It’s time once again to be thinking about gifts for the do-it-yourselfer on your holiday shopping list! Here are some of my suggestions for some interesting, quality tools worth considering this year, listed in order of their manufacturer’s suggested retail price. And hat’s off to all those manufacturers who are moving away from blister packs toward more user-friendly packaging!
Werner Lock-In Accessories (various model numbers, $3 to $12): If your favorite do-it-yourselfer has one of the popular Werner stepladders with the HolsterTop, then how about some Lock-In accessories? They include the Tool Lasso for gripping power tools and caulking guns; the Utility Bucket, for wet or dry storage; the Utility Hook for hanging cords, air hose, light strands, etc.; the Paint Cup, which holds up to a quart of paint; and the Job Caddy, for miscellaneous small tools and parts. All of the Lock-In accessories snap securely into the HolsterTop, and save lots of trips up and down the ladder.
Milwaukee Fastback Utility Knife (Model 48-22-1901, $19.95): This is a rugged workhorse of utility knives! Fast, one-handed blade opening, and convenient, tool-free blade changes that lets you change blades up to five times faster. You can strip wire up to 10-gauge, and there’s an integrated hook that lets you cut without opening the knife. And the slim red body just looks cool! Five blades are included.
Ryobi Tek4 Lithium-Ion Screwdriver (Model HP53LK, $29.97): Here’s a lightweight little 4-volt rechargeable screw gun that’s helpful for a variety of DIY tasks around the house. It has a 24-position clutch, a 2-speed gear box, and a built-in LED light. The chuck accepts standard 1/4-inch bits, and the battery is interchangeable with the entire TEK4 line of tools. Includes a battery, charger, bit assortment, and a soft case.
Black & Decker Ratcheting ReadyWrench (Model RRW100, $29.99): A whole toolbox full of sockets in one clever wrench. You get the equivalent of eight SAE sockets (5/16 inch to 3/4 inch) and eight metric sockets (8 to 19 millimeters), contained in a single, forged steel handle with a rotating head at each end. This is a new version of this popular wrench, now with ratcheting heads that make it even easier to use.
Ames True Temper Pulverizer ($39.99): If your next DIY project starts with demo work, the pulverizer will get it done! It’s a 3 1/2-pound sledge hammer with a 1 1/2-inch strike face, but at less than 13 inches long you can carry it in your tool belt. Behind that there’s a V-shaped head to rip through drywall, with claw teeth that grip better for ripping.
At the other end, they’ve added a 2-inch scraper and a nail puller. Fully forged and heat treated, with a shock-absorbing, non-slip grip on the handle, it’s an awesome tool!
Stanley Waterproof Spotlight (Model FL5W10, $59): For DIY projects or camping trips afterward, this is a handy spotlight to have on hand. It’s a comfortable and rugged 5-watt, 200-lumen light with a dimmer switch, and the 7.2-volt battery is rechargeable with an AC house charger or a DC car charger, both included. And it’s waterproof down to 6 feet.
Stanley 500 Amp Jump Starter with Compressor (Model J5C09, $89.99): A heavy, solidly built unit that will jump-start your car, truck, lawn tractor, ATV and other 12-volt equipment in an emergency. It’s easy to use with the built-in battery cables, and it recharges off a household outlet with just an extension cord.
Includes a built-in 120 PSI compressor for inflating tires and sports equipment, and you can recharge phones and other electronics with the USB connection. It even has a built-in LED light.
Snow Joe Electric Snow Thrower (Model 322P, $99): Weighing less than 13 pounds, with a nice ergonomic design, this electric snow thrower is a surprisingly effective alternative to shoveling. It’s kind of like using a push broom to clear snow, except that it’s throwing the snow out of your way. And throw it does, clearing a path up to 12 inches wide in snow up to 4 inches deep, and it’s strong enough to toss the snow up to 20 feet, so now you can toss the shovel!
Dremel Trio (Model 6800-01, $99.99): This is a versatile tool that gives you a lot of options for the price. The "Trio" refers to its ability to cut, sand and route, and the head pivots 90 degrees for more working comfort and control. Makes smooth, intricate cuts in drywall, wood, acrylic and a variety of lighter materials. Also great as a "mini-router" for lots of projects. It uses only proprietary Dremel 3/16-inch shank bits, which is something to be aware of. Includes a straight edge/circle guide, eight accessories and a nice fitted case.
Campbell Hausfeld Home Décor Kit (Model FP260096, $140): Here’s everything you need for doing window treatments, upholstery, decorative paint treatments, crafts and more, all in one package of tools. The kit includes a good-quality, 1-gallon air compressor; 3/8-inch upholstery stapler and staples; pin nailer and pins; 25-foot hose; an air brush; plus a storage bag to keep it all together.
Bosch Jigsaw (Model JS470E, $159): At a full 7 amps, this is the most powerful jigsaw on the market, and it’s truly a professional-grade tool. You’ll love the tool-less blade changing and blade ejection lever, and the wide, two-finger trigger and rubber overmolding make for a comfortable grip. There are four blade-orbit settings, from smooth to aggressive, plus an adjustable sawdust blower, variable speed dial and speed control trigger. The oversize die-cast aluminum footplate even has a removable nonmarring cover. It comes with case, blade and anti-splinter insert. A very nice saw!
Wagner Procoat Airless Paint Sprayer (Model 0515030, $199.95): You can make fast work of all those small to medium DIY painting projects with this handy, portable airless paint sprayer. The Procoat sprays latex and oil-base paints, stains and sealers, and you can draw directly out of a 1- or 5-gallon bucket. It has a pro-quality spray head with a reversible tip, and a capacity of 0.24 gallons per minute at 2,800 PSI. The included garden hose attachment helps with the cleanup chores as well.
Bosch Power Box 360 Radio (Model PB360S, $199.99): Want to really light up Christmas for your favorite DIYer? Surprise him or her with the ultimate job-site radio! It offers five speakers with an integrated subwoofer and 360-degree sound placement, AM/FM radio, a weather-sealed compartment for an iPod or other MP3 player, and the ability to work off both 120-volt power or 14.4- or 18-volt Bosch rechargeable batteries. When it’s plugged in, it charges the batteries, and can recharge small electronics as well. And it’s all protected with a tough — and rather cool — aluminum and rubber roll cage.
Remodeling and repair questions? E-mail Paul at firstname.lastname@example.org. All product reviews are based on the author’s actual testing of free review samples provided by the manufacturers.
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