5 Fantastic Tools All DIYers Should Have On Hand
These five products have been tested and approved by The Family Handyman editors. Find out why we think all DIYers should have them at the ready.
Every editorial product is independently selected, though we may be compensated or receive an affiliate commission if you buy something through our links. Ratings and prices are accurate and items are in stock as of time of publication.
A Saw for the Ages
When I was a framing carpenter in Denver back in the day, pulling a mammoth “worm-drive” saw out of your truck and going to work was the sign you’d reached the big leagues. These monsters required Popeye forearms and a diet of canned spinach to operate, but they could cut through anything and were virtually indestructible.
The DeWalt 60-volt MAX circular saw (model DCS575T2) is the cordless equivalent of these vintage brutes. It’s a workhorse: The 60-volt battery coupled with DeWalt’s thin-kerf FLEXVOLT blade (specifically designed for cordless saws) creates a saw that’s fast and powerful. The saw also has some nice grace notes, like the on-board blade-changing wrench, a depth gauge that tells you how deep the blade is set, and a carrying bag. The swing-down rafter hook lets you hang the saw from a joist or rafter between cuts (and believe me, you’ll want to give your arm a break between cuts).
Great String Trimmer for the Money
I needed a new string trimmer but didn’t want to spend the $300 to $400 that most home centers were charging. Then I found this one made by Jonsered (model GTS 2228). It works great and has plenty of pro-quality features like a straight shaft, an adjustable handle and a “Tap’n Go 35” head—which makes dispensing new string a breeze. It also has lots of power and starts right up with a pull or two. I bought mine for about $220 at Menards, a Midwest chain of home centers. You can also find them at Tractor Supply Co. and many independent dealers.
Watering my garden is a big enough hassle without having to bend over to attach the hose to the spigot and stop to unkink it every three minutes. The Swan Hose Swivel solves both problems. Attached to the spigot, it can swing up and down 180 degrees and rotate 360. This means securing the hose requires fewer contortions, and it’s less likely to kink as you move about your yard. You can also attach it to the other end of the hose to make hand sprinklers easier to use. Best of all, it doesn’t leak. You can find the Hose Swivel for about $6 at hardware stores and home centers.
Check out some more gardening hints here.
Pocket-Hole Jig for Big Projects
We love Kreg pocket-hole jigs because they make furniture and cabinetry projects fast and easy. But sometimes we build projects out of thicker 2-by lumber, which requires bigger screws. Kreg now offers a pocket hole jig made specifically for 1-1/2-in. or thicker lumber called the Kreg Jig HD (HD = heavy-duty). Combined with larger screws, it’s perfect for building bigger projects like workbenches and outdoor furniture. Kreg also makes weather-resistant screws. The jig, which includes a drill bit and a square-drive bit, costs $60.
Bifocal Safety Glasses
Your farsighted woodsmith would no doubt love a pair of bifocal safety glasses—no more constantly switching between safety glasses and cheaters. These glasses are so comfortable that you can put them on when you enter the shop and leave them on till you’re done! They come with adjustable frames and shatterproof, anti-fog lenses. Choose from a range of bifocal powers.