What’s In Your Tool Bag? How Many Tools Do You Really Need?

This seems to be one of the common questions that keeps coming up from new inspectors, as well as experienced inspectors. The problem is, there are always new tools and toys to add to your collection. But do you really need some of those fancy tools to run your home inspection business.

Let’s talk about the basic set of tools that a new home inspector should have at a minimum to keep in their toolbag. When we think about the home inspection process, the main tools that come to mind are the following:

Ladder– a must for accessing roofs. Ladders vary in size and form. Some inspectors will carry a few ladders to access various size roofs and attics.  At the minimum, a 16 ft ladder should be with you all the time. 

Screwdrivers– The obvious use is to remove panel covers, but more often we use them as a probe. You should have multiple size heads to tackle any need. Electric screwdrivers are also an option.

Flashlight– Probably your most important tool, so don’t skimp on this tool. Invest in a good high lumen flashlight. It’s not a bad idea to carry a backup flashlight as well as extra batteries.

GFCI Tester– A must have for testing the GFCI outlets. You may want to have an extra one or two on hand. These somehow always seem to disappear or get left behind in an outlet.

Moisture Meter– Another must have tool to assess possible water leaks. These vary in price and style, some can be expensive.

Camera– Whether this is a stand alone point and shoot, DSLR, or your camera phone, your inspection cannot be done without it. Every home inspection needs to be documented with pictures. Many home inspectors carry a few cameras depending on the need. Video is becoming as important. Most inspectors are using their phone/tablet camera as this is how most inspection reports are being done.

Toolbelt/Toolbag– where else are you going to store all these tools.

Gloves/Kneepads – Especially handy when working in crawl spaces

Infrared Thermometer-  very useful in checking heat/AC output. 

Safety Eyeware – Do we even need to discuss the importance of this?

Facemask/Respirator (especially during the COVID-19 pandemic) Attic and crawl space protection.

Binoculars – You may not want to venture onto a high pitch roof, Binoculars will help you get the close up view you need.

All of these tools  should be part of your everyday inspection bag.

Other tools you may want to consider:

Tape Measure

Inspection mirror

Infrared Camera


Gas Detector

Water Pressure Gauge 


Enhanced electrical testing tools

Protective gear

As you can imagine, the list of tools you acquire can be limitless. As you inspect, you will find what are your go to tools, and which tools stay in the bag or your vehicle. You can get started with a modest amount of money to buy your basic tools. Unfortunately, the fun tools can break the bank. Start with what you need, and grow as you go.
Whatever you need or want, you can find tools of the trade here.

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