16 Basic Tools You Need If You Live Alone

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Living alone is the best — until you find yourself needing to perform a simple repair and you're not armed with the proper tools. Since attempting to pulls nails out of the wall with your fingers and unscrew things with your bare hands doesn't tend to work (also? ow), equip yourself with these 16 basic tools you need if you live alone.

There are certain home repairs we all need to be prepared for, whether we rent or own, whether we have a house or an apartment. Leaky pipes, clogged toilets, assembling that IKEA bookshelf you just bought — all require an arsenal of at least the most simple tools. We tend to be intimidated by the thought of carrying a loaded tool belt (women in particular), because WTF do we do with all these odd-looking objects? Rest assured there are very helpful, very simple resources that can guide you through just about anything, and they're called Google and YouTube. This writer can confirm they can get you through everything, from broken kitchen table chairs to fixing the cheap towel rack that broke in the middle of the night, fell on the floor, and gave everyone in the home a mild heart attack.

You aren't Bob Vila, and this isn't an episode of This Old House, but if you want to be self-sufficient and prepared for anything, here are 16 simple tools you should consider always having on hand.

1Utility Knife

FC Folding Pocket Utility Knife


You're going to look so cool carrying this around. These heavy-duty steel blades are able to cut *all* the things. It's the ultimate pocket knife.

2Adjustable Wrench

Channellock 6SWCB Slim Jaw Adjustable Wrench


Get in those hard-to-reach places and grab hold of just about anything, from nuts to tubes.


Stanley 43-511 Magnetic Shock Resistant Torpedo Level


Don't eyeball it, because it's going to end up crooked. Grab this affordable level so you can line up all your wall decor perfectly.

4Cordless Drill And Drive

BLACK+DECKER LDX120C 20V MAX Lithium Ion Drill / Driver


This can drill through wood, metal, plastic, and beyond. Plus, it's light and compact, meaning you can take it anywhere.


Neiko 60166A Toilet Plunger with Patented All-Angle Design | Heavy Duty | Aluminum Handle


Accidents happen. Whether the kitchen sink gets clogged from too many food trimmings or, *ahem*, you have an episode in the bathroom, we all need a plunger at home.

6Extension Cord

AmazonBasics 16/3 Vinyl Outdoor Extension Cord - 50 Feet (Orange)


It's an unwritten rule of life that at least once, you're going to need a ridiculously long cord for something.

7Plumbers Tape

Everflow 812 PTFE Thread Seal Tape for Plumbers, White 3/4 Inch x 260 Inch


This stuff is the stickiest and will keep your pipes flawlessly sealed. Save yourself a hefty plumbing bill and avoid minor leaks.

8Portable Jump Starter

NOCO Genius Boost Plus GB40 1000 Amp 12V UltraSafe Lithium Jump Starter


The last thing you want when you live alone is a pooped out car battery and no way to jump-start it. This thing works in seconds. (They say you can even use it for your personal devices. Bonus!)


Maxcraft 60626 8-oz. Stubby Claw Hammer


It's one of the most basic tools of all — and one you can't live without. Don't skip the hammer and use a shoe instead. I can confirm this is a bad idea.


Outlite A100 Portable Ultra Bright Handheld LED Flashlight


True, your phone probably has a light, but it sucks the life out of your battery and isn't the easiest to hold. Always have a regular flashlight tucked away at home.


ORIA Screwdriver Set


The job won't always call for a high-powered electric drill, so keeping a screwdriver set in the home is always a wise idea.

12Duct Tape

Gorilla 6035180 Duct Tape


Weather-resistant and double the thickness of your average duct tape, this stuff will stick to wood, stone, stucco, plaster, brick — you name it. It can withstand just about anything.

13Tape Measure

Stanley 33-425 Powerlock 25-Foot by 1-Inch Measuring Tape - Original


"Estimating" is good and all, but tape measures are just a tad more precise.


Louisville Ladder FS4006, 6-Foot, Green


Standing on a swiveling computer chair to reach things high up can be very dangerous. Don't do that.


Stanley 84-114 3 Piece Basic 6-Inch Slip Joint, 6-Inch Long Nose, and 6-Inch Diagonal Plier Set


Use this for an extra tight grip and even to cut through cable ties and such.

16Stud Finder

Zircon MultiScanner A200 Electronic Wall Scanner


Drilling and screwing into electrical wiring tends to be a bad thing. Use this to find studs and metal behind the walls.