November 11, 2007

2007 Tool Snob Holiday Gift Guide

toolsnob_blogad_10200_gg.JPGHere at Tool Snob, we've put together a gift guide for anyone thinking of giving the gift of tools this holiday season. Buying tools for someone else can be daunting, but if you stick with us, everything will be a-ok...

For the Apartment Renter/College Student

Skil's brand new Power Wrench ($63 – our review) is a great tool for anyone, particularly someone with a small living space. Since it's both a wrench and a little right angle screw driver, it does double duty and hardly takes up any room at all. For a good collection of tools to have on hand for whatever comes up, the Denali 115-Piece Home Repair Tool Kit ($39.99) has everything someone would need for hanging pictures and other light around the house tasks. The Husky 45-Piece Stubby Set ($15) is not as complete, but still a good collection of tools to have on hand.

For the Homeowner
The first place to start is a nice cordless screwgun. If you want something that can fit nicely in a kitchen drawer, go for the Dremel Cordless Screwdriver ($70, our review). It's tiny, powerful for its size, and doesn't have any flashy pops and buzzes to over complicate things. For $30 extra, you can get it bundled with the Dremel Stylus, which we think is a no-brainer of a deal. If you want to get something a little bigger, but still don't want to get into the higher priced contractor-grade tools, try the new Ryobi 12-Volt Lithium Ion Drill ($79). But, if there's the possibility that there's going to be some more serious woodworking in the future, it would be wise to invest in a really durable tool, like the Compact 18-Volt Drill from Ridgid ($189, our review).

If they've already got a cordless screwgun, then you should consider getting them a circular saw. A nice one is Ridgid's Fuego ($140, our review), but other standbys in this department include the Porter-Cable ($140) and Makita ($140).

Does next summer hold a major painting project? If so, the Wagner PaintEater ($75, our review) will take a lot of the agony out of the scraping process, making things go quite a bit faster.

Husky also has some nice tools that we found worked both in the shop and around the house. Their X-Sawhorse ($35) saved one of our parties (details here) and the 84 Watt Fluorescent Light ($60, our review) kept us playing horseshoes long into the night on many occasions.

If you'd rather give a book as a gift, we think that any homeowner, no matter what kind of house they own, would benefit from George Nash's Renovating Old Houses ($21, our review). And don't forget a subscription to This Old House ($15/12 issues).

For the Contractor/Carpenter
Any carpenter would crawl over broken glass for a chance to own the Fein MultiMaster ($200). This unique tool can cut, sand, polish, and grind, all with a level of precision that's downright freaky.

If that special someone has been on the lookout for a nice router, we recommend the Bosch Plunge and Fixed Base Variable Speed Router Kit ($200). If that's too big, or they already have a full-sized one, the smaller Bosch Colt ($110, our review) is an amazing tool as well.

The Journal of Light Construction, although more expensive than the average magazine ($35/12 issues), is well worth it. Each issue has articles on hands-on building techniques as well as how to deal with the business end of contracting.

For the Serious Woodworker

The Festool Domino is painfully expensive ($700), but it's also one of the best tools in existence. Whoever you give it to will love you unconditionally for the rest of your life. We know some people who have one and they say that when they hold it, they can hear angels singing.

There's also the Kreg Pocket Screw Jig System ($29-$139, depending on the kit) which will be enjoyed by anyone who even looks at it. And we can't forget the Cadex CPB23.50 Pinner ($300, our review), the Rolls-Royce of precision nailers.

For someone who already has all the tools they'll ever need, we recommend A Cabinetmaker's Notebook by James Krenov ($15). It's a great read for anyone interested in a visionary's philosophy behind woodworking.

Also, don't forget to check out our 5-Part Father's Day Gift Guide for more gift ideas:
Part 1 ($1-$20)
Part 2 ($20-$50)
Part 3 ($50-$100)
Part 4 ($100-$150)
Part 5 ($150+)

Looking for more amazing gift ideas? Check out our extensive set of holiday
shopping guides
on electronics, fashion, cooking, and more.

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Posted by Doug Mahoney at November 11, 2007 8:43 PM
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