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12 Basic tools every woman needs

Nina Spitzer is a SheKnows.com columnist and a freelance writer living in sunny Cave Creek, Arizona.

Tools for her

Gals -- it’s the twenty-first century! There are already just-for-women running shoes, motorcycle helmets, and snowboards… and we really need our own tools. It’s as simple as that!

Woman with wrench

Borrowing your man's tools is a no-no

First of all, he's probably funny about anyone touching his tools (guys are like that). Second, you might damage one by using it incorrectly, like opening paint cans with his favorite screwdriver. Finally, heaven forbid, you might return a tool to the wrong place!

put tools on your wish list

The fact of the matter is your guy's tools are most likely the wrong size and weight for your girl-sized hands. Your own tools will work best for your personal size and strength, as well as solve the problem of using his stuff.

No doubt, your hubby, dad or son would be thrilled to give you a gift of tools. Keep in mind, however, that even if you're putting tools on a birthday or holiday wish list, you might still want to select them yourself so the size and weight will be just right for you.

>> 5 Best tools for women

Check out a hardware store

Visit your local hardware store, or a chain like Home Depot, Lowe's, Harbor Freight or Ace. Find a salesperson to help, and don't be shy about asking questions, because they're more than happy to help. If you're putting together a wish list and not buying them for yourself, be sure to write down each item's brand and model number to be certain your guy will buy the exact tools you want.

You'll find many convenient tool sets available which offer a variety of tools in one kit. These are a great value, but their packaging usually won't give you an opportunity to check out how the tools feel in your hand.

To begin, look for basic tools that suit your needs and are comfortable, but also fit your family budget. Unless you plan on going into business as Handy Annie, you won't need to consider top-of-the-line tools. Avoid no-name, bargain-basement quality, as well, since they seldom hold up. Good, mid-range priced tools are your best bet.

>> How to be your own handywoman

Some basic tools to consider

Of course, you won't need all these tools at once. Decide which to start with for your particular home situation.

  1. Hammer – a claw type is good for hanging pictures, banging in a loose nail... and even cracking walnut shells
  2. Screwdriver sets – in both flat head and Philips. A variety of sizes come in handy for mounting switch plates, assembling furniture and tightening knobs
  3. Pliers - slip-joint, needle nose & diagonal (I like the diagonal for cutting artificial flower stems)
  4. Wrenches – crescents, vise gripping and a hex key set
  5. Level – (torpedo) the only way to hang that artwork straight
  6. Measuring tape – 16 foot, bright & easy-to-find with belt clip
  7. Wood saw – helps trim excess boughs off the Christmas tree
  8. Utility knife – select automatically retractable blade for safety
  9. Plunger – essential for clearing clogged pipes
  10. Flashlight – plug-in, with rechargeable lithium battery
  11. Utility Stapler – comes in handy for recovering seat cushions
  12. Cordless power drill – 14.4 volt variable speed drill/driver

Keeping it together

A small, canvas sports bag is an inexpensive way to keep all your tools together. Have safety glasses for eye protection and work gloves to protect your manicure. In addition, you may want to mark each of your tools with a band of pink tape for quick identification. Not only will it be easier to spot yours amongst other tools, but surely your guy won't be caught dead picking up a pink "girly" tool.


 

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