100 Incredible Tools Every DIYer Should Know About
With the help of these innovative tools, it’s never been easier (or more fun!) to be a DIYer.
DeWalt Brushless, Cordless Blower
This blower has variable trigger and speed lock, includes a lithium ion battery and charger, and a brushless motor that maximizes efficiency and durability.
“I love having a cordless blower so I can roam around our property without hassling with a cord,” says an Amazon reviewer. “I REALLY like the speed control on this blower… very sensitive, and I like being able to just squeeze the trigger a little to blow debris away from sensitive areas like flower beds, etc. without blowing the dirt everywhere with too much air.
“The large blow tube is nice, because it puts out a large wide column of air at a max of 90 MPH – which is plenty unless I’m blowing off huge quantities of fallen leaves in the spring or fall that require the big Stihl backpack blower. I also really like the stand that allows me to set the blower down and have it upright and ready to pick up again.” Save money and back strain by renting a boom lift, trencher, power posthole digger, stump grinder brush cutter and other big tools that solve big problems.
Blast Clogs Away
This Drain King drain cleaner from GT Water Products is my go-to tool for removing tough clogs. When drains in basements, bathrooms or kitchens stop up and homeowners can’t plunge the clog out, I hook this tool up to a garden hose, feed it into the drain and turn on the faucet.
Here’s how it works: The bladder swells and wedges itself in the pipe, and its patented dispersing valve vibrates the pipe while shooting jets of water to dislodge the clog safely, without chemicals. — Jonh Wood, Plumber for ProMech
Courtesy of The Home Depot
EGO 56V 3,000-Watt Nexus Portable Power Station
This battery powered generator has all the power of conventional gas generators and then some, minus the fumes and noise of traditional generators. This Ego 56V, 3,000-watt Nexus portable power station is perfect if you tailgate or need something to have on hand in case of an emergency. The EGO Nexus Power Station will power a TV, microwave and full-sized refrigerator. Plus, it’s great for any camping trip. The LED display will show the remaining run time while you run power from the four USB ports or three 120-volt AC outlets. It comes with two EGO POWER+ ARC lithium 6.5 Ah batteries and can charge up to four EGO batteries. If you’re searching for the perfect camping gadgets, check out the coolest camping tools on Amazon.
Unger 2-in-1 Professional Squeegee and Window Scrubber
This 2-in-1 window cleaning tool features a squeegee on one side and scrubber on the other to make quick work of window cleaning. The 14-inch rubber squeegee blade can also be attached to a telescoping pole (not included), for extended reach.
Amazon reviewers say great things about the tool. “Excellent little device. The soft microfiber part holds the water solution and gently cleans the windows,” says one reviewer. “The rubber then swishes away the water and leaves the glass streak free. The best part is the handle is comfortable to hold and it has a screw thread to attach a longer shaft to reach higher up windows.” Here’s how to get streak-free windows every time.
RIDGID 16 Gal. Wet/Dry Vacuum
For the toughest of clean-up tasks, this wet/dry vacuum will do the trick! The high performance machine delivers incredible suction, large capacity, rugged construction and superior mobility. It includes removable accessory storage bag for easy drum cleanup, two wands, a utility nozzle, a car nozzle, a wet nozzle, a crevice tool and a diffuser. Originally priced at $159, it’s on sale at The Home Depot for $99! Here’s what you need to know about using a wet/dry vac to drain a toilet tank.
A Carpenter’s Pencil That’s More Like A Pen
Legend has it that the classic rectangular carpenter’s pencil was invented so carpenters would have a marking tool that wouldn’t roll off the roof. Those pencils may stay put, but sharpening them is a fine art, they leave a wide mark when dull, and they’re not up to the task of marking on dark woods and metals. Enter the FatBoy.
The FatBoy pencil looks and feels like a hefty pen. It comes with three leads: a regular lead for marking light woods, a white soapstone “lead” for marking concrete. The interchangeable leads can be switched or advanced with a push of the end cap. That same end cap contains an eraser and sharpener (though you can use a standard sharpener too). we liked them so much that we fired our old pencils and hired these guys.
FatBoy pencils come with extra leads and are available online and at home centers for about $16. To find more, go to fastcap.com.
Nailer for Framing Connectors
If you’re still nailing or screwing joist hangers, rafter hurricane clips or any other metal connectors to wood, consider investing in a metal connector nailer. One of these will save you hours of painstaking screw-driving or hand- nailing (and smashed fingers!). The Bostitch StrapShot 250 is a great option. Its compact size lets you fire nails into spots most other connector nailers can’t. With this design, you insert the actual nail tip into the connector opening and pull the trigger—a surefire system. The StrapShot 250 can fire both 1-1/2-in. and 2-1/2-in. nails, but if you only use 1-1/2-in. nails, save a few bucks and get the StrapShot 150. Find the StrapShot 250 and 150 on Amazon for $300 and $200, respectively. Click here to find the project that this nailer dominated.
Magnetic Tool Holder
Use magnets to keep heavy tools in place. This pack of four magnetic strips help keep items such as hammers, wrenches, screwdrivers and pliers where they belong in the workshop. These 15 DIY magnetic strip hacks will help you stay organized.
Bear Grylls Fire Starter
This small, compact fire starter features watertight construction that keeps tinder safe and dry, allowing the DIYer in your life to know it’ll work when they need it. How do we know? It’s been tested to ensure a spark for 8,000-plus strikes! Here’s how to make wine cork fire starters.
Garden hoses always used to be a hassle to lug around and to store at my farm. GrowGreen hoses have been the answer to both problems. Thanks to the lightweight material, the hoses expand with water pressure and retract when empty. A 25-ft. hose retracts to less than 10 ft. long. When the job’s done, I spray the water out of them and toss them into a bucket. — Anne of All Trades. Buy it on Amazon now.
Handy Way to Grab a Handle
Getting a hammer out of a standard tool belt loop takes three mini moves: Grab the head, flick it upward and (hopefully) catch the handle—then start swinging. I’ve done this so many times that I don’t think twice about it. That’s why, when I saw the Prazi QuickDraw holster, I didn’t immediately see an advantage.
Then I started fiddling with it—and grew to like it. It’ll never replace my tool belt, but it has a lot of other great uses. You can hang it off your belt or a pocket. When I was working on my knees, it made grabbing and putting away a hammer way easier. For ladder work, it provided a surefire way to pack my hammer. I also liked it for holding a staple gun to install insulation and tar paper. The angle of the holster and the pressure of the metal clamp can be adjusted easily to hold different tools, and it only takes a minute to convert it for left-hand use. — Spike Carlsen
Comfortable Dust Mask
Standard masks just aren’t comfortable for long periods of time. They tend to get sweaty, so I end up taking them off—and they certainly don’t work when they’re not on your face. The RZ Dust Mask is made of light mesh fabric and has a pair of straps that keep it in place, comfortably. Beneath the mask is a replaceable filter. The discharge valve lets your breath go out instead of up, so it doesn’t fog your protective eyewear. — Tamar Hannah. Get this mask. Next, check out 11 products we’re buying on Amazon this month.
2-in-1 Impact Socket
Save time and space in your tool pouch with this two-in-one impact socket. Capable of switching between different size nuts and bolts completely hands-free, it’s an efficient addition to your workshop. There are three different models covering eight different head sizes to choose from. Check out these top auto mechanic tools.
You Need This Magnetic Stud Finder!
I need a stud finder about once a year…and that’s about how long the batteries in my electronic stud finder last. So I keep this handy gadget in the bottom of my toolbox for finding studs the old-fashioned way—magnetically. You run this little fella in a zigzag pattern across the wall, and when it detects a metal screw or nail that fastens the drywall to the stud, the little red tongue waggles. It seems a little hit-and-miss, but finding a stud has never taken me more than 15 seconds. Johnson Level’s Stud Finder Plus (about $4) is available at most hardware stores and home centers. — Spike Carlsen, Contributing Editor. Plus: Level Accuracy
Dueling Painter’s Tools
I love my 5-in-1 painter’s tool. It’s a putty knife, roller cleaner, scraper, chisel and pick all in one. When I finally wore it out and went to buy a new one, I found even more multi talented tools. The Purdy 10-in-1 folding multitool ($12) has a jackknife-style design. In the open position, it’ll clean rollers, spread compound, scrape away old paint and putty, cut tape and cardboard, and even open beer and pop bottles. In the closed position, it will drive popped drywall nails below the surface, open cans and drive slotted screws for switch plate covers.
I also discovered the Red Devil 19-in-1 painter’s tool ($10). It does everything the Purdy knife does but also has five screwdriver tips stashed in the handle and cutouts in the blade for handling four sizes of nuts and bolts. Find both tools at hardware stores and home centers. – Spike Carlsen
Check out these 13 expert sharpening tips and tools to make the job easier – no more dull DIY and garden tools!
Industrial Storage Rack
DeWalt offers this industrial storage rack with a patented racking system made especially for heavy-duty use. These shelves cost less than $200 and they are built to last a lifetime. Use these 51 brilliant ideas to organize your garage.
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 Kreg’s larger HD screws, it’s perfect for building bigger projects like workbenches and outdoor furniture. Kreg also makes weather-resistant screws (sold separately). The jig, which includes a drill bit and a square-drive bit, costs about $60.
Gilmour Circular Sprinkler with Spike Base
I’m not a huge fan of yard work, especially watering grass and gardens. So I pay attention to watering tools that make it easier—and Gilmour has come out with two watering tools that do just that. The Circular Sprinkler with Spike Base (No. 3203) has all the features you want and need, and its design makes it intuitive to operate. You simply slide collars to adjust the spray pattern or pull up the top for full-circle watering. It has a simple lever for adjusting spray distance and an on/off switch to minimize back-and-forth trips to the spigot. Two sprinklers can be linked in series. — Spike Carlsen, Contributing Editor
FastCap Scribing Tool
For the DIYer who is a perfectionist, this tool is ideal for scribing trim, architectural moldings, countertops, tile and flooring.
This heavy-duty twist tiller is 38 inches tall with a step plate to give you plenty of leverage when breaking into hard, compacted soil. Use the tiller in hard-to-reach areas and for mixing fertilizer or other amendments when you’re preparing your vegetable garden soil for spring planting. Keep pests out of your garden with these humane deterrents.
Air Shim Inflatable Pry Bar and Leveling Tool
This inflatable shim has a variety of uses, from holding a window in position by yourself while setting permanent shims to propping a door slab during installation, aligning base cabinets or leveling appliances. The air shim is easy to pump and can hold up to 300 pounds. Here’s how to shim gapping doors.
When you want to keep tools within easy reach, a pegboard organizer is a great alternative to the toolbox. Perfect for the workshop, garage or basement, this heavy-duty wall organizer is easy to install and includes the mounting hardware. Here’s how to organize almost anything with pegboard.
Wet-Vac Labor Saver
Wet vacuums make short work of cleaning up messes, but disposing of them can mean lugging around gallons of liquid. The Quick Connect Pump Accessory for Ridgid wet/dry vacuums lets you swap the heavy lifting for the flip of a switch.
You just attach the pump to your vacuum’s drain port, hook up a garden hose to the pump, and send the contents outside or to a drain. Turn the pump on and watch it empty the vacuum. The Quick Connect Pump fits onto a standard-size drain port, but check your vacuum to make sure it will fit. If you have a wet vacuum, you need one of these! It’s available for $50 at Home Depot.
Shop vacuums are incredibly useful around the house. Learn how to dry out carpet with one by clicking here.
A Costly Caulk Gun—and Worth It
It’s hard to appreciate the value of a good caulk gun until you’ve tried one. And this Albion B12 is the best I’ve ever used. The beefy trigger means less hand strain with stubborn adhesives and provides excellent flow control for a neat bead. And since this tool is built like a tank, I expect it will outlast me. Some builders also like the rotating cradle. But I couldn’t avoid turning it upside down, which allowed the caulk tube to fall out. No problem: I simply locked up the swiveling mechanism with glue. —Gary Wentz.
Photo courtesy of Greenworks
The Most Back-Friendly Wheelbarrow Around
The first time I used a gas-powered wheelbarrow, I thought I’d died and gone to heaven. I was in heaven vibrating like mad with ringing ears, but at least my back wasn’t killing me. However, the Greenworks G-MAX 40V self-propelled wheelbarrow provides the best of both worlds—it gets your stuff where it needs to go, and does it quietly and painlessly. The dual 10-in. pneumatic front wheels supply the propulsion while the back wheel does the steering.
It’ll haul up to 220 lbs. while tackling inclines of up to 20 degrees. The nearly 4-cu.-ft. tray is spacious enough to haul dozens of tools, many bags of mulch, or armfuls of twigs and weeds. It dumps with the squeeze of a lever and the lift of a handle. It has “tortoise” and “rabbit” speeds as well as forward and reverse. The throttle is a motorcycle–style twist grip. According to the manufacturer, the battery will last up to 45 minutes between charges.
Two dinky quirks: You can’t disengage the drive system and push it like a normal wheelbarrow, and you need to push the “safety switch” each time you put it in motion. Both are easily forgiven once you haul four bags of mulch uphill without breaking a sweat. The G-MAX 40V wheelbarrow is available online and at some home centers.
A Wheely Cool Idea
DIYers and NFL halfbacks have one thing in common (hint—it’s not the salary): bad knees. We spend time on our knees laying tile, wood flooring and patio pavers. We kneel to install electrical outlets and baseboard molding. We stoop to paint floors and doors. And after a while, all that takes a toll. That’s why I jumped at the opportunity to try KneeBlades, essentially a pair of three-wheeled knee pads. They allow you to glide across hard surfaces while working, meaning way less standing up, walking over, then kneeling down GOING MOBILE again to cut, install or fetch. I tried them while installing laminate flooring and loved being able to scoot over to the miter saw to make cuts, then scoot back again to install a section. Better yet, with the click of a button, you can ditch the three-wheeled platforms and use just the high-quality kneepads. Sure, they’re a little heavy and awkward to have on when you DO need to walk around. And someone may tell you that you look like something out of a Transformers movie. But if you’re serious about protecting your knees, pick up a pair for $60 at milescraft.com.
Tough Attachment for Tight Spots
For driving or drilling in the tightest spaces, a right-angle attachment is a lifesaver. The Milescraft Drive90PLUS is my favorite because it’s tough enough to use with my impact driver. And that makes driving screws easier. Other right-angle attachments are only rated for 250 in.-lbs., while this one can handle up to 1,500 in.-lbs. — Jeremiah James.
While small blocks of wood are typical for setting the cutting depth on the table saw blade, they usually get knocked on the floor and thrown away after time. For a smaller, more efficient and long-lasting way to cut the depth, try these magnetic spacers. They measure a mere 1/8 inches, and can also work for setting the depth on router bits and drill presses. Check out these table saw tips and techniques from the pros.
Better Glue Bottle
The FastCap Glu-Bot glue bottle makes nearly every aspect of using wood glue a whole lot easier and neater. The wide base prevents tip-over spills and the cap is stored right on top of the bottle, so you should never lose it. It comes with a wide-blade tip and a pointed tip that can be swapped in seconds. But the best part is that you don’t have to wait for the glue to reach the nozzle. Just hold the bottle upright and squeeze to force the glue to the nozzle. (This is especially great for vertical glue-ups.) When you release the bottle, glue is sucked back out of the nozzle, which minimizes the mess. — Aaron Massey.
NOAA Weather Radio
A smart addition to your storm survival kit is a weather radio to tune in for important storm warnings and other emergency information. This radio will also light up dark spaces and can be charged with a hand crank, or via solar charging, micro USB cable or 3 AAA batteries (not included).
Milwaukee Cordless Combo Tool Kit
If you’re planning on doing some home improvement projects before the holidays, it’s time to update your tool set. This combo kit comes with six tools, two 3.0Ah batteries, a charger and a bag. Notable features include patented technologies and electronics, an innovative motor design and superior ergonomics, all of which give you the power, weight and performance you need to get the work done efficiently. The best part? At The Home Depot, the tool kit is on sale for $399, which is a whopping $268 difference from its usual $667 price tag! Check out these 15 $10 or less items every DIYer should have in their tool kit.
Every Last Glob
Remember the toy that had you fit square pegs in the square holes and triangular pegs in the triangular holes? Taping knives are straight; buckets of joint compound are round—a toddler could figure out that there’s a better tool for scooping out mud. Enter the bucket scoop: Its curved blade is shaped to match the bucket, so you can scoop out every last glob.
The Magswitch Workholding System is awesome. It’s built around releasable magnets that solidly lock onto table saws or other machines—as long as they have an iron table. To release the magnets, just turn the knobs. This starter kit comes with a base, two switchable magnets and a reversible feather board. There are lots of other attachments available, or you can use your imagination and come up with your own jigs. — Mike Berner.
Mini Multi-Level Storage Box
Better than your traditional toolbox, this utility box has storage drawers that are ideal for storing nuts and bolts, nails, washers and screws. The top bin has room for small hand tools and a locking clip. These are the best tool boxes for trucks.
Smart Plugs to Ease Your Mind
How often have you been at work worrying whether you left the iron or space heater on at home? Well, if it’s plugged into a Wemo Smart Plug, worry no more—you can turn the power off when you’re away. Controlled by an app on your phone and connected to your home WiFi, these units offer some great features:
- You can schedule anything that’s plugged into it.
- You can use Voice Control with Google Assistant or Amazon Alexa.
- The “Away Mode” will ran domly turn a lamp on and off while you’re on vacation.
- One model, the Insight shown above, enables you to monitor your energy use.
- Wemo Mini Smart Plugs are stackable and don’t block the outlet when they’re plugged in.
Note: These plugs control the power to the device that’s plugged in but not the device itself. For example, a lamp or humidifier will turn on when supplied with power, but a coffee maker will still need to have a button pressed.
Single units are $35 to $45, and multipacks are $60 to $100 at belkin.com. Click here to find it on Amazon.
Universal Router Hood
I have a love-hate relationship with my routers. I love that they can take a chunk of wood or a ho-hum project and turn it into something polished and classy looking. I hate that they scatter dust and debris to all four corners of my shop. That’s why I was intrigued when a box emblazoned with “UNIVERSAL DUST-FREE ROUTER HOOD” landed on my workbench. Could it really eliminate dust? And would it really fit my router without a lot of hassle? The answers are yes and yes. The Oneida router hood costs about $35 at hardware stores, home centers and online.
Quick-Setting CA Glue
I’ve made a permanent home in my toolbox and trimming apron for cyanoacrylate glue, also known as superglue. But not the thin, runny style you’re probably familiar with. I prefer thick-viscosity versions, which are offered by most CA glue manufacturers. I’ve been using it in place of nails to create jigs for woodworking and to assemble smaller pieces of trim. The brand I keep on hand is Stick Fast. A 2.5-oz. bottle is about $10 at Rockler or online from Amazon.
Glue bottles like these can get really annoying when the caps get stuck. Find the solution by clicking here.
Powersmith 40V Max Battery-Powered Cordless Leaf Jet Blower
A cordless leaf blower is exactly what you need to get your fall chores done quickly. But this isn’t your average blower. The jet fan design delivers speeds up to 120 mph, the turbo button provides maximum power to remove wet leaves and debris and the variable speed trigger allows you to match the airflow to the task. To avoid fatigue, use the cruise control setting, which permits a constant air speed. Check out these 15 super-useful tools for dealing with leaves.
Worx AeroCart Wagon Kit
The wheelbarrow has remained a straightforward gardening tool for the last century—until now. The Worx AeroCart Wagon Kit is an 8-in-1 tool that can be a wheelbarrow, yard cart, bag holder, dolly, rock/plant mover and trailer tote. The two-wheel design makes a 200-pound load feel like 17 pounds. The enhanced feature of this cart is the flat-free tires that never need inflating. Oh, and the cupholders! “If Porsche made a garden cart, it would look like this,” says an Amazon reviewer. Check out this awesome garden cart you can build yourself.
Since getting my hands on a FastCap ProCarpenter tape, I’ve refused to use any other tape measure. I love that it shows the fractions down to 1/16 in. right side up on both sides of the tape, which means I can pull the tape from the left or the right and not have to read numbers upside down. It has an erasable writing pad, a built-in pencil sharpener and a white blade, which I prefer to yellow. — Tamar Hannah, Woodworker from 3x3custom.com
Sandusky Steel Freestanding Garage Cabinet
Garages provide essential storage space, but when your nice and organized garage gets cluttered and out of control, then what? Then this! A modular, freestanding jumbo garage cabinet that’ll get you back on the right foot.And It’s a bargain! This cabinet was originally $456 and now it’s on sale for $346. It’s time to get organized again. Check out these 15 things you should never store in your garage.
A continuity tester can be great for DIYers looking to ensure safety when working with anything electrical. It can be used for small household needs or even while on a job site. Continuity testing determines if an open, shorted or closed circuit exists in an appliance or electronic device. Here’s how to use one.
Accurate Table Saw Setup
If you’ve ever set your table saw to make a 45-degree bevel cut for a box or picture frame and ended up with gapping miters because the markings on your machine were half a degree off, you need this Wixey Digital Angle Gauge. Just set it on your table, zero out the display and then stick the magnetic base onto the blade and adjust the bevel. The digital readout will tell you the angle of your blade down to one-tenth of a degree. — Tamar Hannah.
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. — Jason White, Contributing Editor
Check out some more garden products here.
Clearing Garden Tools
Bahco’s 2-1/2-in. ERGO Paint Scraper is in a class by itself. The cemented carbide blades last much longer than conventional steel. The textured rubber handle provides a comfortable grip, and along with the knob, lets you use both hands so you can scrape with less effort. And the reversible blade is easy to flip when one side gets dull. This ERGO scraper is available online for about $30. —Tamar Hannah
This scraper comes in a few different sizes. Check it out on Amazon right here.
Extra Hand, Anyone?
Ever held a flashlight in your teeth to make a plumbing or auto repair? Well, these flashlight holders can save your teeth and your neck. Both holders have a 9-in. flexible neck that bends 90 degrees and rotates 360 degrees. The tapered spring clip firmly grips flashlights ranging from 3/4 in. to 2 in. in diameter. The spring clamp version can be secured to any object up to 2 in. thick. The magnetic version has a powerful disc magnet that can cling to appliances, vehicles and many flat metal surfaces. You can even stick this version to a drill press table so a flashlight can illuminate your work.
Plus, check out The Coolest Yard Tools You’ve Ever Seen.
Walabot DIY In-Wall Imager
This in-wall, multi-functional sensor provides a real-time visual image behind concrete and drywall. Capable of seeing up to four inches deep, the imager detects metal and wood studs, pipes, PVC and wires. It can also detect and track the movement of rodents behind the wall. Note: It’s only compatible with Android phones. Finding a stud behind plaster and lath is hit-or-miss with a typical stud finder. Here’s a better method.
Twenty years ago, I took a chance on this odd-looking framing hammer (below right). Glad I did. Besides the perfect balance and feel, it has some nice extras. The steep claw angle gives ample leverage for pulling nails, and the claws are pointed so I can dig out sunken nails. A magnetic nail slot lets me start a nail where I can’t reach high enough to hold the nail. My wood-handled version costs $67 at japanwoodworker.com; the Ohsho Claw Hammer Middium on the left is about $46 on Amazon. — Brad Holden.
Gardening Gloves with Fingertips
Get a grip on those weeds with these gloves with fingertips. The fingertips also come in handy when it’s time to plant seeds—allowing you to get them in just the right spot. “I’m one to dig right into the mud with my hands because I don’t like how restrictive tools are. Plus, I’m always afraid of damaging roots when I’m transplanting. With these I can feel what’s going on in the dirt around me, but keep my hands clean and nails intact,” said one reviewer. Love to garden but short on time? Plant, water and weed more efficiently with these tips.
CliC reading glasses have three features I love. First, the solid plastic neck strap is adjustable at the temples so you can slide them until they fit your face perfectly. The lenses are much higher quality than the cheap ones I used to buy. And lastly, I love the magnets that snap the frame together over your nose (hence the name “CliC”).
CliC glasses (starting at $30) come in six magnifying powers from 1.25 to 3, and in many different colors and styles. I’m now on my third pair, upgrading the magnification as time marches on. They’re always right there around my neck when I need to cheat—perfect for the shop! — Travis Larson.
Foldable, Rollable, Shapeable Sandpaper
Folding a piece of sandpaper usually means shortening its life span. Not so with these 3M Ultra Flexible Sanding Sheets. They’re super tough and have a bit of stretch, so they won’t tear nearly as easily as their paper counterparts. Just wrap a sheet around a block, dowel or other profile to match your needs, then go to town. The sheets are great for wet sanding. If your sheet gets clogged, just rinse it off or crinkle it up to release the dust.
Change Your Bit with One Quick Flip
The Montana Modular Drill and Drive set makes drilling pilot holes and driving screws a snap. Everything you need is in one multipurpose unit. Drill the pilot hole, pull on the quick release, flip it over and drive the screw—perfect! The kit comes with all the sizes of countersink bits you’ll need, along with Nos. 1, 2 and 3 Phillips-head driving tips. For about $20, you can really speed up your work! Next, check out the drill bit sharpener every DIYer needs.
Gone are the days of bending over to pluck a pesky dandelion. With Fiskars Triple-Claw Weeder’s long handle and easy-eject mechanism you’ll never have to pluck a weed by hand again. Or, use these natural techniques to help prevent the spread of weeds—and learn what they can teach you about your soil.
Shears for your Garden or Shop
When summer finally rolls around again, I’ll be in my garden every day, pruning, harvesting and maintaining the crops. My Chinese garden shears make pruning thicker stems and harvesting veggies a breeze. They’re part of the SE SC616 three-piece set I found online. I use small shears to clip herbs, and I keep a larger pair in my shop for trimming leather or other tough material. — Anne of All Trades.
Cuisinart 13-Piece Wooden Handle Tool Set
If you’re hesitant to bring your high-buck, heavy-duty grilling tool set along on a camping trip or to a beach-side BBQ, this grilling tool set by Cuisinart makes a perfect backup. And, it’s on sale for $23.67! Clear out the clutter—and make your kitchen more functional—with multi-use kitchen gadgets.
This adjustable wrench is 45 percent thinner than most wrenches, making it perfect for getting in to tight spaces. It features a four-thread knurl and non-protruding jaws. And, it’s made of chrome vanadium steel for durability. Buy this cool tool, a special faucet nut wrench, to simplify leaky faucet removal.
This hardware storage organizer from Stanley is features a wide handle, so it’s easy to carry to and from the job site. It has removable cup compartments in three different sizes, perfect for all sizes of hardware. Follow these tips for getting your garage clean and organized.
Terrific for Tires
Why lug around a heavy compressor and hose just to fill tires? All you really need is a battery-powered inflator. There are many versions available, some costing less than $40. My favorite is the more expensive Milwaukee 2475 Compact Inflator, which automatically shuts off when the tire is at the correct pressure. — Mark Peterson.
Safety glasses are essential for many at-home projects. These feature rubber-tipped temples and an integrated rubber nose piece for longer, comfortable wear. And, they have a full frame with larger lens that provides excellent coverage. Safety glasses may not seem like a gift item at first, but you’re telling your DIYer that you genuinely care about their eyes! Protect safety glasses by storing them in an old sock.
My Triton SuperJaws XXL Portable Clamping System is by far the most versatile tool in my shop. I use it on every single project. It’s a reliable third hand or a clamp when I’m doing a glue-up. When I need a quick work surface, I clamp a scrap of plywood between the jaws. The system folds up for compact storage, but mine is in use constantly and never gets put away. — April Wilkerson. Buy it on Amazon.
GARDENA Smart SILENO City Robotic Lawnmower Set
One of the most exciting products brought to the Consumer Electronics Show was the GARDENA Smart SILENO City Robotic Lawnmower Set. Achieving a picture-perfect lawn without the hands-on work is finally a reality with this smart device. It uses SensorCut Systems to accurately mow your lawn, can master 25 percent inclines and moves through tight passageways with ease. Check out these 14 robots you need to clean your house!
Tyroler Bright Tools The Glider Magnetic Window Cleaner
This magnetic window cleaner is effective for double-glazed windows, between 0.8 inch and 1.1 inch thick. Called “The Glider,” it allows you to clean the outside of your windows while staying indoors.
“Great product,” says a reviewer. “The strong magnets allow cleaning 5/8-inch-thick glass on hurricane sliding doors where a 3-inch space between the fixed insect screen and the glass would have been too small for traditional cleaning tools. Using soapy water in a garden sprayer to liberally coat both sides of the glass made it possible for The Glider to move freely in slow sweeping motions without the outside piece becoming detached. Most of the soap solution was removed by the squeeze (squeegee) and the few remaining drops were removed by using the microfiber cloths. This product is well-designed and worth the purchase price.”
Bucket Tool Organizer
The Bucket Boss turns a five-gallon bucket into an easy-to-carry tool organizer. It comes with 30 pockets that line the outside and inside of the bucket, as well as three interior loops to hold a hammer, drill or other tools with handles. If all your tools are stuffed in plastic buckets or jumbled together in a drawer, check out these simple yet clever tool storage tips.
Perfect Hearing Protection
My ISOtunes PRO Bluetooth ear-buds have become almost as essential as my tool belt. Aside from noise-canceling, ANSI-certified hearing protection, they provide 10 hours of great sound quality between charges. They let me take phone calls without dropping my tools, and they never slip out of my ears. These earbuds are tough, too. They’ve been battered, snagged on nails and subjected to extreme heat, cold, rain and grime. No problem. If abuse ever wrecks them, I’ll definitely buy another pair. — Mike Berner.
Hardworking Hand Cream
For the DIYer who needs to practice self-care a bit more, this hand cream is the perfect gift under $20. It creates a protective layer on the skin’s surface that instantly boosts moisture levels and prevents further moisture loss, so a DIYer can get back to doing what they love without the discomfort. You may also want to check out these 26 incredible gifts for gardeners.
Dimensioning Instrument + Pen
This creative tool is ideal for quick measurements of objects or 3D references to use in computer aided design (CAD). The stylish tool is carved in aluminum and contained within a pen, pencil, stylus or GO configuration. It works to capture dimensions of any object, and converts and shares it on your smartphone. Our favorite pros are letting you in on their favorite go-to tools for electrical, plumbing, painting and other home improvement projects.
These oversize leaf claws from Relief Leaf Scoops will come in handy when it’s time to scoop up leaves and grass clippings. The ergonomic design also makes easier work of spreading mulch and picking fruit. These 14 pro tips will make fall leaf raking easy.
A Work Light that Shows True Colors
The Hybrid LED Color Range Work Light from Ryobi features variable color temperature, allowing you to adjust the light quality to your work space. It improves color perception—a big benefit for painting—and it reduces eye strain from working in bright white light. The ability to warm up the light as well as dim it can keep you working comfortably longer. The work light features 360-degree light head rotation and includes a tripod mount. It’s cordless, but it can also be plugged into an extension cord. This light is available at Home Depot for $80 without a battery. It’s part of Ryobi’s 18-volt ONE+ System, so you won’t need the battery if you’ve already invested in the system. — Mike Berner. Get this light today.
I keep three essentials in my shop apron: a pencil, a tape measure and a small combination square. A 4- or 6-in. square can handle 90 percent of my shop needs: making layout marks, checking assemblies for square and setting up tools. A little square doesn’t create much extra bulk in my apron, and at less than $10, it doesn’t break the bank either. — Brad Holden.
Make sure your vegetable garden tools are ready for the job with this garden tool sharpener. It sharpens blades on shears, hoes and shovels—no oil or stones necessary. And, it can be cleaned in the dishwasher! Save money in your garden with these 10 tricks.
The Ultimate Hang-Stuff-On-The-Wall Tool
This Kapro 313 Measure Mate 24-in. layout and marking tool wears a lot of hats: It’s a horizontal and vertical level, a measuring stick, a straightedge for cutting picture mats and a centering tool. It even has a pull-out clip on the end to help hold screws and tiny nails while you install them.
To hang a shelf or rack with hidden keyhole mounts (which must be spaced the exact distance apart), align the two sliding markers with the keyhole slots, then position the level at the appropriate height and transfer those measurements to the wall. Your mounting screws will be dead level and correctly spaced. It’s great for cutting cardboard; the triangular shape keeps your fingers up and out of the way of your blade.
The Measure Mate costs about $14 online. Check it out on Amazon right here.
Hauling Lumber is a Cinch
Making trips from the lumberyard often requires driving with boards and sheet goods hanging out over the tailgate of a 6-ft. pickup bed. You could use a ratchet strap at the bed anchors to keep your materials from sliding around, but ratchets end up getting tangled in the strapping, and in tight quarters ratcheting can be difficult.
If you place the Cam Jam XT aluminum cord tightener between the anchors and wrap the cord around the lumber, pulling the cord through will engage the cam and secure your material. The Cam Jam cord tighteners make this process easy and take up less storage space than my ratchet straps. — Mike Berner. Get it on Amazon.
Photo Courtesy of Dewalt
A New Heavy Hitter
We expect a lot from our sledgehammers. We want an indestructible head and a handle that can withstand overstrike. We also want a tool to be the ideal weight: heavy enough to bust through concrete yet light enough to swing all day. With most sledges you get two out of three—but one company has upped the score. DeWalt EXOCORE sledgehammers feature composite carbon fiber handles that are durable and seemingly immune to overstrike damage. The handles—which are about two-thirds hollow—lighten the weight and help absorb shock. The sledgehammers are available in 8-, 10- and 12-lb. versions and cost $50 to $60. — Spike Carlsen, Contributing Editor
Check out these Concrete Demolition Tools and Tips.
Garden Hose Nozzle
Not only does this garden hose nozzle from Melnor feature a slip-resistant grip, it has an ergonomic grip design that makes watering easy on the hand, wrist and arm. It features seven watering patterns. Learn how to find the best garden hose for the job.
Whether it’s for welding, the garden, grilling or artistry, this utility apron is a built-to-last piece of DIY gear. It’s made of waxed canvas, which makes it water-resistant and durable. It’s also reinforced with double stitching, heavy-weight gun-metal grommets and rivets.
The string of a light-duty shop apron can really slice into your neck when you load up the apron with screws and tools. See how resourceful reader Steve Dailey solved this problem.
Easier Miter Measuring
The trickiest part of trimming out doors and windows is measuring, marking and cutting each trim board the right length. The problem? You take your final measurement from the “short side” of the first miter cut – and the wiggly end of the tape measure is hard to position in exactly the right place.
With the Miter Aid Measuring Clamp, you make your first miter cut (it has to be the “left side” miter), apply the clamp, slip the hooked end of your tape into the slot, then get your measurement and mark away. No fuss, no muss. The tool also has a built-in 1/4-in. lip you can use to mark a 1/4-in. reveal on the door or window jamb before measuring.
The Miter Aid Measuring Clamp costs about $16 at home centers and online. Learn more at trimclip.com.
Professional Bypass Pruning Shears
Originally priced at $39.99, now you can pick up these pruning shears for just $15.95. And, there’s an extra 10-percent off coupon available!
“These are a really good quality pair of shears. They are more comfortable then my old pair of shears. Lightweight, sharp. Gets the job done with very little squeeze of the hand, which is much appreciated with my arthritic hands,” says a reviewer.
For the DIYer who needs a little bit more organization, gift them this magnetic wristband. Ideal for holding nails, drill bits, fasteners, wrenches and small tools, they’ll never again call out to you in frustration when they drop a nail on the floor! You may also like this DIY magnetic tape measure hack.
Lock Washer in a Bottle
Still using lock washers? Get a grip—pick up some thread adhesive instead. It’s been around a long time, but amazingly, pro mechanics are still the biggest users. All DIYers tighten nuts and bolts, right?
Thread adhesives are better than any mechanical locking system for two reasons. First, the liquid plastic fills all the gaps between the threads so the threads stay locked together. And second, the plastic seals the metal against corrosion. There are many formulas for all kinds of tasks, but the most common are the red and blue Loctite thread adhesives—red for permanent bolts and blue for removable ones. (Loctite is the dominant brand; Devcon is another.) The red and blue types cost about $6 for a 6-ml tube. — Travis Larson. Buy it on Amazon now.
Push/Tow Poly Lawn Roller
This is the perfect tool for erasing lawn damage from moles and frost. It can also be used to pack down loose dirt, seed or sod. The poly roller drum is made to withstand dents, rust and the elements season after season. Designed for no-hassle storage, when you’re finished using this roller, you simply drain it and hang it up.
“I am an avid gardener…looked at this model on about 5 different sites…This is EXACTLY what I wanted,” says an Amazon reviewer. “The quality of this Brinly is quite amazing. I have already rolled my yard & got the Emerald Zoysia I have planted looking like carpet…It has helped me turn a bumpy lawn where I plugged the zoysia to a very smooth good looking carpet lawn yard. BTW Amazon beat the other sites prices by $40 for whatever it is worth…”
Sharper Way to Sharpen
The old adage “A dull knife is more dangerous than a sharp one” comes from the notion that forcing a dull knife can easily lead to slips and mishaps. The Smith’s Pocket Pal knife sharpener lets you sharpen kitchen, hunting and pocket knives quickly and inexpensively. It consists of two V-shaped grooves: one with two coarse carbide stones to help reestablish the profile of extremely worn blades, and one with fine ceramic stones to provide a razor-sharp cutting edge. I found it took about 10 swipes in the fine groove to sharpen moderately dull kitchen and pocket knives. It also features a round diamond-coated rod to sharpen the hills and valleys of serrated knives. The Smith’s Pocket Pal knife sharpener costs about $10. — Spike Carlsen, Contributing Editor
Check out these 13 expert sharpening tips and tools to make the job easier — no more dull DIY and garden tools!
Make sure you’re ready for spring and summer gardening with a new sprinkler. If you have an in-ground system, check to see if any heads were damaged over the winter. For portable sprinklers, make sure they haven’t rusted or cracked so you’re ready when it’s time to start watering. Find the best sprinkler for your yard.
Digital Laser Infrared Thermometer Temperature Gun
Safely measure surface temperatures from a distance while ensuring laser-sharp accuracy with this product for your workshop. It allows you to measure extreme temperatures ranging from -58°F to 716°F. And it’s only $17! If your oven cooking times are off, recalibrate your oven temperature to match an accurate oven thermometer.
A Pair Of Killer Digging Tools
When you see the word “assassin” in a company’s name, you figure it must have some killer products. Well, the two “Root Assassin” shovels we tried sure lived up to their name.
The Root Assassin Shovel has an alligator snout-shaped blade with aggressive teeth to match. It will easily sever small roots with a single plunge and can be used as a foot-powered saw for cutting through larger roots. The teeth are so sharp that you can use the tool for pruning above-ground branches. the blade and handle are unibody constructed of industrial-grade steel and guaranteed for life. It’s a heavy-duty tool, yet at 4 lbs., it’s light enough to carry around all day. If you ever need to dig a posthole or remove or transplant a root-bound bush or tree, this is the shovel to grab. The company also offers a small version of the tool.
The One Shot Shovel, also made by Root Assassin, has two features we love. The top of the blade has a wide flange that gives your foot more area to push and distributes the pressure over a wider area. The flange continues around the side of the shovel, allowing you to carry larger loads without spilling. The top and side flanges combine to increase the overall strength of the blade, making this a true workhorse.
The Root Assassin shovel retails for $50, the One Shot shovel for $40. You can buy them at other online retailers.
Favorite Oscillating Tool
An oscillating multitool is the kind of tool that goes unused for months and then saves the day in some oddball situation. For me, that usually means cutting metal or wood in tight quarters. Over the past couple years, I’ve tried a dozen oscillating tools. The Rockwell Sonicrafter F80 is unique in letting you select the oscillating angle: The blade makes short swings when you need precision, wide swings when you want to get aggressive. It also packs more power than most (4.2 amps). The Sonicrafter F80 accepts blades of any brand. — Gary Wentz. Order this multitool now. Next, check out some really cool tech add-ons for your car.
Rotating Hedge Trimmer
If you’re still using a corded hedge trimmer, it might finally be time to leave the cord hassles behind. Many manufacturers make battery- powered hedge trimmers, but Worx has one with a unique feature: a rotating handle so you can cut vertically without contorting your torso. It takes just a few seconds to twist it the other way for horizontal trimming. This 24-in. trimmer includes two 20V batteries and a double charging station to charge both at once. Available on Amazon.
If you already have a hedge trimmer, check out these pruning tips for healthy bushes.
Neon Duct Tape
Give the DIYer in your life a fun way to make their next quick fix really stand out. This neon duct tape is excellent for repairs, crafting and many more imaginative projects. Read our duct tape round up to find duct tape designed to solve odd problems and for many special uses.
Bosch Cordless Shrub and Grass Shear
Gardening tools are pretty straight forward, but that doesn’t mean they can’t be smart! This handheld multi-tool from Bosch allows you to trim your hedges, shrubs and grass with the same tool. Thanks to its lightweight design, featuring a lithium-ion battery, you can master the art of well-groomed plants with almost an hour of work on one charge. The anti-blocking system prevents the shear from stalling, so you can get a perfect cut every time. Here is a collection of the top cordless outdoor power tools.
A pocket knife is a great gift for anyone who likes to be the resident DIYer. A pocket knife is handy when someone needs help opening a package, sharpening a pencil, making kindling for a fire, etc. This product features a steel blade, wood handle, a back clip that makes it easy to carry, and a lock that holds the blade in place for safety. Check out this folding knife with fast blade access.
ZipSnip Cutting Tool
This cordless electric cutter is a lightweight and handy tool that will make good old scissors seem so last century. It’s small enough to fit in a utility drawer, but advanced enough to handle jobs too tough for scissors and knives. The cutting tool is powered by a rechargeable 4V MaxLithium battery, which holds a charge for months. These 13 expert sharpening tips and tools make the job easier – no more dull DIY and garden tools!
No-Touch Voltage Tester
As a new homeowner, there’s a good chance you’ll suddenly find yourself dealing with the occasional wonky light fixture or electrical outlet. It’s best practice to always turn off the power at the main electrical panel before working on anything that has to do with your home’s electricity, but unfortunately breakers are rarely labeled, and the labels they do have are often not reliable. If you have fuses rather than breakers, never make this dangerous mistake.
Use a no-touch voltage tester (aka a “current wand”) to verify the power has been shut off before working on electrical issues. You can even use it to trace electrical wiring without having to open up the wall. Here’s a great resource on how to use voltage testers.
Make your home’s exterior shine this spring with a good power washing. Power washing your home can also prevent the growth of mold and mildew which feeds on grime. This power washer from Ryobi has 1,800 psi and works great for cleaning windows, decks and siding, and includes three nozzles. Before buying an electric power washer, check out these reviews and buying tips.
A Low-Vibration Sander
There’s not one BIG thing we love about Rockwell’s new Vibrafree random orbital sander—it’s a lot of little things. The split disc has inner and outer rings (one turns clockwise, the other counterclockwise) that counteract each other for less vibration. The split-disc design also provides a larger opening for more efficient dust collection (using either the clear collector shown or the vacuum attachment included). The sander feels good in the hand, and we like the variable speed – not a revolutionary feature on an RO sander, but like we said, it’s the little things. At first glance, the inner and outer sanding discs might seem like a disadvantage – more edges to catch and more sandpaper to tear – but they grip tenaciously.
The only drawback we see is the need to buy proprietary sanding discs; more stuff to store and keep track of. But the pain is lessened by the 15 discs that come with it, along with a tool bag to keep everything together.
The Vibrafree sander (about $70) is available at home centers and online.
VonHaus Electric Tiller/Cultivator
This tiller from VonHaus four robust steel tines that are capable of tilling to 8.6 inches deep and 12.5 inches wide. The double-handled design enables stability and maneuverability, and this machine features a safety switch that stops the motor to prevent damage to the blades.
“This thing is a garden warhorse,” says an Amazon reviewer. “It chewed through my extremely tough clay soil areas like it was a joke. I accidentally hit a chunk of cement my home builders left as a gift for me in the soil, and it obliterated the cement rock like it was a piece of cotton candy. It used to take me all day to till my garden due to the hard soil in my area (which no amount of soil additives seem to ever help), which total area I estimate to be about a square 23 ft, this had the project done in 30 minutes.
“I now recommend this to every small gardener I know. To make it better, when I don’t need this, the handles can easily be taken apart and stored in a very small space.”
It’s only a matter of time before you have to work in a cramped, hard-to-reach spot in your attic, basement or under your porch. But no matter the situation, we can practically guarantee that it will be dark and you will need two hands to complete the job. This is where a headlamp comes to the rescue.
Modern LED headlamps are lightweight, don’t produce excess heat, and can be tilted to shine their light in the most useful direction. Many even have “emergency features” such as a blinking light to attract attention.
And if there’s a Harbor Freight store near you, they’re often free with any purchase! While you’re picking one up, make the most of your trip to that popular discount store with these 15 Things Harbor Freight Employees Won’t Tell You.
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