18 Handyman Gifts That Dads Will Love
If you’re looking for gift ideas for your dad, grandfather, husband, son, or other handy fellow, spoil them with these handyman-approved tools and products, tested and recommended by our editors. Every dad will love them!
A Better Work Light
You’ve probably used halogen work lights. And you’ve also probably burned your fingers on them, cussed the fragile bulbs and sweated from the heat they generated. Now there’s an alternative.
The Husky Portable LED Work Light is cool to the touch, can take abuse, won’t heat up a tight work space and costs only $35 at The Home Depot. I’ve been using it for various small projects, and I love it. Especially the fact that I can knock it around a bit. And since it’s got an LED, its power use is minimal.
All that is great. But one thing you need to know: It can’t match the brightness of your typical halogen work light. A traditional halogen work light might produce 8,000 lumens, 10 times the output of this light. But for small jobs or tight spaces, it’s just the ticket.
Save Your Back and Knees With a Rolling Seat
Find creeper seats at any auto parts store, home center or online tool site. The model shown here is the Sunex 8507 Creeper Seat. A unit with a pneumatic lift and a contoured seat (for you Ferrari owners) could set you back a little more.
Swiss Army Knife of Screwdrivers
For decades, we carried 4-in-1 screwdrivers on our tool belt and used them all around the house for DIY projects. They’re great tools. But lately, we’ve been using more star-drive and squaredrive screws, and our old 4-in-1 can’t drive them. So we’ve been trying a couple different screwdrivers that handle multiple bits.
One of our favorites is the Ideal 11-in-1 Screwdriver/Nutdriver. It has the usual small and large slotted and Phillips bits, plus two sizes of square drives, two sizes of Torx tips and two sizes of outdrive. The 11th bit is pretty handy, too: a wrench for wire connectors, to save dad some thumb-ache. The screwdriver is designed for electricians, but we say it’s a darn handy screwdriver for everyday use too.
Really Foil Trailer Thieves
If you have a really expensive trailer, it pays to get an extra layer of protection by using a “boot”-style lock in addition to the coupler lock. There are many styles to choose from, but we liked this particular model (the Trimax TCL75 Wheel Chock Lock, available at amazon.com) because it doubles as a wheel chock to prevent the trailer from rolling. Just slide it onto the wheel and press in the lock cylinder.
His Favorite Work Shirt
The work shirt we always come back to is the lightweight Carhartt chambray shirt. Here’s why: It’s all cotton, in a medium weight that is comfortable indoors and out. It’s got two button-down chest pockets and long tails that stay tucked in. It comes out of the dryer looking good. All basic stuff. But Carhartt also didn’t muck it up: no funny-looking buttons, no obtrusive branding, no double-wide or beanpole cut. You could wear this shirt to change your oil or go to church (well, at least while it’s fairly new).
Piping-hot Cuppa Joe Anywhere
Your handyman will love this electric coffee cup warmer! Use it to keep coffee warm while working in the shop (or just at a desk during the week). It’s perfect for tea and hot chocolate too.
Lit-up Baseball Cap
This might be the most useful gift he’ll ever receive. It’s a baseball cap with three LED lights in the brim. It’s comfortable, puts out plenty of light, and the light is always aimed at what you’re looking at.
Soil Testing Made Easy: General 4-in-1 Soil Condition Meter
Portable Mini Vise
The Irwin 3-in. Clamp-On Vise attaches to any makeshift workbench and is small and light in weight—but not lightweight when it comes to clamping. It’s a great tool for holding spade bits for sharpening, steel conduit or chain for cutting, and strike plates for filing. It also grips hard-to-hold bolts for cutting, steel angle for bending…the list goes on. The jaw measures about 3 in. and it opens to about 3 in.
Practical Job Site Power Strip
Drill in Just About Everything Bits
We tried it, and it’s true. The Multi-Material drill bits from Irwin actually do drill almost everything. For us that included marble, steel, aluminum, wood, concrete and brick. We used an ordinary cordless drill, but the bits are rated for rotary or hammer drills, which would really speed up drilling masonry or stone.
Milwaukee recently introduced the M18 Jobsite Radio/Charger, which allows you to play tunes on the radio from the smartphone in your pocket. No more missed phone calls when you can’t hear your phone ring because it’s plugged into the radio in the other room.
Like other job site radios, the M18 charges your tool batteries when it’s plugged in and runs off them when it’s not. It’s ruggedly built and has USB charging ports to charge your devices. But unlike other radios, the M18 allows you to stream your music from up to 100 ft. away.
For the Dad Whose Basement is Never Finished
Check out this great gift for basement remodelers (and anyone else who drives lots of concrete screws): the Irwin 1881131 Impact Performance Series Concrete Screw Drill-Drive Installation Set. This nine-piece set contains everything dad needs to drive the most common concrete screw sizes: four drill bits, a drive sleeve, two hex drive bits and two Phillips drive bits. The drive sleeve makes it simple to shift from drilling to driving in seconds.
Wixey Digital Angle Gauge
Once it’s calibrated, you can adjust the blade to the desired angle, all the while getting an accurate digital readout. When you get the desired angle, whether it’s 22-1/2 or 45 degrees, you know it’s right on, and you can proceed with your project instead of spinning your wheels micro-adjusting.
Cooler Mud Boots
If Dad works or plays in serious wet weather and mud, completely waterproof boots are the only choice. But in warmer weather, they can be torture – like walking in a swamp of your own sweat. The Original Muck Boot Company has come up with an improvement. Its Chore Cool boots have a moisture-wicking lining to help keep your feet dry.
Mostly, though, we love the regular features of Muck Boots: a soft top that doesn’t chafe your skin; aggressive Vibram soles; and stretchy, flexible insulation that keeps your feet warm without making you feel like you’re wearing buckets on your feet. Comfortable waterproof boots—what a concept!
Diagonal Cutters Redux
Diagonal cutters have been around for decades. Now Irwin Tools has introduced a new version called the PowerSlot (aka the VISE-GRIP Max-Leverage Pliers with PowerSlot, Diagonal Cutting, 8-inch #1902413).
Irwin engineered the mechanics so that the cutters exert twice the cutting power of conventional diagonal cutters with the same amount of hand squeeze. Couple that with super-duper hardened steel to handle all that cutting power and you have a set of diagonals worth the price. (And yes, we really did cut that chain link with them. You’d never be able to do that with everyday cutters.)
Stepladder That Gives You 360-degree Movement
The new Werner Podium Stepladder will make Dad slap his forehead and say, “Why didn’t somebody think of this 40 years ago?” It’s a stepladder with a standing platform. So instead of teetering on rungs and leaning painfully on your shins, you stand on a square platform with plenty of room to turn around a full 360 degrees. If you need to lean out, there’s a curved railing to steady yourself. And the railing is designed to hold tools.
This little sight level is great for getting a close approximation of elevation or aligning XYZ over a long distance (it’s way better than a clip-on line level). For example, you can use it to check the pitch of drain tile, estimate the slope of a backyard or fence, check the slope of driveway forms and determine the height for the post of an elevated deck. You just look through the lens the way you do with a telescope and level the tool with the visible bubble inside. The CST/Berger 17-5502-1 Sight Mark level shown has a 2-1/2-power magnification to help with distant objects.