Handymen say it's a mistake if you don't have these clever things in your home

You can rectify these oversights easily.

Handymen say it's a mistake if you don't have these clever things in your home
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ByAlexandra Elizabeth
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No matter what type of space you live in — or whether you rent or own — being prepared for a little upkeep can be the difference between huge costs and inconvenience or a cheap and easy fix. But for those of us who have no idea where to start when it comes to building out our maintenance kits, some guidance never hurts. That’s where this list of home expert advice comes in. Here, you’ll find top selections from professionals specializing in lawn care, landscaping, roofing, pest control, and more. So stock up on these clever products that are handyperson-approved — your home will thank you.

01

These beeping detectors that alert you of leaks

Jiri Smetana, owner of PuroClean Property Restoration Services in Keller, Texas, recommends a set of water leak detectors. He says, “These devices can save you thousands in repair costs by alerting you to leaks before they become a major issue. I recommend placing them near appliances and plumbing fixtures prone to leaks.” Whether you use them next to your washing machine, under your bathroom sink, or in your basement, they’re a foolproof way to help prevent any costly water damage down the line. You can even adjust how loud the alarms are when they sense dampness.

02

The adhesive weather-sealing strip that prevents drafts & saves money

Block out troublesome air leaks with this weather-strip seal. As Smetana says, “Proper insulation is vital for energy efficiency. Weather-stripping tape [...] can seal gaps around windows and doors, preventing drafts and reducing your heating and cooling costs.” All you have to do is cut it to your required length and place it along your gaps. And since it works in temperatures down to -40 degrees Fahrenheit, you can be sure it won’t crack, either. It comes in multiple widths for sealing gaps of all sizes, and also works to block dust, pollen, and insects.

  • Available sizes: 4

03

An indoor air quality sensor that syncs with your phone

“Improving indoor air quality is crucial for health, especially in homes with HVAC systems,” Smetana advises, so give this smart air quality monitor a try. With a clear display, this sensor not only measures humidity and temperature, but it also tracks particulate matter air pollution (PM2.5), so know when it’s time to blast the air purifier or get your HVAC ducts cleaned. It pairs with your phone via Wi-Fi or Bluetooth and the accompanying app lets you set your ideal air quality ranges and be alerted when you exceed them.

04

This moisture-absorbing box that curbs mold & mildew growth

According to Smetana, “To prevent mold and mildew in damp areas like basements and bathrooms, a moisture absorber is invaluable.” This version is super easy to use since all you have to do is open the lid and peel away the safety lining, then set the vented lid back in place. Put the container anywhere you’d like to cut back on excess humidity and moisture and it’ll get to work absorbing dampness. It can last for a whopping 45 days before needing a replacement, too.

05

A sealing tape that makes it easy to tackle plumbing leaks

No home is complete without a roll of sealant tape, which is sometimes called Teflon tape. “This is essential for preventing leaks in threaded connections with your plumbing fixtures. A roll of high-quality plumbing tape [...] can be a lifesaver in maintaining your plumbing,” Smetana explains. It can help ensure an airtight seal and is incredibly durable, since it’s safe to use in temperatures running from -212 degrees Fahrenheit all the way up to 500 degrees Fahrenheit.

06

This practical utility knife that handles tons of projects

Level up your tool kit with this classic 99 utility knife. “A good-quality utility knife can be incredibly versatile and useful for various home repair tasks,” Smetana explains, and this is a great one to have on hand because the blade is retractable for safety when not in use. It even comes with two additional carbon steel replacement blades, making it an amazing bargain.

07

A reliable fire extinguisher to prepare for emergencies

Ensure you’ve got the basics of home safety covered with this standard home fire extinguisher because, as Smetana explains, “Safety is paramount, and having a fire extinguisher in key areas of your home can be lifesaving.” As such, consider placing an extinguisher on each level of your home. This one is easy to use since all you have to do is remove the safety pin and squeeze the lever as you aim it at the fire. When it’s empty, you can even have it recharged by a professional for future safety.

08

This waterproof tape that makes small roof repairs simple

Chris Stevenson, of 730 South Exteriors and Roofing in Denver, Colorado, explains, “Roof repair tape is a quick and effective solution for leaks and minor roof damage. It's waterproof and UV-resistant, allowing you to patch up small issues.” This power patch and shield tape is an excellent choice because it comes in a conveniently sized 4-inch strip on a roll that measures 5 feet long. It’s 100% waterproof and able to withstand extreme temperatures, so you can rely on it to stick and hold. And since it comes in multiple shades, you can even match it to your roof.

  • Available colors: 4

09

These wire cages that keep leaves & debris out of your gutters

If you’ve never given a thought to protecting your gutters, Stevenson will convince you that it’s time to start. “Gutter guards keep leaves and debris out of your gutters, preventing clogs and water damage. They're easy to install and make gutter maintenance a breeze,” he explains. These 3-inch guards are made from sturdy, rust-resistant stainless steel and are designed to hold up against all types of weather. All you have to do is push it into place over your downspout — no tools required. They even act as protection against rodents.

10

An easy-to-use caulking gun that seals cracks & more

“Proper caulking around roof vents, chimneys, and other roof penetrations is crucial to prevent water infiltration,” Stevenson says, so get yourself this caulking gun and sealant ASAP. “A caulking gun and a tube of silicone caulk allow you to seal minor gaps and cracks yourself, extending the lifespan of your roof,” he continues. Boasting a 4.7-star overall rating, this model includes a pressure rod to help minimize dripping and has an easy-to-grip, padded handle as well. Plus, it’s great to have on hand not only for your roof, but for other home projects as well, like bathroom and kitchen sink maintenance.

11

The adjustable roof brush with several benefits

When it comes to caring for your home’s exterior, start with the basics like this roof brush. According to Stevenson, “Especially for homes with trees nearby, a roof rake helps safely remove leaves, branches, and debris that can clog gutters and cause water to back up under the shingles. Regularly clearing debris promotes good drainage and prevents ice dams in winter.” This particular brush is made up of several lightweight aluminum rods that you can customize to create a rake that’s anywhere from 5 feet to 21 feet long. The brush head features sturdy bristles that easily whisk away leaves, acorns, branches, and other debris. It’s easy to maneuver, too, as the whole brush weighs just 5 pounds.

12

This cleverly designed surge protector with lots of outlets

“Surge protectors safeguard your electronics from voltage spikes, protecting your gadgets from power surges and potential damage,” Stevenson says. This surge protector and power strip boasts a stellar 4.7-star overall rating and is a practical option, thanks to the alignment of the outlets. It has a generous nine sockets spread out over three sides, ensuring you can plug in even bulkier items and adapters without obstructing the other plugs. And since the power cord is 5 feet long, you’ll have lots of flexibility, too.

  • Available colors: 2

13

A pair of smart plugs for more efficient appliance control

The benefits of these sleek smart plugs are many. Stevenson explains: “Smart plug adapters allow you to control appliances remotely via your smartphone, helping you monitor energy usage and set schedules for better efficiency.” Besides keeping an eye on energy usage and setting schedules, these smart plugs boast compatibility with Alexa and Google Home, so you can utilize voice commands. They even have manual power buttons if you prefer the old-school method, too.

14

The fan-favorite tool kit for all kinds of odd jobs

“A toolbox with a hammer, screwdrivers, a wrench, and pliers comes in handy for various household fixes, including tightening loose screws on roof vents or flashing,” Stevenson says, and this 39-piece tool set has all that and then some. In addition to the above, you’ll also get a tape measure, scissors, a collection of bits, and more. They’re all made from durable alloy steel and come secured in a convenient storage and carrying case — no wonder the set has earned high ratings from reviewers.

  • Available colors: 8

15

This portable vacuum to help dispose of bugs humanely

Brett Bennett, Director of Operations at PURCOR Pest Solutions, recommends a bug vacuum catcher. “If you don’t want to use chemicals to get rid of bugs, if you want to dispose of them without killing them, or if you simply cannot get yourself to get close enough to bugs to kill them, then these vacuums are just about the best possible solution,” he explains. This vacuum has a convenient carabiner to keep it close by as you work, plus an included terrarium for storing critters until you release them. To operate, just pull the trigger and the bug (or bugs) at hand will be suctioned right up. A built-in magnifier lets you get a good look before you release the bugs into the wild.

16

These furniture-moving discs that protect floors — & your back

Ryan Norman, founder of Norman Builders in Massachusetts and New Hampshire, recommends a set of furniture sliders because they provide so many benefits. “These unassuming pads can be placed under furniture for effortless movement across floors, preventing scratches and making it easy to reconfigure rooms,” he explains, adding, “This not only protects your floors but also saves you from potential back injuries.” This set includes eight sliders total: four that smoothly glide furniture across carpet and four that move furniture across hard-surface floors without causing damage. They’re easy to use: Just place them under each leg.

17

A door gap strip that can cut down on your electric bill

According to Norman, you need a draft stopper ASAP. “These are essential for improving your home's insulation. Placing them under doors prevents drafts, keeping your home warmer in the winter and cooler in the summer, thus reducing energy consumption,” he explains. Since they’re made from flexible silicone, these stoppers can be easily cut to your exact size specifications. And because they come equipped with adhesive tape, they’re a cinch to install as well — just peel and stick.

  • Available colors: 4

18

This universal socket tool that takes the place of so many other tools

Do yourself a favor and add this universal socket tool to your cart. According to Norman, “This adaptable tool speeds up many DIY tasks by fitting various sizes of nuts, bolts, and screws, saving space in your toolbox and increasing efficiency.” It’s made from durable alloy steel, with internal pins that automatically adjust to whatever piece of hardware you’re working with. It’s highly rated, too, as over 21,000 reviewers have weighed in to give it an impressive 4.5-star overall rating. Whether you use it to assemble furniture, tighten bike lugs, or make small repairs around the house, it’s a must-have.

19

The magnetic stud finder that’s both simple & cheap

The StudBuddy stud finder is an essential for DIYers, according to Tommy Mello, home services expert and founder of A1 Garage Door Service. “It helps you quickly locate studs in the wall without batteries or complicated electronics. It's a simple, reliable way to anchor items securely,” he says. It works by using a powerful magnet that’s attracted to metal studs or nails and screws in wooden studs. Once it stays on the wall without the support of your hands, you’ve found your stud, and you can proceed with hanging your item.

20

These smart bulbs that deliver every color of the rainbow

The options for these smart LED light bulbs are nearly endless. “These bulbs not only save energy, but also allow you to customize your lighting to match any mood or activity,” Mello explains, adding, “With the ability to change colors and dim, they can enhance the ambience of any room.” The accompanying app allows you to choose from 16 million hues, create preset lighting scenes for your bulbs, and even control them with voice commands if you have a smart home assistant.

21

A stick-on puck light that’s both practical & aesthetically pleasing

When you need accent lighting without the fuss, give these LED puck lights a try. Mello says, “These lights are easy to install and add a sleek, modern look to your kitchen or workspace. They provide excellent task lighting and can make a big difference in both functionality and aesthetics.” All you have to do is stick them in place using the included adhesive and you’re good to go. Just tap them to power them on and off, adjust the brightness, or to choose between warm and cool lighting.

22

These practical wrenches with a handy nonslip coating

“A good set of adjustable wrenches is a must for any home,” Mello says. “They’re incredibly versatile and can be used for a variety of tasks, from plumbing repairs to assembling furniture,” he adds. This set, made from durable steel, is especially easy to use, thanks to the nonslip handles coated in rubber for plenty of traction. They come in three different sizes and are even rust resistant, too.

23

A 2-pack of night-lights that enhance nighttime safety

For better visibility once the sun goes down, Mello recommends motion-sensor night-lights. “Perfect for hallways, bathrooms, and bedrooms, these night-lights help you navigate your home safely at night without having to fumble for a switch,” Mello says. Not only are these lights dimmable based on your preferences, but they give off a warm, soft glow that’s gentle on the eyes. The slim design is also practical, since it won’t obstruct the outlet below it.

24

These microfiber cleaning cloths that will replace your paper towels

If you’re looking to cut down on single-use paper products, give these microfiber cleaning cloths a try. “These are not only eco-friendly but also more effective than disposable wipes,” Mello explains, adding, “They can be used for a variety of cleaning tasks and are machine washable, making them a cost-effective choice.” Because these cloths are so soft, they won’t leave behind streaks as you clean, either. And thanks to the reinforced stitching around the edges, they can hold up to tough use. They’re a reviewer favorite on Amazon, where they’ve earned a 4.7-star overall rating after 83,000 buyers weighed in.

  • Available colors: 5

25

A plunger & holder you won’t hate staring at in your bathroom

Andriy Boyko, of A.O. Handy Inc., in New Berlin, Wisconsin, says, “A household plunger is a must for unclogging drains,” and this plunger and caddy delivers an essential that’s aesthetically pleasing as well as practical. This plunger comes equipped with a rubber flange for dislodging clogs and sits in a domed holder that cracks open like a shell when you need to remove it. Just place the plunger back on the base to close it back up and keep it hidden away when you’re done.

26

An easy drain-snaking kit with a rotating handle

“A drain snake, either a handheld auger or a long cable one, helps with tougher clogs deeper in the pipes,” Boyko says, and this hair clog remover kit is an excellent option for amateurs. The kit comes with a spinning handle for optimal maneuverability, plus five flexible snakes that grab onto hair clogs, so you can pull them loose. The wands can be used in sinks, showers, and tub drains, too.

27

A voice-controlled dimmer switch with helpful home security features

Boyko advises setting the mood with adjustable lighting that adds a sophisticated touch to your space, and this smart dimmer is a great place to start. Besides letting you customize the brightness, this switch can be controlled with your voice to power it on or off, or you can use the compatible phone app to adjust it remotely. It even has an “away mode” that will brighten and dim the lights at sporadic intervals, so your home looks occupied even if it isn’t.

28

The adhesive tile sheets that give you a remodel without the stress

“Refresh your kitchen backsplash with easy-to-install stick-on tiles,” Boyko says, adding that there are various colors and patterns to match your design aesthetic. This peel-and-stick backsplash tile has a classic subway tile look that never goes out of style, and since it comes in large sheets made up of several “tiles” in each section, it won’t be painstaking to install. Because they’re made from water-resistant vinyl, they’re also super easy to wipe down and clean.

  • Available colors: 6

29

The realistic-looking succulents that add a touch of green

“Bring a bit of nature indoors without the maintenance,” Boyko suggests, adding, “Artificial plants come in a variety of realistic styles and add a touch of life to any space.” These faux succulents will definitely do the trick. Each plant comes in an attractive, concrete pot with geometric etching, along with a pebble base that enhances their realism. The plants themselves come topped with some off-white flocking which helps with their lifelike look as well.

30

The easy-to-swap drawer pulls that give an instant upgrade

“Upgrade outdated kitchen or bathroom hardware for a fresh look,” Boyko advises, and these drawer pulls are just the ticket. He notes that they can be easily installed with just a screwdriver and even come in different finishes as well. They’re made from stainless steel and aluminum alloy, and thanks to their classic, sleek look, they’ll match a variety of kitchen decors. And because they’re rust resistant, they’re practical, too.

  • Available colors: 4

31

A waterproof sealant to protect patios, brick & more

Joe Gerrior, owner of Gerrior Masonry & Landscape Construction Corp in Woburn, Massachusetts, recommends Thompson’s WaterSeal to prevent water damage on a range of surfaces like brick, concrete, and stone. “A small investment in sealant can prolong the life of patios, walkways, and foundations by preventing moisture penetration and weather damage,” he says. It also works on wood, and even enhances its texture and color, making it great for decks, too. You only need to apply one coat, and it will dry in just 24 hours for easy application.

32

A versatile hose attachment you can use 8 different ways

Gerrior suggests getting your hands on a multipattern garden hose nozzle. “[It’s] an invaluable tool for anyone looking to maintain their landscape efficiently,” he explains, adding, “It helps in varied tasks, from gentle watering of delicate plants to robust cleaning of masonry surfaces, ensuring your garden and hardscape look pristine.” This nozzle boasts a swiveling connection that helps cut down on hose kinking and also has eight different watering modes to chose from, including jet, mist, rinse, and more.

33

This landscape fabric that prevents weeds while nurturing plants

“Installing weed barrier fabric under newly landscaped areas can save a lot of maintenance time,” Gerrior says. “It prevents weed growth, while allowing water and nutrients to reach the soil,” he adds, noting that you can often cover multiple flower beds with just one order of fabric. This fabric is simple to use, too. All you have to do is cut it to size and lay it down. Since it’s so lightweight and permeable, it’ll easily allow water and air to pass through while protecting against weeds.

34

The sleek & classic fan that gives your AC a break

Ryan Farley, CEO of lawn booking service LawnStarter, highly recommends a classic box fan. “Having this appliance on hand can help reduce some of your energy bills as the weather warms up, since you can switch from an AC to your fan once the temperature begins to drop in the evening, or use a fan in the mornings before the weather starts heating up,” he explains. To further cut down on costs, this fan has three different speed settings, so you can customize the output based on how much circulation you need without overdoing it. It’s nice and sturdy, thanks to the stand on the bottom, too.

35

These attractive planters that water your plants for you

According to Jeremy Yamaguchi, CEO of Lawn Love lawn booking service, “If you have indoor plants but aren’t the best at remembering to water them, then I’d highly recommend getting self-watering pots.” He explains, “This allows you to avoid having to water your plants essentially altogether — minus when you have to occasionally refill the reservoir — yet your plants stay healthy and happily watered.” These pots feature detachable water collection trays, which gives them a stylish two-tone look. Just add the water to the bottom tray and they can last for up to two weeks before they need a refill.

  • Available colors: 3