Let’s face it, if home improvement and DIY were always easy, we all wouldn’t have much to talk (or laugh. . . or cry) about. Somehow houses have a way of taking seemingly simple and mundane tasks like basic maintenance and contorting them into complex, interlinked projects that eventually result in a home repair to-do list that dwarfs War and Peace. Thankfully, there is help. To paraphrase Mark Twain, “the reports of the death of printing are exaggerated.” Yes, it seems not only are there several great how-to, home improvement and DIY magazines on the market, but they all still appear to be surviving in this digital age. Of course all of them have a web presence as well. As tech oriented as I am, I still find a good old magazine to be a great way to get home improvement inspiration, tips, tool reviews and expert opinion. Here’s our top six list of magazines every HomeFixated homeowner should subscribe to.
With a name like Extreme How-To, how can you not like this magazine? When I first heard the name, I imagined base jumping off a cliff with a tool belt on, and then doing a fly-by roof repair while lining up for my parachute landing in the front yard. Turns out most of their articles don’t involve things like sky-diving, bungee jumping or skateboard aerials. Instead, they’re a treasure trove of how-to projects (go figure), tips, detailed tool reviews and advertising. When I say advertising, I mean they’ve got a lot of ads in the magazine. Unlike tons of ads on TV or radio, I actually like them. I’ve found some very unique products advertised on the pages of Extreme how-to. Note to all Extreme How-To advertisers, you should advertise on HomeFixated.com too. Subscribe to Extreme How-To for about $19 (9 issues, 1 year)
This Old House:
If you’re not familiar with the This Old House brand, I suggest putting down your Unabomber Manifesto and stepping outside. This Old House magazine is loaded with useful information. As part of the Time-Warner empire, it seems they can actually afford to pay their writers decently, which results in very readable content (unlike questionable HomeFixated content). Plus the Editor (Scott Emelianuk), usually has some hilarious commentary to kick off every edition. I can always count on learning something new and picking up some great advice, whether its related to home design, landscaping or construction materials. I do miss Bob Vila though. Subscribe to This Old House for $16 (10 issues, 1 year).
The Taunton Press puts out about eight issues of Fine Homebuilding a year, and those issues go to over a quarter million paid subscribers. That’s about how many people visit HomeFixated each day (not really, but we’re shooting for that eventually). Fine Homebuilding is loaded with detailed how-to content, but they’re also not afraid to delve into design related topics. The crew at Fine Homebuilding take their tools seriously, so their tool guide is definitely not one to miss. And I like Chuck Miller’s tips, partly because they’re really useful, and partly because he’s man enough to wear a tool vest in his “There’s a Better Way” videos. Subscribe to Fine Homebuilding for about $38 (8 issues, 1 year).
We didn’t want to leave you woodworkers out in the cold, so of course we had to mention Fine Woodworking, also run by The Taunton Press. This magazine far exceeds my skill level working with wood (which isn’t saying all that much), but it’s a great read for pro’s and aspiring woodworkers alike. Part of the fun in a magazine like Fine Woodworking is simply to admire the craftsmanship that’s produced by people who actually know what they’re doing. Subscribe to Fine Woodworking for about $35 (7 issues, 1 year).
Hey, what’s a magazine with “mechanics” in its name doing in this list? Turns out Popular Mechanics has a solid interest in tools, home improvement and DIY. Don’t believe me? Just check out this detailed round-up review of four grinders Doug Mahoney of ToolSnob fame recently put through their paces. Chances are if you like tinkering on your house, you’ll probably like a lot of the fun technology and how-to content, even for stuff that’s not specifically home related. Subscribe to Popular Mechanics for a paltry $12 (12 issues, 1 year).
Rounding out our list is Family Handyman. Sure, the magazine name sounds a little cheesy, but it’s probably reality for a lot of us. Family Handyman compiles some fun how-to projects, along with the typical assortment of tool reviews and tips. If you’re the family handyman in your own house, it’s worth checking out. Subscribe to Family Handyman for $20 (10 issues, 1 year).