Are Millennials as Handy as They Think They Are?

published Apr 23, 2018
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Blame it on HGTV or Pinterest, but millennials seem to think they’re pretty handy — even when they’re not.

Nearly seven in 10 millennials (69%) consider themselves handy around the house, according to a new survey by Porch — including 79% of millennial men. By comparison, only 61% of baby boomers and 62% of Gen Xers said the same. And to some extent, millennials are walking the walk: Home Depot said that DIY-minded young homeowners are helping to boost sales.

But when asked specific questions to test their DIY experience and know-how, millennials had the least experience of any generation when it came to 13 of 21 common home repairs, and had the most trouble with some basic home improvement concepts.

For example, millennials trailed both Gen Xers and boomers when asked if they’d ever fixed a running toilet, patched a hole in the wall, replaced a kitchen sink, or installed a dimmer switch or a ceiling fan.

And almost one in five millennials couldn’t identify the difference between a Phillips head and flat-head screwdriver (82% got it right), compared to 89% of Gen Xers and 91% of boomers who answered correctly. Millennials lagged everyone else in their ability to name tools such as allen wrenches and hacksaws, too.

(Image credit: Jessica Isaac)

Meanwhile, the categories where millennials boasted the most experience aren’t too surprising — nor are they that impressive. Six in 10 millennials have mounted a TV, compared to just a third of boomers. And 86% of millennials have set up a Wi-Fi router, compared to 77% of boomers.

Of course, one reason millennials would have less specific experience around the house is because boomers and Gen Xers have a huge head start. Besides their simple age advantage, previous generations also bought homes earlier in their lives than young people are able to today.

And in the survey, millennials were actually the least likely to say they’d call a handyman for home repairs. A full 85.3% said they or their partner would handle a household repair, compared to 82.5% of Gen Xers and 72.3% of boomers.

Also impressive was how millennials’ DIY ethos translated to other parts of life. Millennials were more likely than any other generation to have changed their own motor oil (50%), for example, or to have cooked for a dinner party (83%) — though they were the least likely to have hemmed a pair of pants or prepared their own taxes.

Here’s the good news for millennials: At least half of DIY is just the willingness to try. You’ll make mistakes and learn from them, and gain more confidence in your ability to fix simple problems or even remodel your home. So when it comes right down to it, handiness really is a state of mind — and millennials seem to have their heads in the right place.