They are stacked behind the table, those new frames you bought to liven up an empty wall. The wardrobe door handle is a little loose and it really bugs you. Or maybe, you ordered a set of shelves that need to be assembled. You want to fix these soon but can’t get the busy local handyman to come and do it. We think this might be the perfect time to get familiar with a screwdriver. “I find it essential to keep a few basic tools because all homes require maintenance. Often, it is quicker and more convenient to just do the task yourself. I think you can save the world with a screwdriver,” says Farzin Adenwalla, founder and creative director of furniture design studio, Bombay Atelier.
Gautam Seth, co-founder of New Delhi-based lighting design studio Klove, echoes Farzin’s sentiment. “For small projects or in case of emergencies, one doesn’t need to wait for professional help. I think everyone can manage these odd jobs on their own with the right instruments.” Furniture designer Aakriti Kumar, founder of Differniture, who regularly works with professional tools, finds that tasks like hanging paintings or installing lights are common occurrences in her home and studio. “Being in the field of furniture design, I have all sorts of tools around my home and working with them comes naturally to me. Having basic and easy-to-use tools can be quite useful and you don’t need to have a degree in product design to use them.”
All the design professionals we spoke to agreed that tools for the home are getting more user-friendly and convenient. “I am not a very mechanics-oriented person nor have I felt the need to be,” says designer Bandana Jain, founder of Sylvn Studio. “But over time I realised that it is always great to keep a few tools handy. In today’s world of DIYs, a screwdriver has made things really convenient, from assembling easy furniture to securing a window.” Here are the experts’ recommendations of what you need to stock your home tool-kit arsenal.
1. A Basic Tool-kit Set
What is it: The set should contain three to four hand tools like a hammer, screwdrivers with different heads, pliers, box cutter and a tape measure. Some professional sets also contain an electric drill with different bits.
What you need it for: Odd jobs and small repairs around the house like hanging a picture frame, assembling simple furniture, tightening loose screws and most non-electrical work.
Experts’ speak: “I find the Bosch GSB 10 RE Professional Tool Kit quite handy. It’s low maintenance, has everything you need and using the tool doesn’t really require any training,” says Prateek Jain, co-founder of Klove.
Where to buy: The Bosch GSB 10 RE Professional Tool Kit can be purchased from Amazon.
2. A Set Of Screwdrivers
What is it: The set should contain flat-head and cross-head screwdrivers of varying widths. You can also go in for a battery-powered one that comes with a larger variety of heads which are also magnetic.
What you need it for: Obviously, not all screws are made equal, hence you do require different-shaped heads of different widths to fit into the more widely used screws. The magnetic heads make life a little easier by holding on to the metal screws and a battery-powered one does most of the work for you.
Experts’ speak: “The one thing I find the most useful at home is my set of Taparia screwdrivers. I prefer this brand because it is lightweight and the handle has a good grip,” Bandana explains.
“I would recommend purchasing a battery-powered screwdriver with multiple heads. Pick a quality brand like Black and Decker which comes with a warranty,” adds Farzin.
Where to buy: Taparia has quite a few sets to choose from, though this one is quite handy. For more options, try the Black and Decker A7073 battery powered screwdriver.
3. An Electric Drill
What is it: Any set comes with a hammer drill and drill bits of varying widths. Some sets also come with screws of different length and widths with matching plastic sleeves for better grip.
What you need it for: You require special drill bits for drilling holes in different surfaces like wood, dry wall, tiles, concrete, metal etc. The plastic sleeves anchor the screw to the wall for better grip and are perfect for hanging picture frames.
Experts’ speak: “One always has to be careful while using any power tool but a drill set doesn’t require any expertise. I find it very handy for small tasks like hanging shelves, framed photos or paintings on your own. Go in for reliable brands like Bosch and Hitachi for quality tools that come with a warranty,” says Aarkiti. “For me, the very best power tools like an electric drill are by the German brand Festool. They are very expensive, however, the quality is unmatched. They have a variety of drills that are extremely well designed, efficient and precise,” adds Paul Michelon, creative director of Casegoods.
Where to buy: The Bosch GSB 450 RE Impact drill set comes with a reversible rotation feature, 12 drill bits, 10 screwdriver heads and a set of screws with nylon plugs. Festool’s compact and cordless drill comes with a three year warranty and is available on Amazon (check availabiliy).
4. Torpedo Level
What is it: A Torpedo level is a spirit level that comes with two or three tubes. The one with two tubes can tell you true horizontal and vertical level and plumb while the one with three checks an exact 45-degree angle.
What you need it for: To make sure your lines are even and straight i.e. parallel to the ground, at a perfect 90-degree angle to the ground or a precise 45-degree angle. From hanging frames and mirrors to shelves and even counter tops, it will easily let you know if the item is level.
Experts’ speak: “For precise drilling, attach the Torpedo level to the machine while you are using it,” suggests Aakriti.
Where to buy: You can find it at your local hardware store or purchase one from Taparia.
5. A Claw Hammer
What is it: A medium-sized claw hammer comes with one flat side and the other side of the head is curved with a tapering split in the middle.
What you need it for: The flat side is used for hammering nails in while the claw end is useful for removing unwanted nails.
Experts’ speak: “I like a wood handle for the grip and feel. Rather than the brand, I pay attention to how the head is fixed to the stick which should be a solid fix, and the shape of the head which should be flat and not rounded, to slip less,” Paul clarifies. Farzin also recommends a good-quality claw hammer from a brand like Stanley. “It is lightweight but sturdy and comes with a steel shaft and rubber grip,” she says.
Where to buy: You can pick up a good-quality claw hammer with a wood handle at any local hardware store. The Stanley claw hammer can be purchased from Amazon.
6. Tester Screwdriver
What is it: The simple electrical device is used to determine whether a circuit is carrying a current.
What you need it for: When working on a circuit, this tool will test if the power is flowing to it. It can also help you diagnose where the electrical problem exists.
Expert’s speak: “A tester is good to have when you don’t know if your lamp gave up or the socket. This helps you know what to fix,” says Paul.
Where to buy: Any hardware store will have a tester screwdriver. Make sure to purchase one with a grip that is well insulated. The Tester screwdriver can be purchased from Amazon.
7. A Set Of Painting Tools
What is it: Put together a set of at least two paint brushes (thick and thin), two to three rollers of different widths, a pan, and sandpaper of varying grades (coarse to fine).
What you need it for: A thin paint brush helps you tackle finer lines and corners while rollers help you cover larger areas with even distribution of the paint. You will need a pan to mix the paint while the sandpaper is used for minor surface prep for an even and clean surface to paint.
Experts’ speak: “I highly recommend keeping a set of painting tools at home for small touch-ups instead of calling in professionals. Even if you just need to apply one coat of paint for a fresh look or take on DIY projects like revamping old furniture, anyone can do it themselves,” says architect Saurabh Dakshini, founder of Studio Organon.
Where to buy: Local hardware stores and e-commerce websites like Amazon and Flipkart.