Carl's Sims 3 Guide - Skills, Traits, Careers, Rewards, and Lifetime Wishes for Ambitions and World Adventures

The Sims 3 Skills
Advanced TechAlchemyAthleticBot MakingCharismaCollectingConsignment
Laser RhythmLogicMartial ArtsMixologyNectar MakingPaintingPhotography
RidingScienceScuba DivingSculptingSocial NetworkingStreet ArtWriting

The Sims 3 Handiness Skill Guide
Learn, Tinker, Upgrade and Repair Objects

This Sims 3 Guide was originally written for the PC and Mac versions of the game, but also will help owners of the console versions - PS3, Xbox 360 and Wii. Please remember some info or numbers may have changed.

This is a full guide to the The Sims 3's Handiness skill, which is updated to included all upgrades brought with World Adventures. You'll learn of many cool and useful things you can do with the skill, tips to help you improve it more quickly and information on what types of opportunities are available for the skill.

What does Handiness do in the Sims 3?
The handiness skill replaces the mechanical skill from the previous Sims games. Its Sims 3 incarnation provides many opportunties to improve household appliances and electronics. There are even some money making opportunities for the skill. Raising it is easy, and every household should have a Sim who knows what they're doing when it comes to making household repairs and upgrades.

I'm no home repair expert, but I know damn well that's not how you fix a computer.Good traits for a Handy Sim
There is only one trait that directly pertains to the handiness skill, and that is the Handy trait. Thankfully, it serves to boost pretty much every aspect of the skill. First, they'll learn the Handiness skill faster, making learning the skill less time-consuming. Additionally, appliances, plumbing and electronics repaired by Handy Sims are less likely to break. Your Sim will never fail at repairing or upgrading, which is a huge plus. Finally, you begin with a handiness book so you can get started right away!

The Handy trait does all this, and takes up only one slot. If you're looking for a career that uses this skill, consider going Military. If not, it will help any other type of Sim because of the upgrades they can bestow upon objects.

Ways to Raise the Handiness Skill - Take Handiness Class, Books, Tinkering, Repairing and Upgrading
There are four ways that I know of to raise Handiness. First, there are skill books. You can reach all the way to level 10 with a level 3 handiness skill book. Check the book store or library to find it. You can also take a handiness class at the military base to raise the skill one level at a time. You can only take a handiness class once, and it's best done early because the first level is often the hardest to learn.

After the Handiness class, you'll have to use books or one of these other two options. One is normal use of handiness: repairing broken objects will increase the skill, as well as upgrading objects at home or on community lots. Go upgrade the toilets at the gym! The other option is to tinker. You could break something, or get hurt while tinkering so be careful. Tinkering can give a random upgrade to an object. For example, I used tinkering and managed to get the improve meal quality upgrade on my stove. This helped a lot!

Upgrades Sims Can Perform from Learning Handiness

As your Handiness skill rises, you'll gradually unlock upgrades that can be performed. At first, tinkering is your only option for upgrading, but it's so random. Once you've learned more about handiness, you can begin choosing the upgrades you want to perform. Here are the upgrades, although I can't provide exact levels for them. You see, you won't see every upgrade you can do in the list until you've performed the upgrade. So go out there and buy items to upgrade if you want to achieve 100%.

Handiness UpgradeHandiness Skill LevelWhat the Upgrade Does
Auto LightLevel 7This makes your fireplace come on automatically upon entering the room. Use this to make sure your Sims always have the cozy fire (+10) moodlet. Do yourself a favor and never, ever consider working on the fireplace while the auto light is enabled.
Auto WaterLevel 4Gardeners will love this, as it makes the sprinklers come on automatically.
Boost ChannelsLevel 7Gives your Sims more channels on the television.
Change Fire ColorLevel 9Allows you to change your fireplace flame's color. Doesn't seem to actually do anything for Sims, I prefer auto light.
Change DoorbellLevel 3Switch the doorbell sound to one of several other choices. Be sure to bring up your walls to be able to click your door.
Faster CookingLevel 7Makes the microwave cook faster.
Fireproof4 or 6Level 4 for stoves, level 6 for fireplaces. Makes stoves and fireplaces safe, ensuring they never catch fire.
Improve Meal QualityLevel 7Boosts the quality of meals made from an oven. In this way, Handiness can help your sims to cook more perfect meals.
Improve MemoryLevel 9The improve memory upgrade for the food replicator increases the number of meals of any particular type that can be stored. This means even less time spent cooking, as you'll be loading the replicator with food less often.
Improve SpeakersLevel 3Adds +10 to the enjoying music moodlet. Use this on stereos. One of my favorite upgrades in the Sims 3. Too bad you can't use it on the portable boombox to take with you when Fishing
Improved CrushingLevel 6Trash Compactors: Hold more perhaps?
Improved GraphicsLevel 8Boosts fun created from playing games on computer.
Perfect TeleportationLevel 7Gives the teleporter lifetime reward a 100% success rate.
Self-CleaningLevel 3Any object in the Sims 3 that can get dirty can get self cleaning the self cleaning upgrade (except counters, sadly). Great for plumbing, because once you have the plumber challenge completed your plumbing fixes never break again.
Silent RunningLevel 3Makes the cheap dishwasher quiet (be sure to use on a cheap dishwasher).
UnbreakableLevel 6Makes it so objects will never again break. Very useful for writers and hackers, whose work is interrupted by broken computers. Use it on objects that tend to break a lot. I would never use this one until handiness was level 10.
Wire House with SpeakersLevel 8With the Wire House with Speakers upgrade, your Sims can get the enjoying music moodlet in every room of their home. Just be sure to turn off the stereo at bedtime.

World Adventures Handiness Upgrades
There are three new upgrades your Sims can perform on objects when you have the World Adventures expansion installed. Each stems from new objects introduced with World Adventures:

Handiness UpgradeHandiness Skill LevelWhat the Upgrade Does
Improved PressingLevel 5This will make your Sim's nectar maker produce one more bottle during the nectaration process. It's a good upgrade to use for increasing the number of bottles your Sim has produced, and actually edges past flavor enhancement in terms of overall money made.
Always Good FortuneLevel 7This makes the fortune cookie machine from China always distribute good fortunes. This makes it a valuable way to boost your Sim's mood that extra tiny bit.
Flavor EnhancementLevel 9Boosts a bottle of nectar's "flavor" by 15%, which basically translates to a 15% higher valued bottle. Find more on improved pressing and flavor enhancement in the Nectar Making Guide

Sims 3 Ambitions Handiness Upgrades
The Sims 3 Ambitions Expansion adds six new upgrades. The Styling Station can be upgraded with 'Look Good Mirrors', making customers more likely to like a makeover. The Inkinization 2.0 upgrade for the tattoo machine keeps it from giving bad tattoos. Both of these upgrades are available at Handiness level 6.

Another Ambitions Handiness feature is the ability to upgrade the washing machine with a clean polymer injection system, which makes the fresh clothing moodlet last longer.

Finally, Firefighters can do three upgrades around the fire station. Both the Fire Alarm and Extinguisher can be upgraded, as well as the speed of the Fire Engine. All these upgrades can be done by the time your Sim reaches handiness level 6. Note that the Fire Engine can be upgraded multiple times.

Sims 3 Late Night Handiness
There are two handiness upgrades that come from The Sims 3 Late Night. The Improved Jets upgrade for the cheaper of the two hot tubs is one. It will take its bubbles moodlet from +15 to +30, available at handiness level 6. The other is an improvement for the Dart Board, making it so that your Sim will never lose.

Sims 3 Pets Handiness Additions
The Sims 3 Pets brings only one new handiness upgrade, the ability to upgrade water troughs to automatically give horses water.

Sims 3 Showtime Upgrades
Showtime gives a new object, the PlasmaPunch Gyroscopic Conductor which can be found under buy mode > sort by function > entertainment > misc. It features two upgrades at level ten. One is the Inertial Stabilizer, which seems to make it easier for Sims to use without vomiting. Next is the really cool one, the Dimensional Gate upgrade. This converts the machine into a gate that functions similar to the catacombs in the graveyard, without the risk of 8 hours of downtime from a zombie bear mauling. What's more, you can sometimes find a magic lamp to summon a genie. Another high level handiness upgrade is the Singing Synthesizer upgrade for the Karaoke Machine. This makes Sims sound much better at singing than they actually are.

Don't work on your fireplace in the  Sims 3 while the auto-light is on!

There are three Handiness challenges. The first is to repair ten plumbing objects, such as sinks. This will give you the plumber challenge award, which makes plumbing unbreakable. A perfect opportunity to use self-cleaning. Additionally, once you've repaired ten electrical objects you'll complete the electrician challenge and never get shocked again. Lastly, complete the tinkerer challenge by doing ten of the upgrades above. This makes you never fail to upgrade, which seems pointless with the handy trait.

The Opportunities Handiness Provides

I can only document the opportunities I've encountered. Thus far, I've had to upgrade a woman's stove, which gave me some free cash. 1,200 simoleons in fact, so this is a great opportunity to take. Additionally, you can teach a class on repair and visit places to repair a broken item. Overall, it provides some cash. It provides even more utility through the great upgrades you can perform on the objects in your house which make life easier and more enjoyable overall for your Sims. RaShCl on our forum reported $1200 for clearing wormholes from the Science Facility.

Related Challenges
The Sunset Valley/Riverview Team Upgrade Race
The Sims 3 Skills
Advanced TechAlchemyAthleticBot MakingCharismaCollectingConsignment
Laser RhythmLogicMartial ArtsMixologyNectar MakingPaintingPhotography
RidingScienceScuba DivingSculptingSocial NetworkingStreet ArtWriting

Share Tips and FAQs (5)

Our Sims Forum is the place to go for faster answers to questions and discussions about the game. Use the form below to share your own experiences and provide helpful tips to other readers.

Sneaks says...
Just wanted to mention something I discovered the hard way -- if a sim upgrades an item, then replaces that upgrade with a new one, the new one does not count toward the Tinkerer skill challenge. All upgrades have to be on an object that has not been previously upgraded.
5th June 2014 2:01am
Tiffany says...
You can upgrade just about everything. I found the best thing to do is just click and see if it has an available upgrade.
12th July 2014 4:03am
Necroguy says...
I realize this is over four years old, but I'm still playing the game so screw it. Just wanted to point out the Clean Polymer Injection System upgrade for washing machines. Supposedly makes clean clothes stay clean (cleaner, even) longer.
It also gives a stronger, longer positive moodlet.
1st December 2017 10:42am
Dimon says...
Some of the newer upgrades need to be posted on the poster above poster can also improve hot tubs jets (not on all models), and also make hot tubs unbreakable..these needed to be added to the list please!
30th October 2013 4:33pm
Dimon says...
Also the KEG from university has a upgrade available: Auto basically refills the keg automatically so you never have to refill it again..
30th October 2013 5:30pm
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