4 Uni-tasking Tools That You Can’t Live Without

Dan and I are big fans of going tiny, (and why wouldn’t we be – it is our business!) so a big pet peeve of ours is uni-taskers: Items that only hold value for doing one thing. When you are in the process of downsizing your life, especially if you are headed into the tiny house domain, you do not have room for the quesadilla maker. But you will make room for the slow cooker. Why? Because you can literally cook anything in the slow cooker, but the quesadilla maker is pretty much giving you just quesadillas. Hence, items like these are uni-tasking tools. With Black Friday right around the corner, here are our favorite uni-taskers that are worth the purchase. (So put them on your Holiday wish list!)

The same holds true to the tools that we choose when we are building a tiny house. We don’t really want anything on the job site that only holds one purpose. And it was never as glaring as when we went to load up the utility trailer with the tools upon the completion of our last build and we filled it not once, but twice with everything that we pulled out. There are however, a few uni-taskers that will save you so much time and /or money during your build that we can’t help not only using them, but also giving them our wholehearted recommendation. So without further ado, here are 4 uni-tasking tools that you can’t live without for your next tiny house build.

CPVC Ratcheting Pipe Cutters

Uni-tasking Tools - pipe cuttersThis is a great investment of $8. One of the biggest problems when cutting pipe is getting a straight and easy cut so that you have a good seal with your fittings. If you are using a hand saw, keeping it straight can be difficult. You can of course, rectify this by using an electric chop saw, but then every time you need to make a cut you are getting up, going to the saw, making the cut, and going back to the work site. Introducing the ratcheting pipe cutters, which will solve both of these problems at the same time. They not only are portable and you can take them just about anywhere, but they have a three point cutting system that when used correctly, will provide you with a very straight cut every time. Although some would say it is not a true uni-tasker as you could use it to trim your victory cigar after the successful install of your plumbing, we feel this is worth putting in your toolbox regardless.

Palm Nailer

uni-tasking tools - palm nailerAs a fanboy, I have always wondered what it would be like to wield the power of Thor’s mighty hammer. Then I put my hand on the almighty pneumatic palm nailer. Ok, so it may not be as strong as Mjölnir (yes, the hammer has a name) but it almost as amazing. We only used it for hurricane strapping in the roof rafters but I probably saved three hours of work. Normally, you would have to put five to six screws in each one of the rafters on both sides. With this, I was able to drive nails with the speed of The Flash. (Ok, I said I was a fanboy). These palm nailers go from about $30-$75 and most are magnetic which makes loading nails super easy. If you are going to use them, make sure you wear eye and ear protection as they are super loud and every once in awhile you will hammer up against something metal and will occasionally shoot a nail across the room.

Here is Dan demonstrating the Palm Nailer:


Electric Shears

uni-tasking tools - electric shearsTin snips, to me, are definitely not a uni-tasker as I have used them for all kinds of cutting (most of which I am sure the manufacturer does not recommend), but the funny thing is that the one thing they are meant to do, they are not all that good at. There are three types of snips, one for cutting right, one for left, and one for straight cuts. The issue is that when you are cutting roofing or flashing for your tiny house, you will get a little ways into your cut and the material gets in the way of your hand or your hand gets in the way of the cut. For the long cuts, we definitely recommend the Electric Metal Shears. Now let me be clear here: if you are looking for a cut that divides to pieces and you need to save both pieces at that measurement, you are going to want to struggle with the shears. If you are definitely going to have a waste piece, these cutters are fantastic. The reason I mention this is because the shears take about a 1/4 inch out where your cut is, so you are going to have to account for that. But when I say have you ever heard the expression a hot knife through butter? Well, welcome to the world of easy cutting. If you don’t think that you are going to build more than one tiny home, this may be one of those tools that you buy used and sell afterwards because they are a little spendy, but trust me when I say, you will thank yourself in the end.


uni-tasking tools - kreg jigThe interior of a tiny home is one of the most tedious parts of the build. You can really rip through the exterior framing and sheathing and the roof pretty quickly. But when you get to the finish work, you have to take your time. One of the best tools that you are going to come across using for furniture and cabinetry is the Kreg Jig Pocket Hole System. Pocket holes are a great way to attach boards together while hiding the screws that you attach with. The Kreg jig allows you to line up the perfect angle for drilling and driving the screws and adjusts based on your board size. You may only use them for your interior finish work, but you will never look as professional as you will with this pocket hole system. Just imagine what your friends will say when you tell them YOU made all of the professional looking cabinetry.

There are the four main uni-tasking tools that we love to have on our worksite. What uni-tasking tools do you have that you can’t live without? Let us know in the comments below.


3 thoughts on “4 Uni-tasking Tools That You Can’t Live Without

  1. Jon Callahan said:

    Hey Tom, I concur. I used the Craig Jig on my roof trusses for a tight fit. Worked great. You can get about any size screw for them.

  2. Jessica Bowlin said:

    Great read. I am a new instructor, teaching a construction class at a high school in Alabama. I am hoping to build a tiny house with my classes next semester. Definitely took notes while reading this article! I would also recommend a Dremel! Thanks guys!

  3. Maria said:

    PVC pipe cutter is very handy when you builder delivers your Studio.

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