Bob Vila's Holiday Gift Guide: For the Gadget-Lovers

Tool or toy? For the do-it-yourself, that line is always gray. Browse ten fun and practical holiday gifts for the gadget-crazy handyperson in your life.

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  1. Shop Vac


    The Shop Vac Tool Mate (Rockler; $119.99) is perfect as a lightweight, around-the-house tool box, useful for tasks ranging from hanging artwork to repairing windows, doors, and hinges. Best of all, the tool box comes outfitted with its own battery-powered vacuum.

  2. Oscillating Tool


    The rotary tool is a DIYers' staple, and I'm equally a fan of its cousin, the oscillating tool. These can tackle cutting, sanding, grinding, scraping and other tasks all in a cord-free package. I find a use for my Dremel 6300-01 120-Volt Multi-Max Oscillating Kit (Amazon; $125.75) on nearly every project.

  3. Flexible LED Flashlight


    A flexible-head LED flashlight (sometimes called a "snake light") is designed to illuminate hard-to-see areas and will wrap around nearly anything, including your body parts, lighting the path to DIY success. Shown: Pelican 2365 Flex-Head Led Flashlight from Amazon; $33.31

  4. Lithium-Ion Drill


    I'd always considered dedicated Lithium-Ion drivers a luxury item—until the day I actually used one. These tools are much lighter than cordless drills and provide torque conversion for one task: driving screws and preventing screws from stripping. Shown: Bosch PS20-2A 12-Volt Max Pocket Driver (Amazon; $64.99)

  5. Programmable Thermostat


    The Nest Learning Thermostat is the first of its kind, a design-savvy programmable thermostat. Though pricier (Bestbuy; $249.99) than other similar devices, the Nest is certain to pay for itself in reduced heating and cooling costs through the year.

  6. Durable Digital Camera


    Having a dedicated digital camera for DIY projects that can stand up to paint, sawdust, and rugged conditions is a definite peacemaker in families that love to take pictures. The Pentax Optio WG-1 14 Megapixel (Adorama; $149) is waterproof, drop resistant to five feet, and sealed from dust.

  7. Digital Measuring Tape


    A digital measuring tape like the Bosch DLR130K Digital Distance Measurer (Amazon; $84.49) allows you to calculate the length, width, area and even the volume of an object or room at the press of a button—perfect for DIYers who often work by themselves and could use an extra hand.

  8. Heated Jacket


    The light-weight (2.6 lbs) Milwaukee M12 Heated Jacket provides heavy-duty warmth and comfort for up to 6 hours, keeping your DIYer warm during any outdoor tinkering. Even the techies can get on board because there's a powered USB port for charging portable electronics. Milwaukee; $199

  9. Digital Torque Wrench Adapter


    Those who regularly work with mechanics' tools will immediately appreciate a digital torque wrench adapter. These add-ons measure the relative "tightness" of a fastener or component, helping DIYers stay in the Goldilocks Zone of safety. Shown: Alltrade 940759 Powerbuilt Digital Torque Adapter (Amazon; $46.99)

  10. Laser Level


    Most everyone has a laser level by now, but not one as fancy and mark-free as this! Replace an older model with the Black & Decker BDL100AV All-In-One SureGrip Laser Level (Amazon; $11.97), saving your drywall from scuffs and saving yourself from having to bust out the tripod.

  11. For More...


    If you're looking for more gift guides, consider: 


    For the Woodworker


    For the DIY Mom


    For the Gardener

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