What's the most powerful tool that every DIYer should own? A smartphone or tablet, of course. Modern homeowners can put technology to work for them, and save time, money, and headaches on their next home improvement or decorating project. Whether it's installing drywall or choosing the perfect sofa, our picks of the most essential DIY apps will help you get it done.
1. iHandy Carpenter ($1.99): Whether you're hanging a mirror or mitering crown molding, this app will come in handy. A toolbox for the digital age, the app turns your iOS or Android device into a surface level, bubble level, plumb bob, protractor, or ruler. No more stopping in the middle of a complicated task to search for a basic tool -- just pull your phone out of your pocket and finish the job.
2. Drywall calculator (price varies): Save money and time when purchasing drywall by using one of the many drywall calculator apps available for iOS, Android, and Windows devices. These calculators help you figure out a room's square footage by tracking lengths and heights, removing doorways and windows, and measuring ceilings and sloping walls. They then convert the data into the exact number of drywall sheets required.
3. iScrew by Tobias Werner ($.99): What's the difference between an acme and a square thread screw? Learn the nuances of various screws, bolts, and fasteners with this educational app for iOS devices. Perfect for DIYers who want to feel more confident at the hardware store, the app uses illustrations, measurements, and other information to help you find the right screw for any job or material.
4. Home Sizer by Armchair Design ($2.99): Anyone who has ever built a home knows how quickly costs can spiral out of control. Keep on top of expenses with this handy app for iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch. It allows you to "build" a home (or add to an existing one) and then discover the total cost, mortgage payments, and estimated value. Avoid sticker shock by updating the figures as you change sizes, add or delete rooms, and test out various "what if" scenarios.
5. Home Maintenance by POJO Software ($4.99): Trying to remember to pick the kids up from soccer is difficult enough without also worrying about when it's time to change your furnace filter. Let this app keep track of maintenance records and alert you to necessary repairs, services, and inspections. The iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch app can manage multiple homes, generate reports for realtors or inspectors, and maintain a photo archive for appraisals.
6. Snapguide (Free): The ultimate library of how-to guides, this comprehensive app for iOS devices provides step-by-step instructions for tons of fun DIY projects for the home, garden, and more. Learn how to store paintbrushes, sharpen mower blades, make garden chairs out of pallets, or turn a log into a lamp. The community of users provides endless ideas, and you can add your own guides as your skills improve.
7. ColorSmart by BEHR (Free): Can't decide on the right shade of green for your kitchen? This app lets you browse through your choices without ever leaving your home. Available for iOS and Android devices, the app also allows users to upload a photo for easy color matching, preview your preferred paint color in different rooms, and share your DIY projects with friends via social media. When you find the prefect hue, order through the app and pick up at a local retailer.
8. SnapShop Showroom (Free): Try a new sofa on for size by virtually placing it in your living room with this cool app for iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch. Take a photo of any room and then use your fingers to place furniture from the app's large catalog of name brands. Share your favorites with friends and use the shopping cart feature to visit retailers without leaving your home. No more buyer's remorse.
9. Garden Plan Pro ($7.99): Turn your iPhone or iPad into the ultimate gardening guide with this comprehensive app. Use the drawing tools and plant database to layout a vegetable, fruit, or herb garden of any shape and size, including raised beds or container gardens. Get climate-specific advice and reminders for planting, tending, and harvesting your garden, and read through hundreds of how-to articles about starting seeds, avoiding pests, and more.