It's time once again for the annual Father's Day tool debate.
Which tool does he really need?
Which tool does he really want?
Does he really need it or just want it?
Will he remember it?
Will he use it?
Will he remember to use it?
Can I afford it?
Is it worth it?
Is he worth it?
Is it better to stick with a classic and simple hand tool, some high tech cutting edge digitally enhanced super neato hybrid gadget, or just a catch all gift card?
The basics, the bling or the bucks?
As a full-time professional Mr. Handyman (yes it's a real job), I am often asked my recommendations for which truly useful and memorable gadgets to get for that special Dad/hubby/partner, whether they're a novice tinkerer or a do-it-yourself tool junkie. The next most asked questions, seriously, are "When can you came back?" and "Are you married?" ASAP and yes I'm married. I love my job!
My latest TOP 10+ list should help guide you through the colorful and captivating tool aisle at his favorite hardware store, improvement center or guy gadget cave. As you balance budget, need, ability, and space limitations, remember that by no means is my list meant to be exhaustive or in any particular order other than generally cost ascending. This list has been compiled over my many years of "fixing" things on an almost daily basis and constantly being on the lookout for tools which will actually help me accomplish my tasks in better, more productive and enjoyable ways.
Being that there are invariably exceptions to everything in life, I've also compiled a list of presumptions, preferences, and disclaimers at the end of this article so as to not exclude, impugn, or alienate anyone.
TOP 10+ Father's Day Tool Gift Suggestions
...from the eyes of a real life handyman:
#1: Paper Towel Holder and Trash Can:
Easy, simple, reasonable, but oh so necessary to have within handy reach of whatever Dad's hands are into. ($5 - $40)
#2: Work Gloves:
Often overlooked and avoided because the ones he has are clumsy, uncomfortable, or hard to find. Quality, proper fitting gloves designed for specific tasks make his work safer, reduce fatigue, and help prevent those pesky splinters and blisters. Even a small thing like a handy box of disposable gloves within reach will make his clean up easier, especially under fingernails, and avoid the need for harsh cleansers or chemicals to clean his delicate skin. ($5 - $45)
#3: Stud Finders and Laser Levels:
Available as separate units and in combination, these goodies have proved themselves to be indispensable in most construction, mounting, and layout projects. Some have adhesive backing and self leveling feature so all Dad has to do is press them against the work surface, push a button and read the display or laser lines. They usually come with batteries, but read the label and save a hassle the first time Dad tries to use it. ($15 - $75)
Known by the classic "Swiss Army" or "Leatherman" brands, these may be the best emergency service and repair tools ever designed, probably by some gaffer Dad on a film shoot somewhere in a far off land with no tool store in the same galaxy. The choices, as well as cost range, can be frightening so here are a few ideas to consider. Don't ever get him a cheap one because you'll be embarrassed and he won't use it. Think about what he does on a regular basis, like fish or fix carburetors or open beer cans, and then choose accordingly. I've heard of grandfathers that passed theirs on to future generations, so make a quality and personal choice. ($35 - $150)
#5: Little Helper with Magnifying Glass:
If Dad ever had to hold and assemble something small while flexibly manipulating another tool or part to a precise position, then he could have used a third hand or one of these simple and inexpensive gadgets on his desk or workbench. Granted he probably won't use it daily unless he builds watches or models, but on the day he does need it, you'll get a huge thanks from him. ($10 - $35)
Even if Dad's not an electrician, these handheld testers can be a great help with anything from battery strength testing, motor and appliance checking, resistance and conductivity levels and low & high voltage readings. Obviously the first rule is always to use care, research, and experience before plugging into and touching things you're not familiar with, but with correct precautions, these are a great analytic tool for Dad to have at his disposal. ($15 - $75)
#7: Tool Belt/Pouch:
Here you can choose multiple variations, but Dad needs and wants a handy tool carry thingy of some type. There is of course the generic tool belt (also available with suspenders), industry and job specific tool and parts bags, 5 gallon bucket liners, just to describe a few. Consider what Dad does, how he does it and choose wisely, Grasshopper. ($15 - $100)
#8: Air Tool Kit:
This one has many options and maybe not what your Dad needs often, but like so many things among his tools, it will be hugely helpful and appreciated when the need does arise. Recently, I have started using compressed CO2 tanks to drive my air tools as they are super portable and quiet and adequate for minor to mid nailing and pressurizing needs. For larger capacity and volume, the tried and true compressor is recommended. Size and type depend largely on what Dad is going to be doing. This might be one of those gifts where you just take time with your Dad and shop for the right choice of air supplier, tools and accessories together. ($100 - $500)
#9: Cordless Tool Kit:
If Dad doesn't have any cordless tools yet ,this will be a smile maker. Quality and cost will go hand in hand, but you can always start Dad with one basic tool, like a drill/driver, and let him add to the kit as the need arises. Note that almost every manufacturer has different styles and voltages of batteries so you will be committing Dad to a certain brand. Most commercial heavy duty brands have a home/shop line which is made to comparable standards and may have interchangeable batteries and accessories. Also a wise move to check the warranties and return policies just in case. ($200 - $600)
#10: Rotary Tool:
Another uniquely useful item which after Dad uses it once, he'll never want to be without. This is a fairly recent addition to the US tool circuit but used worldwide for many years. The odd shape and blade configurations allow for cutting, sanding, grinding, etc. in countless small and previously unreachable spaces with standard bulky tools. The list of possible uses is too long for me to detail here, so if this is a possibility, I suggest that you "Google" it to compare the uses and brands. Don't forget to look at the cordless ones which can use the same batteries as his other cordless tools. Again, best to spend more at the onset and get lasting quality for Dad. ($90 - $250)
Part 1 of 2, click here for more Father's Day Gift ideas.