Since I have done PC technical work for over 20 years, many people ask my advice on tools and the best advice I can give is build your own kit. You can get simple starter kits in stores for around $15, all the way up to expensive professional field services kits for $200 and up! All of them share the same two qualities: not having all the tools you need, and having lots of stuff you don’t need (and have to carry around). Building your own kit is cheap, inexpensive and can be done incrementally. Most tools used in the field can be found for five dollars each or less in different places. I have three basic kits that I use for all occasions:
- My ready kit is a little belt pouch that holds all of the immediate tools I will need for diagnostics and quick fixes such as screwdrivers, bit sets, thumb drives, thermal paste, pliers and flashlight. It is not big or heavy, but it handles most jobs with ease.
- I keep a field service kit in my car for larger jobs. This kit contains spare cables, crimpers, punch-down tools, more screwdriver bits, testing equipment and more. I use an open-top tool bag from a construction store and again, only keep essentials in it that might be used based on the situation. I try not to keep any spare parts to avoid excess weight and size.
- My closet kit is a much larger box which contains all of the rest of my spare parts, cables, and extra tools and supplies. I keep it at home in my closet and if I need anything from there, I simply have to finish the job the next day since I do not have any room at work (or need) to store such equipment. All of my extra parts from tool kits are in here and I usually only add extra parts to it, although it is nice to know where I can go for my backup supplies.