Home Repair Blog
The holidays are here and it is time to start checking off your to-do list! Over the years, some of the best gifts that I ever received or have given to others are tools that get simple jobs done better and faster. In this blog, I have put together a list of a few essentials for every do-it-yourselfer that make great gifts, even for those people that seem to have everything.
Great Gift #1 - A cordless drill
Everyone needs a cordless drill. These drills are not just good for drilling holes, this tool comes in handy when you need to assemble furniture, toys, and other items. When buying a drill it is important to consider who will be using it. Most homeowners do not need a high-powered drill and can get the job done with a 12 to 14.4 volt model. This will give you a solid drill without a lot of weight which makes them harder to use. For someone who rarely uses a drill, a quality 9.6 volt drill (such as the one made by Makita) will be fine. While my brand preference is DeWalt, it's really a Ford-Chevy thing; all the major manufacturers make good drills.
Also, don't forget a good set of drill bits which will make a nice stocking stuffer. If you really want to make an impact get one set of bits for drilling metal and a second set for drilling wood. Metal drill bits should be carbide or cobalt tipped, or made from titanium. Wood bits should be brad tipped, or, for larger holes, be Forstner bits. It's easy to buy cheap bits, but good bits produce results that are well worth the extra money - if the user doesn't try to use the same bit for drilling everything.
Great Gift # 2
A leaf or snow blower
A leaf or snow blower is a great gift for both those who enjoy yard work and those who don't. There are different types of snow blowers so ask the salesperson to review the features of each to make sure you get the correct one to meet your needs. What I suggest is a single-stage snow blower. These are lighter and easier to handle than two-stage models. These blowers are best for clearing mid-size areas with a snowfall of 8 inches or less and will get the job done for most of us. Gas snow blowers offer better mobility than electric models because they are not tied to a power cord during operations. They also have greater available clearing widths.
Leaf blowers are also a convenient tool for getting the job done. Both snow and leaf blowers come in electric and gas models. For both of these tools, electrics are much cheaper and quieter than gas blowers, but gas blowers are more powerful, despite emitting smoke. Regardless, both of these options are still a lot less work than raking leaves or shoveling snow. If you decide to go electric rather than gas, get the new owner 12 amp extension cord to go with the blower. Many homeowners use 14 amp or lower rated cords, and these just aren't safe with a high powered blower.
Great Gift # 3
A Level.. or two...
A 9" torpedo level is perfect for small jobs like hanging pictures. However, sometimes it is nice to have a 2-foot model for larger projects such as leveling bookshelves, appliances, beds, and other furniture. Another bonus, long levels can serve as a nice straightedge.
Great Gift # 4
A professional measuring tape
Many times when I go into a job, the homeowner has measured something using a tape measure used for sewing projects. When buying a measuring tape, make sure it is spring-loaded, which combines compactness and speed. A 25-foot model is sufficiently long to handle almost any home construction project or repair job. Also, before buying make sure to pick up the tape measure and see how heavy it is and whether or not it can clip to the belt loop on your jeans.
Great Gift # 5
A ladder or stepladder
The safest way to reach things inside the house is with a properly sized stepladder. Many times, it is faster to jump on a chair or stand on another piece of furniture to change a light bulb. But a stepladder comes in handy more often than not. The best stepladders for home use are those that are 2 to 3 stairs and are lightweight. For outdoor projects and other types of project a regular ladder may do the trick. Although they range in height from 3 to 20 feet, the most useful ladders are those in the 6-to 10 foot range, tall enough but not unwieldy.
There are so many tools that come in handy around the house. Hopefully this list will get you started on building your own basic tool set.. and will make hanging holiday decorations a little easier!