BASIC TOOLS EVERY MAN SHOULD OWN The Masculine Rite of Passage

Owning a tool kit (and knowing how to use your tools) is a masculine rite of passage, one that every responsible man will have to encounter someday. Whether you’re a homeowner, a hobbiest tinkerer, or simply a handy tenant, these are the most essential tools that will help you get the job done under any circumstance.

A Hammer
This is probably the most basic tool that comes to mind when you think of tools. It comes in every kids plastic tool kit, and the oldest hammers date back to 3 million BCE (they entered common usage around 30,000 BCE, in the midst of the paleolithic stone age). A good hammer will last you for generations without the head of the hammer “flying off the handle.” If an older relative of yours has a good one they’re ready to hand down, go ahead and claim that, otherwise I suggest checking out your local hardware store and looking for a modern one with a durable, synthetic handle.

We’re counting this as one tool although you’ll obviously need two of them at the very least. One should be a phillips head (to open everything) and one should be a flat head (to open everything else). Screwdrivers come in various sizes, but #2 is the most common and the one you’ll want to buy if you’re only buying one. It’s easy to pick up a starter pack with a variety of sizes though and they’ll definitely come in handy around the house. There’s nothing worse than using the wrong sized screwdriver, thinking all you need to do is give it a little more torque, and then stripping the screw for good.

A Tape Measure
The tape measure is one of the absolute most essential tools out there. No matter what you’re building or trying to fit snugly into somewhere, you’ll need a tape measure if you want to follow the age-old adage, “measure twice, cut once.” The 25’ tape measure is pretty standard and you’ll want to buy a retractable one for both ease of use and because they’re way more fun. I think it’s probably a childhood rite of passage to see how far you can extend a tape measure’s length into the air before it inevitably bows and comes crashing loudly to the floor.

A Vice Grip
If I could only have one household tool, honestly this would be it. It’s the perfect tool to use when you’re working by yourself and you need a little bit more leverage. A vice grip, besides being a cool-sounding tool, got its reputation for a reason. This versatile tool is essentially a pair of locking pliers that will help you with all your plumbing projects, turning a difficult or stripped bolt, or even as a simple, but reliable clamp. They don’t really make kids toy versions of this so it might not be in your general vernacular if you’re not a big tool guy, but don’t let that throw you. This is one purchase you won’t regret.

A Cordless Drill (and Bits)
A power drill is a beautiful thing to own; it’ll save years of your life that without it you’d have to spend meticulously turning a screwdriver. Ideally you’ll want to get a cordless one, because while one with a cord still functions fine, you’d be surprised how cumbersome it becomes when you’re balanced up on a chair trying to screw in some new shelves. Be sure to pick up a starter pack of different bit sizes and make sure the drill has the ability to reverse directions and drill at various speeds.

A Crescent Wrench
A crescent wrench is the wrench to end all wrenches. It’s your standard adjustable wrench that you’ve seen in countless toolboxes and movies featuring toolboxes. This is the tool you’ll likely use the most for a variety of tasks simply because of its ubiquity.

A Level
You’ll want a level to hang anything straight (duh) but it’s surprising how handy they are once you have them. Sure you may be thinking that you don’t need one as long as you have an iPhone but iPhones themselves can be hard to stand up straight on their own, depending on the type of case you have. A tiny level costs very little and will pay dividends for years to come.

Achievements in this Article