It’s the time of year that one of my lesser-known nicknames comes into play; “The Grinch.” Some people just love the holidays. They can’t wait to jockey for position amidst throngs of stressed-out shoppers. To rack up their credit card balances higher than small-country-GDP-levels. To listen to lo-fi Muzak pumping out one sappy instrumental holiday track after another. Not me. I hate it. Are you starting to sense where the Grinch nickname comes into play? Thankfully, online shopping has made an otherwise intolerable chore much more tolerable. In the interest of alleviating some of the pain of sifting through thousands of tools and products for the home for that special someone in your life (or for your own selfish self), we’ve put together this enticing HomeFixated Holiday Gift Guide. From bottle openers to lust-worthy power tools, we have compiled 25 of our favorite recent products. Even if you’re shopping for someone that’s just not in the holiday mood, these gifts are sure to make even the grinchiest of Grinches crack a very wide grin.
If you’ve read this site for any length of time, you’ll know that our love of beer goes hand-in-hand with our love of tools. Beer AFTER safe usage of tools, of course. What if you could meld the theme of tools and beer in one perfect gift item for the beer/tool lover in your life? You can, with the simple but effective Bottle Wrench. They sent us a sample, which we’ve put through EXTENSIVE testing this year. It opens beer bottles with ease, all while showing off your tool-lovin’ style.
Purchase Link ($10 Original, $8 Small Size via Etsy): Bottle Wrench
Let’s face it, hammers excel at getting nails in, not pulling them out. While you can use a hammer, if you’re pulling out lots of fasteners we think the Nail Jack can’t be beat. You’re much less likely to damage the wood, and it pulls out nails the claw on the back of your hammer never could.
Purchase Link ($25 Rockler via Amazon) – Nail Jack Tools Nail Hunter
Oh sure, if you’re cynical you could think we’re including the Jack Clamp because they’re also a HomeFixated advertiser. Does that fact make the Jack Clamp any less bad-ass? Most definitely not! In a market awash with more junk clamps than a sidewalk sale at Harbor Freight, the Jack Clamp combines Made In The USA quality with innovative features. Beside, what other clamp review will you see with the product holding up an ATV?
Purchase Link ($42 via Amazon) – Jack Clamp
Franklin ProSensor Stud Sensor
We consider most electronic stud finders more temperamental than a schizophrenic cat hopped up on catnip. However, the Franklin ProSensor was refreshingly useful (it actually demonstrated the ability to detect studs – a refreshing feature for a stud sensor). And, just think of all the fun you can have with “stud” references long after the wrapping paper comes off.
Purchase Link ($50 via Amazon) – Franklin Sensors ProSensor 710 Stud Finder
Kobalt Xtreme Access Socket Set
We all know the best gifts have “extreme” in their name, and these Kobalt sockets are no exception, even though they’re missing the “e” in “extreme.” We found these sockets to be ideal to keep in the shop, kitchen tool drawer or truck tool box. Their size versatility makes the kits compact. If you’re shopping for a total tool nut, you may want to opt for the full meal-deal Kobalt Mechanic’s Tool Set. Otherwise, the Xtreme Access set are a quick go-to socket set and a great gift.
Purchase Link ($69.97 via Lowes) –
Kobalt 49-Piece 1/4-in, 3/8-in and 1/2-in Drive Xtreme Access Go-Through Socket Set 86235
Irwin Marples Chisel Kit
The only thing better than an awesome gift, is one you get for free. Then, you can either give it to yourself, or give to that special someone who will think you spent your hard-earned cash on it. HomeFixated is giving away a nice Irwin prize pack at the end of the month which includes some great Marples Chisels and two Marples saw blades. You’ll find a link to the giveaway page below, and a purchase link on the off-chance you don’t win it. May the force be with you!
Purchase Link ($48 via Amazon) – Marples 6-Piece Chisel Set
New Work Boots from Keen and Timberland
Show me a man without work boots, and I’ll show you a man deprived of the joys of manual labor, wearing artificial leather loafers, locked in a cubicle somewhere, sipping Red Bull’s to stay conscious during his mind-numbing job. Don’t let that special someone in your life lead a life without work boots. We’ve had the chance to try out Keen and Timberland. For style, options, and specialized wear, we tip our hat to Keen. They offer everything from warm weather steel toe work shoes, to ultra-beefy boots for metal and industrial work featuring metatarsal armor. Yup, I said metatarsal (also known as your instep). For simplicity and comfort we tip our hat to Timberland. We tested their Pro Helix boots in the rugged Sawtooth mountains of Idaho and back at home in the wilds of our suburban yard. The boot has continued to prove itself, and all-day comfort is no exaggeration. The Pro-Helix isn’t a boot you’re dying to get off your feet at the end of a hard work day.
Purchase Link ($80-$220 via Amazon) – Keen Utility Boots
Purchase Link ($100-$200 via Amazon) – Timberland Pro Helix
Werner Work Platform
Does your giftee like to paint, do drywall, repair fixtures, and get junk down off high places? Even if they don’t “like” to do these things, the Werner Work Platform comes in super-handy on the job site or at home. It’s the gift that will also make you look like a rockstar – mainly because it will come in a large box. People love opening large boxes; they think it will be like those Lexus and BMW commercials where the wife is surprised by a shiny new car in a giant bow. Who gifts like that?! It’s no Lexus, but the Werner work platform is an ultra-utilitarian gift sure to get used.
Purchase Link ($67 via Amazon) – Werner Work Platform
Ideal Circuit Breaker Finder
Perfect for the electrician or handyman/woman in your life. This simple tool can save tons of time by helping pinpoint whatever circuit breaker controls the outlet that needs some work. Great for shutting off the power selectively, rather than powering down your entire house or having someone inside yell when a radio plugged into the circuit in question turns off. Plus it reduces chances of electrocution. Nothing says “I love you” like, “here’s a gift that might prevent your electrocution.” If you just took out a big life insurance policy on your special someone, then this might not be the best gift. You might instead consider an all-metal screwdriver and a wet floor mat, but that would be very much NOT in the spirit of the holidays.
Purchase Link ($73 via Amazon) – IDEAL Circuit Breaker Finder
Shhhh, don’t tell anyone, but we’re giving away a set of LBoxxes next month. Unfortunately, even if you won, it wouldn’t be in time for Christmas. We also have a review coming your way soon. I’ll give you the Cliff’s Notes version here: handy, versatile, efficient organization for your tools, accessories and random stuff you like to store in little jars and boxes. You can get these with Bosch tools, or just buy the LBoxx solo.
Purchase Link (Varied pricing via Amazon) – Bosch LBoxx
I’m not afraid to admit it, I’m a knife snob. One of the first knives we tested on HomeFixated was the Benchmade Mini Griptillian and later, the Triage, which we hoped we’d rescue Angelina Jolie with. The Angelina rescue didn’t really pan out, but the Benchmade knives sure did. Their tolerances are so tight and silky, anyone who might carry a knife will fall in love with their Benchmade.
Purchase Link ($70 & up via Amazon) – Benchmade Knives
Blaklader Bantam and Duluth Firehose Work Pants
For kick-ass work pants, we’re torn between Blaklader’s highly technical work pants and Duluth Trading’s Firehose work pants. Between the two, I’ll always reach for the Blaklader when tinkering on projects around the house. Their multiplicity of technical features, pockets, etc. mean I’m basically wearing a tool belt. For more details, check out our review of the Blaklader Bantam pant. The Blaklader pants are ultra durable too, but when I’m taking on a really gritty, dirty, mean job, I’ll pull on my Duluth Trading Firehose work pants. If you think strapping on pants made of firehose canvas is like slipping on armor for your legs, you’re right. These pants take a beating and do a great job of protecting you from the cuts, scrapes and pokes of many work projects. Oh, and they’re good beaver and wild boar protection too, just in case.
Purchase Link ($60 & up via Amazon) – Blaklader Pants
Purchase Link ($60 via Duluth Trading) – Firehose Pants (enter “SHIP50″ at checkout for free shipping on orders over $50.
Milwaukee M12 Heated Jacket
This M12 heated jacket will please any potential gift recipient, and it will impress everyone from spouses, random people on the street, small children (who will start poking the buttons if given the opportunity), and even Starbucks baristas (as I detailed in my review). Thankfully every gripe I had about the original M12 Heated jacket was adressed and resolved with their new version, which can even charge your cell phone. Most importantly, the jacket is now available in black, which we all know if the best color for everything. We have an updated review coming shortly, but in the meantime, the M12 Heated Jacket is a surefire gift success!
Purchase Link ($149 via Tyler Tool) –
Milwaukee 2344-L M12 Cordless Black Heated Jacket (Jacket Only) Large
Ok, it’s not the most festive gift, but the Wilton Vise is a Made in the USA beauty and tradesperson would love to have on their workbench. It’s solid, smooth, and grips like a sabre tooth tiger. ‘Nuff said!
Purchase Link ($80-$400+ via Amazon) – Wilton Vises
We could all use a little more automation in our lives. I’m still waiting on my personal robot that calls me “sir” and brings me frosty beverages and takes care of the dishes. Until then, at least we have automated extension cords. What’s that, you say?! I feel pretty safe saying the RoboReel is the most technologically sophisticated extension cord available to the pro or consumer. This thing spools out line like a champ and then retracts it automagically. It’s not cheap, but anyone that uses extension cords frequently will be entranced by this thing!
Purchase Link ($279-299 via Amazon) – RoboReel
Black & Decker Gyro
Anyone can get their loved one a cordless screwdriver, but how many of those gifts are motion activated (and we’re not talking the motion of your finger on a trigger). If it were up to Black and Decker they’d have everyone trade in their screwdrivers for their innovative new Gyro. You’re not going to build a deck with this thing, but you are going to have more fun than you’ve ever had screwing. Did that come out wrong? The point here is the Gyro is a gift your gift recipient won’t be able to stop playing with. And, with any luck, that playing will include fixing a bunch of stuff for you. It’s a win-win!
Purchase Link ($40 via Amazon) – Black & Decker Gyro Screwdriver
Milwaukee M12 Jig Saw
For a tool that should theoretically be nimble, some jig saws are just downright bulky. Plus that pesky power cord always wants to find its way closer to the the rapidly-moving blade. We were impressed with the Milwaukee M12 Jig Saw from the moment we laid our tool-lusting hands on it. It’s compact, incredibly nimble, and remarkably powerful for its size and battery spec’s. Even if you’re buying this for someone who already has a jig saw, they’ll love the M12.
Purchase Link ($149 via Tyler Tool) –
Milwaukee 2445-21 12V Cordless M12 High Performance Hybrid Grip Jig Saw
Bosch 12v Max Mini Reciprocating Saw
When I need to cut pipe, conduit or a random scrap of wood, I like to do it fast. Not hand saw fast, but Lithium Ion powered fast. That’s where the sweet little Bosch 12v Max Mini Reciprocating saw comes in. This little pint-sized beast smoothly and efficiently devours through wood and metal. Your old manual hacksaw will hate you for buying this; you’ll never want to use a regular hacksaw again. As we discovered, it can even be useful when building beer-brewing gear!
Purchase Link ($140 via Amazon) – Bosch PS60-2A 12V Pocket Reciprocating Saw
Makita 18v Cordless Sander
Most folks still use corded sanders, but it doesn’t have to be that way. A lot of sanding happens on the fly, upstairs, outside, in the shop, by the truck, inside a cabinet, etc. Those places don’t always have power handy, and, even if they do, a solid cordless sander can make quick of many sanding jobs. We were impressed with the Makita 18v Cordless Sander, and anyone who does much sanding would love to get their paws on one of these.
Purchase Link ($279 via Tyler Tool) –
Makita LXOB01 18V Cordless LXT Lithium-Ion 5-in Random Orbit Sander Kit
Purchase Link ($99 via Tyler Tool) –
Makita LXOB01Z 18V Cordless LXT Lithium-Ion 5-in Random Orbit Sander (Tool Only)
Fein MultiMaster Start Q
Oscillating multi tools have taken the tool world by storm in recent years, and Fein is the “Das Original.” Their MultiMaster has set the standard for the category. While they used to be considered ultra-spendy, they’re beginning shed some of that reputation with less expensive kits and accessories. If you’re looking for an entry point into OMT’s without investing a fortune in a bigger kit, with think the Fein Start Q is a great value. Jawohl!
Purchase Link ($199 via Amazon) – Fein START Q MultiMaster Kit
DeWalt 20v Max 3 Speed Impact Driver
Quick, what has three glowing eyes and whacks stuff at up to 3,300 times a minute? That’s right, the DeWalt 20v Max Impact Driver. Aside from the the outstanding advantages of an impact driver, the DeWalt impressed us with some innovative features, a great trio of LED lights and performance that can be dialed in via three settings.
Purchase Link ($229 via Amazon) – DEWALT DCF895C2 20-Volt MAX Brushless Impact Driver
Rockler Click n Carve CNC Router
While the dream of 3D printing anything we feel like at a moment’s notice is still a few years off, the ability to carve via computer is here now. It’s not cheap, but there are now bench-top options for creating intricate carvings in wood and plastic.
HomeFixated Article (Smaller Model)
Purchase Link ($2200 Rockler via Amazon) – Rockler Click-N-Carve
Angie’s List Gift Memberships
I’ve been a fan of Angie’s List for years now, and used them as recently as two weeks ago when our ancient water pressure regulator corroded so thoroughly it sprang a leak. It’s great for those home malfunctions that inevitably pop up when you have no time to fix them yourself. Or, for projects outside of your expertise or comfort level. I’ve found everything from gardeners, to roofers to plumbers on Angie’s List. It’s the next best thing to being best friends with a contractor who knows all the best pros. This year, Angie’s list is offering Gift Memberships at great rates (and if you’re a member you’ll get special pricing).
Purchase Link ($7.50-$20 per Angie Hick’s Blog) – www.angieslist.com/gifts