Half of millennial dads don't own this essential tool—and we have questions

Like how do you hang things without it?

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Even as an almost-30-year-old, there are some things I still rely on my dad for like doing my taxes (embarrassing, I know), changing my oil, and basically fixing anything around my apartment that requires power tools.

After all, drilling holes in the wall to hang pictures and assembling furniture is just what dads do, right? Well, according to a new survey, maybe not. A survey of 2,000 dads, conducted by OnePoll, found that nearly half (49 percent) of millennial fathers don't own a cordless drill and almost just as many (46 percent) don't own a stepladder.

And it isn't just power tools that are mysteriously disappearing from millennial homes—it's basic tools, too. Like a set of screwdrivers, which 38 percent of men admit they don't have in their toolkit. And another 36 percent don't even own a hammer.

Millennial dads aren't as handy as baby boomer dads

Tools
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The size of the average tool box is shrinking thanks to millennials.

Less tools = less fixer-upper knowledge. The survey reported that millennial dads aren't as skilled around the house as their own dads are. For instance, only 54 percent of millennials said they could reset a circuit breaker (compared to 85 percent of boomers). And just 65 percent can unclog a sink or toilet, which is significantly fewer than the boomers (86 percent) who said they can do the same.

What's causing the shift among millennials?

Our Senior Lab Technician Jon Chan believes it's due to different lifestyles along with improvements in technology. "I think a lot of the difference between the handiness of millennials and boomers can be explained by homeownership numbers," he explains. "Why own a cordless drill if your landlord will have a fit if you do any home improvement?"

And not only are millennials changing, but the products we use are changing, too. For example, Chan says, "In terms of changing tires, a 2017 AAA survey showed that one-third of new models did not come with a spare tire. That’s because more cars have run flats, fuel economy is more important, and it makes the car slightly cheaper to produce." A.k.a millennials may no longer need to know how to do all of the things that our parents did.

What tools you should have in your home

Furniture
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Furniture assembly is a lot easier with the right tools.

You don't necessarily need to raid the aisles of Home Depot to equip your home. Chan recommends a standard toolbox, stocked with the essentials: "an adjustable wrench, a screwdriver that has interchangeable heads (hex, Phillips, and flat), a hammer, a tape measure, and a flashlight."

And if even that seems overwhelming—or if you don't do a lot of home improvement or DIY projects—you can get away with even less. "A nice multitool like a Gerber or Leatherman could suffice for most people," Chan says. In terms of the best multitool out there, our experts tested a bunch of different ones and found that the Leatherman Wave+ was our favorite.

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