Updated: Feb 19, 2019

by John Parks

Leaky faucets, old shingles, fallen fence boards...For the manually minded individual it is possible to save literally thousands of dollars on repairs and maintenance every year. Jumping into a project can be intimidating for those who have thought about tackling those nagging home repair projects but aren't quite sure how to begin. With a little effort, gaining the tools and skills to fix things can not only save money but can bring a satisfaction that little else can. 

Basic Toolbox

The first thing that any handyman needs is a basic toolbox that includes things like screwdrivers, wrenches, hammers, level and measuring tape. For the amateur builder it may make sense to collect these tools individually as they are needed. Once acquired keep that toolkit in a good tool box to keep everything handy and in good shape. One never knows what will be needed again and gradually building a set of useful tools will make each subsequent job easier. 

In their simplest form most repair jobs come down to two things: cutting and fastening. If you can't cut something on your own, the time that a job will take multiplies greatly. A saw is one of the most basic pieces of the handyman's toolkit but which type of saw for which job? A chop saw for short accurate cuts, a table saw for long accurate cuts or a skill saw for more general use? Each of these has distinct advantages but unless heavy duty work is anticipated a handheld skill saw or jigsaw can accomplish most small tasks. If you're willing and able to fork over a small chunk of change, many hardware stores carry bundles of power tools that can include skill saws, reciprocating saws, drills etc. While the combo can be a little pricey it is one of the most efficient ways to acquire not only a saw but a set of all the basic power tools necessary for most jobs.

In fact, a miter saw is a chop saw. But a not all chop saws are miters.

Whether you buy a bundle of power tools or look for deals separately, a reliable cordless drill with an extra battery is another essential tool that will make chores quicker and easier. Because a good drill is so versatile, it is the center of the handyman's world. Fasten any type of hardware and swiftly drill through anything from drywall to concrete. With a cordless battery backup it's always ready to get the job done.

Once the toolkit is assembled don't be afraid to take on new projects; with a little skill and the right research, most basic repairs are not outside of the reach of any amateur fixer. Many large hardware stores even offer free weekend clinics on a wide variety of topics. Sure, they are trying to sell their supplies but learning to do a job without the cost of a contractor usually saves hundreds of dollars in labor.

Another great source of information is the growing number of periodicals dedicated to the part-time jack-of-all trades. By Taking advantage of these informative sources and gathering the tools for the job any would-be handyman is off to a great start. 

For more information on being a handyman, visit