We’ve received a lot of feedback from readers asking us to recommend gift ideas for the do-it-yourselfer. Whether you’re shopping for a birthday, Father’s Day or Christmas present for someone (maybe yourself), below you’ll find some of the best ideas for gifts in all price ranges. Some of these you may be familiar with… others you may not.
Even if you think the person you’re shopping for has every tool imaginable, there’s probably something on this list they (or you) would love to own. We’ve used the tools, done the research, looked over a year’s worth of notes, scoured our wish-lists, and even not-so-subtly hinted at some of these to our significant others. The result is what we feel are some cool, new, invaluable, and unique tool gift ideas for others or yourself.
For your convenience, we’ve sorted the products by price range. Have a gift idea that would be a good addition? Leave a comment below and we may just add it.
This handy little multi-head screwdriver is about the size of a Sharpie pen and perfect for keeping in the car, backpack, purse (for women), junk drawer in the house, or in your pocket. Includes 2 double-ended bits (tip sizes: 5/32″, 1/8″, 0pt, and 1pt) that are stored in the handle. Makes for a great stocking-stuffer.
A professional grade bottle opener? Well of course! Combine this with a 6-pack of beer and you have a cheap gift set any man would love. As a bottle opener, it’s as good as it gets. It has the same high quality you’d expect from Klein Tools and takes off bottle caps with ease and no slips. Great conversation piece.
This is one of those ingenious products that will do 1,000 things. What looks like strange hammer is actually 11 tools in one. It’s a hammer, nail puller, mallet, reversible ratcheting bit driver with seven bits (Phillips/slotted/hex) and flexible drive shaft, removable box cutter, and more. The thing we like most is the amount of torque you get when turning a screw due to the handle shape. Great for the car, kitchen drawer, camping, or someone living in an apartment or dorm.
This tool is a necessity when working in tight quarters. Recently, a popular online garage tool forum had a thread asking which tool its users would never give up. Surprisingly, the stubby screwdriver was one of the most common answers. We think the Klein Tools version is the best and most comfortable to use with its rubber cushion-grip handle.
Everyone needs a good portable knife sharpener and this Lansky is by far the most popular and for good reason. Whether you have a straight or serrated blade, it will sharpen practically any knife, hatchet, or other cutting tool. Great for camping, hunting, around the garage, or in the kitchen.
It may look gimmicky but it’s actually super helpful. Working in a tight spot under the hood and don’t have a free hand to hold the bolt you just took off? Working on an extension ladder and don’t feel like holding nails between your teeth? Need to make that Ikea bookcase assembly go a bit faster? There are tons of uses for this magnetic wristband.
Quit bumping into your garage fridge or wondering if the garage door will clear the rear of your vehicle when it closes. Know exactly where to stop in the perfect spot each time with this stop block. The adhesive strips hold up well even in freezing temps and the low profile design means you won’t trip over it when the garage is empty. Sure beats the old fashioned “hanging tennis ball” method.
No matter if you’re young or old, garage floors and driveways are killers on your knees. This large 20 x 9 inch kneeling pad has 1-1/2 inches of thick foam inside for comfort, a waterproof bottom, and definitely beats having to wear uncomfortable knee pads or using those small, cheap gardening pads. In fact, this Snap-on pad is also fantastic for the garden.
Everyone needs a good quality carpenter pencil in their garage or workshop. This fatboy delivers. Easy to grip, durable, and the thick 5.5mm lead won’t break on you like so many other pencils. As an added bonus, flip the eraser over and you have a built-in sharpener. If you watch HGTV, you may notice this pencil being used in the show House Crashers as well as others.
It’s no secret we are fans of Klein Tools. This 11-in-1 screwdriver/nut driver is one of those tools that should be a “must-have” in everyone’s toolbox. Includes 8 popular tips and 3 common nut driver sizes. The cushioned handle is comfortable for extended use and allows for greater torque. Once you use a Klein Tools screwdriver, you won’t want to use anything else.
One of the best scribing tools we’ve ever tried, it’s easy to maintain a consistent scribe offset when putting in kitchen cabinets, countertops, tile, splash guards, trim or other projects which require scribing. Completely replaces the old-fashioned brass compass.
There are always going to be times in tight spaces where a standard ratchet won’t fit well. This clever little tool has a 72-tooth ratchet head (with a short 5-degree arc) that rotates on two axises to provide easier access for the user. While you probably won’t need to this tool every day, it’s invaluable in those times where nothing else will do. To remove a bolt, simply break it loose first and then finish off with this gimbal ratchet. Like every GearWrench product, you can expect exceptional quality. Available in both 3/8 and 1/4 inch versions.
A favorite of do-it-yourselfers everywhere and one of the smallest, lightest, and most useful flashlights for both men and women. The size of a Sharpie pen, the Stylus Pro has a strong 65 lumens of light output (around 6 hours worth) powered by a couple AAA batteries. Keep it in your pocket, purse, glove box, kitchen drawer, toolbox, or practically anywhere else.
$20 to $50
These are simply the best all-purpose scissors we’ve ever used. While the crazy design looks like something out of a sci-fi movie, the PH-55 are almost like a scissors/shears multi-tool (and a very good one at that). The main blades are razor sharp (hence the plastic cover) with one side having a serrated section which makes cutting plastic (like retail clamshell packaging) a cinch. When closed, the nose works as a box cutter and right behind the large rivet is a wire cutter. Cut some thick rope, electrical cable, leather, thin copper/aluminum, rubber hoses, cardboard, you name it. Keep a pair in your shop, vehicle, or junk drawer.
The ultimate nail or staple pulling tool. Quit struggling with the nail puller on your hammer and get a set of these. No nail is safe. These Crescent nail pulling pliers will easily remove nails with heads stripped off, small finishing nails, or those where the head is barely exposed. Have a few hundred nails to remove on a project? You’ll be amazed how quickly and efficiently it can be done.
Normally we stay far away from any of those “as seen on TV” products, but this Gator Grip socket wrench definitely has its uses. The specialty socket consists of 54 pins which automatically adjust to fit around bolts and nuts from 1/4-inch to 3/4-inch standard and 7mm to 19mm metric, hooks, screw eyes, wing nuts, square nuts, and other odd shapes. One of its best uses is loosening nuts and bolts which are rusted or rounded off where a normal socket will not grab it. Makes a great specialty tool gift for a veteran DIYer or a beginner whose tool collection consists of a hammer and a couple screwdrivers.
If you’ve never heard of Sugru and its awesomeness, now is the time. Sugru can be best described as mouldable glue which turns into a tough, flexible silicone overnight so you can fix, modify, or create things. There are literally millions of uses (see here and here to give you an idea). If you’re like us, you’ll be constantly coming up with ideas on what to do with it. Fix a watch strap, leaky hose, or phone charger cable, color-code your tools or keys, add corner bumpers to flashlights or electronic devices for protection, re-coat damaged tool handles, etc.
For most of us, garage space is always at a premium. This bike hoist from RAD Cycle Products does a great job of freeing up that space for MORE tools (or your car) by allowing you to store your bike from the ceiling. It’s a simple, inexpensive product that works very well. Forget those days of trying to find the one spot on your garage floor where your bike doesn’t get in the way or having to flip your bike upside down to hang on ceiling hooks. This product is actually a 2-pack making the deal even sweeter.
The power screwdriver of the future is here and it’s amazing. Unlike the competition, there is no trigger or direction switch. Simply push the “Gyro” button to turn it on and twist your hand. Twist a little to the right to slowly tighten a screw. Twist a little more to quickly tighten a screw (and vice versa). It’s dead simple to use with no manual reading required. Powering the variable speed Gyro is a 4V MAX Lithium-ion rechargeable battery allowing it to operate up to 180 RPM. No, it’s not meant for installing drywall but it’s perfect for those common little jobs around the house (ie: putting together an Ikea bookshelf). The Gyro is one of those cool tools that both men or women would love.
About the size of a large pen, these sanding sticks are incredibly handy for getting into hard to reach places. A favorite of woodworkers, crafters, hobbyists, and perfectionists everywhere, they allow delicate sanding of small areas on wood, steel, plastic, and other materials. Each stick has a tapered end, round end, and flat side to allow the most versatility. Package includes 4 sanding sticks and 20 aluminum oxide belts in various grits.
Need a good hands-free adjustable flashlight that looks kind of cute and alien-like? The Gorillatorch Flare’s 3 legs include over 2 dozen joints to allow you to shape or wrap them to sit or attach to almost anything. At the bottom of each foot is a strong neodymium magnet so you can stick it on metal (such as under your car’s hood while working on it). The main 100-lumen white LED is just right for garage or mechanic work and the additional red LEDs can be used used in an emergency while on the road. This critter takes 3-AA batteries allowing between 20-80 hours of continuous use (depending on which power level you’re using). It’s cute, versatile, and truly flexible. Just get it!
Ok, so this hatchet is not exactly a garage tool (more of a camping tool) but we’ve included it on our list because everyone should have one. It’s perfect for camping, backpacking, splitting small firewood for your fireplace or fire pit, and chopping up small tree limbs around the yard though it’s not ideal for clearing out a horde of zombies. Ridiculously sharp, this Fiskars hatchet weighs less than 2 lbs but truly feels indestructible.
How many times have you wondered whether a wire was live or not? A non-contact voltage tester is the quickest and safest way to tell if there’s voltage in a line and Fluke is arguably the best and most reliable in doing so. Simply place the tip of the tester close to the wire (you don’t even have to touch the wire) and the tester will beep and light up if a live wire is detected. This is a perfect gift for anyone who does electrical, plumbing, remodeling, or auto repair work.
Anyone who works on cars needs a good set of mechanics gloves. These Mechanix gloves are one of our favorites. They’re comfortable, flexible, breathable, and will last longer than most. A unique feature is the extra knuckle protection they offer. The good thing about buying mechanics gloves is that even if the recipient has a pair, they will eventually wear out or they’ll want to upgrade.
The Channellock WideAzz is the best adjustable wrench on the planet. Period. What makes it so special is that this compact 8-inch wrench has an extra-wide opening which is comparable to 12-inch models. The wrench is also thinner than most 8-inch wrenches so it’s easier to get to those hard to reach spots. With a comfortable handle and smooth adjustment, it’s really a no-brainer if you or anyone you know needs an adjustable wrench. It’s a little more expensive but so worth it.
We’ve all been there. It’s amazing how a seized. stripped, damaged, or rusted screw, nut or bolt can turn an enjoyable project into one of frustration. No matter what screwdriver or socket you try or how much time you spend, it only gets worse. The VamPliers aren’t some miracle tool but they actually do a great job of removing a high percentage of screws where other tools fail. The secret is their horizontally AND vertically serrated jaws which grab into the screw head with slipping. This screw extractor is proven* to lead to less cussing, injuries, and beer drinking. (*absolutely no scientific study has been done)
Yes, this is the second power screwdriver on this list. Unlike the Black and Decker Gyro above, the WORX is more of the conventional type. It too has a 4V MAX Lithium-ion rechargeable battery so it will provide a long lasting charge but will never replace your large 18-volt driver. What sets it apart is its 2 rotating cartridges which each hold 6 of the most common screw driving bits. Switching a bit is simply a matter of sliding a lever, rotating the cartridge, and sliding the lever back. An LED light automatically turns on to illuminate the screw head whenever the trigger is pressed. It’s great for those quick fixes around the house or garage. We personally like the Gyro model above with its variable speed but the WORX model is probably more suitable for traditionalists.
No, it won’t completely replace a manual tape measure but when measuring rooms for painting or mapping out a floor plan, framing related tasks, building a fence, and other tasks where you want an easier and quicker way to measure, this Bosch 50-foot laser measure is incredibly handy. Other more expensive models will measure 100 feet or more, but really, how often will you need to measure something that long? The GLM 15 is small, accurate, easy to use, and will save you tons of time. As a bonus, you can drive your cat crazy with it.
In our opinion, Wera makes the absolute best screwdrivers you can buy. Sure they’re a bit more expensive than your typical screwdrivers but excellence comes at a premium. Made in Germany, these screwdrivers/chiseldrivers have an incredibly comfortable handle (goodbye blisters) that allows you to provide the maximum amount of torque. You can bang on the end of them with a hammer (hence the chisel part) to free up stuck screws and even us an open ended wrench on them for some extra oomph when needed. These are truly military grade screwdrivers that make all others seem like junk.
Working in your shop or garage shouldn’t be miserable during the wintertime. While it won’t entirely heat up a large garage like the bigger, more expensive 220V heaters do, it’s perfect for mounting above your workbench or near the general vicinity you’ll be working in. The best thing is that it plugs into a standard wall outlet.
The Might-D-Light is an excellent, highly configurable, portable, rechargeable worklight that consists of 80 long-lasting LEDs that light up a fairly large area. The hinge rotates from 0-200 degrees, 2 neodymium rare-earth magnets allow mounting to metal surfaces (like under a hood), and a hook allows easy hanging. Great for working on cars, under the sink, camping, or in case of emergency or power outage.
Have a bad lower back? Measuring 20 x 36 or up to 26 x 72 inches, this mat will have your back and feet thanking you when you need to stand for extending periods of time on your hard garage or shop floor. It’s thick, heavy, and easy to clean.
Goodbye old-fashioned battery chargers. This Genius smart charger is small, portable charger which uses the latest technology to quickly and safely charge up almost any battery for cars, trucks, motorcycles, riding lawn mowers, ATVs, boats, and others. One of its best features is its Repair Mode which is able to bring back to life completely discharged batteries which other chargers aren’t able to do.
If you or someone you know is a traditional speed square user, do yourself a favor and try out this handy dandy Pivot Square. It’s incredibly versatile and easy to setup angles. Made of heavy-duty machined aluminum, the etched (not painted) markings are easy to read and accurate.
Hands down, this is the best stud finder you’ll ever use. 13 individual sensors sense the wall in multiple positions at the same time (no more sliding a stud finder against a wall). You’ll actually be able to recognize the width of the hidden object to know how much room you have to work with. It’s brilliant and we wonder why everyone doesn’t have one of these.
$50 to $100
Know someone who does any work on their car (even if it’s just changing their oil) and they don’t yet have a mechanics creeper? Let them know they are doing it wrong. Lisle has thought of everything with the design of this mechanics creeper… it’s lightweight, durable, comfortable (whether you’re 5’0″ or 6’6″), low profile, smooth rolling, and easy to clean. Quit laying down on a cold, dirty floor or cardboard and get with the program.
Multitools have always been a popular gift simply because of how useful they are. The problem is that there seem to be hundreds of models and after a while they all start looking the same. Lifehacker recently conducted a reader poll and the clear winner was the Leatherman Wave. This 17-in-1 tool is 100% stainless steel and like any Leatherman, it will prove to be indispensable for years.
Comfortable, stable, smooth-rolling, and well-built, this shop stool uses a pneumatic cylinder to adjust height from 18-22 inches. The 5 wheels provide additional stability from typical 4-wheel stools. Great for body work, detailing, or other uses around the house, the large metal tool tray keeps everything within easy reach.
Whether you’re in the demolition phase of a remodeling project or worried about a zombie apocalypse, the FuBar is a beast. Made out of forged steel, it takes down walls, separates boards, pulls out large nails, hammers or breaks just about anything, and can be used as a gas shut off or hydrant wrench. Basically, it makes life easier and you want one.
Building a deck? Don’t start without this Kreg Deck Jig. The kit allows you to build a QUALITY deck completely free of any exposed screws so you have a nice smooth surface with no splinters. Sure it takes a bit longer than the typical method but installation is easier and the outcome will make your neighbors jealous.
Another technological marvel, this very portable (approx. 6 x 3 x 1 inch) jump starter packs a real punch. Yes, it will actually jump start a vehicle (including most V8s) all by itself. Every car in the household should have one of these. The battery in this thing will last up to 6 months without use so as long as you monitor it, you will never have to depend on another person or AAA to give you a jump. It even has on-board ports to charge your cell phone in case of emergency. Amazing product.
Slightly heavier than other head torches, the Pixa 3 is quite comfortable and offers unmatched performance as a service or work light. Three modes are offered: flood, spotlight, and a combination of the two. Even on the most economical setting, it illuminates a wide area and it really shines for close up work in tight, confined spaces. The battery seems to last forever. Whether you’re fixing plumbing in your crawlspace or picking up dog poop in the yard at night, the Pixa 3 is a handy little light.
Super compact (5.6” head length), lightweight (1.8 lbs), and powerful (265 inch-pounds of torque) describe the Bosch PS21. This “pocket” driver’s low-profile design will go where other drills/drivers can’t. The light weight makes any overhead work a breeze. Included in the kit are (2) 12V lithium ion batteries and a 30-min charger. This would be an excellent gift for others or yourself (even if you already own a full size driver.
$100 and Up
This Wera 1/4-inch pivoting-head ratchet and socket set is an amazing kit that exudes quality (German engineered and made in the Czech Republic). At the heart of the set is a pivoting ratchet that can be locked into any angle including 0 degrees to function as a screwdriver. The ratchet’s 72 teeth and small 5 degree return angle allow faster and more precise work than others. Compact, comfortable, and durable, this set will quickly become a favorite of whoever owns it.
Quickly and easily sharpen knives, scissors, gardening tools, shop tools, and even lawn mower blades. Blade sharpening angle can be adjusted from 15-30 degrees in 1 degree increments to give you precise control. The sharpener uses flexible belts to create a razor sharp edge. Sure, the old methods of sharpening still work but for someone who wants better, faster, and easier, you can’t beat this Work Sharp.
Sure, a plain old white fridge in the garage may do the job, but why not get something for almost the same price actually matches the look of your garage? This Igloo mini fridge will keep your beer and drinks ice cold and in style. Great for the garage, workshop, or man cave.
Yes, an air compressor hose can be a pain to deal with. Constant furling/unfurling, getting it tangled around objects, tripping over it, and having it collect every particle of dirt and grease just gets old after a while. Eliminate all those issues with this Goodyear self-retractable hose reel. Mount it on the ceiling or wall and enjoy.
The perfect garage or workshop vacuum to keep it clutter free. Mount this bad boy to the wall you’ll never need to use the local car wash’s vacuum again or hook up an extension cord to that bulky wet/dry vac. This bagless Hoover GUV really sucks (lame pun intended) and includes a 30-ft hose to be able to reach almost any area.
Never have to look for an extension cord again, get tripped up by one, or having it tangle around objects. The RoboReel (aka Orange Death Star) is mounted on the ceiling of a garage or shop and allows you to easily pull out the cord to whatever length you need and then when done, have it automatically retract it (in a controlled way) with the touch of a button. Sure it may be overkill for some garages, but it’s way cool and actually very handy.
Having a full size generator doesn’t make much sense for most people but this 18.5 lb portable unit is great for taking with you where electricity is not or in case of a power outage. It’s quiet (58 dB) and compact and works really well. Simply add oil and normal 87 octane gas to the fuel tank (no need to mess with 2-cycle oil). Produces 700-800 watts and runs for around 4 hours on a 1/2-gallon tank of gas.