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.

  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...

    Robo reel

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


    For the Woodworker


    For the DIY Mom


    For the Gardener

  12. See the Kitchen of the Week


    These innovative and beautiful kitchens may inspire your next renovation or redecorating project. Take a look to see the latest images and inspiration.