Whether you’re starting out new or you’re a seasoned inspector there are tools that I recommend a home inspector carry without breaking the bank. No fluff here, these are the tools you’ll use often and why I find them helpful while inspecting homes.
Home Inspection Tools to Carry:
To start, I have a padded nylon belt that has my tool pouch on one side and a pouch for my tablet on the other side. These are the home inspector tools that you’ll find in my pouch and why:
- Tape measure – for riser height, window well egress, etc.
- Telescoping mirror* – to look behind and up high areas. Also to check for drafting of atmospheric water heaters.
- Voltage indicator* – to determine if electric wiring is live, for example knob and tube in an attic
- AFCI/GFCI outlet tester* – to test outlets for proper polarity and to test GFCI and AFCI protected outlets/circuits.
- Rechargeable screwdriver – it speeds up the process of removing panels.
- 11-1 screwdriver – as a backup.
- Dual digital/probe thermometer – to take temperature readings.
- Non-invasive moisture meter– for moisture stains. Your client is going to want to know if it is active or not.
- Knife – for service panels. I often find service panels in homes that are painted around the edges. I am not required to but I carefully trace around the edge with my X-Acto knife so I can remove the panel.
- 2-Prong circuit tester – not every house you inspect is going to have 3-prong outlets. That’s when this device comes in handy.
- Small infrared camera – LET’S BE CLEAR ON THIS. The only reason I carry this and the only time I use it is if the home has radiant floor heat/baseboard heaters or radiators to confirm they are working. I do not walk around the house shooting walls or under sinks.
- CO detector – stay safe with a pocket-sized (that clips onto my shirt). I turn it on before I walk into a home. You cannot smell, see, or taste carbon monoxide so if this device goes off when I walk in from outside, I know to immediately leave the home.
- LED flashlight – to get a better look in those dark spaces. I use a high-powered rechargeable flashlight that goes on my belt clip. You can also carry a headlamp for attics and crawl spaces, so your hands are free.
- Gas detector – to confirm gas leaks. Some inspectors carry a combustible gas detector which is fine, I did for 17 years but I no longer carry the electronic version. If I smell a gas leak, I confirm it with a gas leak solution that’s specifically used by techs to confirm leaks (think of soapy water). An entire bottle is $ 8.00 compared to $ 150 for an electronic version that needs to be calibrated yearly.
*The new student kit included with AHIT classes has 3 of the home inspector tools on this list: Telescoping mirror, Voltage indicator and AFCI/GFCI outlet tester
Pro Tip: I suggest a tool pouch that has a strap that closes the pouch so when you traverse up a ladder or through a crawlspace you do not lose any tools and you can keep your hands free.
Home Inspection Tools to Keep in the Vehicle:
Of course, I have a ladder (17’) and that’s the only ladder I carry. If you want to use other ladders that is up to you. If I cannot get on a roof with my ladder, I use my pocket binoculars to look at the roof. There are a few other items I keep in my vehicle, but the mentioned tools above are really my staple go to equipment. Extras in my vehicle: knee pads, extra flashlight, drop cloth, 6’ and 4’ level, indoor shoes, latex gloves and mask
How to Choose the Best Home Inspection Tools?
A good starting point is to look online and read reviews from places like Amazon or Home Depot. I try to stick with a name brand that stands behind their products with a solid warranty/replacement policy. Shop around on price with stores you trust.
Disclaimer: Any reference to a specific product, provider or service does not constitute or imply an endorsement by AHIT or Mbition, LLC.