This article was produced in partnership with Leatherman
You’re only as good as your tools. That’s true whether you’re a first-time homeowner who’s never turned a screwdriver or a veteran handyman restoring a vintage VW in the garage. So, it’s important to routinely take stock of the gear you have in your tool box to make sure you’re ready for any situation that arises, because a rusted-out wrench is just taking up space and weighing you down. Fortunately, compact multitools from Leatherman pack a powerful punch in a small package, maximizing the efficiency of your kit. Here’s our advice for refreshing a variety of tool boxes, whether you need the basics for your first home or you’re looking to make your junk drawer more useful.
Maximize The Junk Drawer
Rubber bands, orphan screws, take out menus…they all land in your home’s junk drawer, the catch-all space for stray items. But that drawer can also be an epicenter of home improvement and maintenance if you stock it with the right essentials. And that begins with a tool that can handle a variety of jobs.
The Wave Plus is the best-selling option from Leatherman for a reason; it’s packed with 18 tools that will help you fix anything from your reading glasses (small bit driver) to your kid’s retainer (needle nose pliers). The scissors, bottle opener, and Phillips head will be used almost daily, but don’t overlook the bit driver, which accepts Leatherman’s accessory Bit Kit Set, making it infinitely more useful. The folding design keeps the overall footprint of the tool small, so you have more room in the drawer for more takeout menus, but key features like the knife can be accessed from the outside of the tool while it’s closed for streamlined use.
[$109.95; leatherman.com]Get it
Now that you have the majority of necessary tools taken care of, you can focus on rounding out your junk drawer’s usefulness with items like duct tape, super glue, and a flash light.
Build a First Time Homebuyer’s Toolbox
You bought a house. Congratulations! Now the real work begins as you realize that starter home is a legit fixer upper. Get ahead of the game by building a sensible toolbox with the basic tools you’ll need to take care of unexpected repairs and routine maintenance.
The Rebar is built tough with tools designed to tackle home projects, whether you need to unscrew an electrical outlet plate or tighten a plumbing fixture. This 17-tool package is stainless steel throughout, which means it will last until you’re ready to buy your second home. In addition, all the tools lock in place so you don’t have to worry about mishaps. The three screwdrivers will be your constant companions for daily tasks, while the wire stripper and electrical crimper will be there if you dabble in electrical repair. The large screwdriver also doubles as a paint can opener. And of course, there’s a bottle opener for celebrating a hard day of homeownership.
[$79.95; leatherman.com]Get it
Beyond the catch-all multitool, make sure your first tool box has the basics like a hammer, tape measurer and adjustable wrench. A level and stud finder will also come in handy for hanging pictures.
Refresh The Tinkerer’s Toolbox
You have six small projects going at all times. You’re building a fixed gear bicycle and souping up your son’s RC car. You have a lawnmower that’s as old as you are because you like the challenge of keeping it running. Because your interests are varied, you need to keep your toolbox stocked with tools that can handle multiple situations.
Leatherman Super Tool 300
The Super Tool 300 is built for the tinkerer that has a variety of interests. The 19-tool build has an ergonomic design with a comfortable grip that melds with your hand. Extra-long blades will make you second guess the need for a standalone pocket knife at all. And you get three of them—a knife, serrated knife and saw all made from tough 420HC steel. The two pliers are also large, making it easier to tackle bolts or dig into tight places, and the wire cutters are removable for easy sharpening. And that 9-inch ruler isn’t just good for measuring, it comes in handy for tracing straight lines too.
[$99.95; leatherman.com]Get it
No jack-of-all-trades toolbox is complete without a headlamp. Biolite’s 200 is compact while still delivering a bright light, so you see the details of the project at hand. A multi-piece socket set comes in handy for replacing spark plugs and pegs on your kid’s BMX bike. Keep a fresh can of penetrating oil within reach to help loosen joints and cranky old bolts.
Refresh Your Emergency Prep Toolbox
If the last few years has taught us anything, it’s that you need to be prepared. That means you need to make sure your emergency box is up to date. Let’s start with the box itself, which shouldn’t be a box at all, but a bag you can carry easily in case you need to leave your home. The 5.11 Tactical RUSH 24 has 24 liters of space, good organization, and a burly build that can handle a beating.
Now stuff that bag with essentials, starting with the comprehensive Surge. It’s a handle-everything multitool loaded with 21 different tools including the requisite extra-large scissors and a full-size knife blade. All of the tools lock in place and are designed to be used with one hand. This way, you can keep your other one free for multi-tasking. Plus, the blades are accessible from the outside, so you can get to them quickly. The can-opener is there when you need it and the awl and thread loop might do the trick if you need to repair clothes.
[$139.95; leatherman.com]Get it
Beyond the Surge, no emergency prep “go bag” is complete without a flash light with fresh batteries. You’ll want to check the batteries every few months to make sure they’re still good. A first aid kit like Adventure Medical Ultralight, which has the basics to handle minor injuries. A whistle, some non-perishable food, matches, paracord, and a hand-crank radio like the Midland ER310, a crank-powered AM/FM radio with a NOAA weather scan.
For access to exclusive gear videos, celebrity interviews, and more, subscribe on YouTube!