It’s perhaps genetic: Part of being a grown man is the desire to be able to fix anything. But sometimes that’s easier said than done: How many times have we been confronted with a leaking faucet, an ominously blinking dashboard, or a piece of furniture that seems easy enough to assemble, and been forced to improvise with tools that are less than optimal, before throwing in the towel? Take a cue from the Boy Scouts and be prepared for anything nature, temperamental pipes or a hyperactive toddler can do to your surroundings with these 25 essential tools every man should own.
After a hammer and screwdriver, this will likely be the most-used tool in your repertoire.
Allen wrench set
The most random tool you’ll ever regret not having. You’ll need it to assemble (and adjust) most chain-store furniture that comes out of a box, and you can’t count on it being included.
If you want to hang shelves, wallpaper, drywall or just about anything long and straight, this will save you much regret. Also known as a plumb line.
Depending on how much storage space you have, this one’s a bonus, but if you ever find yourself cutting shelves or counters (and you will), it’s worth its weight in gold.
If you need to cut a two-by-four or shelf at a 45-degree angle, this ruler with a built-in level will ensure a professional result.
Combination wrench set
A plumber’s best friend. When you have to loosen a stubborn nut, you need something steadfast and slip-proof.
In the event you need to cut wood on a curve, keep one of these on hand. It takes up minimal space, so it’s worth the $7 investment.
Cordless drills are now as powerful as corded and allow for freedom of movement. Don’t forget both drill bits and drivers.
For the occasional tough job, like cutting metal or pipe.
This one’s a shocker, we know.
To make quick cuts or slice at strange angles, the jigsaw is a real time-saver. You can get a decent one for less than $40.
Your grandpa could eyeball just about anything. But if he’s not around, keep one of these to keep everything nice and even on the first try.
Another carpal-tunnel-saving tool, a locking wrench will give you extra power in removing stubborn elements without having to rely on your grip strength.
Save time — and your tendons — with a ratcheting screwdriver with quickly interchangeable bits that’ll maximize your wrist power.
Whether you want to join wiring or unplug the shower drain, sometimes you need to put a finer point on things.
Be a hero — and save serious money — by making drain-trap repairs (and saving the occasional dropped wedding ring) instead of calling the plumber.
For everything from filling nail holes with putty to scraping science-project debris off the kitchen counter.
Electric sheet sander
This economical sander (you can get one for about $30) will help you smout out furniture, shelves and drywall without getting carpal tunnel.
There’s no substitute for a classic full-size saw — you won’t always be able to go electric. And don’t try to make do with a hacksaw for every job.
Socket wrench set
Tighten or loosen bolts fast — these fit into tight spaces and hold in place easily.
Skip the unreliable apps and spring for a traditional electronic stud finder, to hang shelves, pictures and cabinetry securely.
You won’t get far without one of these babies.
You’ll need a few of these — one in your desk and one in the toolbox.
Because you’ll always need another pair of hands to hold things steady.
This baby will literally save your life. From replacing a light fixture to installing a ceiling fan, use this to test whether there’s any errant voltage running through the metal parts you’ll be handling.