Toolbox Essentials

Essential Tool 5: Hammer

The hammer is man's oldest tool, dating back to about fourth century B.C., and rocks were used for the same purpose before that. That means that yes -- you need a good, old-fashioned claw hammer in your toolbox. Maybe even three, depending on what you want to use them for.

Hammers have different weights and handle styles, so before purchasing, hold a few different types in your hand and consider your comfort level. You can choose from wood, fiberglass and rubber-coated steel handles.

If you're pulling a lot of nails, steel is the strongest and a good option. Look for a weight of about 20 ounces. This is light enough for most novices but heavy enough to drive a large nail.

A smaller, light hammer is also a good idea for hanging pictures and crafting.

Finally, go ahead and grab a rubber mallet. They're great when you want to keep from damaging something that needs a tap and are also handy in putting together items from a certain Swedish furniture store we won't name.