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Paul Bianchina: Cool tools for Yuletide

[File art: Pexels]
[File art: Pexels]

For the avid do-it-yourselfer on your holiday shopping list, here’s a selection of some interesting tools and other products worth considering this year, listed in order of average retail price.

And a big thanks to all of the manufacturers who are getting rid of those irritating and dangerous blister packs in favor of more user-friendly and environmentally conscious packaging!

Dremel Lite 4V Cordless Variable Speed Rotary Tool Kit (7760 N10, $49):

New from Dremel is this nice little multipurpose rotary tool, perfect for everything from woodworking to household repairs to craft work. It features the EZ twist nose cap for quick, tool-free accessory changes, and variable speeds from 8,000 RPM to 25,000 RPM to suit any task. Lithium ion battery with convenient USB charger and LED battery life indicator light. Complete kit includes accessory case, charging cable and power adapter, and 10 accessories.

Monument Grills Bluetooth Wireless Remote Digital Meat Thermometer (97444, $48):

OK, not a tool, but still it’s pretty cool, and it’s a perfect gift for the avid griller in the family. Now you can eliminate the guesswork from grilling by linking this Bluetooth-enabled thermometer to your phone, allowing you to monitor your grill contents while working on other projects around the house. Has dual-probe technology to measure the temperature of two items at once, with a range of up to 100 feet. Apps available for both iOS and Android.

DeWalt Atomic 20V Max Cordless Compact 1/2 In. Drill Driver Kit (DCD708C2, $83.00):

If you’re looking for a compact 20v drill/driver to put under the tree this season, look no further. At only 6.3 inches front to back, DeWalt’s Atomic is a little powerhouse that’s comfortable and reliable. Brushless technology, ergonomic grip, LED light and a removeable belt hook. The complete kit includes a charger, TWO batteries — interchangeable throughout the DeWalt 20V line of tools — and a soft carry bag. All at a price that leaves room for an extra plate of cookies!

DeWalt Atomic 20V Max Cordless Compact 1/4 In. Impact Driver Kit (DCF809C1, $110):

Also within the DeWalt Atomic line of compact 20V brushless lithium ion tools is the 1/4 inch impact driver. It offers 1,700 inch-pounds of torque, controlled with a variable speed trigger. Light up your work area with three LED lights, and have the convenience of a removable belt hook. This kit includes a charger, battery and soft case. Great companion to the Atomic Drill/Driver.

Skil PWRCore 20V 1/2 Inch Drill Driver (DL529302, $129):

Skil has come out with a nice, full-size drill driver kit that offers good power and versatility, perfect for just about any DIY task you might want to throw at it. It features a brushless motor and a reliable 20V lithium ion battery that includes a USB port for mobile device charging. Two speed settings — high for drilling operations and low for higher-torque driving — with a keyless metal chuck for easy bit changes. Includes battery and PWR Jump charger that partially charges the battery in just 5 minutes, or 100% battery in 30 minutes.

Channellock 8-Piece Professional Tool Roll (1234, $144):

Here’s an excellent set of very high quality tools from one of the most recognizable names in hand tools. It includes all the pliers — plus an adjustable wrench — that you could conceivably need for your next project, all packed in one convenient roll-up storage bag for protection and portability. The set includes 6.5-inch, 9.5-inch and 12-inch tongue-and-groove adjustable pliers; 8-inch long-nose pliers; 7-inch diagonal cutting pliers; 9.5-inch lineman’s pliers; 7.5-inch end-cutting pliers; and an 8-inch adjustable wrench. There’s also a five-piece Tool Roll Set for $88.

Werner Aluminum 18-foot 5-in-1 Multi-Position Pro Ladder with Powerlite Rails (MT18IAA, $179):

Ladders are a necessity for most projects, and if you don’t want to have to buy a bunch of them, than Werner’s new 5-in-1 is an ideal choice. Redesigned with professional users in mind, it’s perfect for the DIY'er and home user, as well. This is the lightest model yet — just 31.5 pounds for the 18-foot model — and offers 32 adjustable positions. It functions as an extension ladder, double-sided step ladder, stairway ladder, 90-degree wall ladder and two self-supported scaffolding bases. Type 1AA, 375 pound rated. Also available in 14-, 22- and 26-foot models ($124, $229, and $299 respectively).

Milwaukee M12 SURGE 12-Volt 1/4” Hex Hydraulic Driver Kit (2551-22 $199):

Impact drivers have tremendous fastener driving power, but that power comes a price: noise and vibration. Milwaukee’s new SURGE impact driver is the first to use a hydraulic fluid-drive powertrain, which reduces the metal-on-metal contact in the tool and delivers smoother operation with less noise — up to two times less noise. The SURGE is compact for tight spaces, and delivers 450 inch-pounds of torque with variable speeds up to 3,000 RPM. It’s a nice, comfortable and quiet tool that really packs a punch. The complete kit include a 12V lithium ion battery, charger and case.

Milwaukee M12 Heated AXIS Layering System with HYDROBREAK Rain shell Kit (203RN-21, $269):

It’s cold and wet out there on the job site, right? Wrong, at least if you’re wearing this incredible new layering system from Milwaukee. For warmth, the two-piece system starts with a quilted, heated jacket powered by an M12 lithium battery. Ripstop nylon and carbon fiber heat cables for durability, with Quick-Heat for fast warmups and three heat settings for comfort. Over that, you can add the ripstop polyester and polyurethane rain shell with sealed seams for an abrasion resistant covering that will keep you dry. It’s a great combination and also can be worn separately. Complete kit includes jacket, rain shell, battery and charger.

Have a home repair or remodeling question for Paul? He can be reached by email at