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Home Maintenance Checklist

Your home is your biggest and most important investment. So, why wouldn’t you take proper care of it? Just like a car needs regular oil changes, keeping up with home maintenance tasks is a must. It is much easier to do your chores every now and then instead of having to pay for big repairs.

All these tasks can seem quite intimidating, especially if you are a new homeowner. Let’s face it; nobody wants to spend their day off pulling leaves out of a gutter. Or, even worse, nobody wants to spend the entire day figuring out how to drain a boiler. Good news is that you can do all the tasks on your own, even if you have absolutely no experience. If you get stuck, you can always use Google or call a friend.

In order to get all the tasks done and also maximize your efficiency, it is smart to create a home maintenance checklist. Start by writing down some regular tasks that you can do every weekend. To help you out, we’ve created a checklist that includes tasks that should be done monthly, quarterly, biannually. We also included some activities that can be done seasonally. Keep in mind that our you don’t have to strictly adhere to our checklist. You can take care of your home whenever you want and as often as you want. And, as long as you don’t forget to accomplish all of these tasks, your home will be in a good shape for years to come.

Monthly Home Maintenance Checklist

There are some tasks that should be done on a monthly basis. You can pick one weekend every month and turn home maintenance into a family activity by involving your children in some of the tasks as well.

  • HVAC filters – some experts say that HVAC filters should be changed every month. This is not absolutely necessary unless you have pets or someone in your family has allergies. In general, it is acceptable to change the HVAC filter every 2-3 months. However, what you should do is inspect the filter on a monthly basis. If the filter is dirty, change it. If it’s not, then leave it and don’t forget to check it out next month.
  • Kitchen sink disposal – even though this might terrify you, kitchen sink disposal should be cleaned every month. There are so many ways to do this, but the most painless one seems to be using vinegar ice cubes. All you have to do is put some vinegar in an ice tray and let it freeze. Then, simply run the ice cubes through the disposal. Not only will this freshen it up, but also sharpen the blades. Talk about killing two birds with one stone.
  • Fire extinguisher – let’s assume you have a fire extinguisher like every household should. Inspecting it doesn’t take much time. Make sure that it is easily accessible (and not block by boxes or something else), that the gauge shows proper pressure, and that the extinguisher is not damaged.
  • Range hood filters – if you’ve never done this before, then you’re in for a real “treat.” The best way to clean a range hood filter is by using a degreaser that can be bought from an auto parts store. Mix it with water, let it sit for a few minutes, and then rinse off.
  • Inspect all the drains for debris and unclog them if necessary.
  • Furnace filter – don’t forget to clean the furnace filter regularly. This will make it easier to regulate the temperature in your home and can even decrease utility bills.
  • Vents – make sure that no indoor and outdoor air vents are blocked. Also, check out the vacuum heat registers and heat vents.

Quarterly Home Maintenance Checklist

  • Common appliances – some appliances such as a smoke alarm or a carbon monoxide detector should be checked out on a regular basis. This is a fairly simple task since the majority of detectors have a “test” button. All you have to do is press it and wait for the alarm to sound. If it doesn’t, replace the batteries as soon as possible. If you get stuck, have a look at out our guidelines for checking your carbon monoxide detector.
  • Garage door – every now and then you should check your garage door, or, to be more precise, its auto-reverse feature. Start off by testing the photo-electric sensors. Place any object in front of them and see whether the door will go back up immediately. Then, place a 2×4 on the ground where the door should close. The door should reverse as soon as it hits the wood.
    • Water softener – you should check out the water softener on a regular basis and replenish salt when necessary.
  • Guest bathrooms – don’t forget to flush toilets and run water in guest bathrooms and other spaces that are not used regularly. The idea behind this is to prevent any form of buildup.

Annual Home Maintenance Checklist

  • Water heater – you should test the pressure relief valve on your water heater at least twice a year. Doing so will prevent any buildup and safeguard the unit against leaks. In addition, it will make your heater more efficient. If you’re not sure how to properly test your water heater, check out our hot water heater guidelines.
  • Smoke and carbon dioxide detectors – even though we mentioned that you should check on your smoke and carbon dioxide detectors regularly, we didn’t mention how often the batteries should be replaced. Majority of people assumes that the batteries should be changed out when the device starts giving you the low battery beeping sound. However, you shouldn’t wait for the sound. Instead, replace the batteries every six months.
  • Deep clean your home – you should pick one day every six months and deep clean your entire house with your family. This includes cleaning and dusting absolutely every nook and cranny, even in the basement. In order to keep your house in top shape, you shouldn’t allow the dirt and dust to build up. If you’re not sure where to start, check out our house cleaning checklist.
  • Refrigerator coils – this is a trick refrigerator repairmen might teach you. Your fridge can use up to 15% of the total power in your home. When the coils get dirty, your fridge requires even more power. So, in order to make your fridge as efficient as possible vacuum your refrigerator coils at least twice a year. This can help you save up to $100 a year.

Seasonal Home Maintenance Checklist

Spring Cleaning

Once the snow melts and the trees begin to bud, your home is ready for the spring clean and maintenance. Here are some tips that will help you prepare your home for the rest of the year.

  • Inspect the exterior of your home – check if there are any cracks in the foundation or holes in the bricks or see if there is any paint chipping. In general, take a close look at your house and see if there are any repairs that need to be done.
  • Roof – don’t forget to check if there are any damaged or missing shingles and leaks once the winter is over.
  • Drainage – sometimes springtime means lots of rain. And, you want to make sure that the rain water will flow away from your house. If you notice any puddles standing around your home for more than 24 hours, inspect your drainage. Start off with your gutters. Sometimes, they just may need cleaning.
  • Clean out gutters.
  • Inspect your chimney.
  • Door and window screens – the spring is the perfect time for cleaning door and window screens. If you notice any damage, make sure to repair or replace them. You don’t want any bugs crawling in.
  • Clean out gutters.
  • Change the air-conditioner filter and, if necessary, get your air conditioning system serviced.
  • Drain/flush your water heater.
  • Fertilize your lawn and clear any dead plants or shrubs. Believe it or not, dead plants can cause damage if they find their way into cracks and holes. If you have decorative vines, make sure to inspect them carefully.
  • Check sprinkler heads and remove insulation from outdoor faucets.

 

Summer

Summer is great for focusing on the exterior of your home, including your lawn and garden.

  • Garage – maintaining your garage should be your summer ritual. Start by oiling garage-door opener, chain, and all door hinges. Then clean all the dust thoroughly and throw away all the items you don’t anymore. Keeping your garage clean will definitely extend its life.
  • Deck/Patio – summer is a great time to take care of your deck or patio. Usually, it needs just a thorough wash. But, if you notice any loose boards make sure to repair them. Also, consider whether your deck needs re-staining.
  • Insects – bugs love summer. If you have an insect problem, you won’t have to look too hard to find it. Common insects such as ants, spiders, and moths are easy to take care of. Make sure to clean all the cobwebs, buy ant poison if necessary, and make sure that all your doors are shut tightly.
  • Window wells – do you have a basement? If so, then you should clean out window wells. All sorts of debris can get stuck there including leaves, trash, and even animals.
  • Plumbing – inspect your plumbing for leaks, including all faucets and toilets. If you notice that your water pressure is low, it is very likely that the aerator is the culprit. Luckily, it is very easy to fix it.
  • Vents – check all the exhaust vents on the outside of your home, including your clean dryer vent.  While the dryer is running, see if the exhaust is coming out. It should smell like fresh laundry. If you don’t notice much exhaust check for blockages or call a professional.

Check grout in bathrooms, kitchen, etc.; repair as needed. This will prolong the life of your tiled surfaces and just looks better.

 

Fall

Fall is the season during which you should finish all the tasks you didn’t have the time for so you could get your home ready for winter. Rain, snow, and cold weather can cause significant damage so make sure you are prepared.

  • HVAC system – one of the first things you should do is get your HVAC system ready for winter. Get it inspected by a professional and service your furnace if necessary. Make sure that none of the heating vents are blocked by furniture. Also, don’t forget to inspect fireplaces if you have any.
  • Chimney – Some people clean their chimney in fall, some in the spring. Choose whichever season you prefer, just don’t forget to do it once a year.
  • Hot water heater – flush hot water heater to make it more efficient and prolong its life.
  • Hoses and outdoor water faucets – flush your outdoor water faucets and hoses. If you have a sprinkler system, don’t forget to winterize it.
  • Wrap insulation around outdoor faucets and pipes.
  • Driveway/pavement – check if there are any cracks in your driveway or pavement and make sure to re-seal them before winter. Sometimes, water can freeze and expand in the cracks, causing damage.
  • Air conditioning systems – make sure to winterize your AC systems by storing the window units or, if you have central air, by covering the outside unit.
  • Buy winter gear – you never know when the first snow will come so make sure that you have good shovels and sidewalk salt ready.
  • Rake leaves from the lawn and remove debris from gutters.
  • Seal cracks in window and doors, if there are any.
  • Inspect your roof for missing or damaged shingles.
  • Clean the carpets, window and door screens.
  • Check for frayed wires.

 

Winter

There’s not much you can do outside during winter. Instead, focus on the interior of your home and check out all those little things you may have overlook or postponed for some time later. Also, if you have any interior DIY projects, winter is a great time to do them.

  • Check for icicles – even though kids love icicles, don’t let them grow when the cold weather comes. They are a danger to people but can also cause damage to your home since they are very heavy. Also, once they melt, they can even cause water damage. Keep in mind that you should also de-ice any cables that are at the front of the roof work well.
  • Tighten loose screws – and this includes absolutely every loose screw you come across, including those on handles, racks, knobs, etc.
  • Clean your basement – many people use their basement as a storage area and tend to forget about it. Winter is the right time to inspect your basement and deep clean it. Check the area for mold, dust everything up, and clean windows and furniture if there are any.
  • Test your electricity – working with electricity in wet weather is not a good idea. However, there are some simple tests you can do on your own, of course, while staying inside. For example, check if all the outlets in your home work. If not, then you can re-wire them on your own.
  • Clean drains in tubs, showers, sinks, and dishwashers.
  • Remove showerheads and clean sediment.
  • Inspect caulking around bathtubs and showers.
  • Replace any deadbolts or locks on doors and window that don’t work.

 

Paying for home maintenance expenses

Home maintenance expenses can sneak up on your. Unlike a lot of the costs of homeownership, home maintenance is not included in your monthly mortgage payment and can add up to thousands of dollars per year. Expert recommendations differ,  but a general rule of thumb suggests budgeting $1 per sq/ft per year based on the size of your home or 1% of your total home value.

If you find yourself with a major maintenance expense and don’t have the savings to cover it, you could always consider a cash out mortgage to cover the cost of major repairs like a roof replacement. Enter your information below to see what you qualify for.

First Apartment Checklist – 140+ necessities and essentials for your new apartment

Apartment checklist. The time has finally come – you are officially an adult and about to live in your own apartment for the first time ever.

While you’re probably thinking about all the beautiful decorations you’re going to buy, there is something else you need to do first.

You will have to buy some basic goods you never had to buy before.

Let’s face it – have you ever had to buy your own towels, dishes, or silverware? We thought so.

Moving into a new apartment can turn out to be a daunting task.

There are some items that you’ll obviously need such as furniture and appliances.

But, it is very likely that you may have overlooked some other necessities.

Have you bought a bath mat, cutting board, corkscrew or shower caddies?

You may not need all of these items, but some of them sure can come in handy.

Take a look at our checklist before you finally move in your new apartment and see if you have everything you need.

Things you need for your first apartment before you move in

Consider this section as an extra short version of all must-haves.

Make sure you bought all these items before moving at all.

Then, keep them close by when you move.

You’ll probably want to unpack these first before anything else.

You definitely don’t want to find yourself be searching for a shower curtain instead of getting ready for work or class.

Mattress, Pillows, and Bedding

A mattress should definitely be one of the first few items you buy for your new place.

Picking out the right mattress can turn out into a very time-consuming task.

You probably will be fine sleeping on the floor for one night or even a week.

But, life gets crazy busy when you’re moving and you might find yourself sleeping on the floor for a month because you didn’t buy a mattress on time.

We recommend ordering your mattress online from one of the many startups that have popped up in the last few years.

It’s easy to have the mattress shipped directly to your new place, they come quickly, and they’re cheaper than your standard mattress.

Plus they’re comfortable! We like Nectar mattresses, our readers get $125 off by clicking through this link.

Tools & first aid kit

When you walk inside your new apartment, you’ll probably want to decorate it somehow.

And, it is also very likely that you’ll need to put something together, for example, a bookshelf.

When that time comes, you don’t want to be unprepared.

There is nothing more frustrating than being in an unpacking groove only to realize you lack the basic tools.

Make sure you have a hammer, a screwdriver, wall hooks, and some nails.

Amazon Basics has a great home maintenance toolkit to get you started. 

Accidents are quite common when moving.

Usually, people tend to cut a finger, sprain an ankle, or trip and fall down.

If you do get injured, you’ll want to have a first-aid kit nearby.

Make sure to include the following:

  • Band-Aids and bandages
  • Antiseptic wipes
  • Antibiotic ointment
  • Pain relief and cold medicine
  • Cold pack and ointment for muscle pain
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A Step Stool

What are the chances for remembering to bring a step stool with you in your new apartment?

Make sure you put it on the top of your checklist.

A step stool can be extremely valuable during unpacking, especially if you’re short or if your apartment as high ceilings.

It is recommended to buy a step stool that is light, easily portable, and easy to store.  

Extension Cords, Batteries, and Power Strips

It would be a bummer to unpack all the things in your new home only to realize that you don’t have anywhere to plug them in.

Make sure to purchase batteries, extension cords, and power strips before moving so you could finish unpacking as quickly as possible.

Cleaning Supplies

This one is a no-brainer.

You might make some mess while moving in or find spots that the previous tenants forgot to clean.

Make sure that your cleaning supplies are easily accessible so you can clean everything before you start unpacking.

Here are some items you might need:

  • A mop, cleaning cloths, and sponges
  • A toilet scrubber and cleaning solution for toilet bowls
  • Multi-surface cleaning spray and cleaning wipes
  • Paper towels and trash bags
  • Air freshener
  • Disinfectant spray
  • Stain remover

Check out our house cleaning checklist to make sure you’ve covered all the bases!

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Shower Curtain

Talking of bathroom essentials, here is another one you shouldn’t forget. After a long day of unpacking, you’ll probably be dying for a hot shower. And, using a shower without a shower curtain is a great way to ruin the floors in your brand-new apartment. To prevent this from happening, make sure to pack all the toiletry items you might need, including a shower curtain.

Kitchen Essentials

Unpacking and moving in is hard work. When you take a break, you’ll probably want to grab something to eat and drink. You could use paper plates and cups for the first few days, but why don’t you make things easier and immediately buy a full dish set? Here are some items you might need:

  • Plates and bowls
  • Glasses and mugs
  • Frying pan and pots
  • Microwave, blender, or a toaster
  • Sandwich bags and food storage containers
  • Cooking utensils

We absolutely love a well-outfitted kitchen, check out our list of kitchen essentials to see our recommendations on everything from flatware to pots and pans.

 

Things to Do Before You Move In To Your New Apartment

Here are a few things you should do before you move in:

  • Replace the locks
  • Clean and disinfect the fridge thoroughly
  • Take measurements of each room so you can plan the placement of your belongings
  • Exterminate the apartment if necessary
  • Attach multi-plugs to power outlets before you put your stuff in the apartment
  • Set up utilities in advance
  • Change your address at the USPS website

For more tips, check out our moving checklist to make sure you’re all prepped for your big day.

New Apartment Checklist

Kitchen

It is impossible to think of all the items you will need in your kitchen all by yourself. This checklist will help you get all the items you need to cook like a boss, keep your leftovers properly, and, most importantly, host awesome parties.

Top pick for the kitchen

Sometimes cooking can be a chore – make your life easier with an instant pot. Saute, simmer, pressure cook or use it as a crock pot, this is the swiss army knife your kitchen needs to whip up dinner in a pinch.

List of items for your first apartment

  • Kitchen furniture – this depends on your apartment and your preferences. You can get a kitchen table and chairs or only bar stools.
  • Pots and pans
  • Spices – you can have the pots and pans, but you still won’t be able to do any cooking without spices. Don’t forget to buy salt, pepper, paprika, chili powder, oregano, and garlic and onion powder. If you’re really into cooking then also buy some cinnamon, nutmeg, thyme, ginger, and cloves.
  • Spice rack
  • Plates, bowls, and dishes
  • Mixing bowls
  • Measuring cups and spoons
  • Glasses, cups, and mugs
  • Pot holders or oven mitts
  • Cutlery and cutlery tray
  • Serving and cooking utensils
  • A filtered water pitcher – a water pitcher will make your tap water even safer to drink and it will also taste just like bottled water.
  • Can opener
  • Bottle opener and corkscrew
  • Cutting board
  • Sponges and dish soap
  • Dish towels
  • Dish drying rack
  • Food storage containers
  • Tupperware
  • Chip clips and zip-top bags
  • A knife set
  • Vegetable peeler
  • Aluminum foil and plastic wraps
  • Paper towels and paper towel holder
  • Napkins
  • Trash can and garbage bags
  • Ice trays
  • Microwave
  • An instant pot or slow cooker
  • Toaster/toaster oven
  • Coffeemaker
  • Blender
  • Broom, duster, and dustpan
  • Countertop storage container

Living Room

Here is the room that you’ll probably spend the most time in. Comfort is key! And for us, this all starts with choosing the right sofa. We’ve included some of the best sellers below to help you start your search. 

List of living room items for your first apartment

  • Comfortable couch – let’s face it, the centerpiece of every living room is a couch. Make sure that your couch is comfortable (so you can host parties or movie nights) but also that it matches your style.
  • Coffee table – a living room would look empty without a coffee table. This simple piece of furniture is very useful but it can also help you express your personality. Don’t forget to buy coasters to keep your coffee table looking petty!
  • Chairs
  • Cushions, beanbags, and other sitting alternatives
  • TV and TV stand – getting a TV is always a great investment. It is definitely not an essential item for your living room, but it can be great for throwing movie nights or enjoying your favorite TV shows.
  • Rug
  • Throw blankets and throw pillows
  • Bookshelf
  • Lamps and extra lighting – neither you nor your friends would enjoy spending time in a dark living room. Add some style and functionality to this room by picking out cool lamps.
  • Curtains or blinds
  • Desk and a chair
  • Storage – every room needs some sort of a storage solution including your living room. You can buy shelves or a TV cabinet and store your belongings there.
  • Decorations – these items are not essential but they can make your living room look and feel homey. Consider buying houseplants, vases, candles, wall art, decorative pillows, and even side tables.

Bedroom

The only thing you need in a bedroom is a bed, right? Well, not really. Here are all the other items you’ll need to make your bedroom a cozy place.

  • Bed frame and box springs – we’ve mentioned that one of the first things you should buy for your new place is a mattress. But, you’ll also need something to place the mattress on. There are so many bed frames available. Make sure to pick the one that fits your needs and the size of your apartment.
  • Mattress and mattress pad
  • Several sets of beddings and sheets
  • Pillows and pillow covers
  • Nightstand and night light
  • Alarm clock
  • Under-bed storage containers
  • Dresser
  • Closet storage solutions (e.g. a hanging closet organizer, shoe rack, etc.),
  • Hangers
  • Over-the-door storage unit
  • Jewelry box or organizer
  • Full-length mirror
  • Curtains
  • Desk and a chair

Bathroom

Decorating your bathroom can be quite fun. And now that you can buy all the bubble baths and hair products you want, you might get a bit carried away. If you get too excited about choosing the right soap that you forget to purchase a toilet scrubber, this checklist will save the day.

  • Shower curtain and shower caddy
  • Bath mats
  • Small rug – a great way to add some color to your bathroom.
  • Hand and bath towels – now that you have your own apartment, you can finally upgrade your old towels to more luxurious ones. You can even have them match the color scheme in your bathroom.
  • Washcloths
  • Toilet paper and toilet paper holder – yes, we already mentioned toilet paper. But, this time we want to remind you to get a toilet paper holder as well.
  • Trash can – don’t forget to get a trash can for your bathroom. Trash cans with a lid are very useful and they can also make your bathroom look sleek.
  • Toilet seat
  • Toilet brush and toilet plunger – you should make sure to keep your toilet clean all the time. If you have more than one bathroom, get a toilet brush and plunger for each one.
  • Cleaning supplies and air freshener
  • Over-the-door towel hook
  • Toothbrush and toothbrush holder
  • Scale
  • Toiletries (e.g. hand soap, bath soap, lotion, etc.)
  • Storage for toiletries
  • Other items – if you want to impress your guests and turn your bathroom into an oasis, consider buying the following items: candles, potpourri, small vanity mirror, additional lighting, flowers, countertop storage.

Laundry

  • Laundry hamper or laundry bags
  • Lingerie bags
  • Drying rack
  • Iron and ironing board
  • Garment bag

Entrance Area

When people start coming to your new place, you’ll want them to fall in love with it as soon as they come in. Here are some items you can place in your entrance area or corridor:

  • A welcome mat
  • A small rug – a small rug is a great way to decorate the entrance area. It is also quite useful since people can use it to wipe their shoes.
  • Wall hooks for jackets
  • Small bench or table for shoes
  • A lamp – if your entrance area is too dark consider buying a table lamp or decorative wall lamps.

Miscellaneous

  • Flashlight
  • Batteries
  • Light bulbs
  • Candles
  • Extension cords
  • Pen and paper
  • Document folder – you will want to bring all your important documents to your new apartment. Make sure you have a proper place to keep them.
  • Drawer organizers
  • Vacuum cleaner
  • A broom and dustpan
  • Swiffer sweeper
  • Trash cans and trash bags
  • Basic tools (screwdrivers, hammer, duct tape, box-cutter, pliers, wrench, masking tape)
  • Cleaning supplies – sponges, microfiber cloths, anti-bacterial wipes, bucket, mop, multi-purpose spray, wood cleaner, bathroom cleaning spray, baking soda and white vinegar, rubber gloves, hand soap, dish soap.
  • Clorox wipes and Lysol spray
  • Laundry detergent and fabric softener
  • Stain remover
  • Fans
  • Carbon monoxide alarm
  • Fire alarm

Things to Do Upon Moving In

So, you made your first apartment checklist, prepared the apartment, and now you’re finally ready to move in. Here are a few things you should do upon moving in:

  • Put the boxes away in designated rooms
  • Document the condition of the apartment and save copies
  • Assemble your bed as soon as it arrives
  • Take a walk and get to know your neighborhood
  • Introduce yourself to neighbors if you come across them

Don’t worry if you don’t get all the items at once. Moving in generally requires lots of trips to the store. However, to make things easier for you, you can plan those trips in advance. For example, you can start by buying the things that are a must. Then, you can do the shopping for each room separately. Don’t spare any money on essential items. They should be high-quality items since you will have them for years and, hopefully, you won’t have to buy them the next time you move.

 

Home Inspection Checklist – 80+ things to check

You’ve finally found the home of your dreams and now you’re ready to sign the contract. But, there is one key step before making the purchase final – getting a home inspection. The freshly painted walls, hardwood floors, and granite countertops are simply superficial touches. What you don’t see is the dangerous wiring, ancient plumbing or foundation cracks. All these defects can be revealed if you hire a home inspector.

 

What is a Home Inspection

A home inspection is, basically, your chance to investigate a property thoroughly and reveal any serious flaws. People usually hire an expert that walks through the house and makes a report that lists the major components of the home, the condition they are in, and whether something requires maintenance once you move in.

If you sign a purchase agreement that has an inspection contingency, then you can walk away from the deal without any penalties if the home inspection reveals some serious flaws. You can also ask the seller to make all the necessary repairs, saving you money and hassle.

Even though you might hire a home inspector, it is wise to have your own home inspection checklist which can help you get the most out of the inspection report.

 

How to Find a Home Inspector

Finding a good home inspector might take some time. If you have a real estate agent, then it is very likely that he will recommend several inspectors. You should also do research on your own and ask for recommendations from your friends, colleagues, or family members. Keep in mind that licensing requirements for home inspectors vary from one state to another. For example, in some states, a home inspector must complete training, pass an exam, and demonstrate experience in order to get licensed. However, in other states, home inspectors are not required to be licensed at all. The American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI) provides an interactive map which lists home inspection license requirements in all states.

Once you find a home inspector, make sure to ask for a sample report before you hire him. Some reports might be 100 pages long while others only contain checkboxes. A longer report doesn’t necessarily have to be better. Make sure to check with the inspector what is included in the inspection. If there are certain concerns you want to have addressed, ensure that the inspector adds them to the list.

 

What a Home Inspection Does and Does Not Include

professional home inspection checklist for buyers

The scope of a home inspection depends on the inspector. However, there is one thing that is consistent – all inspectors focus on the physical components of a home. This certainly covers many things but doesn’t include absolutely everything.

A home inspector can only report what he can see, not what is inside the walls or underneath the furniture. However, if there are accessible crawl spaces in the home, the inspector will enter and check the foundation. In addition, the home should be vacant so that the inspector can inspect as much as possible.

A home inspection typically does not include:

  • Wood-destroying pests,
  • Rodents such as mice and rats,
  • Trees and landscaping
  • Lawn sprinklers and swimming pool equipment
  • Drainage
  • Sewer line
  • Chimney and fireplace
  • Floors covered by carpeting or spots where there is furniture
  • Roof covered by snow

 

What to Look for in Your Home Inspection Report?

There are some red flags you should look out for in every home inspection report. For example, a water leak can cause a lot of trouble to homeowners. However, locating the source of the leak can be a bit tricky. Make sure that this is included in the report and that the inspector checks the plumbing properly. The water should be turned on during the inspections and the faucets should run for a period of time so that leaks can appear.

Make sure that the home inspector pays attention to any structural issues. Even though a small crack seems innocent, it can cause larger problems. Inspectors should look for cracks between doors and windows, bulging walls, and sloping floors.

Even if your home has a concrete foundation, it doesn’t mean that it is immune to termites and other wood-destroying insects. They can crawl through small spaces and damage wooden structural supports and even porches and windows. It is recommended that your home inspector searches for these pests since they can cause thousands of dollars in damage.

Keep in mind that the home inspector typically only searches for problems and won’t estimate repair costs for you. If you have any questions, make sure to discuss them with your inspector and ensure that you are making a good investment.

 

Home Inspection checklist

Below we cover our 80+ point home inspection checklist. While we always recommend purchasing a home inspection prior to buying a home, you can use this list as a way to do your own DIY inspection while you’re house hunting and before making an offer.

 

Exterior Home Inspection Checklist

Before checking the interior of your new home, don’t forget to check what the exterior is like.

  • Driveway and walkway – do they need any repairs? Are there any large cracks?
  • Grounds – there should be no evidence of standing water or any leaks from the septic tank. House should have proper drainage. There shouldn’t be any branches or bushes touching the house.
  • Porch, deck, and railings – make sure that the boards are solid and that the supports are sufficient. Also, see if repainting will be necessary.
  • House exterior – the paint should be in good condition. There should be no crumbly stucco or flaking of bricks. The siding boards should not be cracked. It is desirable to have gutter extensions that take water away from the house.
  • Fences – are the fences in good condition or they started rotting?
  • Foundation – are there any significant cracks? Can insects reach the wood?
  • Roof – will shingles need replacing any time soon? Is there any sagging in the roof? Are there any gaps? Are shingles curling or splitting?
  • Doors and windows – you want them to be in good shape. This means that there are no cracks, decay, or rot. There should be no broken glass or damaged screens. Drip caps should be installed over windows. All locks should be working properly.
  • Sheds – the shed door should be working properly and the shed floor should be solid. There should be a source of light as well.
  • Propane tank – if there is a propane tank, it should be securely mounted. If it is near the driveway there should be some safety barrier.

Garage

  • Garage door – garage door and other doors should be in good working condition.
  • Firewall – there should be a firewall between the house and the garage.
  • Floors and walls – are they in good condition?

 

Roof

  • Flat roofs – are there any patches, cracks, or wrinkles?
  • Composition shingles – are there any missing or damaged shingles? Are there more than two layers of roofing? There should be no cupping or curling.
  • Wood shingles – watch out for mold, rot, decay, as well as cracked or broken shingles.
  • Chimney – should be straight. There should be no signs of damaged bricks or cracked joints.
  • Exterior venting – all vents should be clean.
  • Gutters – should be attached securely to the roof. All the joints should be sealed. There should be no decay or rust.

 

Attic

  • Insulation – is it properly installed and in good condition?
  • Ventilation – are there any vents? Are they properly installed?
  • Wires – is the wiring updated?
  • Roof – there should be no light coming in through the roof. Inspect for any black spots or patches that could be mold.
  • Pests – is there any sign of pests such as droppings or chewed wood?
  • Damage – the structure should be checked for any decay or damage.
  • Other – there should be no plumbing, exhaust or appliance vents.

 

Basement

  • Moisture – no evidence of moisture, water stains, or standing water.
  • Floor and walls – no cracks, discoloration, or bulging that indicate damage or evidence of water.
  • Foundation – no cracks or flaking.
  • Structural wood – no damage, decay, or sagging should be present.
  • Faucets, sinks, drains – should be in working condition.
  • Smoke/carbon monoxide detector – is there a smoke or carbon monoxide detector installed? Does it function properly?

Crawl Space

  • Size – is the crawl space big enough to crawl in?
  • Venting – is the crawl space adequately vented to the exterior?
  • Insulation – is there insulation on vent pipes, waste, and exposed water supply? Also, is there insulation between crawl space and heated areas?
  • Damage – there should be no evidence of moisture and insect damage.

 

Electricity

  • Mast – is the mast (electrical connection) attached to the house?
  • Outside wires – are there any wires rubbing against the house? Are the lines more than 10 feet above the ground?
  • Breaker box – are there breakers instead of fuses? Are the breakers labeled? Is the breaker box covered?
  • Wiring – wiring should look normal. Exposed splices should be in junction boxes. Is there exposed wiring? Are there any wires with evidence of burning?
  • Outlets – outdoor outlets should have weather protection. All outlets should have undamaged covers.

 

Plumbing

  • Water pump – should be working properly and shouldn’t short cycle.
  • Pipes – there should be no damage, no sign of staining on materials near pipes, no evidence of leaks.
  • Water heater – should be vented properly and capable of producing an adequate amount of hot water.
  • Water temperature – should be between 118 and 125 degrees Fahrenheit.

 

Interior Home Inspection Checklist

  • Floors, walls, ceilings – there should be no stains. All should appear straight.
  • Walls – there should be no significant cracks nor damage.
  • Flooring materials – are they in good condition? Will they need replacing any time soon?
  • Windows and doors – do they operate easily and latch properly? There should be no broken glass or hardware nor any decay.
  • Paint and paneling – are they in good condition?
  • Lights and switches – do they operate properly? Should they be replaced soon?
  • Insulation – there should be evidence of adequate insulation in walls.
  • HVAC – every habitable room should have a heating/cooling source.
  • Fireplace – there should be no cracking, damaged masonry, or evidence of back-drafting.

Heating/Cooling System

  • Flues – there should be no open seams. Separate flues for propane/gas/oil and wood/coal should exist.
  • Air filters – they should be clean and working properly.
  • Ductwork – is it in good condition?
  • Cooling unit – is there rust around the cooling unit?
  • Pipes – there should be no asbestos on heating pipes and water pipes.

Fireplace

  • Structure – are there any cracks or gaps?
  • Damper – does the damper open and close easily?
  • Chimney – is the chimney in good condition? Is it pulling away from the house? Are there any bricks coming apart? Is there a chimney cap?

Living Room, Dining Room, and Bedrooms

  • Walls – are there any cracks or bulges? Is the paint or wallpaper peeling? Look out for water stains as well.
  • Ceiling – it should not be sagging. Check out for peeling paint as well.
  • Floor – look out for any stains or damaged areas. See if the floor is even. the carpeting should not be pulling anywhere.
  • Lights – make sure that all lights and light switches work.
  • Outlets – all outlets should be anchored firmly to the wall and working properly. Outlets should be covered. Make sure to test all outlets with an outlet tester.
  • Doors and windows – they should be opened and closed easily. If there are any blinds or curtains, make sure that they are functioning properly.

 

Kitchen

  • Appliances – make sure that appliances are working, if there are any included in the sale.
  • Cabinets – all cabinets should be in good condition; doors and drawers operate properly.
  • Exhaust fan – does the exhaust fan work? Is it vented to the exterior of the building?
  • Garbage disposal – there should be no excessive rust or deterioration.
  • Pipes – they work properly and there are no leaks in pipes under sinks.
  • Faucets, sinks, and drains – see if all faucets are working and watch the color of the water. How long does it take for hot water to get there? Does the sink drain easily? Is there any moisture under the sink caused by leaky drains?
  • Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter – should be within 6 feet from the sink.
  • Smoke detector – is there a smoke detector? Does it work properly

Bathroom

  • Sink, tub, and shower – do they work properly? Do the sink and tub/shower drain easily? Are there mineral stains in the tub/shower? Are the walls around the tub/shower damaged? The sink should show no sign of rust.
  • Toilet – flush the toilet to see if it operates properly. Is there any dripping? Is the toilet stable? There should be no stains around the base.
  • Tub/shower tiles – are they secure? Is the wall surface solid?
  • Flow and pressure – are the flow and pressure adequate at all fixtures?

 

Miscellaneous

  • Entrance – is the entrance well lit? Is there any noticeable damage to the walls or the floor?
  • Stairways – are the stairs safe for walking on? Are there any loose steps or broken edges? Do all stairways have handrails?
  • Furnace – Is the furnace working properly? Is the flame blue or orange? Does the fan sound smooth? Is there any smell of leaking gas?
  • Water heater – is it in good condition? Is the water hot enough? Are there any stains that might indicate leakage?
  • Air conditioning – does it work? Does the condenser unit run quietly? Are the cooling fins of the condenser unit in a good condition?

 

Wrapping it up

Getting a home inspection is only one part of the home buying process. If you’re interested in learning more about buying a home we recommend reading our article about what to look for when buying a home. If you’re ready to buy a home we recommend checking your rate below to make sure you’re getting the best deal on your mortgage:

 

And if you’ve made your purchase, we definitely recommend downloading our new house checklist to make sure your home is move-in ready on day one!

House cleaning checklist

Nothing feels quite as good as a squeaky clean house. Our house cleaning checklist has 144 tasks and we promise, if you or your housekeeper complete all of them, your home will feel brand new. This checklist goes room by room to help you clean your home, and we even included a bonus spring cleaning checklist at the end for those times when you want a deep cleaning.

House cleaning kit & required supplies

Before we dive into the list, it’s worth calling out some of the supplies we think you’ll need to complete the job. We try to keep toxic chemicals out of our home, so we prefer natural & eco-friendly cleaning supplies.

Kitchen cleaning checklist

  • Clean dirty dishes
  • Put away clean dishes
  • Scrub kitchen sink
    • Disinfect sink strainer
  • Dust blinds
  • Wipe clean kitchen appliances
    • Refrigerator
    • Oven
    • Stove
    • Microwave
  • Disinfect & wipe clean kitchen counters and backsplash
    • Be sure to remove & replace all items
  • Wipe clean cabinet faces & hardware
  • Wipe clean tabletop and chairs
  • Disinfect light switches
  • Disinfect door knobs
  • Wipe clean electric plates
  • Wipe clean all woodwork
    • Baseboards
    • Window sills
    • Door frames
  • Empty trashcans & replace trash bags
  • Vacuum floors & rugs
  • Mop floors (tile & linoleum only)

Bedroom cleaning checklist

  • Change bed linens
  • Make the bed
  • Put away clean laundry
  • Put dirty laundry in hamper
  • Dust the room, including:
    • Lamp & lampshade
    • Picture frames
    • Blinds
    • Windowsills
  • Disinfect light switches
  • Disinfect door knobs
  • Wipe clean electric plates
  • Wipe clean furniture, including:
    • Top of dresser
    • Desk
    • Bedside table
  • Wipe clean all woodwork
    • Baseboards
    • Window sills
    • Door frames
    • Door panels
  • Clean mirrors
  • Throw away any trash
  • Empty trashcans & replace trash bags
  • Vacuum floors & rugs
  • Mop floors (tile & linoleum only)
  • General straightening

Bathroom cleaning checklist

  • Dust the room, including:
    • Blinds
    • Windowsills
  • Scrub, disinfect & rinse tub and shower
    • Wipe clean tile grout
  • Disinfect toilet inside and out
  • Scrub, disinfect & rinse bathroom sinks
  • Clean sink faucets & handles
  • Disinfect & wipe clean countertops
    • Remove & replace all items
  • Disinfect light switches
  • Disinfect door knobs
  • Wipe clean electric plates
  • Wipe clean any furniture
  • Wipe clean cabinet faces & hardware
  • Wipe clean all woodwork
    • Baseboards
    • Window sills
    • Door frames
    • Door panels
  • Clean mirrors
  • Throw dirty towels into the laundry hamper
  • Fold & hang clean towels
  • Throw away trash
  • Empty trashcans & replace trash bags
  • Vacuum floors, rugs, and bath mats.
  • Mop floors (tile & linoleum only)

Living room & other common areas

Includes hallways, stairs, etc.

  • General dusting
    • Ceiling fans
    • Blinds
    • Windowsills
    • Furniture on top, front, and underneath
    • Picture frames
    • Lamps & lampshades
  • Disinfect light switches
  • Disinfect door knobs
  • Clean windows
  • Clean mirrors
  • Wipe clean electric plates
  • Wipe clean all woodwork
    • Baseboards
    • Window sills
    • Door frames
    • Door panels
  • Throw away trash
  • Empty trashcans & replace trash bags
  • Vacuum upholstered furniture
  • Fluff & straighten cushions, pillows, throw blankets
  • Vacuum floors
  • Mop floors (tile & linoleum only)
  • General straightening

Spring cleaning checklist

Every so often you’ll want to go above and beyond your normal cleaning routine. We think this is the perfect spring cleaning checklist. But that doesn’t mean you have to wait until April! In some cases we’ll go through these tasks every 3-6 months.

Kitchen

  • Clean refrigerator and freezer interior
    • Remove & replace all items
    • Throw away any expired items
  • Dust top of refrigerator
  • Clean oven interior
  • Clean microwave interior
  • Clean pantry interior
    • Remove & replace all items
    • Throw away any expired items

Bedroom

  • Move bed & vacuum underneath
  • Launder blankets and heavy linens
  • Turn mattresses
  • Vacuum mattresses and box springs
  • Wipe clean bed frames
  • Machine wash or dry-clean comforters

Bathroom

  • Clean out cabinets
    • Remove & replace all items
    • Throw away any expired items

General

  • Clean shades & curtains
    • Remove, launder, and replace all items
  • Machine wash or dry-clean all area rugs
  • Shampoo carpets
  • Wash and wax wood floors
  • Clean book shelves
    • Remove & replace all items
  • Clean upholstered furniture
    • Machine wash or dry-clean any slip covers
    • Vacuum
  • Test smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors
    • Replace batteries if necessary
  • Wash windows
  • Remove & spray clean window screens
  • Clean or replace air filters
    • Furnace
    • Air conditioning
  • Clean out closets
    • Donate any clothing items that you no longer wear
    • Rotate seasonal wardrobe

House Hunting Checklist

You are ready to find the right home: You have a budget. You know your affordability amount. You’re pre-approved for a loan. You’re working with a realtor, or you are comfortable working on your own. You know your timeline. You’re now a highly-qualified buyer, the only thing standing in your way is finding that perfect house. The great home search has begun!

Read More

Moving Checklist – 12 Things to Remember When Moving

Moving into a new home or apartment? With the whirlwind of things to do, it’s easy for some smaller items to fall off to the wayside.

That’s why we created this moving checklist. There are a few basic things you can do early on in the process to make moving day a breeze.

So? What are the things to do before moving? Below we’ve listed 12 important things to do when moving.

1. Purge!

The easiest way to simplify your move into a new home is to reduce the amount of stuff you have to sort, pack, transport, unpack, and organize. Go through your current home room by room and take a long hard look at everything you own. Make a list of what you want to keep and what you’re ready to get rid of.

2. Raid the pantry

Depending on how far you’re going, there may be quite a few things in your pantry or refrigerator that aren’t worth moving. Take stock of food that is expiring soon, frozen food, or items that are hard to transport. If you can, try to use these things before your moving date, and avoid repurchasing these items at the grocery store leading up to the big move.

3. Decide on a mover

Are you going to pay for a moving company? If so, you’ll want to do some research on different movers in your area, get some quotes, and schedule your moving date ahead of time.

We recommend getting a quote from UShip, they can cover your entire move, and they’re great for shipping vehicles if you’re moving long-distance.

If you’re relying on the good graces of your friends and family, it’s best to start lining up your help as soon as possible. You might also want to consider reserving a moving truck from a local rental company.

If you need an extra set of hands you can also try TaskRabbit – you can get help moving or even have someone assemble your furniture for you.

4. Buy packing supplies

You’ll want to get your packing supplies ahead of time. If you can, keep an eye out for free boxes on Craigslist or from local businesses. Otherwise, you’ll want to purchase boxes, packing tape, bubble wrap, and markers.

It’s also a good idea to get a wardrobe box – folding all of your clothes for a move only to unpack and rehang them in your new home is silly. Save yourself the time and hassle.

5. Order ahead

If you’re moving into your first place, or you’re expanding into a larger home, order some essentials ahead of time. A little planning ahead will make your first few nights in your new home much more pleasant.

For some inspiration, check out our New House Checklist that covers all the essentials and necessities.

6. Start packing

If you did a good job at #1 on this list, this part is much easier. Moving day is chaotic enough, do yourself a favor and pack your boxes ahead of time.

Start with the items that you won’t need in the days leading up to the move – think out-of-season clothes, books, decorations, home office, garage, etc.

Work your way through the house until you get to the essentials – toiletries, your current wardrobe, and the essential kitchen items should come last.

7. Schedule time off of work

If you’re moving during the week, make sure to get the time off of work. Even if you’re moving on a weekend, you might consider taking off the day after your move, so you can get settled into your new home.

8. Change your utilities

Make sure to call your utility companies and let them know you’re moving. In some cases, that will mean canceling service with your existing company and setting up services with a new provider.

Make sure to call the company a week or two before your move-in date – in some cases, a technician may need to come to the house before they turn on services.

You’ll want to make sure you have water, power, gas, sewer, trash service, and internet.

9. Change of address

Missing important mail after you move can create some real problems, especially when tax season comes. To make sure nothing falls through the cracks, file a change of address with the post office.

You can do it online here, and it only takes a few minutes. You’ll also want to make sure you’ve updated your address with your banks, insurance providers, credit card companies, and other major institutions.

10. Change your locks

When moving into a new home, you never know who has keys to your existing locks. Old tenants, previous homeowners, or even some of your neighbors might have spare keys.

It’s a good idea to replace the locks on move-in day, make sure to order a replacement lock set ahead of time. Check out our post on the best smart locks for some recommendations!

11. Deep cleaning

Your new home will be much easier to clean before everything is moved in. We recommend scheduling a deep cleaning prior to move-in the day if you have the chance.

Amazon offers a new program that makes it easy to hire local professionals for in-home services.

12. Deduct your moving expenses from your taxes

Make sure to save your receipts through your moving process. In many cases, you can deduct your moving expenses from your taxes at the end of the year, saving hundreds or even thousands of dollars depending on how far you’re moving.

Everything from small items like moving boxes to big-ticket items like the cost of a moving company could be eligible. You can go here to learn more about whether or not you qualify for a deduction.

Moving Checklist Bonus: Lower your monthly payment

If you’re in the process of purchasing your new home, it’s a good idea to make sure you are getting the lowest interest rate possible to keep your monthly payment affordable.

Check to see how your mortgage payment compares to our partners below!

Kitchen Essentials – How to Set Up Your Dream Kitchen

Whether you’re moving into your first apartment or you’re moving to a new house, the kitchen will be an important part of your new home.

Our checklist of kitchen essentials has all of the tools, utensils, cookware, and gadgets you’ll need to whip up some delicious meals.

Below we’ll cover the necessities you should have for your first kitchen as well as some nice-to-haves that will help expand your cooking repertoire.

Our list below has two categories for every section – Essentials are things you shouldn’t be caught without, and Splurge items that you could consider buying if you have room in your budget, think you’ll use them, or want to up your game as a chef.

We’ve kept our budget for our essential items capped at $500, so if you’re outfitting your kitchen for the first time you won’t have to break the bank.

Shopping for quality

You’ll always need to eat, and no matter where you live you’re going to have a place to cook.

When we created our list of kitchen necessities, we wanted to make sure we considered the quality of every item as well as the cost. In most cases, you’re better off spending a little more on a utensil that comes with a lifetime guarantee and is going to last for decades over a cheap product that will only last until your next move.

J. Kenji Lopez-Alt, the author of The Food Lab, is a world-renowned chef and food experimenter. Many of the items on this list are recommended as part of his essential toolkit for any aspiring chef.

Most of the items are under $15, are battled-tested by professional chefs, and will last you for years.


Kitchen Utensils List

Utensils are one of the most used tools in the kitchen. They don’t need to be fancy or expensive, but if you’re like us, buying the right items can make your time in the kitchen much more enjoyable.

Tongs

-20%Editor's Choice 1
OXO Etched Box Grater with Removable Zester, One size, Steel & 12-Inch Stainless-Steel Locking Tongs, Multicolor
OXO Etched Box Grater with Removable Zester, One size, Steel & 12-Inch Stainless-Steel Locking Tongs, Multicolor
Product 1: Sharp, etched stainless steel surfaces for fast, easy grating and slicing; Product 1: Angled slicer for a smooth cut
−20% $34.98
-8%Editor's Choice 2
OXO Good Grips 9-Inch Locking Tongs with Nylon Heads
OXO Good Grips 9-Inch Locking Tongs with Nylon Heads
Soft, non-slip handle features comfortable thumb rests; Heat resistant up to 400 degrees Fahrenheit
−8% $11.89
Editor's Choice 3
OXO Good Grips 12-Inch Stainless-Steel Locking Tongs, Multicolor
OXO Good Grips 12-Inch Stainless-Steel Locking Tongs, Multicolor
Constructed from brushed stainless steel; Locks in closed position for easy storage; Cushioned nonslip handles and thumb rests
$13.99
Editor's Choice 4
OXO Good Grips 12-Inch Stainless-Steel Locking Tongs, Multicolor & Good Grips 9-Inch Locking Tongs with Nylon Heads
OXO Good Grips 12-Inch Stainless-Steel Locking Tongs, Multicolor & Good Grips 9-Inch Locking Tongs with Nylon Heads
Product 1: Constructed from brushed stainless steel; Product 1: Locks in closed position for easy storage
$25.98
Editor's Choice 5
OXO Good Grips 11-Inch Better Balloon Whisk & Good Grips 12-Inch Stainless-Steel Locking Tongs, Multicolor
OXO Good Grips 11-Inch Better Balloon Whisk & Good Grips 12-Inch Stainless-Steel Locking Tongs, Multicolor
Product 1: Innovative handle shape and soft, comfortable grip to absorb pressure; Product 1: Dishwasher safe
$23.98

We love OXO kitchen products. These budget-friendly 9” Stainless Steel Locking Tongs by OXO are a steal at under $15, are sturdy enough to flip a steak, and have nearly replaced all of our other kitchen tools.

Spatulas

-54%Editor's Choice 1
304 Stainless Steel Fish Spatula, Non-Slip Ergonomic Handle Slotted Spatula, Black
304 Stainless Steel Fish Spatula, Non-Slip Ergonomic Handle Slotted Spatula, Black
Premium 304 stainless steel construction prevents rust.; Solid steel core construction for a comfortable hold.
−54% $5.99
-38%Editor's Choice 2
New Star Foodservice 43068 Wood Handle Fish Spatula, 6.5' Blade, Silver
New Star Foodservice 43068 Wood Handle Fish Spatula, 6.5" Blade, Silver
Quality brushed stainless steel blade; Solid smooth wooden handle securely riveted with three stainless steel rivets
−38% $7.97
Editor's Choice 3
OXO Good Grips Stainless Steel Fish Turner
OXO Good Grips Stainless Steel Fish Turner
Great for lifting, turning and transferring whole fish, filets, seafood cakes and more; Sturdy, oversized, stainless steel head
$13.99
Editor's Choice 4
OXO Good Grips Silicone Flexible Omelet Turner
OXO Good Grips Silicone Flexible Omelet Turner
Perfect for flipping longer foods like omelets and fish filets; Thin, flexible edge glides easily beneath foods
$11.99
Editor's Choice 5
OXO SteeL Turner
OXO SteeL Turner
Oversized head is ideal for flipping pancakes, hamburgers and more; Extra sturdy for tough tasks
$11.99

Our spatula of choice is OXO’s fish spatula. It’s slotted, which means you can drain off any liquids before transferring them to a plate.

It’s stiff enough to handle a thick cut of meat but flexible enough to wedge into the nooks and crannies of your pan.

We also recommend getting a silicone spatula to use for non-stick pans so you don’t scratch the surface. Again, OXO makes a sturdy, high-quality silicon spatula that we love.

And we’re not the only ones – it’s rated 4.5 stars on Amazon with nearly 1,500 different reviews. At about $10, it’s a great value buy.

Ladles

Editor's Choice 1
OXO Good Grips Nylon Ladle
OXO Good Grips Nylon Ladle
Suitable for non-stick cooking and baking utensils; Soft, comfortable grip; Dishwasher-safe
$6.99
Editor's Choice 2
OXO Good Grips Silicone Everyday Ladle
OXO Good Grips Silicone Everyday Ladle
Flexible ladle conforms to curves to scrape up every bit of sauce for serving; High heat-resistant silicone is gentle on non-stick surfaces
$11.99
Editor's Choice 3
OXO Good Grips Brushed Stainless Steel Ladle
OXO Good Grips Brushed Stainless Steel Ladle
Sturdy brushed stainless steel construction; Subtle, soft, non-slip grip; Stainless steel surface for safely leaning utensils on hot cookware
$19.09
Editor's Choice 4
OXO Good Grips Stainless Steel Ladle
OXO Good Grips Stainless Steel Ladle
Sturdy stainless steel ladle neatly scoops soups, sauces and gravy; Dual-sided pour spouts make serving easy for right-and left-handed users
$14.44
Editor's Choice 5
OXO Steel Serving Ladle
OXO Steel Serving Ladle
Sleek, brushed stainless steel handle features flexible fins for comfort; Sturdy stainless steel head
$9.93

For soups, stews, chili, and other liquids, you’ll want something to scoop your delicious creation out of your pot and into your bowl. Again, it’s OXO to the rescue with this nylon ladle for $7.

It’s hard to argue with over 1,000 reviews rating it at 4.5 stars on Amazon.

Utensil holder

-48%Editor's Choice 1
Oggi Jumbo Stainless Steel Utensil Holder
Oggi Jumbo Stainless Steel Utensil Holder
Durable stainless steel with two-tone satin and mirror finish; Great for storing utensils: spatulas, ladles, spoons, tongs, whisks and more
−48% $10.49
-24%Editor's Choice 4
Estilo Stainless Steel Utensil Holder, Jumbo-7 x 7 inches
Estilo Stainless Steel Utensil Holder, Jumbo-7 x 7 inches
Made of High Grade durable brushed stainless-steel.; Heavy and solidly build, so it will not easily tip over.
−24% $15.25
-10%Editor's Choice 5
Cook N Home Stainless Steel Utensil Holder Jumbo 2PC set, 5.5-inch x 6.3-inch and 6.3-inch x 7.08-inch, Silver
Cook N Home Stainless Steel Utensil Holder Jumbo 2PC set, 5.5-inch x 6.3-inch and 6.3-inch x 7.08-inch, Silver
Made of food safe stainless steel 18-8; Satin polish exterior giving it a modern and elegant look
−10% $27.07

Now that you have all these great tools, make them easy to reach with a utensil holder for your kitchen counter.

We think this jumbo stainless steel utensil holder looks great on our counter, but they come in tons of flavors.

Splurges

Whisks

-41%Editor's Choice 1
The Baking Bible
The Baking Bible
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt; Hardcover Book; Beranbaum, Rose Levy (Author); English (Publication Language)
−41% $23.62
-29%Editor's Choice 3
Exploring Wine: Completely Revised 3rd Edition
Exploring Wine: Completely Revised 3rd Edition
Hardcover Book; Kolpan, Steven (Author); English (Publication Language); 800 Pages - 09/14/2010 (Publication Date) - Wiley (Publisher)
−29% $49.49
Editor's Choice 4
Amazon Basics Stainless Steel Wire Whisk Set, Gray - 3-Piece
Amazon Basics Stainless Steel Wire Whisk Set, Gray - 3-Piece
3-piece wire whisk set includes 9-inch, 10-inch, and 11.5-inch sizes; Popular balloon shape for optimal whipping; ideal for everyday use
$11.52
Editor's Choice 5
Hop-About: The Adventures of Benny the Bunny and Mr. Rabbit
Hop-About: The Adventures of Benny the Bunny and Mr. Rabbit
Amazon Kindle Edition; Krainin, Colin (Author); English (Publication Language); 146 Pages - 09/26/2020 (Publication Date) - Crowell Creek Books (Publisher)
$4.99

In most cases a whisk isn’t necessary, you could get it by using a fork. But if you’re a baker, pancake enthusiast, or just like the convenience of a whisk, we recommend this basic 9″ whisk for $9.

You only need one whisk in your life, and this one will do you just fine.

Cooking chopsticks

It might seem odd to some, but chopsticks make an excellent cooking utensil. Great for stirring, tossing, or placing food, they’re especially useful when cooking in a wok or other rounded pans.

We like these 14” stainless steel chopsticks for cooking.

Skimmer

-39%Editor's Choice 2
Cuisinart Stainless Steel Skimmer
Cuisinart Stainless Steel Skimmer
Made from durable stainless steel; Elegant styling for serving; Easy to handle and comfortable to work with
−39% $10.99
-7%Editor's Choice 5
Rosle Round Handle Kitchen Skimmer, 4.7-Inch
Rosle Round Handle Kitchen Skimmer, 4.7-Inch
For lifting out fried food; Wide distance between wires ensures quick and efficient draining away of fats
−7% $33.27

For soups & stews, we also recommend having a skimmer on hand as well, in case you want the liquid to drain before scooping something up.

These can also be very helpful when frying foods. There are plenty to choose from, but we like this highly rated steel strainer with a bamboo handle for under $10.


Kitchen Knives and Cutlery

-59%Editor's Choice 1
J.A. Henckels International Statement Kitchen Knife Set with Block, 15-pc, Chef Knife, Steak Knife set, Kitchen Knife Sharpener, Light Brown
J.A. Henckels International Statement Kitchen Knife Set with Block, 15-pc, Chef Knife, Steak Knife set, Kitchen Knife Sharpener, Light Brown
Fabricated from high quality stainless steel. Handle Material: Plastic; Single piece Precision stamped blade construction provides durability
−59% $139.95
-36%Editor's Choice 2
Cuisinart C77WTR-15P Classic Forged Triple Rivet, 15 Piece Set, White
Cuisinart C77WTR-15P Classic Forged Triple Rivet, 15 Piece Set, White
Superior high-carbon forged stainless steel blade for precision and accuracy; Durable extra-wide safety bolster for perfect stability and control
−36% $102.99
-32%Editor's Choice 3
Zwilling  J.A. Henckels Twin Signature, Chef Knife Set, Utility Knife, Paring Knife, Chef Knife 8 Inch, German Knife Set, Stainless Steel, Black
Zwilling  J.A. Henckels Twin Signature, Chef Knife Set, Utility Knife, Paring Knife, Chef Knife 8 Inch, German Knife Set, Stainless Steel, Black
Includes 4 inch paring 6 inch utility and 8 inch chef's knife; Manufactured in Germany; Special formula high carbon no stain steel
−32% $127.95

There are a few basic knives every kitchen should have, and they don’t need to break the bank.

When considering a good knife, we look for a sharp, sturdy blade, a comfortable handle, and durable construction.

These knives will hold up through years of use, can be resharpened over time, and many come with a lifetime guarantee.

8” Western Chef’s Knife

-59%Editor's Choice 1
J.A. Henckels International Classic Knife Block Set, 16 Piece, Black
J.A. Henckels International Classic Knife Block Set, 16 Piece, Black
Fabricated from high quality German stainless steel; Fully forged construction offers durability and a seamless transition from blade to handle
−59% $199.95
-45%Editor's Choice 2
J.A. Henckels Classic Series Rapture 45-Piece Flatware Set, Service for 8
J.A. Henckels Classic Series Rapture 45-Piece Flatware Set, Service for 8
45-piece flatware set with eight 5-piece place settings, plus a 5-piece hostess set; Crafted of 18/8 stainless steel in durable one-piece construction
−45% $72.82
-42%Editor's Choice 3
J.A. Henckels International Classic Chef Knife, 8 Inch, Kitchen Knife, Black
J.A. Henckels International Classic Chef Knife, 8 Inch, Kitchen Knife, Black
Made in Spain; Fabricated from high quality German stainless steel. Handle length - 4.72 inch
−42% $62.99
-41%Editor's Choice 4
HENCKELS CLASSIC Carving Knife, 8-inch, Black/Stainless Steel
HENCKELS CLASSIC Carving Knife, 8-inch, Black/Stainless Steel
Made in Spain; Fabricated from high-quality German stainless steel; Fully forged construction offers durability and a seamless transition from blade to handle
−41% $49.95
-29%Editor's Choice 5
J.A. HENCKELS INTERNATIONAL CLASSIC Hollow Edge Santoku Knife, 7-Inch, Black/Stainless Steel
J.A. HENCKELS INTERNATIONAL CLASSIC Hollow Edge Santoku Knife, 7-Inch, Black/Stainless Steel
Made in Spain; Fabricated from high quality German stainless steel; Fully forged construction offers durability and a seamless transition from blade to handle
−29% $64.95

Sturdy, sharp, and pointed at the tip, these knives are great for cutting through meat, bone, and hearty vegetables. They’re built to rock back and forth as you cut, and generally have some heft to them.

We like the J.A. Henckels Classic 8″ Knife, with its full tang blade and triple-riveted handle. It’s has a comfortable grip with a bolster that makes it easy to maneuver while chopping.

We think it’s the best chef’s knife you can buy for $50, and it comes with a lifetime guarantee.

7” Santoku Knife

-29%Editor's Choice 2
J.A. HENCKELS INTERNATIONAL CLASSIC Hollow Edge Santoku Knife, 7-Inch, Black/Stainless Steel
J.A. HENCKELS INTERNATIONAL CLASSIC Hollow Edge Santoku Knife, 7-Inch, Black/Stainless Steel
Made in Spain; Fabricated from high quality German stainless steel; Fully forged construction offers durability and a seamless transition from blade to handle
−29% $64.95
-23%Editor's Choice 4
Mercer Culinary Genesis 7-Inch Santoku Knife
Mercer Culinary Genesis 7-Inch Santoku Knife
Santoprene handle for comfort and safe grip, NSF certified; Limited lifetime warranty; Hand wash knives for blade edge and surface care
−23% $32.99
-21%Editor's Choice 5
Zwilling  J.A. Henckels Twin Signature Chinese Chef Knife, Santoku Knife 7 Inch,Stainless Steel, Black
Zwilling  J.A. Henckels Twin Signature Chinese Chef Knife, Santoku Knife 7 Inch,Stainless Steel, Black
Manufactured in Germany; Special formula high carbon NO STAIN steel; Ice-hardened FRIODUR blade starts sharper stays sharper longer and has superior resilience
−21% $84.95

Santoku knives come from Japan, designed by chefs to slice, dice, and mince. Unlike a western chef’s knife, santoku blades are not meant for chopping through bone or hearty vegetables like carrots or squash.

However, their straight, sharp edge makes them great for chopping just about anything else, and they are far more agile and maneuverable than a typical western chef’s knife.

Having each style of knife in your kitchen means you’ll have the right tool for each job.

Our pick for santoku knives is the Victorinox 7” Fibrox santoku knife with its ice-tempered carbon blade makes for a high qualified knife that handles well.

Victorinox (makes of the Swiss Army Knife) includes their patented Fibrox non-slip grip on this knife, giving it a textured handle that is comfortable to use while still allowing for a firm grip.

-22%
Victorinox Swiss Army Cutlery Fibrox Pro Santoku Knife, Granton Edge, 7-Inch
  • VERSATILE KITCHEN ESSENTIAL. Slicing, dicing, mincing -- this knife can do it all. This Santoku knife's combines the features of a cleaver and a chef's knife with a unique shape that allows it to be used as a spatula to scoop up whatever you are chopping.
  • GRANTON EDGE. Featuring a Granton edge that prevents food from sticking to the blade and minimizes friction. The flat cutting edge doesn't rock, creating a highly efficient chopping motion and is ground in two directions to create long-lasting sharpness.
  • EASY HANDLING. This knife features an ergonomic Fibrox Pro handle for a non-slip grip -- even when wet. This exceptional knife is weighted and balanced for easy handling and comfort.
  • KNIFE DIMENSIONS. Stainless steel blade -- 7" in length. Meets the strict National Sanitation Foundation (NSF) standards for public health protection.
  • TRUSTED SWISS QUALITY. Expertly crafted in Switzerland in 1884, Victorinox provides a lifetime guarantee against defects in material and workmanship. Making a lifetime commitment has never been so easy. Handle material - Thermoplastic elastomers (TPE)

Steak knives

-50%Editor's Choice 1
Zwilling  J.A. Henckels Steak Knife Set of 8, German Knife Set, Stainless Steel
Zwilling  J.A. Henckels Steak Knife Set of 8, German Knife Set, Stainless Steel
High carbon stainless steel blades cut to precise Zwilling specifications; Forged blades provide the ultimate strength
−50% $79.95
-43%Editor's Choice 2
Henckels Steak Knife Set of 4, 4.5 Inches, Black
Henckels Steak Knife Set of 4, 4.5 Inches, Black
Set of 4 high quality steak knives with micro serrated edges that never require sharpening
−43% $19.95
Editor's Choice 3
Amazon Basics Premium 8-Piece Kitchen Steak Knife Set, Black
Amazon Basics Premium 8-Piece Kitchen Steak Knife Set, Black
8 high-quality steak knives with triple-riveted handles; Micro-serrated edges never need sharpening
$21.83
Editor's Choice 4
Cuisinart C77TR-6PSK Triple Rivet Collection 6-Piece Steak Knife Set, Black
Cuisinart C77TR-6PSK Triple Rivet Collection 6-Piece Steak Knife Set, Black
Superior high-carbon stainless steel blades for precision and accuracy; Forged, durable extra-wide safety bolster for perfect stability and control
$17.25

Great steak knives are worth the investment, and shouldn’t set you back much. J.A Henckels, the maker of our pick for a western chef’s knife, makes a beautiful 8 piece steak knife set.

We like these for the same reasons we like their chef’s knife – full tang blade, sturdy rivets, a comfortable handle, and a lifetime guarantee.

Splurges

Paring Knife

-41%Editor's Choice 2
HENCKELS CLASSIC Paring/Utility Knife, 4-inch, Black/Stainless Steel
HENCKELS CLASSIC Paring/Utility Knife, 4-inch, Black/Stainless Steel
Made in Spain; Fabricated from high quality German stainless steel; Fully forged construction offers durability and a seamless transition from blade to handle
−41% $34.99

Bigger isn’t always better. We like this 4 in. Victorinox paring knife for peeling fruits and vegetables or making other fine cuts.

Bread Knife

-63%Editor's Choice 1
Mercer Culinary Millennia Bread Knife, 10-Inch Wavy Edge Wide, Black
Mercer Culinary Millennia Bread Knife, 10-Inch Wavy Edge Wide, Black
Textured finger points provide slip resistance, grip, and safety. Protective finger guard.
−63% $14.99
-51%Editor's Choice 2
HENCKELS CLASSIC Bread Knife, 7-inch, Black/Stainless Steel
HENCKELS CLASSIC Bread Knife, 7-inch, Black/Stainless Steel
Made in Spain; Fabricated from high-quality German stainless steel; Fully forged construction offers durability and a seamless transition from blade to handle
−51% $44.99
-40%Editor's Choice 3
HENCKELS Statement Bread Knife, 8-inch, Black/Stainless Steel
HENCKELS Statement Bread Knife, 8-inch, Black/Stainless Steel
Fabricated from high-quality stainless steel; Single-piece precision-stamped blade construction provides durability
−40% $14.99
-20%Editor's Choice 4
ZWILLING TWIN Signature Bread Knife, 8', Black/Stainless Steel
ZWILLING TWIN Signature Bread Knife, 8", Black/Stainless Steel
Manufactured in Germany; Special formula high carbon NO STAIN steel; One-piece precision-stamped blade for a lighter weight knife without sacrificing strength
−20% $59.95

A long bread knife is great for cutting up soft bread, hard bread like baguettes, cutting sandwiches in half, or even slicing meats in a pinch.

The Victorinox bread knife is great, but at nearly $50 is a little indulgent. This 8” bread knife from OXO will do the job just fine.

It’s highly rated with nearly 600 reviews on Amazon and comes in under $10.

Meat Cleaver

If you’re sold on a santoku knife, but looking for an alternative to the western chef’s knife, a meat cleaver is a great alternative pairing.

Handy for cutting through thick meat, bone, and hearty vegetables, but also surprisingly good when it comes to finely mincing herbs or other vegetables.

A basic heavy-duty meat cleaver should last you a lifetime, and for just under $10 it’s worth having in your kitchen on the off chance you need it.


Appliances

We do not consider any of these items essential, these all fall squarely in the Splurge category. You may consider a toaster oven, microwave, coffee maker, or blender, but we’ve found we can get by without them.

This is especially true if you don’t have a lot of cabinet storage or counter space, single-function appliances are hard to justify.

However, there are two items we want to call out because they are multi-purpose, and they have changed the way we cook for the better.

Instant Pot

-40%Editor's Choice 1
Instant Pot Ace Plus 10-in-1 Smoothie and Soup Blender, 10 One Touch Programs, 54 oz, 1300W
Instant Pot Ace Plus 10-in-1 Smoothie and Soup Blender, 10 One Touch Programs, 54 oz, 1300W
Patio drinks to your home: Frozen cocktails with the crushed ice program
−40% $89.92
-40%Editor's Choice 2
Instant Pot Star Wars 6Qt Duo Little Bounty, black
Instant Pot Star Wars 6Qt Duo Little Bounty, black
Accessories include stainless steel steam rack with handles and condensation collector
−40% $59.98
-17%Editor's Choice 3
Instant Pot Duo Plus 6 Quart 9-in-1 Electric Pressure Cooker, Slow Cooker, Rice Cooker, Steamer, Saute, Yogurt Maker, Warmer & Sterilizer, 15 One-Touch Programs
Instant Pot Duo Plus 6 Quart 9-in-1 Electric Pressure Cooker, Slow Cooker, Rice Cooker, Steamer, Saute, Yogurt Maker, Warmer & Sterilizer, 15 One-Touch Programs
EASY SEAL LID automatically seals when the lid is closed; 10+ PROVEN SAFETY FEATURES including overheat protection and safe-locking lid
−17% $99.99
Editor's Choice 5
Instant Pot Vortex Plus 6-in-1 Air Fryer, 6 Quart, 6 One-Touch Programs, Air Fry, Roast, Broil, Bake, Reheat, and Dehydrate
Instant Pot Vortex Plus 6-in-1 Air Fryer, 6 Quart, 6 One-Touch Programs, Air Fry, Roast, Broil, Bake, Reheat, and Dehydrate
Large capacity: Room for 2 pounds of fries or a butterflied 4 pound chicken
$119.95

We can’t help but highlight our favorite kitchen appliance to date – the Instant Pot. The Instant Pot Duo 9-in-1 won our top pick for best pressure cooker, and for good reason – this little pressure cooker has garnered itself a cult following, with nearly 500,000 people on their Facebook group and plenty of sites dedicated to Instant Pot Recipes.

And it’s popular for good reason – it requires almost no set up, it’s easy to use, and is a 9-in-1 appliance – use it as a pressure cooker, slow cooker, rice cooker, yogurt maker, egg cooker, sauté, steamer, warmer, sterilizer and it makes cake too!

Because it’s so diverse, you can cook just about anything with an Instant Pot – from obvious dishes like soups and carnitas to more surprising meals like beef gyro or rotisserie-style chicken.

On top of everything else, the Instant Pot is built to be convenient – some models can be controlled with your smartphone.

This makes it easy to prep a meal before work, start the cooking process on your way home, and come home to a delicious homemade meal. The Instant Pot will be your new best friend in the kitchen.

Sous Vide

-44%Editor's Choice 1
Sous Vide at Home: The Modern Technique for Perfectly Cooked Meals [A Cookbook]
Sous Vide at Home: The Modern Technique for Perfectly Cooked Meals [A Cookbook]
Sous Vide at Home The Modern Technique for Perfectly Cooked Meals; Hardcover Book; Fetterman, Lisa Q. (Author)
−44% $19.54
-32%Editor's Choice 2
Sous Vide: Better Home Cooking: A Cookbook
Sous Vide: Better Home Cooking: A Cookbook
Hardcover Book; Acheson, Hugh (Author); English (Publication Language); 288 Pages - 10/15/2019 (Publication Date) - Clarkson Potter (Publisher)
−32% $23.94
-26%Editor's Choice 3
Sous Vide for Everybody: The Easy, Foolproof Cooking Technique That's Sweeping the World
Sous Vide for Everybody: The Easy, Foolproof Cooking Technique That's Sweeping the World
English (Publication Language); 232 Pages - 09/25/2018 (Publication Date) - America's Test Kitchen (Publisher)
−26% $19.98
-26%Editor's Choice 4
The Sous Vide Cookbook
The Sous Vide Cookbook
Hardcover Book; Williams Sonoma Test Kitchen (Author); English (Publication Language); 64 Pages - 06/26/2018 (Publication Date) - Weldon Owen (Publisher)
−26% $10.99
-23%Editor's Choice 5
Rubbermaid Commercial Products, Plastic Space Saving Square Food Storage Container for Kitchen/Sous Vide/Food Prep, 12 Quart, Clear
Rubbermaid Commercial Products, Plastic Space Saving Square Food Storage Container for Kitchen/Sous Vide/Food Prep, 12 Quart, Clear
PERFECT SIZE FOR: Onions, broccoli, sweet potatoes, avocados, apples, oranges; DIMENSIONS: 3.75 x 2.5 x 1.5 inches
−23% $19.00

Using a sous-vide has changed the way we cook, especially for larger groups. To cook using a sous-vide, you place your food in a sealed bag and use a water bath to heat it to the perfect temperature.

It becomes impossible to overcook a cut of meat with a sous-vide, it’s the easiest way to get juicy, tender meals with almost no stress.

It’s definitely not for everyone, but the cost of a sous-vide appliance has dropped dramatically in the last few years. The Anova cooker with Bluetooth, our favorite sous vide, usually sells for $150.

You can often find it on sale at Amazon, so it’s worth checking to see if you can get a deal on it.

If you decide on a sous-vide, we highly recommend you try these sous vide ribs from Serious Eats.


Pots, Pans, and cookware

Of all the things you’ll buy to outfit your kitchen, the easiest place to blow your budget is with your pots and pans.

With all the different sizes, shapes, metals, and types of cookware, it’s hard to know what you will need, what you’ll use day-to-day, and what to avoid buying.

Our picks below are enough to account for most of your cooking needs. We think “less is more” when it comes to pots and pans – you can always expand your collection over time if you find you are consistently missing something to cook a dish.

But we can assure you, there’s no rush to buy that specialty paella pan right out of the gate.

Pans

Cast Iron

-39%Editor's Choice 1
Cook It in Cast Iron: Kitchen-Tested Recipes for the One Pan That Does It All (Cook's Country)
Cook It in Cast Iron: Kitchen-Tested Recipes for the One Pan That Does It All (Cook's Country)
Americas Test Kitchen; English (Publication Language); 304 Pages - 02/23/2016 (Publication Date) - Cook's Country (Publisher)
−39% $18.39
-34%Editor's Choice 2
MaryJane's Cast Iron Kitchen
MaryJane's Cast Iron Kitchen
Hardcover Book; Butters, MaryJane (Author); English (Publication Language); 224 Pages - 09/05/2017 (Publication Date) - Gibbs Smith (Publisher)
−34% $16.49
-33%Editor's Choice 3
Lodge Pre-Seasoned Cast Iron Reversible Grill/Griddle With Handles, 20 Inch x 10.5 Inch - One tray
Lodge Pre-Seasoned Cast Iron Reversible Grill/Griddle With Handles, 20 Inch x 10.5 Inch - One tray
20 x 10.5 cooking area; Use on all cooking surfaces, grills and campfires; Oven safe; Sauté, sear, fry, bake and stir fry to heart's content
−33% $49.90
-27%Editor's Choice 5
Utopia Kitchen Pre-Seasoned Cast Iron Skillet Set 3-Piece - 6 Inch, 8 Inch and 10 Inch
Utopia Kitchen Pre-Seasoned Cast Iron Skillet Set 3-Piece - 6 Inch, 8 Inch and 10 Inch
3 piece set includes 10 inch, 8 inch and 6 inch pans; Cast Iron cookware is comparatively less smoother than non stick cookware
−27% $29.99

Cast iron skillets can’t be beaten. They’re sturdy, easy to clean, they last for generations, and they don’t break the bank.

If you’re on a tight budget, you can try to find these at a local swap meet or thrift store – just make sure you’re ready to go through the process of cleaning & seasoning a used cast iron skillet.

We like Lodge brand skillets for a number of reasons. We recommend the 12″ skillet from Lodge, which is big enough to make most dishes but still small enough to use in a standard size oven.

Lodge pre-seasons all of their cast ironware, which makes it easy to use and ready to cook without the box. At under $30, it’s hard not to love these things.

Adding a potholder makes using a cast-iron skillet much more convenient, so either buy a skillet that includes a silicone handle cover or make sure to buy a potholder separately.

Non-stick pans

-40%Editor's Choice 1
Cuisinart Chef's Classic Nonstick Hard-Anodized 9-Inch Open Skillet,Black
Cuisinart Chef's Classic Nonstick Hard-Anodized 9-Inch Open Skillet,Black
Solid stainless steel riveted handle stays cool on the stovetop; Skillet rim is tapered for drip-free pouring.
−40% $29.77
-24%Editor's Choice 3
-10%Editor's Choice 4
Cuisinart Chef's Classic Stainless Nonstick 8-Inch Open Skillet
Cuisinart Chef's Classic Stainless Nonstick 8-Inch Open Skillet
Aluminum encapsulated base heats quickly and spreads heat evenly and eliminates hot spots; Titanium reinforced Quantanium nonstick interior for healthful low fat cooking options
−10% $22.40
Editor's Choice 5
Cuisinart 622-30G Chef's Classic Nonstick Hard-Anodized 12-Inch Skillet with Glass Cover, Black
Cuisinart 622-30G Chef's Classic Nonstick Hard-Anodized 12-Inch Skillet with Glass Cover, Black
Oven safe to 500 degrees F, with tapered drip free rim.Unsurpassed Heat Distribution
$39.95

Even though we love our cast iron skillets, it’s nice to have a non-stick pan on occasion. A good non-stick pan is a great compliment to a cast-iron skillet and comes in particularly useful for cooking eggs, sauces, or delicate meats.

Again, no need to spend big here. This Cuisinart 12″ nonstick skillet is a classic – well made, can be baked in the oven up to 500 degrees and comes with a helper handle to make it easy to maneuver when it’s hot.

It’s rated at 4 stars on Amazon with over 800 reviews, and for about $35 it’s the only non-stick pan you’ll need.

Pots

Saucepot

Editor's Choice 2
Cook N Home 12 Stainless Steel Saucepot with Lid Quart Stockpot, QT, Silver
Cook N Home 12 Stainless Steel Saucepot with Lid Quart Stockpot, QT, Silver
Made of mirror polished 18-10 stainless steel for durability and easy cleaning; Aluminum disc layered bottom for even heat distribution and prevents hot spots
$44.18
Editor's Choice 3
DOITOOL Stainless Steel Steamer Pot Vegetable Food Steamer Basket Insert Kitchen Saucepot Dim Sum Dumplings Bun Steamer 20cm
DOITOOL Stainless Steel Steamer Pot Vegetable Food Steamer Basket Insert Kitchen Saucepot Dim Sum Dumplings Bun Steamer 20cm
Good sealing brim for stacked up use, creative and practical. cookware steamer grid; Dual handle for easy carry and with smooth surface for fast washing.kitchen steamer
$13.89
Editor's Choice 4
Rachael Ray Cucina Nonstick Sauce Pot/Saucepot with Steamer Insert and Lid, 3 Quart, Agave Blue
Rachael Ray Cucina Nonstick Sauce Pot/Saucepot with Steamer Insert and Lid, 3 Quart, Agave Blue
SET INCLUDES: 3-Quart Nonstick Saucepot with Lid; Stainless Steel Steamer Basket Insert
$59.88
Editor's Choice 5
HEMOTON 2pcs Stainless Steel Everyday Pan Cold Noodle Plate Chef Stir Fry Pan Steamer Pot Saucepot Casserole Pot Tray Dish with Handles for Home Kitchen Food Serving
HEMOTON 2pcs Stainless Steel Everyday Pan Cold Noodle Plate Chef Stir Fry Pan Steamer Pot Saucepot Casserole Pot Tray Dish with Handles for Home Kitchen Food Serving
Steam the food with the plate, such as fish, tamale, crab, veggies and more.; Compact design, easy to carry and store.
$15.89

A 3-quart saucepot will be your go-to for boiling water, whether it’s too hard to boil eggs, whip up some pasta, or cook some sweet potatoes. They also come in handy when making sauces or small batches of soup.

Our top pick is a 3-quart stainless steel saucepot from Cuisinart. It has a high-quality build and includes a pour spout on the side to help avoid spills. It’s a great deal at about $35, especially considering it comes with a straining lid.

Stockpot

-35%Editor's Choice 1
Cuisinart Chef's Classic Nonstick Hard-Anodized 8-Quart Stockpot with Lid,Black
Cuisinart Chef's Classic Nonstick Hard-Anodized 8-Quart Stockpot with Lid,Black
8-quart hard-anodized aluminum stockpot with durable Quantanium nonstick coating; Riveted stay-cool steel handles
−35% $64.95
-31%Editor's Choice 2
Farberware Enamel on Steel Stock Pot/Stockpot with Lid - 16 Quart, Blue
Farberware Enamel on Steel Stock Pot/Stockpot with Lid - 16 Quart, Blue
The rolled stainless steel stockpot rim helps protect against dents and dings; Snug-fitting, color-coordinated domed lid seals in heat and moisture
−31% $35.99
Editor's Choice 5
Hell's Kitchen 6QT Stockpot
Hell's Kitchen 6QT Stockpot
6QT Non-Stick; Pressed Alluminum; Tempered Glass Lid; Soft Touch Handles
$59.95

It’s always good to have a large pot on hand for soups & stews. A basic stainless steel stock pot will handle almost anything you throw at it, no need to get splurge here.

Baking sheets

They are truly all the same. Get this great set of 3 backing sheets from Amazon for $15 and don’t overthink it.

Splurges

Small cast iron skillets

-27%Editor's Choice 1
Utopia Kitchen Pre-Seasoned Cast Iron Skillet Set 3-Piece - 6 Inch, 8 Inch and 10 Inch
Utopia Kitchen Pre-Seasoned Cast Iron Skillet Set 3-Piece - 6 Inch, 8 Inch and 10 Inch
3 piece set includes 10 inch, 8 inch and 6 inch pans; Cast Iron cookware is comparatively less smoother than non stick cookware
−27% $29.99
Editor's Choice 4
Lodge Cast Iron Skillet with Red Mini Silicone Hot Handle Holder, 8-inch
Lodge Cast Iron Skillet with Red Mini Silicone Hot Handle Holder, 8-inch
Cast iron provides superior heat retention and is unparalleled for even cooking; Skillet is 8 inches in diameter and includes red silicone hot handle holder
$28.37
Editor's Choice 5
Mini Cast Iron Skillets for Single Dishes and Desserts - Set of 2
Mini Cast Iron Skillets for Single Dishes and Desserts - Set of 2
Cast iron. Hand wash. Oven safe. 4" x 6-1/4"D x 1"H, each.
$16.98

We love our cast iron skillets so much we can’t help but get more of them.

An 8” skillet comes in useful when you’re preparing multiple dishes at once and need a second pan, and these 3.5 inch skillets are great for baking personalized dishes that can be served in the skillet, like an egg bake or corn bread.


Kitchen necessities

Cutting board

-19%Editor's Choice 1
OXO Stainless Steel Good Grips Multi-Purpose Scraper & Chopper, 1 Count
OXO Stainless Steel Good Grips Multi-Purpose Scraper & Chopper, 1 Count
Stainless steel blade includes quarter inch markings for easy measuring; Soft, comfortable non slip handle
−19% $8.05
Editor's Choice 2
OXO Good Grips 2-Piece Cutting Board Set,Clear,Multi
OXO Good Grips 2-Piece Cutting Board Set,Clear,Multi
Prep board is ideal for Paring fruits, trimming vegetables and other smaller tasks; Everyday board is great for prepping simple recipes
$19.99
Editor's Choice 3
OXO Good Grips Utility Cutting Board
OXO Good Grips Utility Cutting Board
Large 10.39-in x 14.78-in Utility Cutting Board is ideal for big meals; Double-sided, non-porous surfaces resist odors and won't dull knife blades
$17.99
Editor's Choice 4
OXO 11272900 Good Grips Carving and Cutting Board,Clear,One Size
OXO 11272900 Good Grips Carving and Cutting Board,Clear,One Size
14.34-in x 21.11-in Carving & Cutting Board holds roasts and poultry; Double-sided non-porous surfaces resist odors and won't dull knife blades
$27.99
Editor's Choice 5
OXO Good Grips 3-Piece Everyday Cutting Board Set,Multicolor,One Size
OXO Good Grips 3-Piece Everyday Cutting Board Set,Multicolor,One Size
Three color-coded boards help prevent cross-contamination; Soft, tapered edges for easy lifting
$39.99

You don’t realize the importance of a good cutting board until it’s too late. For us, a good cutting board has a large work area, does not slide around on the counter, and is easy to use.

Our top pick is a 10.5” x 14.5” cutting board from OXO. It’s large, has rubberized edges to grip the counter, and cleans up in a snap.

It also has a nice channel around the perimeter of the board to make sure any liquids won’t leak onto our counter (think juicy meats that you’re slicing to serve.)

Bench Scraper

-19%Editor's Choice 2
OXO Stainless Steel Good Grips Multi-Purpose Scraper & Chopper, 1 Count
OXO Stainless Steel Good Grips Multi-Purpose Scraper & Chopper, 1 Count
Stainless steel blade includes quarter inch markings for easy measuring; Soft, comfortable non slip handle
−19% $8.05
-10%Editor's Choice 3
Bench Scraper & Chopper,Stainless Steel Dough Cutter for Kitchen - Set of 2 Pack
Bench Scraper & Chopper,Stainless Steel Dough Cutter for Kitchen - Set of 2 Pack
Measuring guide on the blade allows you to easily measure and cut pasta and pastry dough.; Dishwasher safe,12 months warranty
−10% $8.95
Editor's Choice 4
Amazon Basics Bowl Scraper/Chopper Stainless Steel
Amazon Basics Bowl Scraper/Chopper Stainless Steel
Multi-purpose scraper/chopper tool for working with dough, chopping, and measuring; Broad, rectangular-shaped, stainless-steel blade with square edge
$10.02

Ever used a knife to scoop something up off of a cutting board? Scraping your knife blade across a hard surface is a great way to dull it or even chip it.

Bench scrapers are built to scrape the sticky dough off of a work surface, but they’re also great for scooping up chopped veggies or meat off the cutting board without ruining your knives.

Ramakins

We might catch some flak for considering this an essential, but ramakins are great for holding chopped food when you need to make room on the cutting board. Our favorite is sold as “custard cups”, $12 will get you 4 of them.

Mixing Bowls

Another game-changer, we think this might be the best investment you make in your kitchen (next to a good cast iron skillet and some good knives).

A basic set of stainless steel mixing bowls will make your life easier when it comes time to marinate some meat, mix veggies, or toss a large salad, and they’re incredibly easy to clean.

Our top pick features 6 different size bowls for under $25 – a very worthwhile (and budget-friendly) investment.

Tupperware

-6%Editor's Choice 2
Tupperware Fridgesmart Container 4 Pcs Set Newest Design
Tupperware Fridgesmart Container 4 Pcs Set Newest Design
Tupperware Fridgesmart 4 pc set
−6% $78.98
Editor's Choice 3
Tupperware Wonderlier Bowls
Tupperware Wonderlier Bowls
Includes 2-cup/473 mL; 3-cup/700 mL; 4-cup/1.5 L; 8-cup/2 L; and 12-cup/2.8 L sizes.; 5 Bowl Set
$78.95
Editor's Choice 4
Chef Buddy 54-Piece Food Storage Container Set with Air Tight Lids, pc, Blue
Chef Buddy 54-Piece Food Storage Container Set with Air Tight Lids, pc, Blue
Round Containers: Three 3-1/2-cup containers with lids; Five 1-3/16-cup containers with lids
$19.03

With all this cooking going on, you’ll need somewhere to keep the leftovers. Tupperware is an area where buying cheap usually means buying a new set every few months.

This 28 piece set from Rubbermaid is easy to wash, easy to store, is shatterproof, and should last you a while – for under $40 it’s a no-brainer.

Bottle Opener & Corkscrew

-19%Editor's Choice 3
3 Pieces Magnetic Bottle Openers Can Opener Classic Beer Opener Stainless Steel Small Bottle Opener Can Tapper with Magnet for Camping and Traveling HANCELANT
3 Pieces Magnetic Bottle Openers Can Opener Classic Beer Opener Stainless Steel Small Bottle Opener Can Tapper with Magnet for Camping and Traveling HANCELANT
Double Head Design: one side is a bottle opener, the other is a can tapper; Versatile usages: size and dual use makes them convenient for camping, or traveling
−19% $6.49
-18%Editor's Choice 4
Norpro, Brown Can Punch Bottle Opener
Norpro, Brown Can Punch Bottle Opener
Heavy duty opener with a hardwood handle; 2 in 1 for can punching and bottle opening; Great for camping or RV
−18% $4.15
-17%Editor's Choice 5

There’s nothing quite as satisfying as a large stainless steel bottle opener that pops a top with ease.

For wine, we like this professional-grade wine key, and for under $15 it comes with a lifetime guarantee.

Measuring Cups/spoons

-53%Editor's Choice 1
Cuisinart CTG-00-SMC Stainless Steel Measuring Cups, Set of 4,Silver
Cuisinart CTG-00-SMC Stainless Steel Measuring Cups, Set of 4,Silver
1, 1/2, 1/3 And 1/4-cup sizes on a storage ring; Stainless steel; Dishwasher safe
−53% $14.99
-11%Editor's Choice 3
Update International 8-Piece Deluxe Stainless Steel Measuring Cup and Measuring Spoon Set
Update International 8-Piece Deluxe Stainless Steel Measuring Cup and Measuring Spoon Set
Made of Heavy-Duty Stainless Steel; Set nests for storage and attach to a removable loop; Measuring spoons: 1/4 tsp, 1/2 tsp, 1 tsp, 1 tbsp
−11% $7.55
Editor's Choice 5
Jamie Oliver Measuring Cups Set, Nest for Easy Storage, Stainless Steel
Jamie Oliver Measuring Cups Set, Nest for Easy Storage, Stainless Steel
Ideal for measuring Dry or liquid ingredients; Measurements clearly marked on handles in cups and ml
$14.99

A staple of every kitchen. No need to get fancy here – we like this stainless steel measuring cup set from Chefland.

Less than $10, highly rated by thousands of buyers, and eligible for Prime shipping on Amazon. What more could you ask for?

Ice cube trays

We prefer silicone trays because they’re much easier to get the cubes out of. This two-pack of trays makes 20 perfect cubes per tray.

Oven Mitts

These aren’t your grannie’s potholders (though she might enjoy these as much as we do). The Grill Armor Oven Gloves are wearable oven mitts that will protect your hand up to 932 degrees.

Are they ridiculous? A bit. But getting burned sucks, and having full use of all of your fingers when handling hot items is a game-changer.

Splurges

Instant read thermometer

Don’t ever overcook your dinner again. Having a thermometer in your kitchen solves two problems – the fear of undercooking your meat, and the disappointment of overcooking it.

This $15 instant-read thermometer is the best budget-friendly option. If you avoid overcooking one great cut of meat by using it, it has paid for itself.

Kitchen Scale

A kitchen scale will change the way you cook for the better. Is it nerdy? A bit indulgent? Yes to both, but it’s the best way to get precise measurements in the kitchen.

This scale is a great option to test the waters with.

Garlic press

If you cook with garlic regularly, you know that mincing it with a knife is a pain. A garlic press makes this process quick and easy.

An added bonus – using a press will keep your fingers from having that funky garlic smell for the rest of the night.

Salt Cellar & Pepper Grinder

A minor purchase, but a major convenience. Having these at the ready will make cooking easier, and they look great on your table as well.

Tea Kettle

If you regularly make tea or use a french press for coffee, you might consider getting a kettle – it’s far more convenient than whipping out your sauce pot every time you need to boil water.

Colander

-41%Editor's Choice 1
Cuisinart Set of 3 Fine Mesh Stainless Steel Strainers
Cuisinart Set of 3 Fine Mesh Stainless Steel Strainers
Strainers come in 3-1/8-inch, 5-1/2-inch and 7-7/8-inch sizes; Excellent for sifting Dry ingredients
−41% $12.99
-14%Editor's Choice 4
ExcelSteel Heavy Duty Handles and Self-draining Solid Ring Base Stainless Steel Colander, 5 Qt
ExcelSteel Heavy Duty Handles and Self-draining Solid Ring Base Stainless Steel Colander, 5 Qt
Easy grip handles; Constructed in durable stainless steel; Dishwasher safe, clean with ease
−14% $9.49
-13%Editor's Choice 5
KitchenAid KE166OSAQA Classic Plastic Colander, 5-Quart, Aqua Sky
KitchenAid KE166OSAQA Classic Plastic Colander, 5-Quart, Aqua Sky
Dishwasher safe: this colander is dishwasher safe for fast and easy clean up.
−13% $12.99

Our recommended saucepot comes with a straining lid, so you could get by without one.

But if you’re regularly making pasta, or want an easy way to wash and dry your fruits and vegetables, a colander or strainer could be a worthwhile investment.

A few other odds and ends:

  • Kitchen rug / Standing mat
  • Can Opener
  • Magnetic hooks – great for hanging things off the side of the refrigerator.
  • Step stool – Worth considering if you are storing your new kitchen goodies in hard-to-reach places.

Bon appetite

We hope you enjoy cooking in your new kitchen. We’ve hand-picked all of these items because we know they work.

They’re cost-effective, useful, well designed, and should last for years. Once you’ve assembled your dream kitchen, it’s time to get cooking!

Didn’t see your favorite kitchen utensil? If you feel like we missed something please drop it in the comments!

If you’re in need of some inspiration, we highly recommend The Food Lab by J. Kenji Lopez-Alt. It’s by far the most fascinating look at the cuisine that we’ve seen, and the New York Times says it’s “The one book you must have, no matter what you’re planning to cook or where your skill level falls”.

What better way to celebrate moving into your new home and put your new kitchen to the test?