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7 Amazing Products That Will Make You a Better Homeowner
With these DIY products, you’ll be prepared for anything at home.
Pay less, get more!
Twelve-volt tools have become extremely powerful of late and are all you need for most jobs. Skil’s PWRCore 12 brushless 1/2-in. drill is a weekend warrior’s dream. It has all the characteristics of an expensive drill: a 1/2-in. chuck, two speed settings, torque adjustment and a heavy-duty feel. Some other great features of this drill include a hybrid chuck, which lets you quickly insert a hex shank bit without having to tighten the chuck’s jaws. The batteries have a USB port, which allows you to plug in a charging cord—and with all the devices we own, that’s pretty sweet! But the best part is the price: This drill kit costs about half as much as other 1/2-in. 12-volt drivers. The driver, charger and 2-AH battery are $70 online.
Easy-on-the-hands garden pruners
Trimming flowers, trees and shrubs is a workout with conventional pruning shears. Even in your prime, your cutting hand can ache in no time, and if you have arthritis or a weak grip, you might think you have to hang up your gardening gloves for good. But ratcheting pruners use leverage to make cuts much easier—you can cut through a branch as thick as 1 in. in three or four easy squeezes. Expect to pay at least $20 for a pair of ratcheting shears. This top-of-the-line pair from The Gardener’s Friends ($50 online) features a replaceable blade and a built-in blade cleaner.
Dead-center stud finder
The ability to find the studs in a wall is an essential DIY skill. But using a stud finder can give you mixed results, leaving you with a lot of marks on the wall and little confidence as to where to set your nail. Craftsman’s new stud finder, on the other hand, auto-calibrates as you move across a wall and tells you when it’s found a stud and when it gets to the center of it. It even has a hole you can use to mark the center of the stud, completely removing the guesswork. And tilting it at an angle won’t skew the results.
One cord to charge them all
With all the electronic devices commanding our attention, keeping track of them and their various chargers is an organizational feat. Mini USB, micro USB, USB-C, Lightning port and on and on and on. A single cable with multiple connectors can take the place of all those individual cords. USB multi charging cables are widely available, locally and online, for $10 or less.
A sure-thing shutoff valve
As if it’s not bad enough to have plumbing problems in an older home, when you go to fix them, your shutoff valves will likely fail too. Those older, stop-type valves that need to be turned four revolutions may not completely stop the water, or they may just break off, leaving you with a crazy mess.
Replace them with quarter-turn ball valves ($10), which are ultra-reliable and cost just $1 more. In many cases, you can install them with push-to-connect fittings for copper or PEX—no soldering required.
No-cut toilet bolts
Standard toilet bolts flop around as you’re setting the toilet in and require cutting after you tighten them. You can eliminate these headaches with Zero Cut Bolts. This adjustable bolt system allows you to change the length of the bolt using a double-threaded bolt extension. The alignment bullets help you place your toilet over the flange. In most cases, you’ll just need the hex bolt to secure the toilet, but if you need the extra length, just add the bolt extension, cap it off and you’re done. These adjustable bolts let you install your toilet without hassles and cost about $10 at home centers and online.
What sets Sandflex blocks apart from other abrasive blocks is that there’s grit all the way through, making them more like an eraser than a sanding block. They can be carved to fit any profile, so they’re a great option for sanding molding. They’re ideal for removing rust and polishing shop tool surfaces, hand and garden tools, even stainless steel sinks.
You’ll find them in coarse, medium and fine grits online or in woodworking stores for about $12 for a set of three, or $4 apiece.
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