Instructors' Edge Blog Series

Home Inspector Tools – 14 That Won’t Break the Bank

By Published On: January 15th, 2021Categories: Guest Blogs, Home Inspection Tips0 Comments

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:

  1. Tape measure – for riser height, window well egress, etc.
  2. Telescoping mirror* – to look behind and up high areas.  Also to check for drafting of atmospheric water heaters.
  3. Voltage indicator* – to determine if electric wiring is live, for example, knob and tube in an attic
  4. AFCI/GFCI outlet tester* – to test outlets for proper polarity and to test GFCI and AFCI protected outlets/circuits.
  5. Rechargeable screwdriver – it speeds up the process of removing panels.
  6. 11-1 screwdriver – as a backup.
  7. Dual digital/probe thermometer – to take temperature readings.
  8. Non-invasive moisture meter– for moisture stains. Your client is going to want to know if it is active or not.
  9. 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.
  10. 2-Prong circuit tester – not every house has 3-prong outlets. That’s when this device comes in handy.
  11. Small infrared camera – LET’S BE CLEAR ON THIS.
    • I use it is only 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.
  12. CO detector – stay safe with a pocket-sized detector (that clips onto your shirt).
    • I turn it on before I walk into a home.
    • You cannot smell, see, or taste carbon monoxide.
    • If this device goes off when I walk inside, I know to immediately leave the home.
  13. 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.
  14. Gas detector – to confirm gas leaks.
    • I used a combustible gas detector for 17 years but I no longer carry the electronic version.
    • If I smell a gas leak, I confirm it with a special gas leak solution that’s used by techs (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

You can learn more about what’s included for new students here: 

Pro Tip: I suggest a tool pouch that has a strap to close the pouch so when you climb 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.

Learn more about Home Inspection Tools and Classes:

About the Author: Chris Chirafisi

Chris Chirafisi started his career in home inspection with American Home Inspectors Training (AHIT) in 2001. He is a licensed home inspector in Wisconsin and Florida. Chris has built and managed two home inspection companies and has over 2,000 inspections under his belt. As a tenured Technical Trainer for AHIT, Chris is also a well-known host for AHIT’s free “Becoming a Home Inspector” webinars. Chris holds additional certifications to offer additional services. He’s a BPI professional energy auditor, a Termite/WDO Inspector through Purdue University and Radon professional through-ESA and he’s a licensed code inspector in Wisconsin. Chris extends his reach to the United Kingdom where he’s a Certified Energy Auditor and a member of the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors. Chris brings real-world tips to the classroom and his energy is focused on helping students succeed.

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