Like HowStuffWorks on Facebook!

Toolbox Essentials


Essential Tool 2: Tape Measure and Level

These are two different items, but they kind of go hand in hand -- there isn't a DIY project in existence that doesn't require either one or both of these tools. Accurate measurements are essential in remodeling and building jobs, from inside to outside the home.

Consider purchasing two tape measures: one standard size (typically 25 feet) and one smaller version to keep in your purse or glove compartment. These come in handy when shopping for anything from picture frames to furniture. You can buy an extra-long 100-foot tape measure for measuring landscaping jobs later if you need it.

A level is another must-have. A standard level is made of plastic or wood and uses an air bubble in a vial of colored liquid in three different spots along the tool to indicate if something is level, or plumb. You can also purchase a laser level -- you hold this against a wall, and it shines a light beam in a perfectly straight line along the wall in both directions.

These two tools are not only essential, but can reduce your frustration levels as you build, fix or remodel.