Especially for those of us who are not so handy, having a mechanically inclined friend, neighbor or family member can be a real blessing. They are the ones who help you jump-start your car or get your lawn mower running after a long winter. With a few tools and some know how, the do-it-yourselfers make saving the day look easy.
If you have an aspiring mechanic, do-it-yourselfer or all-around handy person on your holiday shopping list, find the perfect gift here. These six gift ideas are both practical and exciting, and are sure to please those who love tackling automotive or household projects.
Original E-Z Red Super Bright Pocket Light
The most affordable gift on this list also happens to be one of the most useful. This powerful yet slim light brightens dark workspaces with an array of LEDs arranged along its side. It provides a broad swath of light to brighten any shady area. The narrow design and pocket clip allow it to fit in a shirt pocket, so it’s always within reach. Three AAA batteries are included. Give this gift and watch it become a go-to favorite.
Porter-Cable Cordless 20-Volt ½” Drill Driver
Another cool gift that is certain to get plenty of use is this cordless drill and driver. Unlike the old cordless drills with heavy, bulky batteries, this one has a lightweight and powerful Lithium-Ion battery pack. That makes it more compact and easier to handle. It has a keyless chuck for quick bit and driver changes, two speed settings and built-in clutch, to help prevent over-tightening when using drivers. A cordless drill is an irreplaceable tool that finds use all over: garage, workshop, vehicle and home.
Crescent 128-piece SAE & Metric Tool Set
If your handy helper is just getting started building a collection of tools – or just has a mishmash of hand tools but no complete set – this SAE and metric set from Crescent is an ideal choice. It includes all the basics for working on machines of all kinds, from bicycles to motorcycles, riding mowers to pickup trucks. It includes a variety of wrenches and 3/8″-drive sockets, along with a carrying case to keep the tools organized. This set can be a building block for a more comprehensive collection of tools, or a basic box to take on the road.
Carlyle 3-piece Ratchet Set
This three-piece ratchet set can also be building block toward a growing hand tool collection, or it makes a fine addition to a more established set of tools. Carlyle is NAPA’s professional-grade line of hand tools, so quality and durability are built in. The three ratchet sizes included are the most common and most widely used. Like the tool set above, this ratchet set is well-suited to mechanically-inclined DIYers.
Mechanix Wear Original Gloves
A good pair of gloves protects hands and improves grip while remaining comfortable when worn over long periods. These mechanic’s gloves set the standard. The material and construction provide a fit snug enough for hand work but not too constrictive. Four sizes are available, and a hook-and-loop wrist strap allows further adjustment for fit. Synthetic material on the palms and fingertips is strategically layered for durability and provides excellent grip.
OBD2 Scan Tool
For the automotive DIYer working on modern automobiles, an OBD2 scan tool like this one is all but a necessity. Nearly every new passenger vehicle sold in the U.S. over the past two decades uses an electronic diagnostic system called OBD2. This electronic tool plugs into a special port on the vehicle and displays a range of information about how the vehicle is operating, and whether any signs of trouble are present. It helps mechanics identify problems and avoid additional issues. For those comfortable working on older vehicles but not newer ones, and OBD2 device may be the tool that helps them gain confidence in modern-car diagnosis and repair.
Handy people do not wrench on cars and trucks and tackle household projects solely because they have to. The inclination to pick up a tool and get to work is driven by a desire to repair or to improve, and the goal is a complete, well-done job. Each of these gift ideas contributes to that goal, and each can help that special person on your list achieve it more quickly and more easily.
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Nick Palermo is a freelance automotive writer and NAPA Know How blogger. Since becoming an auto news and reviews contributor at AutoTrader.com in 2011, he has broadened his coverage of the automotive industry to include topics like new car technology, antiques and classics, DIY maintenance and repair, industry news and motorsports. A committed advocate for automotive media professionals, Nick is a member of the Greater Atlanta Automotive Media Association.