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Your essential "tools of the trade" ? / Ten Tools you couldn't live without?

I'm interested in starting to buy some tools to keep around for any things I may want to attempt to build. There are just so many different kinds of tools out there..and they are expensive.

So before buying anything I'd like to know your top ten tools that you couldn't live without (excluding the really basic tools like screwdriver, hammer, pliers, wrench etc.)

Also please share your experience with different brand name tools. Which brands would you reccomend, and which would you stay away from?


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Rectifier9 years ago
As an electrician I have a lot of Klein tools. None have ever let me down yet, and I use the pliers as a hammer almost every day. They are tough, with a lifetime warranty - but a bit pricey.

For hobby and home repair use though, here's my list:

Metal/machine tools:
Grinders - Dremel and angle grinder, one for small work, one for big
Torque Wrench - if you are going to go anywhere near a car or motorcycle, you *need* one.
Full Metric and Imperial socket set, including spark plug sizes
I have an old green Unimat tabletop lathe/mill/drill press that is great. It can fabricate almost anything that will fit on it, metal or wood.

Electronic/electrical tools:
Digital multimeter
Adjustable power supply, preferably with adjustable current limit
Soldering iron
Wire strippers
A good pair of needle-nose pliers
Inductive "chirpy" - it lights up and beeps when you get it near a live 120V wire.
A quality set of screwdrivers including torx, and as many special security bits as you need to take things apart!
Oscilloscope - definately a luxury but once you have one you can never go back

Assorted:
Hot glue gun - my "go-to" adhesive
Jigsaw - I hate jigsaws, but so often they are the only saw that will do the job.
Cordless drill - Ridgid gives a lifetime warranty on the batteries these days, so there is no reason not to go cordless

Lubricants:
Silicone spray - A better lubricant than WD-40, and compatible with almost anything that squeaks or needs basic lubrication, like door hinges and rubber bushings.
3-in-1 oil - for things that need oil rather than spray lube. Great for small motors.
Lithium grease - for those other things that need greasing, like assorted bearings, rails and slides.
WD-40/Liquid Wrench - to undo stuck bolts/nuts
Goodhart9 years ago
Top 10 but not in order of importance:

Barlow Pocket knife,
Soldering Iron
De-soldering iron
Screw/nut set (including screwdrivers, hex & security sets)
Plier set, especially the needle nosed pliers
Digital multimeter w/voltage-res-cap-inductance settings
my Third hand (with magnifying glass)
sheet metal cutter/nipper
computer
printer

One other thing I can not do without, but is not a tool per se`; and that is my "junk box"
nightmaresyndrome (author)  Goodhart9 years ago
Do most multimeters have a "voltage-res-cap-inductance" setting??
no, only the more fancy (and expensive) ones do.
nightmaresyndrome (author)  Goodhart9 years ago
thats what I figured, and in what applications do you actually use the voltage-res-cap-inductance setting? Frequently or never? lol
I had a junk box to beat all junk boxes at one time...it was most of my bedroom...so I had lots of spare coils, chokes, and inductors, as well as a lot of unmarked capacitors. The normal meter measures voltage and ohms (thus the name volt/ohm meter), but the other two are not as common. They can be handy if you have a lot of unmarked spare parts however.
nightmaresyndrome (author)  Goodhart9 years ago
Oh! I'm really a beginner at all of this so I didn't realise that res, cap and inductance are actually 3 different settings. Would you mind telling me what Res, cap and inductance is?? or point me to some wikipedia page lol
Res = resistance
Cap = Capacitance (what a capacitor does)
inductance is what coils, chokes and transformers do. Link to Inductance...
btw, ohms and resistance are the same thing, aren't they???
Yes, ohms is the "measurement unit" of resistance.

Thus I wrote further up: The normal meter measures voltage and ohms (thus the name volt/ohm meter), but the other two are not as common. , the other two being Capacitance and inductance.
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