Stocking Stuffers for DIY Folks for 2010

Stocking stuffers for home improvement heroes are my favorite items to shop for.  First and most importantly I don’t have to break the bank on these smaller gifts.  Second, many of the the tools and products we find most useful aren’t  the big ticket items.  Here are a few winners that will be more appreciated for what they do, not how much they cost.

The Kobalt LED cap I eyed for several months before picking one up.  Being a tech guru, the HID offering from Stanley, the LED Gorilla Torch and Black and Decker’s LED  light with clamp, magnet and a focusing beam have become favorite play-toys during the past few months. But the other day, I thought what the heck,  the Kobalt cap idea would have been a better solution for installing insulation in an attic.  Our work lamps are great, but we have to keep moving them and if you have used them, you know how much heat they throw out.

The Kobalt LED Cap has three different light settings for various applications.  LEDs are more efficient and therefore battery life even using smaller sized batteries is acceptable.  During the past few years most of my projects I wore a headlamp, either a Black Diamond or one of my Petzl Lamps.  The Kobalt Cap is much more comfortable and also does not have the ubiquitous battery pack that gets in the way if you are working in a space that requires you to lie on your back. When I am working under countertops  or on plumbing this has been an issue.  I have used the spotlight setting when sharpening tools. It helps to see nicks and grind marks I might otherwise miss.  You can also throw one in the car trunk for emergencies.

You have probably seen the Kobalt Mult-Drive Wrench on television.  I picked one up for Ms. Jones knowing she could have one tool capable of handling most tightening and loosening tasks. One tool is easier to keep up with for homeowners who occasionally use tools around the house.  I have tried the socket set as gifts idea, but invariably the 7/16, 5/8 and other popular sizes get misplaced and to a novice, those metric sockets look pretty darn close to the ones that were lost. The Kobalt Multi-Drive capitalizes on this thought and a 7/16 and 11 are the same socket, 1″ and 25mm, and so forth.

The Multi-Drive offers the more advanced user a tool that can work on a variety of head shapes. Star, Hex and square functionality is a nice feature.  The tool itself is well made and quite hefty.  Like any tool, it has some tasks it handles better than others. The shape of the multi-head makes working in tight spaces tough. Think of this tool like a shallow socket set where the sockets remain attached to the wench at all times.  There are some places a box wrench won’t work and only an open end will reach. The same principle applies here. In our use, the tool is very handy for assembling machinery and emergency repairs on the roadside.  For less than $30 the Kobalt Multi-Drive is a good purchase.

Have you tried a pair of work gloves with the gel cushions? If you have, you know where I am going with this.  I have been using a pair of Mechanix Wear Impact Pro gloves and they make a tremendous difference when using power tools or hand tools. The gel absorbs vibration created by tools. No more numb fingers after using a tamp, demo hammer, or impact wrenches, the gel really works.  I first tried the gel in an inexpensive pair of work gloves. The gel worked fine. The gloves began to come apart after a few months. Buy a nicer pair like the Impact Pro by Mechanix Wear.  The owner will appreciate these long after the Holidays.

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