Starter Tools

Student here:

I’d like to buy my basic tools that I can start doing mock inspections with. The aim is to buy the right tools that I won’t need to replace once I get out into the field. So what is in YOUR bag that you love and would buy if it ever broke?

Moisture Meter?
Infrared Thermometer?
Insulated Screwdriver?
Homemade gizmos?

Everything except IR thermometer plus a good quality folding ladder that doubles as step ladder and extension ladder.

Water pressure gauge

Good clean vehicle
Respectable clothes
Flashlight and head lamp
Voltage tester
Telescopic mirror and magnet
Bungee cords
Microwave tester
Voltage detector
Band aids
Tape measure
Spare batteries
Power screwdriver
Spare shoes and clothes
Safety glasses
12" ruler
Spares to easily breakable tools
Drop clothes
Mini vac

Derek’s list is decent. It’s a little long, though. I mean are you really going to carry around that much stuff?

  1. Don’t spend good money on a microwave tester. Buy a cheap microwaveable plastic bowl for $2. If you lose it, then you don’t really care.
  2. torpedo level instead of a 4 foot level, which will fit in your bag. Most of the time you can tell of something is out of level just by looking at it.
  3. I don’t carry is hammer, drop cloth, ruler, deodorant, or vacuum.
  4. I would add gas detector.

I think there is a video with Kenton explaining what tools a home inspector should buy. Check NACHI.TV.

I started with the InterNACHI SOP and went through step by step. I then identified what tools I would need to complete each step.

I routinely use
Multibit screwdriver
Infared Thermometer
GFCI tester
Moisture Meter
Awl, or knife
Digital Camera

I don’t carry around most of this stuff, it’s in my truck if I need it and I have used every item I have listed.
I use a hammer when I’m testing deck lag bolts.
How do you clean up if you make a mess? My mini vac is about the size of a garbage disposal. I use drop cloths if the seller is home or a fussy realtor, it just looks good.
I use a ruler for measuring insulation levels.
My microwave tester cost me $8
I use deodorant when I stink, if I’ve just completed a hot n sticky inspection then I’ll give my self a little blast before my walk around with the client.
It’s better to have tools and not need them than to need them and not have them.

I bet Nick would “likely” send you a micro tester free if you ordered something from inspector outlet and sent him a nice email request :smiley: There are a quite a few freebies you could get if you buy something from them.

Good luck.

I didn’t mean to offend you. Like I said, I like the travel light. You do it your way and that’s fine. I don’t like to have to take 5 trips to the truck every inspection.

You didn’t offend me…😄

Nicks Marketing book also :slight_smile:

Real important tool if you ask me.

A good set of coverals
water pressure gauge
AC sniffer
GFCI tester
folding ladder

Well, as you see there is a common thread of basic tools it takes to get the job done. Then there is a truck load of things you may or may not need. The idea earlier of going through the SOP produced a good basic list of a started bag. The added items will surface over time when you realize you need something…
Few things i would add though…
1, buy a very good and versatile ladder! Either a little giant style 20’ that will cover most anything you will need. Or an extend/telescopic style …Don’t go cheap here!!
2. Moisture meter and a gas/co2 detector that each are good quality as well. You want accurate readings that can be defended and a tool that will hold up. You’ll spend near $1000 here
3. Roof inspection tools. This is where i find most
hidden issues when i cant see an area. Great looking roof and then when i get to the hidden valley not visible from the ground or ladder i find issues… Happens often… So if you are not a 8/12 or two story roof climber you will need a quality zoom camera or binocs that take pics and a little whirley birdie camera or pole camera. Don’t let this one slip by as it will bite you and cost much more than the investment in equipment.
4. Very good flashlight and head light with backups and lots of batteries.
Most other things you can pick up at your local home store or super center.

George is right about the pole camera. Check out this thread.

Here is the big wish list for home inspectors:

Thanks Nick

I totally agree with having a mini vacuum, most of the attics I am entering lately have blown in insulation that falls out while entering and exiting.

It only takes a few seconds to clean up and I would have to believe increases my chances of making the sellers my future clients better, than if I left insulation on their clothes and floor.:wink:

Plus it’s just common courtesy.

That is basically what i carry in my bag.

Michael, You will also be doing Wind Mitigation’s here in Florida so you will need a ruler or tape measure, Zircon metal stud finder preferably with deep scan and a nice size Sharpie marker.

old stand by, does not flop over just when your about to take a pic.