Your smartphone and tablet might be fun tools that let you check email and watch videos, but they won’t hammer a nail into a wall. They don’t have screwdriver attachments, and they won’t help you tighten a joint. But they can play a role in any home improvement project you undertake. There are plenty of apps that make tablets and smartphones great DIY assistants.
The best part is that you can use any tablet or smartphone, whether an iPhone, iPad, Android tablet, or Android smartphone. These apps are pretty much universal, which is great. It means making projects just a little easier for you.
Chances are you have a surface level in your toolbox. If you’re serious about your tools you probably also have a protractor and a ruler. You might even have a plumb bob. But each of those is a separate tool. You can actually get each of them through one simple smartphone application: iHandy Carpenter. It uses the phone’s built-in tools to help create digital versions of the physical tools you use.
The catch is that the tools aren’t guaranteed to be 100 percent accurate. You have to calibrate your phone before using, or else the measurements aren’t reliable at all. Even when calibrated there can be certain issues. That is to say, iHandy Carpenter won’t replace the tools in your toolbox. Instead they provide you with assistance in a pinch. Want to know if something is relatively level? You can use your Android smartphone or iPhone to check generally.
You can get iHandy Carpenter for both Android and iPhone.
Every smartphone comes with a calculator built in, but that’s just the standard operations calculator. Home improvement projects require all sorts of calculations that can take plenty of time to input on a normal calculator. That’s where your smartphone or tablet comes in handy. There are a number of construction calculators that can make estimations easy for you.
For Android there is Construction Calculators. which contains 35 different calculators. These include calculations for drywall, carpet, paint, and more. It costs 99 cents, but that’s more than worth it. Unfortunately, you’ll be paying plenty more on iPhone. Construction Master 5 costs $15, and the Pro version costs an extra $5. It’s a much nicer program than the Android app for sure. But that’s just the reality: iPhone apps cost more than Android ones.
Need to take multiple measurements in a room? It can be a pain. Mess up one of them and you’ve messed up the entire project. That means measuring everything at least twice. Chances are you’ll write that down on a piece of paper, keeping detailed notes. But sometimes what you wrote down might not be clear, even to you. The Photo Measures app can help.
You start by taking a picture of the room. Then you can note your measurements right on the photo, so there is no confusion in the future. In addition to your measurements, you can add various notes to each portion of the picture. This ensures you have the greatest possible information. So when you head down to the Home Depot, you have everything in hand.
Is there any project more stressful than painting? There is just so much that can go wrong. Do you have enough? Did you leave enough time for the paint to dry before adding a second coat? Do you know how to clean up when you paint on something that isn’t supposed to be painted? Those are troublesome, but don’t cover the biggest problem with painting: did you get the right color?
There’s so much that goes into selecting a color. You have to consider the color of everything else in the room. Even an acute eye might not be able to determine the best color, or the best shade, for a particular room. Thankfully, Behr has an answer. Its ColorSmart apps for iPhone and Android take you through multiple steps to pick the best color for any room in your home. Gone are the days of guessing to find the best color. Behr ColorSmart ensures you’re happy every time.
These are just some of my favorite home improvement apps for my smartphones and tablets. Do you have any others that you use regularly?
Joe Pawlikowski is a recent first-time homeowner who blogs about technology for a living. His site MobileMoo focuses on everything mobile, including smartphones and tablets.