There’s something super-cool about owning a great selection of tools, but if using them turns out to be an exercise in frustration, or they just end up gathering dust, uninformed choices are surely to blame. So, if you’re thinking of stocking up your toolkit, be sure to read this post before you get started. “Looks good” and “works well” aren’t necessarily the same things! Here’s what to look for when choosing tools you’ll enjoy using for years to come.
1. Go for Reputable Brands and Match Your Needs
Industry-leading brands achieved their position by delivering quality. Prologix battery chargers, for example, are the choice of top commercial technicians. But if you’re just doing a little backyard and garage pottering, you don’t need all the functionality they offer. Something simpler and far cheaper will do the trick. Consider your needs, and look for items and brands to match.
2. Start With the Basics
Having dozens of tools you’ll never need doesn’t make any sense. Start with mundane tools that everyone uses sooner or later. Your basic hammers, screwdrivers, socket sets, Allen keys, and pliers will see use, and you can always fill in any gaps later on. Think about jobs you will do fairly regularly and what you’ll need for them. For example, solar panel maintenance would require its own set of tools including a digital multimeter. While this approach to buying tools might not initially result in the array you envisioned, it’s a practical start to your toolkit.
3. Try Before You Buy
When it comes to power tools, making choices online can easily lead to disappointment unless you’ve seen and handled those tools in real life first. Nothing beats having held a tool in your hand, felt its weight, and achieved a first-hand experience of how you’d work with it. Consider how you’d feel after a few hours of using a specific tool. For example, a heavy hammer might seem like a good idea, but a lighter-weight one is better when you need a little precision or will be working with it for hours on end.
4. Buy Per Project – If it’s Economical
DIY projects can be inspiring, but they can also end up costing you a lot more than you expected, especially if you have to invest in tools that you may never use again. Power tools can always be hired instead of purchase, so keep this in mind when you’re weighing up whether to buy a particularly pricy item. If it’s a one-off and requires expensive tools you may be unfamiliar with, getting a professional in may be the better solution.
5. Stay Safe
Personal protective equipment like goggles, gloves, dust masks, and hearing protection are worth owning if you’re planning to become a DIYer of any stature. Tools can be dangerous, so never overlook the importance of having good safety gear. And remember that some types of damage are cumulative rather than sudden. You may never notice that noisy tools are harming your hearing, for example, but that doesn’t mean you aren’t losing your hearing a little bit at a time. Use the necessary protection!
If your early adventures in DIY seem to indicate that you have a knack for working with tools, it’s something you enjoy, and you plan to keep DIY work as a hobby, you’ll slowly build up your arsenal of tools in line with the projects you most enjoy. Take your time, think things through, and don’t allow yourself to get carried away in the moment. Consider your purchases well, and you’re on the way toward the development of a practical selection of good-quality tools that you’ll enjoy using.