Bob Vila's Holiday Gift Guide: For the Tool Lover

If you're stumped at what to buy the tool-lover in your life, never fear — Bob Vila's Holiday Gift Guides are here!

Proxxon Mini Table Saw

Mini Table Saw

Table saws provide the stability to allow for precise cuts in large lumber. But when it comes to working with smaller pieces of wood, many of us turn to the jig saw, which can be a little less accurate. This mini table saw eliminates that issue. Perfect for working with smaller wood sizes, it has a mitre gauge and an extendable wood holder. Also, the blade moves up and down to adjust cut depth, and side to side for making angled cuts. Available on Proxxon ; $398.

Ryobi Cordless Chainsaw

Cordless Chainsaw

Nothing beats a chainsaw for making quick work of downed trees or even for cutting through large pieces of lumber like railroad ties. But maintaining, starting and wielding one can make them the unloved tool in the shed. The Ryobi cordless drill makes chainsawing fun again, as its battery power makes it easy to start, and its ten-pound weight makes it easy to wield. Plus there is no gasoline to fret over or exhaust fumes to get in the way of pure sawing joy. Available at Home Depot ; $189.

Bosch MX30E Oscillating Tool

Oscillating Tool

Just like rotary tools, oscillators do a variety of jobs, but because of the fact that they vibrate back and forth instead of whirling, they have less kickback and allow greater precision. The Bosch MX30E is one such oscillator that consistently gets good reviews. It can cut into a variety of surfaces, sand, remove grout, chip out tile or scrape paint with uncanny ease. Its “soft start” feature reduces errors by letting you ease into a job. Available on Amazon ; $169.90.

Zircon Sonic/Laser Measure DM S50L

Laser Measure

Shooting lasers are fun and, while our holiday gift list used to contain Star-Trek-style toy guns, digital laser measures are a lot more practical. This one actually uses a laser to target the spot you want to measure then it bounces sonic waves off it to give an accurate distance (let’s see Spock’s tricorder do that!). It also automatically calculates area and volume and works in US or metric measurements. Available on Amazon ; $44.96.


Annihilator Wrecking Bar

Annihilator Wrecking Bar

Even if this tool couldn’t be used as a demolition hammer, nail puller, tile ripper, board straightener and chisel, it would probably still make our gift list for the sheer awesomeness of being able to put something called an annihilator on it (something we haven’t done since childhood). Wielding it to do your demo work, you’re bound to feel like the Thor of the DIY world. Oh yeah, it also has a bottle opener function so you can reward yourself after all that vanquishing. Available at the Dead On Store; $57.32.

Auto Hammer

Auto Hammer

Sometimes you need to drive a nail in a tight space where you can’t swing a hammer. What’s a frustrated DIYer to do? Get ahold of an Auto Hammer, that’s what. These small devices drive nails using hundreds of quick pulsed impacts per minute. The Craftsman NEXTEC 12.0 Volt Hammerhead Auto Hammer does your standard auto-hammer one better—it has an adjustable head that can drive nails at 0, 45, or 90-degree angles which makes nailing in unusual positions or straight overhead a breeze. Available at Sears ; $70.

Festool Carvex 420 Jigsaw


This device really is the next evolution of the jig saw. It’s main claim to fame is its multi-base platform that lets you swap out the bottom of the saw depending on the surface you’re working on, from rough to delicate. The coolest base lets you make angled cuts like a table saw. LED lights strobe in time to the blade to make it look like it’s not moving which allows super-precise cutting. Available on ; $350.

3D Square

3D Square

Carpenter's squares let you draw a line only across one surface of a material. This simple but ingenious twist on the standard square incorporates a 90-degree “fin” that sits flat against the side of what you’re working on so you can mark both its length and depth. Plus, attach the pencil holder and use the fin as a guide, and you can draw a straight line down any length of wood. It’s definitely cool to be this square. Available on Amazon ; $52.86.


Dremel Trio

Dremel Trio

The basic do-almost-anything Dremel tool has long had a home on gadget-loving DIYer’s holiday gift lists. The company’s new Trio will keep it there. It acts like a mini-sawzall, cutting through a variety of materials smoothly and accurately and, with a change of bits, also becomes a sander and a router. Plus, the handle rotates 90 degrees to ensure you’re always in the right position for the job. Available on Amazon ; $77.99.


Auto Ratchet

Auto Ratchet

Here’s another power tool bound to save many a DIYer from a case of carpal tunnel syndrome from too much twisting. The Auto Ratchet from Craftsman lets you tighten and loosen a variety of nuts with the push of a button. The most striking thing about this handy helper is that it has a pass-through design that lets you work on large bolts because they’ll simply slide through the middle of the socket. The ratchet features forward and reverse modes and has a manual mode that locks the socket for that final hand tightening. Available at ; $59.49.

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If you have the money to hire a handyman for every household woe, go ahead. But if you want to hang on to your cash and exercise some self-sufficiency, check out these clever products that solve a million and one little problems around the house. Go now!