Stockings are always hard to buy for. What’s a gift that’s small enough to fit but that the receiver can really use? For anyone who’s handy, tools are always great gift ideas. But, which tools? How do you know which ones will actually be useful?
With my experience as a handyman and woodworker, coupled with Reviewed’s experience testing hundreds of products this year, I’ve put together a list of 12 tool stocking stuffers that most people can actually use.
1. The Gerber Gear Folding Pocket Knife
Anyone who’s even moderately handy needs a quality pocket knife at their side. A good pocket knife can be an indispensable asset anywhere you go. Obviously a knife is going to be great for cutting—whether that’s cutting hard-to-untie ribbons from presents, opening plastic bags, trimming back an annoying branch, or as always, opening the never-ending stream of packages that arrive in our days of online shopping.
However, a pocket knife is far more than just a cutting tool. As long as you’re careful, it can be used as a screwdriver, a pry bar, a shovel, a staple-remover, a pencil sharpener, and even a bottle opener. It’s hard to realize just how useful a pocket knife can be until you have one of your own.
2. The Chain-Mate Manual Pocket Chain Saw
This is an ingenious little product—it’s just a bare chainsaw chain with handles on each end that you can use to cut small branches and trees. I was able to test one out, and was shocked at how well it worked.
It requires surprisingly little effort and can cut through some decent-size branches. This is a great little tool for cutting back the occasional overgrowth, cutting up branch debris from storms, or taking with you camping or hiking to cut down some small firewood.
The convenient carrying case attaches right to your belt, and is sturdy enough to contain the chain anywhere you go. Even if you’re not a camper or don’t need another saw around the house, this is an excellent addition to a vehicle’s emergency kit to clear away tree debris from the road in a pinch.
3. The Hinshark Contour Gauge
Measuring and marking out odd shapes that need to be cut to match can be a major challenge, particularly for non-professionals. The Hinshark contour gauge is a tool that alleviates that hassle.
All you need to do is press the gauge up against whatever it is you’re trying to match your cut to. It will form around that object, capturing every nook and cranny. Lock the gauge, remove it, and you have a perfect outline that you can then transfer to whatever piece you’re cutting.
This is a great tool to have on-hand, especially when tiling, plumbing, flooring, or installing drywall, though there’s really no end to its uses. Whenever you’re trying to match-cut a shape, the contour gauge will save you time, and more importantly, mistakes.
4. The TekHome Multi-tool Hammer
We’ve all seen different kinds of multi-tools: Swiss Army knives, plier-based multi-tools, and even those credit card-shaped tools. TekHome’s multi-tool, however, brings a bit more oomph to the multi-tool genre, basing their product around a hammer.
This multi-tool has everything else that you would expect: a knife, screwdriver, saw, serrated knife, nail file, pliers, wire cutters, a nail claw, and of course the most important and most used part of any multi-tool, a bottle opener.
But, the hammer is what really sets this tool apart. While it’s certainly not heavy enough to bang in row after row of roofing nails, it’s adequate for most around-the-house projects, like hanging picture frames or hitting something unstuck. It’s certainly better than just improvising the bottom of a regular multi-tool as a hammer, which rarely works and usually results in bruised fingers.
5. The Foxdott Rechargeable Headlamp
A good light source is critical to getting projects done. When you’re working in a dark or dim area, sometimes that means bringing in a flashlight. However, handheld flashlights can be hard to manage, particularly if you’re by yourself. Getting the light at the optimal angle while still leaving both hands free to work isn’t easy. That’s where a quality headlamp comes in.
With this headlamp, wherever you look, that’s where the light will shine, so for the most part, if you can see what you’re doing, you get light on it. Foxdott’s rechargeable headlamp is one of the top-rated and best-selling on Amazon, thanks to its brightness, comfort, and multiple lighting modes.
Eight LED lights provide plenty of brightness, with numerous options to turn it down, strobe, or use a red light. Never fight with a rolling flashlight again with this quality headlamp.
6. The Heleman Magnetic Pickup Tool with Mirror
There is nothing worse than only having one screw left, dropping it, and watching it roll under the workbench. Then, you have to get on your hands and knees, search for it, and contort your arm and shoulders at impossible angles to retrieve it. Unless, of course, you have a magnetic pickup tool.
This telescoping rod extends out to 30 inches with a high strength magnet on the end. You simply slip it under or behind the furniture, touch the magnetic object you’re trying to retrieve, and pull it out. Even if the object isn’t magnetic, you can use it to push lost items to a retrievable place. The included mirror makes it easier to locate those lost items without having to press your cheek to the dirty floor.
7. The Stanley Folding Metric and SAE Hex Key Set
Hex keys, more commonly known as allen wrenches, are a great tool to have lying around. They’re needed to tighten and adjust all kinds of furniture and fixtures around your house.
Traditional hex key sets contain a bunch of individual wrenches in a holder. The problem with these is they get lost. A lot. And the ones that get lost are the ones that you need most often.
The Stanley folding hex key set eliminates losing the individual wrenches. They’re all connected together in a tool the size of a pocket knife. Just fold out the size that you need, tighten or loosen your hex screw, and then fold the wrench back into place. I upgraded my loose set this year, and I am so happy not having to chase down that one hex key at the bottom of my toolbox drawer.
8. The Casaon 570 Self-tapping Screws Assortment Set
It seems like every single project requires slightly different-sized screws, and it’s exhausting to have to run to the hardware store every time you need a new size. Having a set of assorted screws on-hand can save so much time and frustration in multiple shopping trips.
This 570-piece set from Casaon contains 285 round-head and 285 flat screws, all Phillips drive. Sizes range from 12mm to 50mm, with a variety of threads. The screws are stainless steel, making them strong and corrosion-resistant, perfect for wood, metal, or plastic, in both indoor and outdoor applications.
9. The Sperry Instruments DualCheck 2-in-1 Non-contact Voltage Tester and GFCI Outlet Circuit Analyzer
When working with household electricity in any capacity, safety is the number one rule. The first step in safety is turning off the power. The second step in safety is making sure that the power is actually off.
The Sperry Instruments non-contact voltage detector can detect electrical current in switches, outlets, and wires so you can be sure that the device is safe to work on. And, there’s no confusion—if it detects an electric current, it beeps and flashes a red light. If there’s no electricity, it doesn’t do anything.
On the flip side of the tool is a GFCI circuit analyzer. Simply plug this into any GFCI outlet, and it will tell you if the circuit is correct, or if not, what the problem is. The indicator lights on the side are easy to read and decipher exactly what the problem is.
Before you start touching wires, double check that they’re safe with a non-contact voltage detector.
10. Swiss Safe 5-in-1 car safety hammer
This is actually a tool that hopefully no one ever has to use, but it’s still an important one to have on-hand.
The car safety hammer has a pointed spike on one side designed specifically to break the windows of your vehicle in event of an emergency. On the other side is a more standard flat hammer. The handle also features a seatbelt cutter to quickly and easily unstrap yourself or your passengers.
And, the bright orange color makes it easy to see in the jumble of all of the other things you have in your car. This is a crucial part of any vehicle’s emergency kit, and a great stocking stuffer.
11. The Qooltek Multipurpose Laser Level with Tripod
Measuring to hang picture frames, shelves, or other decorations can be a time-consuming and potentially frustrating project. The Qoolteck multipurpose laser level takes some of the frustration out of these basic home décor projects.
The laser has three modes—crosshair, horizontal, and vertical. Simply align the laser on the interior wall where you need to hang your items, and you’ve got a straight, level reference point. The included tripod makes actually leveling the laser at various heights a bit easier.
The laser also contains an 8-foot tape measure, and a 6-inch ruler on the bottom. This tool has nearly everything you need to line up your pictures perfectly.
12. O’Keeffe’s Working Hands Hand Cream
Anytime you’re working with your hands, particularly if it’s for a long time, there’s a chance they’ll get cracked and dry. Stave off the discomfort and keep your hands supple with a good coating of O’Keeffe’s Working Hands.
While it’s great for anyone with dry, cracked skin, it’s a mainstay in the manual labor community for a reason. It works fast and feels great, without much of an aroma. After a long day of sanding, or worse, the constant hand washing that comes with applying multiple coats of stain, nothing makes my hands feel better than a dollop of O’Keeffe’s.
Prices were accurate at the time this article was published but may change over time.