Despite the stereotypes, most guys aren't really that handy. Which is why we need helpers like The Art of Fixing Things ($11). This slim paperback provides you with 150 tips and tricks for doing repairs — it's information that most of us are smart enough to know but never got experience doing. Helping you along are over 175 photo illustrations, so all you need to provide are the problem, the tools, and the brawn.
Get multiple projects done without multiple trips to the tool shed with the Crescent Odd Job Multi-Tool ($15). This relatively petite tool serves as a hammer, mallet, ratcheting bit driver, screwdriver, utility knife, and nail puller, all while measuring less than a foot long. The real surprise? A multi-tool on Uncrate that doesn't include a bottle opener.
Sure, there are more powerful drills — but few can go where this one can. The Bosch 12-Volt Max Pocket Driver ($80) sports a compact, lightweight design that allows it to fit into areas most drill's can't while making it easy to keep nearby on a belt loop or in a holster. Lithium-ion batteries ensure that it'll have the juice to finish the job and recharge quickly once it's over, and thanks to a motor that supplies up to 265 inch-pounds of torque, it's got more than enough muscle to tackle nearly any task.
Cordless drills are great for around-the-house chores, but they can be overkill for a lot of tasks — and keeping track of all their bits can be a pain, besides. Enter the Worx Semi-Automatic Screw Driver ($50). This crazy/handy tool comes with two rapid reload cartridges that hold six bits a piece and uses a slide action system to change the bit selection, letting you go from drilling a pilot hole to Philips to flat head in no time flat — and no bits lost.
We're not sure exactly why you'd need to be doing activities that require safety glasses without adequate lighting, but just in case you're the type of person who operates power tools in the middle of the woods at midnight, you'll want these Dual LED Safety Glasses ($18). They feature two LED lights that last up to 50 hours of continuous use on a set of batteries, clear lenses that offer a 180 optically correct viewing area, and 99.9% UV protection, because you're so likely to wear these out in the sun.
If Tim "The Tool Man" Taylor was moonlighting as a sommelier, there's no doubt he would have come up with something like the Bosch IXO Vino ($65). Combining a cordless screwdriver with a corkscrew adapter, the IXO Vino can open bottles of wine as easily as it puts together IKEA furniture, and has an integrated LED light so you don't miss the bottle when operating in darkened cellars.
If you've ever been whacked by the end of an extension cord or cable that was automatically retracting, you'll appreciate RoboReels ($280-$400). Available in portable and ceiling-mounted versions, these intelligent 360 degree-rotating cord reels use a two-speed motorized retraction system that can be started from the base or the end of the cable, ensuring a smooth, safe return for the receptacle ball, which offers three outlets, a power on/off button, three LED indicator lights, and a retraction switch.
Nothing makes a job more dull than a lack of background music, but unfortunately most job sites aren't really boombox-friendly. Luckily, the Bosch Power Box 360 ($200-$250) isn't your average boombox. Inside its rugged aluminum and rubber roll case, the 360 packs full 360-degree speakers for all-around sound, a weather-sealed media bay for your iPod, a powered USB port for charging your cell phone, MP3 and WMA support for the SD card slot, external auxiliary ports, a built-in battery bay for either charging your tool batteries or powering the Power Box itself, an illuminated LCD display, and a remote control for cranking up the music while you crank up the saw.
Stop running down your car battery just to get music in the garage and pick up the Kobalt 53-inch Tool Chest w/Pioneer Sound System ($1,700). This hulking beast of a tool chest offers killer features like LED lighting, an integrated four-plug power strip, a Pioneer sound system with remote and MP3/CD player, included drawer liners, double-walled construction, and a 2,200 lbs. capacity with casters that lock, swivel, and absorb shocks.
Streamline your toolbox with the Rockwell H3 Hammer Drill ($180). This lime green and black 3-in-1 functions as a hammer drill, rotary drill, and hex driver, and features a SDS Plus chuck system to let you switch between modes in a flash, an LED light to illuminate the work area, variable speeds, and a memory-free battery that lets you charge anytime. Now all you need is a project to work on.
Ditch that bulky wrench set and take care of your household duties using only the Black & Decker Ratcheting Ready Wrench ($26). This one-size-fits-all tool offers 16 of the most common standard and metric socket sizes, and also offers two-way ratcheting action, color-coded socket sizes for easy identification, and a lifetime warranty to ensure that it outlasts the things it helps you fix.
Have a conflagration or other job that your normal hose nozzle just can't handle? Call in reinforcements with the Nelson Fireman's Spray Nozzle ($20). Rated for pressure up to 250 PSI, the Nelson offers an adjustable spray pattern, a die-cast zinc body, a large metal shutoff handle, and 300% more water flow than a standard nozzle, which is perfect for hosing down the driveway, knocking mud off your tires, or holding really extreme wet t-shirt contests.
Keep your tools handy and your clothes protected with the Dickies Toolmaker's Apron ($16). Made from preshrunk denim or unbleached drill fabric, this simple piece of workwear sports two deep bottom pockets, a ruler or pencil pocket, a swing micrometer pocket, and brass grommets. Plus, it's under $15, so you don't have to worry too much about destroying it trying to build your next project.
Burst the bubble and step up to the C.H. Hanson Precision Ball Level ($40). This unique tool replaces the traditional bubble vial with an aviation-style floating ball that can measure and level any angle or pitch and levels in two directions at the same time, letting you go beyond the traditional square to create precise angled works of carpentry art.
No matter how many lasers, levels, and other doodads they add to normal stud finders, one thing remains constant — they're pretty much always a hit-or-miss affair. Literally. So believe us when we say that the C.H. Hanson Stud 4 Sure ($12) is the first we've used that consistently works, time after time. It requires no battery power or calibration, instead using über-powerful rare earth magnets to pinpoint the location of screws or nails in the stud — so powerful, in fact, that it will hang hands-free on the wall — leaving no doubt as to where you should be hammering or drilling. Beware searching Google for it, however, lest you find "drilling" of a whole other kind.
Whether you need to bust up an old driveway or simply want to make yourself a hole into the neighbor's bathroom for creepy, voyeuristic reasons, The Pulverizer ($45) is the tool for the job. At 3.5 lbs. and just over a foot long, it's sturdy enough to take some abuse while remaining small enough to pack along no matter what the job. Features include a industrial-grade sledge head with a 1.5-inch strike face, a two inch scraper and nail puller, a textured TPE grip, claw teeth for better grip when plying, and the strength that comes from fully-forged manufacturing.
Whether you're building a house or just putting together some Ikea furniture, there's little more frustrating than having the necessary bolt, screw, or nail fall out of your hand or pocket only to disappear forever. MagnoGrip Magnetic Work Gear ($13-$110) can help you avoid this time-waster with a variety of goods — including wristbands, nail pouches, belt clips, hammer holsters, suspenders, tool pouches, and, our tool belts (which we just put to good use) — made from rugged double-layered ballistic polyester, and featuring magnetic surfaces that hold small items securely in place until you're ready for them.