Nail That Gift Idea Down

By Chelle Cordero

September 18, 2009 5 min read

While you are making your list and checking it twice, make sure that you include your favorite handyman -- or handywoman -- around the house. Give a shiny new "toy" and let your recipient know how much his skill means to you.

There are some spectacular new items coming out for this holiday season, as well as favorite standbys. Craftsman is introducing three new hand tool innovations this year, all retailing for $19.99. Check out the new Craftsman Dog Bone, Craftsman universal wrench and the Craftsman Edge. A few favorite standbys at Lowe's include ratchet and socket sets, multi-cutters, folding saws and Maglight flashlights. This holiday season, Black & Decker is introducing the Ready Wrench, an all-in-one wrench that puts 16 of the most popular standard and metric socket sizes in one convenient hand tool.

"To match the perfect tool gift to the guy on your list, consider how he uses his tools first. A gadget-minded guy will want something different than a car enthusiast, for example, so the key is in understanding what sort of projects he will be most excited about and then finding the coolest tool that will help him get it done," says Shane Peterman of ThinkGeek, the "online destination for all things quirky, unique and slightly geeky." "The most popular tools at have been our multipurpose options, such as the Micro-Max 19-in-1 pocket tool. Guys like to think they can fix anything at any time, so when you can combine function, convenience and James Bond-like gadgetry, guys are happy."

Not all tools fit on a tool belt or get stored in a junk drawer. CubCadet's new 528 SWE snow thrower makes a terrific gift for any homeowner who gets stuck with shoveling snow. The Snow Joe snow thrower features a powerful engine built with eco-friendly technology. Little Giant Ladder is introducing a brand-new type of ladder just in time for the holidays. It's capable of multiple configurations. Don't forget a workbench or tool cabinet to help keep your do-it-yourselfer organized.

Campbell Hausfeld is introducing its ultimate portable compressor. "A compressor is the foundation for working smarter rather than harder. It is so versatile that users can do everything from inflating sports balls or tires to performing home or auto maintenance," says Chuck Shoemaker, director of new product development for Campbell Hausfeld. An air compressor can check tire pressure and inflate. Air compressors also can power many pneumatic tools.

Nothing puts the "fun" in "functional" like remote control gadgets to help around the house. The iRobot Looj gutter-cleaning robot is designed to make gutter cleaning quick and simple, reducing the need to climb and reposition the ladder multiple times or juggle tools at dangerous heights. There are more terrific gift ideas from iRobot, including the Roomba robot vacuum cleaner and the Scooba floor-washing robot.

Brookstone will be launching a line of popular tools for holiday gift giving, including an 80-hour rechargeable battery and a 6-in-1 multi-tool with a bottle opener. A perfect tool for any car owner to have is the auto emergency tool. It has a windshield hammer with a rugged metal tip, a seat belt cutter with a built-in safety blade, a hand-crank flashlight, which needs no batteries, and a cell phone charger.

Nicolas Nelson, a college professor from Los Angeles, gives this advice for someone shopping for tools: "My wife knows nothing about tools or the construction trades. Yet when she gives me a "tool gift," she always gets it right. How? She pays attention when I am frustrated with a project. She will overhear me mutter, 'Someday I've got to replace this old jigsaw.' Ta-da! She writes down 'New jigsaw?' even if she doesn't know a jigsaw from a band saw. The guy at Home Depot will know."

Professor Nelson also advises: "When in doubt, give a gift card, and then write, 'For that (jigsaw, angle grinder, thingamawacky) you've been wanting!' Extra tip: Before buying the gift card, ask the person at the store how much a (whatever) usually costs, and get a gift card for at least that amount. There are few things more demoralizing than receiving a $10 gift card toward the purchase of a $600 compressor."

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