can even cut through bolts and nails.

Some side-cutting pliers have a die at the end, so you can crimp together wires easily. This two-in-one tool is one you definitely need to learn how to use.

Instead of browsing the hardware store blindly looking for a tool that could be useful for the task at hand, learn how to use these 10 tools and keep them in a complete set at home. When you know how to use them, simple fixes and bigger household projects suddenly become much easier.

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About the Author

Lauren King

Lauren works in our Ecommerce Team, with over 6 years of experience at HSS. She brings product knowledge and is able to give her advice on the right tool for the job no matter how big or small.

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