Limited to an urban-sized tool box? We've rounded up our favorite tools, including classic hammers, mini screwdrivers, and a compact tape measure, all ideal for handling everyday household tasks.
Above: Everyone home needs a hammer, and this one will last a lifetime. Made by a century-old Illinois company, the Estwing Leather Handle Claw Hammer is solid steel with a bound and lacquered leather grip. It's $32 at Kaufmann Mercantile.
Above: Mini-screwdrivers are among the most frequently used items in my urban toolkit (stowed in a presentable lidded basket in my sunroom). The Wood Handled Mini Screwdriver Set includes three Phillips and three slotted screwdrivers. Made in Michigan (with handles carved in Maine and blades forged in Massachusetts), the set is $29.95 at Kaufmann Mercantile.
Above: Only two inches square, the compact Rosewood Tape Measure extends for up to 6.5 feet, and tucks easily into a handbag or a desk drawer. It's $14 at Spartan.
Above: A mini toolkit for those on the go, the EDC (Every Day Carry) Tool Kit features a pry bar, screwdrivers, tweezers, and lighter, all on a titanium key ring; $54 at Kaufmann Mercantile.
Above: A great office companion, the Hammer Screwdriver Combination Tool is a four-in-one tool that can be configured as a hammer, a Philips screwdriver, and two flat-head screwdrivers. The handles are solid brass and the heads are tempered steel; $20 at Schoolhouse Electric.
Above: A tool I never knew could be so useful until I borrowed one from my woodworking son: the Small Brass Calliper Gauge is great for small and precise measurements when a tape measure is too clumsy; $8 for the 100 millimeter/4-inch size at Esslinger.
Above: Lengthen your reach—and your ability to find things that fell behind the washing machine—with the Telescoping Tool Set. It includes a magnetic pickup tool, a mirror tool, an alligator clip tool, and a lighted magnetic pickup tool perfect for dark corners; $19.49 at Restoration Hardware.
Above: The Apollo Precision Multi Hammer is a 9-in-1 multi-tool geared to household. It includes a hammer, nail puller, screwdriver, pliers, small saw blade, knife, and files; $25.53 through Amazon.
Above: From industrial designer Jonas Damon, the Wood Tool Set consists of a bright LED flashlight, level, ruler, and screwdriver (with interchangeable Phillips and flathead bits), all made of beechwood; $95 from A+R Store.
Above: Could this be the ultimate utility knife? The Burgon and Ball Lambfoot Knife is a tempered, high-carbon Sheffield steel knife strong enough to trim lamb's hoofs. The four-inch blade folds into a rosewood handle; $55 at Ancient Industries.
Above: Power drills can be overkill for simple household drilling needs. As an alternative, consider French-made Gimlet Hand Drills, made from annealed metal with a sturdy machined flute that bites into wood and drywall; $13.95 for the set of four at Kaufmann Mercantile.
Above: Are you guilty (like me) of using your good paper scissors to pry nails out of walls and as a makeshift chisel? Here's a scissor that can do it all. The Sheffield Kevlar Shear is designed in Sheffield, England, for industrial use (cutting Kevlar). It's indestructible, sharp, heavy and, best of all, nonstick (packing tape won't gum up these blades); $76 at Best Made Co. Image via Gizmodo.au.
Above: An indispensable household toolkit for repairs that require stitching, the Merchant & Mills Sewing Kit contains pins, needles, measuring tape and scissors. Known as a tailor's roll, it is $65 at Ancient Industries.