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Picking the Right Tool for Your Home Project

Using the right tools

Having the right tools for a home improvement project can make a world of difference.

While power tools might be your first choice, it’s important to remember that more power isn’t always better.

Lowe’s spokesperson Matt Michaels had this advice for some potential tool quandaries.

Screwdriver or Drill?

A manual screwdriver is sometimes easier to use when dealing with small screws or tight spaces where a drill won’t fit. For example, it can be simpler to screw in a wall-plate cover using a manual screwdriver.

Hammer Time

Claw hammers are great at driving and removing nails. Sledgehammers are more commonly used for demolition. They are also good for driving stakes, pins and wedges. Jackhammers are much bigger, heavier tools that are great for removing concrete.


Power-sanding products (like belt sanders) remove material quickly and efficiently. They’re good for getting rid of blemishes and for shaping and leveling wood. Power sanders also prepare metal surfaces for paint. Hand-sanding products give you a lighter touch for woodworking and finishing. You have better control and can sand areas that power sanders can’t reach. Hand-sand wood as final preparation for finishes and between finish coats.

All Things Ladders

There are many things to consider when using a ladder, including its composition and height, its weight capacity and the surface it will rest on. Someone working near electricity, for example, shouldn’t use an aluminum ladder even though it’s probably the lightest option available. When it comes to weight capacity, consider your weight, the weight of your tools and any supplies stored on the ladder, as well. If you have to stand on the top step of a stepladder, it’s too short, and never use the top three rungs of an extension ladder. Also, if an extension ladder extends more than 3 feet beyond its top support point, it’s too long.


Circular saws can cut wood, steel, masonry and ceramic tile. Circular saws make quick, straight cuts across a board (crosscuts) or along the board’s length (rip cuts). They can also make bevel cuts.

A miter saw is a specialized tool that lets you make cuts at a variety of angles. The saw has a blade mounted on a swing arm that pivots to produce angled cuts like those used in crown molding, picture frames, door frames, window casings and more. There are three kinds of miter saws: compound, dual compound and sliding compound.

There are a wide variety of handsaws available, each with a different purpose. There are specific handsaws for cutting with wood grain, against wood grain, circle and curve cutting, cutting metal and cutting plastic pipe, and more.

Trying to figure out your next home project? Get your gears turning with some cheap home DIY projects.

How has using the right tool saved your home improvement project? Tell us in the comments. 

No matter the project you’re tackling, or having someone else tackle, make sure you’ve got the proper protection. Talk to an expert AAA insurance agent.


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