12 awesome gifts for handy homeowners

Shannon Lee | Improvement Center Columnist | December 11, 2015

good gifts for DIY homeownersWhether you hope to spend only a few dollars or are in the mood to go all-out, these presents for the DIY person in your life will make their eyes light up this holiday season.

Great budget finds

  1. Craftsman hand tools. When it comes to quality, Craftsman tools are where it's at. The good news is that these hardy, never-fail hand tools are also quite affordable. Expect to pay $15 or so for a dogbone wrench, excellent screwdriver, or other small tool that will work wonders around the house.
  2. The Hanson Shovel. This isn't any ordinary shovel. It's designed to precisely cut trenches, lawn edging and much more, thanks to a 90-degree vertical side blade. Upgrade to the wood handle and pay about $40 for a tool they will use for much more than just the garden.
  3. Electrical tools. Yes, you should always call an electrician to deal with those wires, but we all know a homeowner who throws caution to the wind. Keep them safe with a variety of electrical tools, including testers and insulated hand tool sets. These can set you back anywhere from $10 to $50.

For a small splurge

  1. Dremel Kit. An essential tool for doing just about anything, the Dremel line offers up numerous possibilities. Get a starter kit for about $60, or go with the nicer set for a few hundred. The ease of use is addicting, so buy two and keep one for yourself.
  2. Leatherman Super Tool 300. Leatherman is the definitive name in multi-tools, and this one is the best of all worlds. You get 19 tools, including pliers, cutters, crimpers, saws, screwdrivers, and even bottle and can openers to pop open that beer when the job is done. This nice gift will run about $80.
  3. Air compressor. For the homeowner who wants more power (and really, who doesn't?), an air compressor makes typical hand tools look like child's play. Tank size starts at one gallon for short bursts of power, and might run $80 or so. Much larger tanks are great for spray painting or tedious jobs, and can run up to $500 or more.

For a bigger splurge

  1. Dust extractor. These mighty machines are shop-vacs on steroids, designed to clean the work site so thoroughly that it's like you were never there. Variable suction force can be used wet or dry. A good one will set you back between $300 and $600, or more if you want bells and whistles.
  2. Little Giant ladder. Incredibly sturdy with a lifetime warranty, these ladders just look cool. They are also very easy to set up, which is a big bonus for rush jobs, like hanging that tarp over a busted window during a rainstorm. The small classic ladder starts at about $180, and larger versions can cost over $500.
  3. The best toolbox ever. Technically, it's not a tool, but tell that to the mechanic who swears on these majestic rolling carts full of essentials. You can go with a smaller, more reasonable size of Craftsman toolbox for about $100, or go all-out with the behemoth version at $1,000 and up…way up.

When money is no object

  1. Work site table saw. For the ultimate in DIY thrill, a table saw is the way to go. Some saws begin at a few hundred, but who wants to waste all the potential envy of the neighbors? Go with what the pros use, and expect the best models to start at $3,000.
  2. Titanium anything. Elevate mere hand tools to godlike quality with these titanium versions, but expect to pay a pretty penny or two. A basic screwdriver set will set you back an impressive $200 or so, a wrench set costs $400, and even a hammer can run $700. The person who has everything will not have these!
  3. Plasma cutter. What in the world is this thing, anyway? Not for amateurs, the plasma cutter slices through metal like it's warm butter, Tiny ones start at $600 or so, but let's be honest: You want the big one. Set your price floor at $2,000 and go up from there.

It won't take long for the recipients of these awesome gifts to excuse themselves from the festivities to go try out their new home improvement toys -- and you can bask in the warmth of a job well done.

About the Author

Shannon Lee is a freelance writer and occasional novelist with a serious weakness for real estate. When she's not writing, she and her husband are taking road trips to explore covered bridges, little wineries and quaint bed-and-breakfast inns in their beloved Pennsylvania.