ISSUE 39  |  The Deconstructed Kitchen

12 Favorites: Best of Household Tools

October 02, 2015 9:00 AM

BY Janet Hall

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Limited to an urban-sized toolbox? 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 $25 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 $16 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 Phillips screwdriver, and two flathead screwdrivers. The handles are solid brass and the heads are tempered steel; $22 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/four-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; $20.99 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; $14.41 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 Bobby Berk Home.

Above: Could this be the ultimate utility knife? The Burgon & 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; £25.95 ($39.50) at Burgon & Ball.

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; $16.95 for the set of seven at Garret Wade.

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.

Looking for a place to stow your gear? See 10 Easy Pieces: Stylish Toolboxes. And for Garden Tools, Gardenista has you covered–urbanites, have a look at Erin’s DIY: Toolbox for a City Gardener.

N.B.: This post is an update; the original story ran on May 8, 2014, as part of our issue called The Handywoman.