The Handyman's Virtual Toolbox:
6 Home Utility Apps

Weekly Smartphone App Roundup

Renovation season is here, and it's time to give your home sweet home some maintenance. Whether it's fixing a few pesky problems around the apartment or breathing life into old walls with a new coat of paint, the warm weather buries any reason for procrastination. Smartphones can make the experience go smoother with apps that keep facts and figures on hand, obtain measurements or converting them. There are countless flashlight and level apps out there, but these 6 truly deserve a spot on your tool belt.

iOS

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Left: Home Improvement Calcs - Right: iHandy Carpenter
Home Improvement Calcs
Facts and figures are extremely important when renovating or building, and you never want to have too much or too little in the way of supplies. Home Improvement Calcs digests the numbers you input into cold, hard digits you can take to the hardware store. This version contains 115 calculations for projects such as retiling the floors, painting the walls or building a deck. There's also a Pro version which caters to professionals ($5). $2

iHandy Carpenter
There's a lot of love for iHandy Carpenter, a handy 5-in-1 app that works amazingly well with a beautiful interface. You get a plumb bob to help verify the vertical lines, a surface level to measure flat surfaces, a bubble level bar, a steel protractor and a ruler. An essential app to have for hanging pictures or assembling furniture. $2
Also available for Android

Android

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Left: Smart Tools - Right: Handy Construction Calculator
Smart Tools
It's the best of the Smart Tools line of utility apps all rolled into one, making this 15 tools in one functional package. Includes Smart Ruler, Smart Measure, Smart Compass and Smart Meter to handle a wide array of measurements, obtaining units such as length, angle, distance, height/width, slope, level or area. In a tight spot it can also be a flashlight should the occasion call for it. $2.50

Handy Construction Calculator
Handy Construction Calculator is great for amateur DIYers and professionals alike, based on calculations compiled by tradesmen over several years to deliver the most accurate details for every type of job. From roofs to floors to electrical to landscaping, this app will save money and time when preparing for big renovation projects. $8

Windows Phone 7

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Left: Measure Note - Right: Jack of Tools
Measure Note
Having a photo library with measurements placed on top is easier than carrying around a legal pad to the hardware store. With Measure Note, take a picture of furniture, rooms or spaces and add measurements, lines, angles, or captions for yourself or outsourced contractors. With an auto-length helper or magnifying glass, it helps you to be more precise with your diagrams. $2

Jack of Tools Pro
A swiss army knife for your Mango handset, Jack of Tools is helpful around the house or as an object of curiosity wherever you go. It has the standard features, such as a virtual level and compass, but can also measure altitude, speed, heading, base distance and sound. Just for fun, you can find your coordinates using the geographic camera function. $2

(Top Image: Jason Rodway, all others: as credited.)