Painting Tips by a Professional

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New Tools for the Handy-Person Who Has Everything, or Not Enough of Anything

These new tools and new tool gift ideas are my pet collection: everytime a see a cool new tool, I put it here. These are our favorite top tools for the handy-person who has everything, or not enough of anything.

I bet you didn’t even know some of these new tools existed. Neither did I. Enjoy the best of the modern new tools on the market.

These are some of the best gifts I ever got. Check the laser line leveler: so handy.

We have another tool post that covers some very cool ideas for tool gifts, and of course the number one gift tool: the champion of handy-gifts: the screw gun (we need several of course). If you want to give painting tools that people would probably never buy themselves, we have an entire list all set to go.

Get in the mood:
Watch Tim Allen do Tools. U-uuu. O-ooo. 

Thanks, Tim

Great new inventions: New Type of Clamp

Make a clamp of any length with just a 2×4. Stanley quality. They sure come up with great new tools. See this fantastic new invention.

My favorite gift to give: Auto-Leveling Laser / Stud Finder

This leveler gives a perfectly level laser line on the wall: so helpful when you want wall art to be at the same level. It also detects studs of wood, metal, studs and live A/C wires. This was given to me as a house-warming gift. I thought, “Meh”… But it has become essential to me: it is a great invention. Reasonable price.

Portable Tire Inflator and Power

This has saved me in the case of slow leaks. Beats calling a tow truck.

Plugs into any 12v socket (including this spare power bank and jump starter) and inflates almost anything. They say no truck tires, but why not? It has a gauge as accurate as any.

Adjustable pressure, unlike low-budget ones, and it provides it’s own night light. Cool.

See it here.

Ring Doorbell

Not strictly speaking a tool, but very handy. I just installed ours: it was very easy. If someone approaches or rings your doorbell and you are on the beach in Tahiti, they people will not know you are not home while you chat with them.

It’s powered by either your old doorbell wiring or a battery.

You can see them on your phone and you also get a message when there is motion detected around your door as well. It’s like an intercom and you can pay for an account that saves all interactions for one year. Bad guys know about the video storage option also, so even if you don’t have it, they will not risk being on video.

Fine for apartments as well as homes.

What a great invention. We are very happy with ours: we are adding another to the back door.

Read all about this great gift.

Very low-cost Thermal Leak Detector

Not nearly like the thermal camera just below, but this was one of the unexpected great gifts I was given. I’m always checking for air leaks in the winter, looking for new places to insulate.

You’ll find what walls and cracks are sucking your heat out (or in for cooling months). Not for human temperature taking.

Check it out here.

King of all new tools: Thermal Imaging Camera

Pricey but it’s an amazing tool. Its a wonder to see it in action: it was my first time and I was shocked!

Find heat leaks with the infrared camera. This inspection camera is like a temperature gun but better: it shows great detail, it also finds water leaks, electrical hot spots, and insulation gaps letting in cold (or hot) air.

It also exposes heating elements that may be faulty, such as in-floor heating and other radiators.

This compact cam works as good as the big ones.

Digital Level: beeps when level!

Did you say beeps? Because the level sounds when it’s at 0°, you don’t need to take your eyes off your work and can mark your line, etc with ease. This tool is becoming a standard for modern carpenters.

More accurate than bubble levels as well.

A great new upgrade to a very old type of tool. The laser makes it infinitely long and it recalls the last 9 angles you measured. Tripod screw mount and magnetic to hold on saws etc. Backlit LCD display.

Comes in 3 lengths, but the small is the best deal because of the laser line.

Another great laser tool is this laser tape measure. Much more accurate than the apps in modern phones that work with an image.

Scepter SmartControl Fuel Container

This well-designed can prevents accidents from fuel spills either in transport or while pouring. The third selection on the product page is for one single can: they did not make that clear.

This has a screen filter to keep particles out of your engines. Not a typical tool gift, but a thoughtful one.

Sun Joe 1500 PSI Pressure Washer

A quality pressure washer is an essential tool for painting, home washing, car washing, clean driveways, outdoor furniture, and more. Painting prep? I’ve shown how I prep to paint with this tool: 95% of the work is done with water!

1500 PSI is plenty for most, but the 2030 shown here has a bit more power and can almost do what a gasoline unit can do.

This rotating nozzle protects wood from gouging from the water pressure: it’s essential for painting prep.

It’s nearly as powerful as the big gas-powered washers, but it’s also a lot less expensive. Be sure to get the rotating nozzle of course. We explained why in this post about deck painting.

Sun Joe’s quality is worth a lot more than it costs. Any homeowner will love this totally unique gift.

Channellock’s extra-wide wrench

Reversible jaw. Most other wrenches do not work on large bolts, pipes and other round stock: but this baby does.

It also has a scale to set the wrench which is something all adjustable wrenches should feature…maybe someday.

Cool new tool idea. It comes in 4 sizes: my advice is to get the 12 because it can do everything the smaller ones can as well. For tool geeks only.


Magnetic Tool Belt: a new twist

The reason I use these rather than a technician’s belt is that it’s quick to put big tools like screw guns in and also to get them out quickly.

The new part? Magnetic exterior to hold metal things like screws, tools, etc. Great design and surprisingly inexpensive.

I’d recommend red over black or brown: a bright color makes it easy to find on a job site.

Clamping Power Strip

Smart idea in new tools: Clamp your power strip where you need it. Duh. I should have invented this.

Pivoting rubberized grips grab on to just about anything. By Stanley—it’s quality.

All-Terrain Vise: fits on your trailer hitch!

Whoever thought of this should win the Nobel Prize for top tools. Every builder wants this, but nobody knows it exists.

This fits in your car or truck’s trailer standard 2-inch hitch receiver (most vehicles).  There is another maker of this style, but it costs more and has lesser ratings.

Pick-up truck toolbox: fits over truck tire hump

What a great new tool idea: use the dead space. Getting great reviews: be sure to get the right one for your vehicle: at the top of the page you select your make, model and year like you would a tire or wiper blade. It’s easy and an awesome idea for saving space.

Tracksaw: table saw perfection anywhere

Most builders don’t have this tool, but it’s one of the things that you never knew how much you needed it. A very cool tool, and makes an awesome gift.

Us handy-types like lots of power, so we don’t generally go for cordless anymore. There is usually a long extension cord handy (see below for mine), so this track-saw is simply better than the cordless.

A great brand name in Dewalt (company website) but still less expensive than other good ones. Pricey, but worth it. You need the track sold separately.


Readers have told us they really like this Makita Saw with Rail. You can add made-for-it clamps,  and rail extensions with a connector kit.

Work light you can’t knock over

Wobbles, but won’t fall down…and break. 85 Watts is plenty for a portable. Cool Fluorescent. 27″ high.

This a great new tool invention and will be a smashing gift.

Headband flashlight: great new work tool

Sold as a flashlight for power outages, but I use mine to put the light where I need it: like a third hand.

Many types of professionals use these for dark areas: you’ll fall in love with it the first time.

Moving Back Saver Straps

So many people get a permanent injury when lifting heavy and even light things.

This great system lowers the center of gravity: still, you lift with your legs, remember? Safety equipment is always worth it.

Furniture Slides Moving System

When I first saw this I celebrated! Why did I not invent this? So easy and safe. Watch a quick video of how they work. Cool tool and very well-made.

Tie-down straps too!

Don’t get the ratchet kind; they break and rust. These kick butt.

Some Safety Tools

  • Ladder

Hopefully not the best gift you will ever give. A home can be replaced: we should all have these under the bed. It has an amazing rating.

You are only supposed to use one time, but I tested the one we got for our upper floor bedroom and it works great: just unstrap and drop over the window sill. This is very well thought-out. Nice job Kidde.


  • Carbon Monoxide detector

Unless you only have only electric heat, you should have one. I had a friend who almost died from CO. The gas is deadly and odorless. If you have a garage you need this nearby.

If you have an electric car hybrid, this can save you life. How? If you accidentally leave your car on (it’s silent), at some point the gas engine will kick on and position your home. Kidde does it again.

  • Automatic fire suppression

Once I forgot my beans on the stovetop. I wish I had this. I raced home to a burnt black pot, but not yet flaming.

Every stove hood should have this: it detects fires and puts them out.

You can read more from a non-profit site.

  • The traditional life-saver

It’s nice to have traditional extinguishers handy as well, especially for wood stoves. These last forever and can be re-charged if ever used. It’s a bit pricey, but it’s a nice gift of love. 

Portable Jump Starter

Get the best-rated car tool: it also has a flashlight and will charge phones via the USP outputs. At 1000 Peak Amp it can jump-start any family vehicle.  Seatbelt cutter, glass breaker, alarms, and more. Wow. No wonder it has perfect ratings.

Tool Bag, Durable Folding Stool

They improved the foam size and quality and the result: perfect ratings.

As the bluesman say, “Lordy I wish I was in heaven sittin’ down”. Ah.



One Versatile Screw Gun: Every possible angle

Great screw-gun: Only need moderate power?

With 12 volts it’s got all the power most of us need. But it’s the attachments that make this one special.

For tight corners like cabinets and so much more, this is essential.  Video review shows it well.

Corded Drill: big ½-inch

When you need to really work hard, a cordless screwdriver does not make the grade. This one has a level: very helpful.

The opening on most drills is 3/8 inch which is fine for most bits, but some larger bits have a 1/2 inch diameter so you need another tool. I chose this one over all the others.

This baby is for large jobs and real power.

PS…Give the titanium drill bits that we mentioned we mentioned in our post all about drills and screw-guns.

…add the icing on the cake…

Magnetizer for screwdrivers and bits

Like having a 3rd hand, or helper. A very cool tool gadget: it de-magnetizes too since sometimes you don’t want the effect. Great reviews. Makes it a great add-on gift.

Watch a 20-sec video: so easy to use. Costs very little.

Perfect Extension Cord

Lighted sockets to show if there is power at the end, and it has 3 socket slots that removes the need for a power strip. It’s fine outdoors too. Anybody would love this as a gift. Comes in two sizes: 50 and 100 feet.

Complete homeowners toolbox

Not technically a new tool idea, but this Stanley kit will never get old.

My rule: always buy quality tools because low-cost tools tend to chip and snap just before you start swearing! This Stanley has an amazing rating… we recommend highly.

Even if I had 2 of these, I’d use another one in the car!

King of the new tools:

Drones: Not just for fun

This tops the list of most unique and novel tools. These are very helpful for looking at gutters, roofs etc, as well as long-shot portraits. This one has almost 5,000 excellent ratings: very tough.

Go with Holy Stone, the top-rated drone today. In the related products, you will see some less expensive ones, but you sacrifice resolution and power.

  • can automatically follow your car
  • returns home when power is low
  • 36 min flying time: wow
  • no FAA registry
  • one-button take-off/landing
  • save pics to smartphone

Above all, it takes great quality photos.

Super-stable ShopVac

We hate when they tip over. Then came this.

There are less expensive wet/dry shop vacumes, but we like the stability of the offset wheels (does not tip over easily like most) and we love the brand: this DeWalt will never let you down.

There are other choices of course: if you can spend more, get the same vac with the roller handle: this is worth the extra.

Craftsman Man-Cave Funny Accessories

Quality BBQ tools – identical handle to the well-known Craftsman screwdrivers.

Glasses/Coasters with the Craftsman logo and an ice bucket.

These are more along the line of gag-gifts, but you know they will hang around for decades. There is also a bottle opener that looks like a Craftsman screwdriver: very nice.

You might think that these will not go over well, but for people who love tools, it’s a sure thing.

Share your tool idea:

assorted old and new tools in workshop There you have some of the coolest tools on the market: these have made the grade in a very competitive tool market.

We want to spread the word of the best tools and gadgets and all of the top tools that people love and we want them here. We receive mail from folks who are doing the annual shopping for tool gifts and if you are one of them, please let us know what you want to see.

Let us know the best tool in your life and if you see any new hand tools or new power tools, we’d love to list them here. What’s your favorite top tool brand? Please send us your gift list ideas for 2020.

In particular, I’m a big fan of cool hand tools and just cool new unique tools in general so please send me any of your top unique tools on your list. If you think we need to add some new plumbing tools – new woodworking tools – new tools – whatever — let us know in the comments.



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