'Tis the Season to Stock Up
For today’s enthusiastic DIYer, few things are as satisfying as a fully stocked workshop, complete with all the tools and gadgets needed for working on construction projects, maintaining the home, and tinkering with the car. If you’re looking to take your workshop from ordinary to extraordinary, or if you're shopping for someone with a growing tool habit, keep reading. Ahead, we share 15 items from leading ranch, tool, and hardware retailer Tractor Supply that deserve a spot in any well-furnished workshop.
1. Cordless Drill and Impact Driver
For woodworking projects like building a cabinet or repairing a bookcase, a cordless drill makes quick work of drilling pilot holes and inserting screws. But it's also good to have an impact driver on hand, particularly if you're dealing with long fasteners or working on ultra-hard types of wood, such as hickory or pecan. The pulsing power of an impact driver prevents the screw heads from becoming stripped and moves the work along a little more quickly. While you can purchase these tools separately, you can save a little by buying a trusty combo set. The value-packed DeWALT 20V MAX Lithium-Ion Cordless Drill/Impact Driver Combo Kit comes with a 20-volt drill and a 20-volt impact driver, two batteries, one battery charger, and a bag for storage. Both tools feature LED light rings for illuminating dimly lit areas and ergonomic handles to reduce hand fatigue. Available from Tractor Supply; $199.99.
2. Air Compressor
A powerful, fast-recovery air compressor tops the wish list of many workshop aficionados, because it powers both pneumatic woodworking and pneumatic mechanic tools. The DeWALT 27-Gallon Vertical Electric Air Compressor will allow you to run your tools longer without having to stop to recharge. At just 78 decibels, the DeWALT compressor is one of the quietest on the market, and it comes with cold-start capability, so it will crank right up at temperatures as low as -20 degrees Fahrenheit. Available from Tractor Supply; $299.99.
A serious DIYer can put a welder to good use repairing ironwork like fences and gates or creating metal projects. If you're still on the fence about investing in this workshop extra, consider the value of a welder that pulls double-duty. The Hobart Champion 145 Welder/Generator will not only mend a ¼-inch seam in a single pass, it can also power tools if electricity isn’t available. This gas-powered generator features a 6.25-gallon fuel tank; a powerful 10 HP Briggs & Stratton engine; one 20A, 240V receptacle; and four 20A, 120V receptacles for lights and other tools when you're working remotely. Available from Tractor Supply; $1,799.99.
4. Work Lights
Changing oil, replacing an air filter, or just servicing a lawn mower is much simpler if you can clearly see what you’re working on. The Stanley 5000 Lumen LED Portable Work Light is a great choice for illuminating the task at hand. Approximately 8.5 inches wide and 13 inches high, the Stanley work light is easy to maneuver in tight spots, and its two adjustable sidelights pivot and tilt to create a lighting angle that meets your needs. Mount the base of this super-bright work light to a wall or countertop, or just move the light wherever it's needed, such as under a car or inside a cabinet for direct task lighting. Available from Tractor Supply; $69.99.
5. Circular Saw
No workshop is complete without a high-quality circular saw, and the Evolution 7¼-Inch Circular Saw Kit is a real standout. Its powerful 15-amp high-torque motor makes it a breeze to cut through wood, ferrous metals, laminates, and heavy plastics up to a 2½-inch depth. The saw can also make angled cuts up to 45 degrees, so it's perfect for tasks like cutting miter joints for trim. You'll have plenty of control over cuts with the soft-grip ergonomic handle, and the tool's channeled airflow keeps sawdust from clouding your line of vision while you work. Available from Tractor Supply; $143.99.
6. Carpenter's Level
Whether you’re hanging shelves or building a garden shed, getting your project level is half the job. Not all levels are created equal, however. On some of the more basic options, the glass or acrylic that encases the bubble can become cloudy or dull over time, making it difficult to determine where the bubble actually is. Not so with the Johnson 48-Inch Digital Box Level, which has a digital readout with a backlit display that lets you check for level even in low-light situations. Available from Tractor Supply; $116.99.
7. Knife and Tool Sharpener
Never mow, prune, saw, or chop with a dull blade again—or spend hours manually sharpening blades on a stone. The Work Sharp Knife & Tool Sharpener comes with a trio of abrasive belts (coarse, medium, and fine) that quickly sharpen every blade edge you own. Use the coarse belts for heavy grinding and the finer ones for putting a razor’s edge on hatchets or chef’s knives. The sharpener also comes with an edge guide for sharpening serrated edges and a scissor guide that makes sharpening scissors a snap. Available from Tractor Supply; $69.99.
8. Laser Level
When your to-do list includes installing wainscoting, setting fence posts, or putting in a drop ceiling, nothing checks your work better than a red dot laser level, such as the Johnson Self-Leveling 3-Dot Laser Level. It projects a dot horizontally to confirm that your project is level and projects dots up or down to ensure that your work is plumb. You can count on the battery-operated Johnson laser level to be accurate to ⅛ inch over a 30-foot span. Available from Tractor Supply; $89.99.
9. Hearing Protection
From sawing metal to using an air impact wrench to remove lug nuts on a wheel, power tools can create a lot of noise. That's why it's smart to invest in hearing protection. The DeWALT Bluetooth Hearing Protector takes sound muffling to a whole new level. Its Bluetooth capability allows you to sync your smartphone or music player so you can enjoy your favorite tunes while tuning out shop sounds. You can even use the headphones to take calls from your smartphone. Available from Tractor Supply; $49.99.
10. Air Hose Reel
One downside to today’s convenient pneumatic tools is the constant tangle of long air hoses connecting the tools to the compressor. Straighten up the twisted mess by winding the extra hose onto the JobSmart Hand Crank Hose Reel. This reel keeps the excess hose under control while you’re using your pneumatic tools and stores up to 75 feet of air hose when the job is done. No more tangled hoses, and no more tripping hazard. Available from Tractor Supply; $49.99.
11. Aviation Snips
JobSmart’s 3-Piece Aviation Snip Set will be a welcome addition to any sheet metal worker’s repertoire. The three high-grade carbon steel snips feature comfort-grip handles to reduce hand fatigue. Industry-standard color coding makes it easy to identify which snips to use for which cuts: green for cutting curves and angles to the right, red for cutting curves and angles to the left, and yellow for straight cuts. Available from Tractor Supply; $15.99.
12. Extension Cords
Unless you have an abundance of wall outlets, you probably need to run an extension cord once in a while to operate a table saw, a sander, or even a garage heater. Power tools like these require a heavy-duty extension cord, such as the JobSmart 50 ft. Oil Resistant Extension Cord. The cord’s orange and blue PVC coating wipes clean with ease and resists damage from oil and grease, making the cord ideal for workshop use. Available from Tractor Supply; $16.99.
13. Hand Truck
Even if you have willing helpers, moving a heavy item like a refrigerator or a steel door can take a toll on your muscles. Adding a hand truck to your workshop arsenal can save the day—and your back! The Milwaukee 150-Lb. Capacity Foldup Hand Truck has a telescoping handle that extends to 39 inches and can move a load of up to 150 pounds. It comes with a bungee cord to help secure your loads, and it folds flat to store easily in your workshop when not in use. Available from Tractor Supply; $29.99.
14. Screwdriver Set
The lowly screwdriver is a workshop staple. While you probably already have a few manual screwdrivers, it's a good idea to add a ratchet screwdriver to your collection. Its simple back-and-forth twisting action lets you make quick work of inserting and removing screws without ever having to lift the bit from the screw head. Just about 8.5 inches long, the JobSmart 13-Piece Ratchet Screwdriver easily maneuvers into tight spots, and its 12 bits (four flat-head bits, four Phillips-head bits, and four Torx bits) store neatly in its base when not in use. Available from Tractor Supply; $12.99.
15. Pry Bar
Demolition is often the first step in a household remodeling project, and a good pry bar can make the process easier and more efficient. The Olympia 12-Inch Multi Pry Bar & Nail Puller is compact enough to get into tight spots to pry material apart with its hammer head, and the nail puller at the opposite end makes this hand tool a must for projects such as removing old subflooring or taking apart a cabinet base. Available from Tractor Supply; $9.99.
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!