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Norma Vally

Professional Construction Expert

Best Toolset & Best Tools for the Home

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I always say, “With the right attitude and proper tools, you can do it yourself!” But what are the proper tools? Navigating though a tool coral can be a daunting experience. Just picking out one simple hammer can induce an agonizing mind-meld. You’ll find yourself staring at a wall garnished with what seems like a thousand hammers — different types, shapes, grips, weights, colors, brands — and as your brain is on the verge of exploding you’ll whimper to yourself, “But all I wanted to do was hang some shelves to display my tea cup collection...”

I understand this pain — I’ve been there myself! After all, no one is born just knowing which tools and brands one should stock in their toolbox. The list I’ve comprised includes the ten most useful tools I believe anyone should own along with the companies I think are doing them right. Of course, I stand behind the excellence of my personal brand of tools — Norma Vally Tools — but the specific tools and their manufacturers’ I mention in this article are standouts that have made me stand up and say, “Bravo!”

Here are the five Best of the Best:

Buy the best toolset to ensure you can fix everything at home. We recommend the best tools for the home that include screwdriver sets, tape measures, utility knives, pliers, hammers and other tools.

Best Essential Tools by Norma Vally

The Best You Can Get

  • Multi-bit Ratcheting Screwdriver

    Norma says: Having multiple bit storage right in the handle means you’re ready for any driving scenario - Phillips, slotted head, square drive, etc. - they’re all there and easily accessible. I especially like ratcheting action because it allows you to keep steady pressure in the head of the screw while simply twisting the handle in place, which gives you more turning power.

    Craftsman’s Screwdriver Set, Ratcheting offers fourteen assorted bits - that’s right, count ‘em, fourteen bits, instantly available, with a magnetized tip that makes it hard to lose those little suckers. Its soft-grip handle provides comfort and slip resistance.

  • Hammer - 16oz. Smooth Face, Curved Claw

    Norma says: This is the perfect all purpose hammer. It’s light enough, so it won’t strain your wrist, yet heavy enough to get the job done. The curved claw is great for “rocking” out nails without marring a surface.

    An all round winner is the Vaughn Tubular Steel Full Octagon. It has a slip-resistant contoured grip. The patented hickory plugged handle reduces weight, adds strength, and absorbs shock.

  • Tape Measure

    Norma says: I love this type of tape measure because it’s fat, an inch wide. This allows you to read the numbers more easily. It also has great “throw” — which means it can be extended several feet without the tape buckling.

    Stanley’s 30’ Powerlock Tape Rule with Blade Armor Coating offers durability and easy readability. Its design sits comfortably, even in smaller hands.

    • 30 ft. long x 1 inch wide
  • Utility Knife

    Norma says: You will use this knife for cutting everything from carpet to vinyl tiles, cardboard boxes to drywall. Replacing the blade is simple, especially with extras stored right in the handle.

    Sheffield Quick Change Folding Lock-Back Knife is an exquisitely designed utility knife. The contoured and rubberized handle provides comfort, control, and ease of use. Blade changes are a snap. The belt clip allows the knife to be kept conveniently at hand.

    • Blade storage in the handle
  • Tongue and Groove or Adjusting Pliers

    Norma says: These pliers are extremely versatile. They will fit around various sized fittings, nuts, and bolts. Whether it’s assembling furniture or a plumbing project, because of their shape, they’re easy to maneuver and provide ample leverage.

    Channellock is a brand that has become synonymous with the term tongue and groove pliers. They’re a good ole standby, for sure, and must be mentioned.

    That said, I’m very excited by the power and self-adjusting aspect of Robogrip pliers. They’re like tongue and groove pliers on steroids. Just a squeeze of the handles precisely sizes the jaws for a perfect fit. They also provide far more torque than standard pliers. Robogrip manufactures and supplies their product to companies like Sears and The Home Depot. They’re often sold in a twin pack offering two useful sizes. (Husky Robogrip 7” and 9” Pliers Twin Pack)

You will be happy with any of these

  • Torpedo Level with Magnetic Strip

    Norma says: Let’s get things straight — and there’s no better way to do that than with this handy little level! Whether it’s a picture frame or shelf, making it plumb and level is easy with this tool. The magnetic strip leaves you two free hands when working with metal and its small size makes getting into tight spaces effortless.

    Empire’s True Blue 10” Torpedo Level has a heavy-duty aluminum frame that resists bending. It has three vials showing plumb, level, and 45°. The top window is convenient for overhead viewing. Its magnetized and V-grooved edge make working on various surfaces such as pipes or metal studs a breeze.

  • Multi-purpose Hand Saw

    Norma says: When you need to cut the variety of materials that may come up in a project, this type of saw is ready to fit your needs. Because it can be fit with any 6” reciprocating saw blade, switching blades to accommodate various materials makes this saw highly versatile.

    Heavy-duty, die-case construction, make the IDEAL All-Purpose Folding Saw durable for tackling just about anything from wood to pipe. The ergonomic handle and cutting edge that stashes away inside the handle makes it comfortable and portable. It comes loaded with a 6” drywall blade.

  • Multi-purpose Wire Stripper, Cutter

    Norma says: Any basic or major electrical project requires a tool that makes stripping and cutting wires effortless. This one tool handles all of these tasks with both precision and ease.

    The Klein All-Purpose Electrician Tool makes gauging, cutting, stripping, crimping, and looping wire clean and easy. It can even shear through bolts!

  • Non-contact Voltage Tester (Pen-type)

    Norma says: Before starting any electrical project you have to make sure the power is OFF. The only way to verify there’s no voltage is to use a reliable tester. I especially like the non-contact type because it means not having to expose any wires in order to test the circuit — just simply hold it up to a power cord or outlet and it will let you know if there’s electricity present.

    The VoltAware Non-Contact Voltage Tester has several features that ensure safety and security. It has both audible and visual signals. It can differentiate between neutral and hot wires. It has a low-battery alert and power light to ensure the tool is in proper working order. It takes three AAA batteries that are easy and inexpensive to replace when needed.

  • Folding Allen Wrench Set

    Norma says: Also known as Hex Keys, an Allen wrench is characterized by its “L” shaped six-sided design. It’s used to drive screws and bolts that have a hexagonal socket in its head. A set that includes both metric and standard will prove invaluable for a variety of applications — from plumbing to assembling furniture. Having a set that folds in to a handle, as opposed to a set of individual ones, is convenient in two ways — the handle is more comfortable to work with keeps the keys together and organized.

    Having the right size key when you need it is always the challenge — that’s why I love the Ergo-Fold Combo Hex Key Set - 24 Piece. It's a triple pack that offers three fold-up sets — metric, inch, and Torx (for screws with a six pointed star pattern in its head). The handles provide comfort and grip resistance. The steel is treated and finished for strength and rust resistance. They can be used at a right angle or straight like a screwdriver.

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We recommend the best toolset so you can pound in that nail or tighten that screw. These best tools for the home recommendations take the guesswork out of the search. Our best home tools include the best brands for the best screwdriver, tape measure, utility, knife, pliers, hammer and other tools that are always the best price.