Tools of the Trade: Essentials for Home & Garden

Whether fixing a leak or tending the garden, there are some tools that you just can’t do without. We take a look at the essentials you’ll need to complete just about any job, indoors and out.

Essential tools for the home

Ensuring you have the following tools on hand will make tackling jobs around the house a lot easier.

Electric drill

Drilling holes and inserting screws are two of the most common tasks in any home improvement job, which makes the electric drill a necessity. A cordless drill is more versatile and is perfect for when you’re on the move, while a corded drill is lighter and won’t run out of power midway through a job.

Claw hammer

One of the most used tools in any toolbox, it’s important to try a hammer in your hand for the correct size and weight. A clawed hammer is ideal as it can be used for both driving and pulling nails. Look for one with a fibreglass handle, as it will absorb the shock when driving nails into hard surfaces.

Adjustable spanner

Tightening nuts, bolts and washers is a fundamental part of many household jobs, which makes the spanner another must have. Spanners vary in size, so ideally you will want a variety to cover all types of jobs.

See also: Tools of the Trade

Spirit level

A spirit level will allow you to check if a surface is horizontal (level) or vertical (plumb). Handy for checking doorframes, walls, if timber is bowed, and can be used to ensure materials are fitted at the correct angle.

Essential tools for the garden

When outdoors, these tools will serve you well regardless of your garden type.

Digging spade

A digging spade is a must have tool for gardening. A stainless steel spade is a good option as it is less likely to rust, and can also make digging easier as soil doesn’t stick as much to the surface. It’s also important to choose a spade with the appropriate weight and height, as this will make it more comfortable to use.


As with the spade, a fork is one tool no gardener can do without, as it is essential for breaking up soil and dividing plants. Forks vary in weight so choose one that feels comfortable, as this will make it much easier to use. 

See also: Doing It Yourself


Hoes are useful for breaking up soil, weeding flowerbeds and vegetable rows. There are a number of different types, including the fork hoe, heavy-duty, and oscillating hoe. What you plan to do with your garden will determine what type you will need.


Perfect for working with smaller plants, a good trowel is essential for getting close to flowerbeds and working in between plants. Look for one with a comfortable handle, as it is probably the most used tool in any garden.

Don’t forget the toolbox!

As essential as these tools are, it’s no good if you don’t have a secure and convenient place to store them all. Getting the right toolbox is vital—ideally you want one with a lot of space, but light enough to carry around easily.

A canvas tool bag is a good alternative to the traditional hard case, as it affords plenty of room, is light, and usually inexpensive.

A spade is not always a spade

Contrary to the popular phrase, not all garden tools are the same, especially when it comes to quality. Try to stick with reputable brands, and stay clear of the cheaper ones as these are unlikely to last. Look for tools where the metal part is about half way up the shaft as this increases the overall strength of the product.

See also: Draught Proof Doors and Windows

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