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Do It Yourself with these handy Android apps

by Kristen Nicole

In this economy, a lot more of us are doing our own handy work. Fortunately, you can be even more efficient when you've got an Android in your back pocket.

Search & productivity

Yahoo! Search pulls up local results, so you can find a local handyman or the nearest Home Depot. Access your search history for quick refreshers, and speak your query to save even more time. This Android app is free, and comes with a home screen widget and Search Assist.

ShopSavvy is a search tool that scans barcodes in addition to offering keyword searches. Find web or local results, with ratings and price-comparison tools to choose the best retailer for your needs. Free, this Android app is great for in-store purchasing decisions, and can keep you from having to run unnecessary errands.

ManageMyLife is a homeowner's dream, acting as a central dashboard that powers all of Sears' other mobile apps. This free Android app saves projects and shopping lists, and tracks purchased items for reference. Post questions to Sears' experts, pull up useful manuals, and contact a store or customer service professional for immediate help.

To search stone flooring and wall tile samples from your phone, pull up Lapicida's Android app. Relatively new, this natural stone company is going mobile with its database of stone swatch samples, downloadable for offline access with this free app. Categorized by stone type, Lapicida makes design easier, with an on-demand visual search tool.

Education & tools

iHandy Carpenter is an important app for any home improvement project, making for a useful mobile toolbox. Well-equipped at $1.99, this Android app comes with a spirit level, surface level, plumb bob, steel ruler and protractor, all done with shining graphics. Just need the spirit leveler? iHandy's got a free app for that, too.

Need two levelers at once? Try the Laser Level HangAPic, with a horizontal and vertical leveler in one. Working from your camera phone, you take a snapshot of your hanging picture to determine if it's straight. This $1.49 Android app creates a grid from your photo, helping you ensure symmetry with your wall art.

If you're no better at math than I am, you'll need Handy Construction Calculators. At $4.99, this Android app is packed with 25 calculators specific for home improvement. Figure for drywall, framing, paint or roofing, tiles, sheeting, squaring and drop ceilings. Double- or triple-check your measurements on a project to minimize mistakes.

From the same company, Landscape & Garden Calculators is another collection of number-crunchers for weekend warriors. Determine how much mulch you'll need, or the footage required to fence your yard. Also priced at $4.99, this Android app offers concrete measurements, square-foot-cost estimators and the number of plants needed to fill the bed.

For home projects, the easiest way to learn is first by observation. Pull up the YouTube app, and you'll find a visual encyclopedia of tutorials for just about every project imaginable. Whether you're laying fiberglass or building a deck, YouTube delivers endless channels of content. The video network is searchable, and delivers recommendations, as well.

Weather can slow a project, delay deliveries and ruin a weekend of gardening. Work around the elements of nature, by keeping an eye on them. The free Weather Channel app for Android delivers accurate reports and forecasts, helping you make the most of your day. Receive weather alerts, track storms, and customize settings for your location.