The Basic Tools Every Contractor Should Have in Their Tool Kits


When it comes to general contract work, there are many kinds of equipment and tools necessary to getting the job done. Some jobs may require the whole arsenal while others require only a few tools. As a contractor, you just never know. There are however, a number of basic tools that all contractors rely on as a sort of basic line-up when general contracting. Grouped here by trade, here are some of those basic yet necessary tools.


Plumbing elements can become involved with all sorts of projects, even when not expected. As a result, a good contractor will carry along a number of tangible capabilities in this area. A basic tool lineup here would include:

  • Channel Locks
  • Hacksaw
  • Level
  • Nut Driver Set
  • Pipe Cutters
  • Pipe Wrench
  • Thread Sealants and Teflon Tape


Electricity is a component to virtually every building and plays a role to some degree in all contractor work. Subsequently, the ability to work with this extremely hazardous force is a must. Working safely with electricity though is not possible without some basic electrical tools in tow. The basics here would include:

  • Crimpers
  • Dikes
  • Electrical Multimeter
  • Electrical Tape, Wire Nuts, Connectors
  • No-touch Voltage Tester
  • Wire Gauges
  • Wire Strippers


The term “sundries” is an older one, but it refers to all of the various elements of finish processes. Painting, spackling, repairing surfaces, applying protection – if it deals with surface treatment, it probably falls into the sundries category. A contractor lacking any of the following might really be at a loss when it comes to performing sundries tasks.

  • Assorted Paintbrushes
  • Heat Gun
  • Ladders
  • Paint Thinning and Cleanup Wares
  • Plenty of Rags
  • Roller Kit
  • Scrapers, Wire Brushes, 5-in-1 Tool
  • Spackle Knives and Sanding Equipment
  • Tarps


Heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning – HVAC is an important facet to contracting and the thorough understanding of structural science. Miles Construction Group, Inc. said, “One doesn’t need to be a world-leading professor here, but some basic ability and tools are important.” This is especially true when working with refrigerants. Some basics needed in this area can include:

  • Channel Locks
  • Electrical Multimeter
  • Pipe Wrenches
  • Refrigerant-Measuring Gauges
  • Schroeder Tool
  • Screwdriver Set
  • Temperature Gauge
  • Thread Sealants


The ability to frame and do carpentry work to some extent is paramount to so many areas for contractors. Even though many jobs aren’t necessarily centered on a carpentry-based task, carpentry becomes a part of most tasks because of the inherent relation to structure that nearly all tasks share in common. Tools needed here include:

  • Clamps
  • Corded or Cordless Power Tools (Circular Saw, Reciprocating Saw, Drill, Nail Gun)
  • Framing Square
  • Hammer and Claw
  • Heavy-duty Screwdrivers
  • Ladder
  • Levels
  • Saw Horses


Many times in contracting, there arises a need to accurately test certain components involving the task at hand. Perhaps it’s moisture levels, the presence of natural gas, or interior pressure testing – in these cases, test tools are needed. Some of the basics here include:

  • Gas “Sniffer”
  • Moisture Meter
  • Mold Test Kits
  • Water Alarm


Finally, safety is crucial to any contractor’s continued ability to work and live an unmarred existence. In a working world full of work hazards, safety equipment should be one area that no contractor ever lacks in. To just meet the basics here, the following are very important:

  • Communication Device (Cell Phone, 2-Way Radio, etc.)
  • Non-expired Fire Extinguisher
  • Non-expired First Aid Kit
  • Personal Protective Equipment (Hard Hat, Gloves, Eye and Ear Protection, etc.)
  • Safety Cones or Similar Markings

Today’s contractor needs to be as capable as possible in as many areas as they can in order to truly master their field and secure a solid place therein. Having the right tools on hand at the actual job-site is every bit as important as that accompanying, ground-level knowledge. This basic lineup is nowhere close to representing all areas of need for the typical contractor but does represent what one might consider “the basics” quite closely.