The best tool kits for all levels of home maintenance

Whether fixing small things in an apartment or undertaking massive renovations, it all starts with the right set of tools.

The tool kit is like a rite of passage. Whether you’re in a starter home or a first apartment, the moment you have to fend for yourself in the real world you need a dependable set of tools for basic home repairs or projects. You can’t call your house or apartment a home until you know exactly where the screwdrivers and pliers are. It’s just that simple.

Whether you are the do-it-all-yourself type or the occasional picture frame hanger, there are tool kits that can meet your specific needs. Here are some we recommend.

No excuse not to tackle that leak. Amazon

BUY NOW

The Dowell set is the perfect house-warming gift for someone about to experience homeownership for the first time. Not the most extensive set, but its 49 pieces are a great foundation upon which to build as your repair and maintenance needs develop over time. The sturdy, molded case holds an array of fundamental tools including flathead and Philips head screwdrivers, an 8-inch adjustable wrench, hand saw, wire cutters, tape measure, socket wrenches, and more. Easy to store, carry, and maintain, this is a solid set to build your workroom around.

Never call a repairman again. Amazon

BUY NOW

If you are the type who’d rather die than call a repairman, then the Workpro set is for you. A gargantuan 408-piece set housed in a no-nonsense, multi-tiered aluminum toolbox, this is the tool set of a man for whom no job is too big. Featuring a large selection of daily use and job-specific tools, each piece is made to last. The ratchet handles, sockets, and combination wrenches are polished chrome plated and the pliers are made with anti-rust nickel plating. The hammer is constructed with a fiberglass handle that resists bending.

Don’t shoulder the load alone. Amazon

BUY NOW

The Rexbeti set is like the Goldilocks porridge between the basic Dowell and the massive Workpro. It’s not too small, not too large, it’s just right. Featuring a few items that step up its overall game like a leveler and additional screwdriver and plier options, the Rexbeti is also extremely portable thanks to its flexible but sturdy fabric tool bag. Loaded with 11 interior and 8 exterior pockets and fitted with five base pads that keep it dry and clean in wet or muddy conditions, the bag helps keep all the pieces organized and in reach.

The power pack. Amazon

BUY NOW

Sometimes you don’t have a ton of storage space and, frankly, don’t face too many massive repair jobs thanks to your super being a phone call away—but you still need to have some of the basics on hand. The Cartman Blue 39-piece kit is slim and easy to fit in small closets or cabinets, and has more of the basic tools you could possibly need: Hammer, pliers, small screwdrivers, Allen wrenches in various sizes, box cutter, tape measure, and a few others. You don’t have a ton of size options (one hammer, one standard pair of pliers) but it’s good for those with minimal housework obligations.