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You need these 7 tools in the household

A handful of tools is sufficient to carry out minor repairs yourself. Read what you should definitely have at home.


Combination pliers

You can do that with it: Press or hold everything possible, for example pulling out tight dowels, grabbing everything that may be live, pinching off cables and, for once in a while, opening nuts.

Possible quality problems: A pair of pliers is most likely to save on material and precision in production. The result is, for example, that the otherwise very useful cutting edge works poorly and wears out very quickly. Cheap pliers also have a stiff joint, which is annoying with every use.

Our recommendation: The combination pliers from Knipex are very well made and are a pleasure to work with. Thanks to the hard material and the sharp cutting edge, you can use it to pinch off a nail or something similar.


Here's what you can do with it: Hammer in nails, pull out nails, tap.

Possible quality problems: In itself, a hammer is extremely simply built. But models from the junk box are annoying anyway: their head quickly rusts due to poor paintwork. With an inferior handle, the anchoring of the hammer head can loosen and it sails across the apartment - which usually breaks something.

Our recommendation: A hammer with a claw looks unusual, but thanks to the claw it has an additional practical benefit. Because it is great for pulling out old nails. If you don't need that - for example because you already have a pair of pliers - a simple hammer with a head weight of 200g or 300g is sufficient.

Electric screwdriver with phase tester

Here's what you can do with it: This tool is suitable for screwing in or removing small to medium-sized slotted screws and for checking which line of a socket outlet is “juice”.

Possible quality problems: Cheap models often have inferior material for the tip. If you want to use it to unscrew a screw that is a bit stuck, it will bend quickly. If you have no problems with that, you can also take advantage of cheap offers.

Our recommendation: If a simple screwdriver with an integrated phase tester is enough for you, this model from Hazet is not a bad choice. The test options with the built-in glow lamp are, however, rudimentary. It also lights up when there are free lines that run parallel to a live line (phantom power). High-quality voltage testers that work correctly and display the voltage range as an additional function or even work as continuity testers are better.

drilling machine

Here's what you can do with it: Sure, a drill mainly drills holes in wood, metal and masonry. With the right additional functions and accessories, you can also use it to chisel and turn screws.

Possible quality problems: Cheap drills don't last long because of poor workmanship. Often something breaks in the electrics or the transmission. Very simple models do not have a speed control, but start turning immediately at full speed.

Our recommendation: Definitely buy a model from one of the well-known brands. By no means a simple hammer drill with a mechanical hammer mechanism, but definitely a pneumatic hammer drill. If you ever need to drill in a concrete ceiling - for example to hang up a lamp - you will appreciate the superior drilling performance with little effort. Almost all current machines have a drill chuck for SDS drills, with which the change from one drill to another is very easy and without tools. If independence from the power socket is important to you: There are also cordless rotary hammers.

Phillips screwdriver

Here's what you can do with it: Many screws do not have a simple slot, but a cross recess, which means that you can transfer more force to the screw with the screwdriver without the slot tearing out.

Possible quality problems: You can still accept an unergonomically shaped handle. What is bad, however, is poor quality material at the tip of the screwdriver. Because that wears off quickly and with the next stuck screw you slip off and damage the head of the screw. This makes it even harder to come out and you may even have to use a special screw removal tool, which takes a lot of time and effort.

Our recommendation: A Phillips screwdriver size PH2 is a universal tool.

Craft knife

Here's what you can do with it: Make cuts in paper, foil, carpet and similar thin materials. With the option of breaking off the blade tip or changing the blade completely, you always have a sharp knife. Good knives have a magazine for spare blades built in.

Possible quality problems: There is no big difference in quality between the blades - in the worst case, the cheaper ones will dull faster and you have to change them more often. The case deserves more attention. Very simple knives made of plastic are annoying with cumbersome operation and low durability. For example, it can quickly happen that the blade slips back into the housing if you cut with great force.

Our recommendation: A metal cutter knife is ideal. If you want to make longer, clean cuts, you should definitely buy a cutting ruler with a steel edge. If you have to do cutting work more often, it is worthwhile to have a mat so that your floor does not scratch. This can either be an old wooden board or a special cutting mat.

Water pump pliers

Here's what you can do with it: These pliers are in demand when you need a little more force to hold on than usual. They are used to open stiff valves or are suitable for counter-holding when opening stiff nuts.

Possible quality problems: A cheaply made pair of pliers does not grip well and has an adjustment mechanism that often jams or slips through quickly. Expensive water pump pliers made of high-quality steel, on the other hand, last for decades.

our recommendation: A medium-sized high quality water pump pliers like this model from Knipex.

Alternatives and another tool

If you buy a “small ratchet set” like this socket wrench set from Proxxon, you cover several tools at the same time. It offers you the functions of various screwdrivers and is an alternative to open-end wrenches that can be used in many cases - but only up to size 13mm. In addition, you can use it to open Allen screws and the Torx screws with their typical star pattern.

Use an open-end wrench (also known as an open-end wrench) to open hexagon nuts and bolts. For example, if you want to mount a new water tap or loosen a nut on your bike, this is the tool of choice. The best thing to do is to buy a whole set of open-ended wrenches. There are applications where a ratchet box like the one mentioned above would also get the nut open, but in some cases - as with the angle valve - only the open-ended wrench helps.

Be careful when buying a complete set of tools. There are tons of boxes in the market that only contain inferior ingredients. If you'd rather buy a complete set instead of the individual tools, then you should dig a little deeper into your pocket and purchase this universal tool case, for example.