11 Practical Gifts for the Handy DIYer in Your Life

A tape measure, red drill and drill chuck, and a level.
NUM LPPHOTO/Shutterstock

 

While it’s great to give fun presents, sometimes, the best gifts are practical. If someone you know is a DIYer or likes to fix things, chances are he’s put off buying necessary supplies. Why not give the gift of stuff he needs?

Don’t Buy Tools

The one thing you won’t find on this list is tools. It’s tempting to gift tools, especially when you find a great deal, but that’s always a mistake. Tools are a very personal choice, and often, they require shared systems for batteries and other features.

That battery-powered drill you’re looking at might be excellent, but it also might be incompatible with the rest of your friend or family member’s battery-powered devices. That means extra chargers, extra spaces, and a battery that only works for one tool instead of many.

It’s like gifting a piccolo to someone who plays the flute. Sure, a piccolo is a type of flute, but it’s probably not the same kind of flute your friend plays. She’ll probably politely thank you for the gift, but won’t appreciate it as much as you thought.

If you want to gift a tool, consult the recipient first. That might take the surprise out of the holiday, but a good gift is better than the surprise of an unwanted present.

Get Supplies Instead

In addition to tools, every DIYer needs supplies. Disposable items and components wear out and need to be replaced. However, supplies aren’t fun and shiny, like a new tool or accessory. That’s why a lot of people re-use things like sandpaper much longer than they should.

Eventually, though, they’ll run out, have to stop what they’re doing, and head to the store. You can save your friend or loved one a trip to Home Depot this year by gifting her the supplies she needs and has waited too long to replace (again).

All the Sandpaper: 400 to 3000 Assorted Grit

The thirty-six sheets of sandpaper in the Miady pack fanned out in a semicircle.
Miady

Sandpaper is one of those provisions nearly every DIYer or handy-type needs, and yet, it’s never in good supply. Rather than throwing out that last sheet and buying more, people just continue using a tired piece well past the end of its life.

Sandpaper comes in multiple grits, from very coarse to very fine. Each level has a specific use, so this assorted grit pack makes for a good resupply. The pack includes 36 sheets, ranging from 400 to 3000 grit (four sheets of each).

All the Sandpaper

400 to 3000 Assorted Grit Sandpaper for Wood Furniture Finishing, Metal Sanding and Automotive Polishing, Dry or Wet Sanding, 9 x 3.6 Inch, 36-Sheet

You can never have too much sandpaper or too many grit choices! This pack includes 36 sheets in nine different grit levels.

Wood Glue: Titebond II Premium

A bottle of Titebond II Wood Glue.
Titebond

Glue is the stuff that holds the world together (along with duct tape), and it comes in thousands of varieties. It might surprise you to know that in woodworking, glue (not screws) is the preferable way to join two boards. That’s because a glued joint is much stronger than one held together by screws; however, people can and do use both.

Titebond II Wood Glue is an excellent option for a variety of scenarios. It’s also food-safe, so if your intended gift recipient uses it to make tables, it’s safe! It also has a long drying time, which helps when things have to fit together precisely before the adhesive sets. And after this glue sets, you won’t get the two pieces apart without a great deal of effort.

Wood Glue

Franklin International 5005 Titebond II Premium Wood Glue, 32-Ounce Bottle

Titebond II wood glue is one of the best adhesives you can buy. It has a slow dry time so you can get everything into position perfectly, and it's safe to use for indirect food0-contact projects.

A Box of Pre-sharpened Pencils

A large box of sharpened pencils.
Amazon

I know what you’re thinking—pencils sound like an incredibly boring present. That might be true, but it doesn’t mean they won’t make someone happy. Pencils are another item you can never have too many of.

Carpenters, creative types, and DIYers need pencils all the time to mark measurements, sketch ideas, and more. But pencils break, get sharpened until they’re just a nub, or others swipe them. Whenever you need one the most, there are none to be found.

This box of 150 pencils will help solve this problem. They’re the classic style, but the best part is they’re all pre-sharpened—because the only thing worse than a lost pencil is an unsharpened one.

A Box of Pencils

AmazonBasics Pre-sharpened Wood Cased #2 HB Pencils, 150 Pack

What's better than a pack of five unsharpened pencils? How about a box of 150 sharpened ones? This gift will prevent the recipient from having to search frantically for the one good pencil in his workshop.

Kutir Premium Tape Measure

The Kutir yellow and black tape measure, with two inset images of the magnetic catch and both sides of the ruler.
Kutir

That handy person in your life almost certainly has one or two tape measures. But it’s also a fact of life that as soon as they need it, they won’t be able to find it. When they don’t need it, they’ll find it easily. Having one more probably won’t solve this problem entirely, but it might help.

Tape measures are another thing that tends to be used well beyond its shelf life. It’s not that they wear down, but the metal catch on the end can shift out of alignment. Since most people use the hook as “zero” when they measure, this can make all of your measurements incorrect.

You can buy a good tape measure for less than $10, but Kutir’s model is worth springing for. The metal catch at the end is magnetic, which makes measuring large distances by yourself much easier.

This Cadillac of measuring tapes has large, easy-to-read numbers on both sides of the tape in imperial and metric measurements. It measures up to 25 feet.

A Premium Tape Measure

Measuring Tape Measure By Kutir - EASY TO READ 25 Foot BOTH SIDE DUAL RULER, Retractable, STURDY, Heavy Duty, MAGNETIC HOOK, Metric, Inches and Imperial Measurement, SHOCK ABSORBENT Solid Rubber Case

This tape measure features large, bold numbers on both sides, so you can measure around corners more easily. It also has a magnetic catch on the end, and features both imperial and metric measurements.

DEWALT Drill and Driver Set

The DEWALT Drill and Driver Bit Set displayed in its yellow carrying case.
DEWALT

The handy person in your life might already have a bit set for her drill and impact driver, but try to take a look at what she has. Are there bits missing or worn down? In that case, a new bit set is the perfect gift.

This DEWALT set includes all the most common bits, including multiple sizes of Phillips, square, slotted, and several drill bits. Best of all, it includes a magnetic dish that’s perfect for storing a bit for a moment without worrying about it falling into some dark hole, never to be found again. The dish also doubles as screw storage.

Drill and Driver Bit Set

DEWALT Drill/Driver Set, 80-Piece (DW2587)

Everything a DIYer needs, including multiple sizes of Phillips, square, and slotted bits. The magnetic dish also prevents bits from disappearing when switching sizes, and the carrying case doubles as storage.

30-Foot Extension Cord Reel with Four Outlets

The orange and grey container with the 30-foot, orange extension cord reeled in and four outlets on its front.
Iron Forge Cable

Extension cords are a necessary evil in any workshop. They allow tools that aren’t battery-powered to reach the corners of a workspace. However, they’re also a double-edged sword, all that reach and wire adds clutter to limited space. This extension cord and reel can help with that problem.

Long enough to reach the corners of most decent-sized workshops, it’s easily stowed away in a tight package without much effort. This cord is rated for 13 amps, which should be enough for most small- to medium-sized tools (basically, anything short of a table saw).

The bonus is it has four outlets built into the reel container, so your friend or family member can easily plug it into multiple tools.

A Stowable Extension Cord

30 Ft Extension Cord Reel with 4 Electrical Power Outlets - 14/3 SJTW Heavy Duty Orange Cable

Long extension cords are handy, but they take up too much room. This one can be stored away in the reel container and will power anything short of a table saw.

The Stuff Your Handy Friend Will Love

DIYers and handy types tend to splurge on tools rather than stuff that would make them more comfortable. They’ll stand on the concrete instead of a comfort matt or use disposable masks instead of a full rebreather.

You can improve your handy friend’s life by gifting him things that he might not necessarily need but will improve his comfort while he works.

The Anti-Fatigue Comfort Floor Mat

The Sky Mat dark grey Anti-Fatigue Floor Mat.
Sky Solutions

Many workshops—especially garages—have cold, hard concrete floors. Depending on the task, your gift recipient might have to stand in one spot for a long time while to sand, saw, or glue things into place. By the end of the day, she might have very sore legs.

A comfortable floor mat is an easily overlooked solution to a widespread problem. Sky Solution’s Anti-Fatigue Floor Mat is large enough to allow some movement, like retrieving nearby tools, but small enough to be moved around the shop as needed. It’s easy to clean and available in several colors.

A Comfortable Floor Mat

Anti Fatigue Comfort Floor Mat By Sky Mats -Commercial Grade Quality Perfect for Standup Desks, Kitchens, and Garages - Relieves Foot, Knee, and Back Pain (20x39x3/4-Inch, Black)

Standing in one spot all day makes legs ache. If you pick up this floor mat for your friend's workshop, both he and his legs will thank you! You can pick a color or pattern, too.

Premium Knee Pads for Hard Workers

A person on one knee, wearing the yellow and black Minor Miracle Home Solutions Kneepads.
Minor Miracle Home Solutions

The only thing worse than standing on concrete all day is kneeling on it. Knee pads are a great solution, and probably something the DIYer, mechanic, or handy type in your life has overlooked.

This pair features a nonslip gel, so your friend won’t slide around while working. They also provide a tight fit to prevent the pads from slipping.

Knee Pads

Premium Knee Pads For Hard Workers (Thigh Support Anti-Slip Band) Comfortable Cushioned Kneeling Gear that Stays in place, Heavy-Duty Construction Kneepad, Non-Slip Gel Knee pad, Gardening Kneepads.

These knee pads can help your friend avoid a lot of pain. They're made with a nonslip gel, and they use a buckle and Velcro system to ensure a secure fit.

The Pro-LifT C-2036D Creeper Seat

One black, padded ProLifT Creeper Seat in the lying position, and another in the sitting position.
Pro-LifT

A lot of handy-type people work under things, like cars. If you think standing or kneeling on concrete is painful, try lying on it. Friends don’t let friends lie down on the concrete. Instead, gift them this creeper seat. It rolls around, has plenty of padding, and even turns into a chair if needed.

To switch modes, all your friend has to do is pull a pin, lift (or lower), and then put the pin back. The large casters will keep this creeper rolling smoothly.

A Soft Place to Lie Down

Pro-Lift C-2036D Grey 36" Z-Creeper Seat

This convertible creeper provides both a comfortable place to lie down and sit. If your friend or family member works under things (or on cars), this is a far better option than lying on the concrete or bare floor.

Clean Breathing: 3M Half Facepiece Reusable Respirator

A respirator half mask with no filters attached.
3M

Whether it’s wood- or metalworking, staining, painting, or finishing, a lot of hobbies are bad for the lungs. People shouldn’t inhale particulates or fumes, but sanding and staining can lead to exactly that.

If the DIYer in your life works indoors without a respirator, give her the gift of longer life with this respirator. It’s reasonably comfortable and accepts a multitude of filter cartridges to protect your friend from many breathing hazards.

Don’t forget to pick up some filters, too.

Clean Air

3M Half Facepiece Reusable Respirator 6200, Gases, Vapors, Dust, Paint, Cleaning, Grinding, Sawing, Sanding, Welding, Medium

Safety should be a priority for any hobbyist, and that includes protecting the lungs. This respirator will protect your friend from sawdust and toxic fumes.

To Cover Her Beautiful Eyes: DEWALT Antifog Safety Goggles

Yellow DEWALT Antifog Safety Goggles with a black strap.
DEWALT

Power tools are dangerous for multiple reasons, one of which is a piece of material hurtling at high speed toward the face. Without a good pair of safety glasses, one runs the risk of blindness. Yet some people skip this important equipment because of discomfort or fogging issues.

The DEWALT Safety Goggles are comfortable, compatible with other safety equipment (like respirators), and feature an antifog coating. The latter is especially important, as many respirators direct air toward glasses or goggles, which can lead to fogged vision. This set should help the recipient avoid that problem.

For the Eyes

DEWALT DPG82-11/DPG82-11CTR Concealer Clear Anti-Fog Dual Mold Safety Goggle

Eye protection is vital, especially when working with high-speed power tools. These safety goggles will keep your friend or loved one's eyes protected without blinding her in fog. They work with respirators, too.

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Josh Hendrickson Josh Hendrickson
Josh Hendrickson has worked in IT for nearly a decade, including four years spent repairing and servicing computers for Microsoft. He’s also a smarthome enthusiast who built his own smart mirror with just a frame, some electronics, a Raspberry Pi, and open-source code. Read Full Bio »

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