5 Contractor Tools You Didn’t Know You Needed

5 Contractor Tools You Didn't Know You Needed

I have been working on my house for the past couple of years.  I know that is a long time but it’s not full time.  There have been weeks and even months I haven’t worked on the house.  In the first phase, I gutted my whole house and rebuilt everything.  For phase 2, I put on an addition.  While I have done a lot of the work, I have also had friends who have been in the trades along with some other tradesmen come in for certain jobs, like HVAC, electric, wood floors, and roofing.  What I always tried to do is see which power tool brand they were using and why they were using that brand.

During this time, I discovered things I never even thought about, such as why some of these contractors have or don’t have certain tools for the job.  So after all this time, I figured I would make a list and talk about 5 tools every contractor needs.

Yes, there are more than just 5 tools.  I understand you need drills, saws, and more.  But what I wanted to talk about was 5 tools that a lot of contractors didn’t have or never bothered to upgrade to for various reasons.  I found it interesting because after I showed them what they were missing, they said they couldn’t believe they never upgraded.  I do know for a fact, that after I showed them, a lot of them ended up upgrading or buying some of these tools.

So let’s jump in and see what 5 tools every contractor needs.

5 Contractor Tools You Didn’t Know You Needed

5 Contractor Tools You Didn't Know You Needed

When it comes to power tools, cordless is the way to go.  Sure, if you have really high demand tools that you are using all day, corded tools still have their advantage.  But let’s face it, battery technology has come a long way over the years and there are certain corded tools that just don’t make sense.

Here is the hard part with cordless tools, staying on a single platform.  With corded tools, you can get whatever brand you want, just get the best of the best.  With cordless tools, you can also get the best of the best because no one power tool manufacturer has all the best tools.  As for a user, it just doesn’t make sense to be on different platforms, own different batteries, and worry about having multiple chargers.

For me, it seems like all the contractors had at least two different brands and were dealing with two platforms.  There were a couple who had three platforms.

So when you make the jump, think about what battery platform offers you the greatest number of tools in their platform that will allow you to expand over the years.  Yes, also think about quality.

For this article, I am just jumping in with Milwaukee’s tools for a number of reasons.  First, they offer so many tools in their M12 and M18 line of tools.  Second, they are high-quality tools.  Everyone is different and you need to find what works best for you and your jobs.


Having a cordless vacuum is a huge key and will make life much easier.  I can’t tell you how many people I saw that would have a corded vacuum.  Sure if you are doing dust control or big messes.  But there were tradesmen with small vacuums that would tell me they use a corded vacuum because a battery vacuum wouldn’t last, even for small clean-ups.

I had one guy working in my attic who ran a 100′ extension cord to clean up a small mess.  After I showed him the Milwaukee vacuum I had for years, he was sold.  I was talking to the electricians and one showed me a Dewalt vacuum he had in the back of his work truck.  He was sold on the Milwaukee line, uses the Milwaukee HoleHawg but wasn’t sure if the vacuum was worth the upgrade.  Later in the week, when he was back, he was so proud of his new purchase he bought at HD, which was the vacuum.

Now I understand money always plays a role in upgrading.  But I still think there are some people in the trades who have had bad experiences in the past with older technology and still don’t fully trust the new products and how well they work.

For picking up smaller and even bigger messes, a cordless vacuum is a way to go as you can avoid hassles with cords and more.

Pipe Cutter

This is one of those handy tools that can save time, frustration, and make your life easier.  Over time I had a couple of different plumbers working.  One of the guys was using it and swears by it, but that was a friend of mine.  We reviewed the pipe cutter a while back and we gave it to him, so he has been using it for a long time.  The other guy knew about it, but still liked using the manual cutter.

Here is where it got interesting to me, my HVAC guy.  I have my air handler in the attic so he ran copper up there for water.  He was using a manual cutter.  After I talked with him and showed him the Milwaukee cutter, he was amazed.  He never even knew it was on the market.  He is a one-man operation and doesn’t really follow the industry that much, except for HVAC stuff.  I grabbed my buddies Milwaukee pipe cutter to let him try and he absolutely loved it.

I am in the business of knowing about new tools.  Since I know about the new tools, I figure everyone else does too. I get stuck in that trap sometimes.  However, it still amazes me how many people do not know what else is out there for them.

If you are running copper, I can tell you first hand how useful this tool is.  When I first got it to review, I used it to run new copper throughout my house.  I had galvanized steel that I wanted to replace.  The pipe cutter was a huge time saver.


5 Contractor Tools You Didn't Know You Needed

My number 3 through 5 all have to do with lights.  During just the first two phases at my house, there were so many times I didn’t have power to the house and there were dark areas.  While there were some cordless lights, I couldn’t believe how many guys still used power cords for their lights, even some smaller lights.  My spray foam guy was a perfect example when he was inspecting everything.  He was in the attic, ran one of the older incandescent bulbs, and pulling the cord around.

Large Light

Instead of pulling around one of those old fashion lights, there are so many handheld lights in the market that will allow you to break free from the cord.  Yes, they also provide great run time.  One of the best features of these lights is the LED.  The LED lights are closer to 5000K which offer a truer color.  Which means for electrician and others, you can see a true color of the wire or anything else you need to see.

Hand-Held Lights

5 Contractor Tools You Didn't Know You Needed

This is just an important light to own.  It’s not as big as the light above but not as small as the penlights below.  Lights like this are great as they are rechargeable and tough for the job.  This is something you can keep in your bag or pocket and have a light on demand.

As you would expect, you always need light and this is a perfect size to own.

Pen Lights

Lastly, a penlight.  This is something you can keep in your pocket.  No need to carry around a large light, just put a penlight in your pocket and you are good to go.  The Milwaukee offers 100 lumens which are bright for a small lightweight handheld light.

Wrap Up

As we all know, you can make a list with a ton more tools than just this.  However, this is a small list I wanted to put together after talking to contractors at my house and other people I know around the industry.  For me, it raised an interesting point.  Not everyone still understands how great the new products are and the new battery technology really is.  Not everyone follows the tool markets and knows what is new out there. And lastly, you can never go wrong with too many lights.




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