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9 Tools Dad Secretly Wants, According to FHM Editors

We checked in with our expert Family Handyman editors to learn about the little-known tools and gadgets they use to get the job done.

Every product is independently selected by our editors. If you buy something through our links, we may earn an affiliate commission.

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DIY Dreamvia (2), via

DIY Dreams

If your pop has been on DIY duty for years, you may think he has everything he needs by now. But there are always situations where you make do with what you have, or just avoid the task for as long possible. As there’s nothing so satisfying as having the right tool for the job. So we asked our expert Family Handyman editors — who test a whole lot of products — to share the little-known tools that make a job easier.

Note: Prices listed were accurate as of press time; pricing fluctuations may occur.

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Makita 18-Volt LXT Lithium-Ion Cordless Inflatorvia

Makita 18-Volt LXT Lithium-Ion Cordless Inflator


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Cordless inflator: Most folks would say, why do you want one of these, you’re a tool guy, don’t you have a compressor? Yes, I have three compressors but one is in my shop, one is on a job site, and the other is in my truck and I’m too lazy to get it out on a weekend.

“Even if I did get it out of the truck I would have to plug it in; connect the hose; find the right inflator tip, then fuss around to get the right PSI for that bicycle tire, basketball, or air mattress that needs inflating. Having one of these inflators does away with that whole rigmarole.

“All I would have to do is grab a battery out of my cordless drill, put it in the inflator, grab the right tip from the onboard storage, dial in the desired pressure, and just go to whatever needs blowing up. It’s so much easier than a compressor or a bicycle pump and pretty slick for camping trips as well.

“Being a professed bicycle geek I imagine one of these inflators would also enable me to dial in the ideal tire pressure for the perfect ride. I chose Makita because that’s my primary cordless system but Hart, Ryobi, Milwaukee, and others make these handy pumps.” – Bill Bergmann, associate editor

Does dad love anything with a plug? Find out the 36 home tech items for your dad’s wish list

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DeWalt 60-Volt MAX Lithium-Ion Cordless FLEXVOLT Brushless 16 in. Chainsawvia

DeWalt 60-Volt MAX Lithium-Ion Cordless FLEXVOLT Brushless 16 in. Chainsaw


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“This is not a go-to tool for me but when I do need it, the last thing I want to do is mess around with starting my stubborn gas saw. Plus, that old saw is so noisy and I end up reeking of exhaust fumes by the time I get done with it.

These cordless saws are quiet, powerful, and burn no fossil fuel. It’s perfect for that errant branch that comes down or the heavier pruning I need to do now and then. This DeWalt is top of all the heap but again every major tool company is into these tools now, all offered at various price points.”  – Bill Bergmann

Now that he’s all set up, Dad will be inspired to tackle one of these 23 home improvement projects that don’t require a professional.

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Snow & Neally 2-1/4 lb. Single bit axevia

Snow & Neally 2-1/4 lb. Single Bit Axe


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This is the perfect all-around axe for me — heavy enough for splitting firewood and light enough for camping, particularly car-camping. It takes a good edge and holds it well. The handle is well-shaped and comfortable, but the first thing you should do is to sand off the thin coat of polyurethane and apply a coat of linseed oil or just leave it raw. This step helps alleviate blisters for non-lumberjacks!” – Brad Holden, senior editor

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Ryobi Air Strike Brad Nailervia

Ryobi AirStrike Brad Nailer


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“One surefire way to keep me from starting a project or fixing something is the thought of dragging out the compressor. This versatile battery-powered air nailer removes any excuses; no compressor necessary. And it actually performs well and shoots 5/8-in. to 2-in. brad nails. It’s perfect for all sorts of trim work and cabinetry.”  – Brad Holden

While you’re at it, check out these brilliant finish nailer tips for all your carpentry projects.

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Occidental Leather 5523 Clip-On 4 in 1 Tool/Tape Holdervia

Occidental Leather 5523 Clip-On 4-in-1 Tool/Tape Holder


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“When doing small woodworking or small house projects I find myself doing more searching for my misplaced tape measure or pencil rather than the work I want to get done. This can drag a day-long project out the entire weekend.

“You need a place for those essential tools at your hip and this Occidental belt clip is the ticket. It’s not big or bulky, it’s easy to put on and take off your belt and holds a few of those tools you’ll be grabbing throughout most jobs.” – Mike Berner, associate editor

Next, check out these ideas to make sure you keep your tools organized!

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CH Hanson 03040 Magnetic Stud Findervia

CH Hanson 03040 Magnetic Stud Finder

Starting at $7.48

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“Electronic stud finders are not always a sure thing; in my experience they will get you close most of the time but every once-in-a-while will give you a false reading. Not so with this CH Hanson magnetic stud finder. Drag it across the wall until it pulls itself to a nail or screw and, boom, stud found. No batteries to worry about and it fits in your pocket, not to mention all the opportunities it presents for a good dad joke.” – Mike Berner

Plus, check out these three essential tools DIYers should always buy on Amazon.

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Rikon Mini Lathevia

Rikon Mini Lathe


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“Want to get Dad a woodworking tool that he’ll fall in love with? The lathe gets you about as close to instant gratification as possible. Bowls, pens, balusters, kitchen utensils, and vases are just some of what can be made on a lathe. Tell him to be careful, it’s addicting!” – Jay Cork, associate editor

These are our other favorite woodworking tools.

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Indestructible Shoesvia

Ryder Indestructible Shoes


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“The most important tools we own are the tools we use to keep our bodies healthy and safe. Happy feet make a happy dad, and these shoes will keep him safe in the shop!” – Jay Cork

Plus, check out our ultimate Father’s Day gift guide for the DIYer dad.

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Remington Body Groomer Kitvia

Remington Body Groomer Kit


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“This is a tool that I use just about every day; it’s hard to imagine being without it. If Dad’s trimmer is getting old, or worse yet, he doesn’t have one, this lithium-ion powered body trimmer will be a welcome addition.” – Jay Cork

Read on for the DIY Father’s Day gifts your dad will actually use.

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Here are fun gift ideas for a dad who loves sports, Star Wars, grilling and more.

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Originally Published on Reader's Digest