If you’re thinking about what to get the avid do-it-yourselfer as a special gift this year, here are 12 suggestions for some interesting, quality tools worth considering, listed in order of the manufacturer’s suggested retail price. Find them at your local home improvement store or hardware store unless otherwise noted.
LaSquare Combination Square (Model 1-LAS-12S, $35.95): A good combination square is a basic item in anyone’s toolbox, but too many of them are flimsy or inaccurate. Not this one! It features a massive, 2-inch-wide solid aluminum base that works great on odd-shaped materials like dowels, pipe, posts, crown molding, etc. It also has a stainless steel blade with graduation markings precision-etched in 8ths, 16ths, 32nds and 64ths. Removed from the blade, the base is an accurate mini-level. Order at www.lagesseproducts.com/squares.
Porter-Cable 18-Volt Cordless Reciprocating Saw (Model PC18RS, $49.97, saw only): If your do-it-yourselfer already has another Porter-Cable 18-volt cordless tool, add on this very nice reciprocating saw, which uses the same 18-volt lithium ion battery packs. It’s compact and rugged, with a rubberized grip, pivoting guide shoe, and convenient tool-free blade changing. It is trigger-operated and variable speed, operating at 0-3,000, 7/8-inch-long strokes per minute. Included in the price is one wood-cutting blade.
Skil iXO Vivo Power Corkscrew (Model 2354-10, $49.99): Expanding on its very popular palm-size 4V lithium ion iXO Cordless Screwdriver, Skil has added a power corkscrew attachment that safely removes a wine bottle cork in less than 10 seconds! The battery holds a charge for 18 months, and there’s a built-in work light, battery fuel gauge, and quick-change 1/4-inch hex bit holder. Included are a charger, five bits, corkscrew attachment, foil cutter, wine stopper, and storage box. It’s a fun and practical gift.
Craftsman Remote Control Wet-Dry Vacuum with Wall-Mount Kit (Model 16825, $119.99): Finally, a shop vacuum that’s also convenient. This powerful but very quiet 5-horsepower, 5-gallon vacuum mounts on the wall in your shop or garage, with a rack and bin system that corrals the hose and all the accessories. When it’s needed elsewhere, detach it, plug in the 20-foot cord, and carry it with the top handle. Best of all, it operates with a remote control on the curved wand at the end of the 21-foot hose! The kit includes the wall rack, storage bin, foam sleeve, extension wands, and a nice collection of nozzles.
Black & Decker Platinum 20V Lithium Cordless Flexible Vac (Model BDH2000FL, $149.99): This is a great little cordless vacuum, with a 4-foot wrap-around hose that can be used while locked in place or unlocked to reach where it’s needed. The cyclonic motor has great suction, and it’s all just 3.8 pounds. The vacuum features a translucent, bagless dirt canister and a dishwasher-safe filter, as well as a convenient charging base with tool storage and ready light battery indicator. Also included are a crevice tool, nozzle with flip-up brush, and a pet hair attachment that actually works!
Werner 16-Foot Compact Extension Ladder (Model # D1216-3, $154): Werner’s innovative design utilizes three overlapping ladder sections instead of the usual two, with no cumbersome rope and pulley system. A sturdy locking strap holds the sections together and doubles as a well-balanced carrying handle. The ladder weighs just 25 pounds and is only 6 feet long when collapsed, so it’s a breeze to carry, transport and store. It’s a very solid ladder in a compact package — Type II duty rated, with a 225-pound load capacity (combined user and materials), and meets standards set by the American National Standards Institute and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.
Porter-Cable 32-Piece 18V Lithium Oscillating Multi-Tool Kit (Model PCCK510LA, $159.99): Here’s a powerful, variable speed oscillating tool that any do-it-yourselfer would love to have. Its Tool-Free System lets you change accessories quickly, with no wrenches or bolts, and features a six-position, variable speed dial (7,500 – 15,000 oscillations per minute) to suit different tasks, plus a comfortable rubber overmolded body and a convenient LED work light. This complete kit includes battery, charger, carrying bag, and a nice organizer box with a set of cutting and sanding accessories valued at $135!
Ridgid Fuego 18V Compact Drill/Driver with Free Impact (Model R9600, $179): It’s always tough to pass up free, but when that "free" is on a pro-quality tool, it’s just about impossible! Ridgid’s drill/driver offers a two-speed transmission (0-450 and 0-1,650 RPM), 1/2-inch chuck, and a side handle. Packaged free with the drill/driver is an impact driver that offers 1,750 inch/pounds of torque, and ratings of 0-2,400 RPM and 0-3,100 IPM (impacts per minute). Both offer grip-operated LED lights and removable, reversible belt hooks. Also included are a charger, two batteries and soft bag.
Milwaukee M12 Cordless Heated Jacket Kit (Model 2345 $199. Black, red or camouflage): Projects are more enjoyable when you’re comfortable, so get your do-it-yourselfer one of these awesome heated jackets. Powered by a 12-volt lithium ion battery that tucks into a rear zippered pouch, it features two independently controlled heat zones (chest/upper back and hand-warmer pockets) with three heat settings for each, controlled from a convenient lapel switch. It features up to six hours of run time on one charge. This top-quality jacket is warm and comfy even without the battery! The charger and battery are included. The price is about $50 less for the jacket only.
Dewalt 20-Volt MAX Compact Hammerdrill/Driver Kit (Model DCD785C2, $219): For the handyman who needs a hammerdrill, you can’t do better than this compact, pro-grade model from Dewalt. Powered by a 20V MAX, 1.5 AH lithium ion battery, it offers two speed ranges (0-600 and 0-2,000 RPM) for easy drilling or driving, and 34,000 BPM for fast hammering. It features a 1/2-inch ratcheting keyless chuck, LED light, and 14 clutch settings. Weighing in at just 3.5 pounds, it has a slender, comfortable, cushioned handle. The complete kit includes two batteries, fast charger, belt hook, and hard case.
Bosch Barrel-Grip Jig Saw Kit (Model JS572EBL, $299): For the serious carpenter or woodworker, this is one of the finest jig saws on the market. The powerful 7.2-amp motor and dial-controlled variable speed (800-2,800 SPM) offer power and control in all kinds of cutting situations. Double rollers minimize blade deflection. Other features include articulated dust collection, tool-free blade and foot-plate changing, and a switchable LED light. The complete kit includes anti-splinter insert, steel and plastic overshoes, dust extraction kit, vacuum hose adapter, three blades, and innovative L-Boxx storage box.
Ryobi 18V ONE+ 6-Piece Ultimate Combo Kit (Model P884, $299): All the tools your favorite do-it-yourselfer is likely to need! It includes a circular saw with ExactLine laser; anti-vibration reciprocating saw; variable speed drill/driver with LED light; impact driver with auto-load chuck; oscillating multi-tool that’s compatible with Ridgid JobMax heads; and multiposition flashlight, all with comfortable rubber overmolded grips. Included are a charger and two lithium ion batteries with fuel gauge, plus carrying bag. These are well-designed tools that will work well for any home improvement project.
Remodeling and repair questions? Email Paul at email@example.com. All product reviews are based on the author’s actual testing of free review samples provided by the manufacturers.
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