Yep, it’s that time again. The holidays will be here before we know it, and if you’re looking for gifts, here are some great tool ideas that are sure to delight just about anyone:

-Ridgid Heavy Duty 1/2-Inch Right Angle Drill: Got some holes to drill? Why not do it right with one of the most powerful, well-designed electric drills on the market. Ridgid’s right angle drill has a compact, low profile head that is ideal for framing, electrical wiring, plumbing, and any other project that requires some tough drilling chores. It has an 8-amp motor with hardened steel gears; a die-cast metal body; a three-speed heavy-duty gearbox (300, 600, and 1200 RPMs) with forward and reverse; and an innovative safety clutch that disengages the bit from the gears if the bit jams up while drilling, which lessens the chances of a dangerous kickback, especially when working with larger bits. This is also a very comfortable tool to use, with a cushioned, removable side handle, an adjustable rear handle, and an over-molded switch handle that’s easy to grip. This is definitely a tough, professional quality tool with a three-year warranty, and retails for $299 at Home Depot and other Ridgid tool retailers.

Stanley “Fat Max” Tape Measure: Virtually every home project requires a tape measure, so why settle for a cheap junky one that’s a pain to use? The Fat Max tape measures from Stanley are probably the best you’ll ever find. All of them feature rubber non-slip grips, 1 1/4-inch wide coated blades, a hefty yet comfortable feel, and best of all, blades that will extend out a full 11 feet without collapse. It’s available in 25, 30, and 35-foot lengths, with prices ranging from $18 to $29 at most home centers and hardware stores.

-Aluminum Box Beam Level: A good solid level is not only accurate, bit it’s also a joy to use. Your home carpenter will thank you over and over if you invest in one or two pro-quality, aluminum box beam levels this holiday. They range in length from 12 to 96 inches, with 24, 48 and 72 inches being the perfect set for virtually any project. Most levels feature rubber end caps for damage protection, comfortable handgrips, and multiple, easy-to-read vials. Quality manufacturers you can count on include Empire, Johnson, and Stabila, and you’ll find prices ranging from around $25 to $40 for most 24-inch models, to around $80 to $100 for the 72-inch models. They’re available at many home centers, hardware stores, and other retailers of fine tools.

-Irwin Pull Saws: Pull saws, a type of handsaw originally developed by the Japanese, cut wood on the pull stroke instead of the push stroke. The result is a comfortable, easy-to-use saw that is less likely to bind and gives you a straighter, faster cut in virtually any type of wood. Irwin offers several types and sizes, including a double-edge version with different teeth on each side for ripping and crosscutting. Most of their saws have replaceable blades, which are also flexible to facilitate flush cutting chores. Whether you’re building a deck or crafting a fine piece of furniture, you’ll be surprised how often you reach for one of these saws. Prices range from $12 to $20, and they are available through many tool retailers or on the Web at

Avenger Laser Guide: If you have someone who would love to add laser-guided accuracy to an existing saw, this is the perfect answer. The Laser Guide from Avenger is a small, heavy-duty steel disk that attaches to the side of most 7 1/4- and 8-inch circular saws and most 10- and 12-inch chop, miter, and sliding compound saws. It replaces the saw’s original outer blade washer, and is held in place by either the original saw blade bolt or one of the replacement bolts supplied with the guide. The battery-powered Laser Guide activates automatically when the blade rotates above 500 RPM, projecting a bright, highly accurate red laser line onto your work piece to guide cutting. They sell for around $50 to $55, and you can check them out at

-DeWalt 16-Gauge Cordless Nail Gun: For anyone with some finish carpentry projects to get done, DeWalt offers a rechargeable finish-nail gun that goes anywhere, without cords, air hoses, compressors, fuel cells, or anything other than a battery. The gun shoots 1 1/4-inch to 2 1/2-inch finish nails, uses the same 18-volt battery pack and charger as other DeWalt tools, adjusts nail depth by simply turning a dial, and even features a pair of LED work-surface headlights to help you see where you’re nailing. The complete kit comes with the gun, two batteries, a battery charger, and a fitted hard-shell case for around $399, wherever DeWalt tools are sold.

Remodeling and repair questions? E-mail Paul at


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