DIY Tools

Bob Vila’s Holiday Gift Guide: For Tool Lovers

Whether you're looking for a stocking stuffer or a gift to slip under the tree, our top tool picks will help you shop for the tool-loving handyman or woman in your life.

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Top Tools

Whether you are looking for a stocking stuffer or a gift to slip under the tree, our Top Tool Picks will help you shop for the tool-loving handyman or woman in your life. We turned to tool expert Ethan Hagan, editor of One Project Closer, for his advice and insights. Here are 12 tools reviewed, vetted, and worthy of your consideration.

ChannelLock Ratcheting Screwdriver


The Channellock 13 ‘N 1 (full review) combines the efficiency of a ratcheting screwdriver with the versatility of a multi-bit driver, and you’ll feel the difference from the very first turn. Channellock has designed the smoothest ratcheting mechanism we’ve tested. The direction setting can be adjusted one-handed, and this driver can ratchet left, right, or be locked in place. ChannelLock; $35.62

Rockwell Oscillating Multi-Tool

One Project Closer

The innovative, tool-free Hyperlock accessory clamp delivers 1 ton of clamping force, and the Universal Accessory system enables you to mix and match competitor’s parts. These features and a 3.0 amp motor make the Rockwell Sonicrafter X2 (full review) our top pick among oscillating multi-tools. Rockwell; $149.99

DeWalt Reciprocating Saw


The DeWalt 12v Pivot Reciprocating Saw (full review) is the cordless little brother to the bigger, traditional reciprocating saw. Even still, DeWalt’s tool is powerful enough to cut a variety of materials and compact enough to be useful in tight spaces. Weighing in at only 3.1 lbs., it’s one of the lightest saws of its kind. Lowes; $149.99

Ridgid Drill/Driver


The Ridgid 18v Compact Drill Driver-Impact Driver (full review) delivers outstanding performance, solid battery life, a comfortable grip, and a lifetime repair and replacement warranty (which also covers the batteries). With a 1/2″ chuck, 535 in. lbs. of torque, and a two-speed gear box delivering up to 1,650 RPMs, Ridgid’s drill driver will handle a broad range of applications. Home Depot; $199

Irwin GrooveLock Pliers


While little innovation has come to groove joint pliers over the last few decades, Irwin has made a significant breakthrough. The jaws of GrooveLock Pliers (full review) can be sized whether the pliers are open or shut, and the selected jaw size is retained until it is purposefully reset. Grainger; $24.56 (for 10″ Model) 

Johnson Magnetic Box Level


The Johnson 9500 (full review) features powerful rare-earth magnets that lock onto any magnetic surface, and the precision-milled edges are great for scribing straight lines, unlike the beveled edge found on some competitors’ models. The 9500 has replaceable end caps for protection, and it’s proven job-site tough. Sears; $96 (for 24″ model)

Ryobi Digital Multimeter


The Ryobi Tek4 Mulitmeter (full review) is a versatile diagnostic tool that can measure voltage, current, resistance, continuity and more. The Ryobi’s capabilities and feature set make it a professional-grade tool available at a consumer-friendly price. Home Depot; $79.97

Bosch Spade Bit Set


Bosch’s DareDevil Spade Bits (full review) have revolutionized drilling large holes through wood studs with an innovative self-starting, self-drilling head that literally pulls the bit through the wood. These bits drive through material up to twice as fast as standard spade bits while providing less overall resistance to the user. Amazon; $29.93

Milwaukee Cordless Grinder


This Milwaukee 4-1/2″ Cordless Grinder (full review) combines a 9,000 rpm motor, convenient paddle-switch, and tool-less changing of accessories in a maneuverable grinder that is powerful enough to cut through bolts, rebar, pipes, threaded rod and to grind through brick mortar. Home Depot; $349

Maxxeon LED Flashlight


The Maxxeon Workstar 220 Pocket Floodlight (full review) is a super-slim flashlight that puts out an incredible 140 lumens! The Workstar, powered by three AAAA, is 6″ long yet weighs only 1 ounce and at its widest point, measures just 9/16″. Amazon; $26.21

Milwaukee Combination Pliers


You’ll save room in your tool belt with Milwaukee 6-in-1 Combination Pliers (full review), since they can cut and strip wire, cut bolts, ream pipe and make loops. The patent-pending locking thumb switch is easy to operate, and the spring-loaded open means you’re always ready to work. ToolBarn; $29.99

Craftsman Socket Set


This Craftsman 154-Piece Socket Set (full review) comes with every socket you’ll need for nearly every project around the house, shop, or garage. The set includes all standard and metric sizes, regular and deep well sockets, 12 common wrenches and three ratchets. Kmart; $99.99

For More…

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

For the DIY Mom

For the Woodworker

For the Gadget-Loving DIYer