Another year is about ready to wrap up as the holiday season is upon us. It’s the most wonderful time of the year, but it can be stressful for those in your life that are hard to buy for, especially those in the construction trades. Our goal is to make that process easier for you or your loved one with our top picks for gifts every year!
I’ve been lucky enough to be able to use many of the tools on this list throughout the year and there are others on the list that I’d love to try because they have been highly regarded in reviews. It should be assumed that the tool manufacturers have given us these tools for free to test out, but none of them have paid to be a part of this gift guide. All tools on this list have been chosen by me, because I think they would be great gifts.
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Ultimate Construction Holiday Gift Guide 2020
If you’ve ever had to pull baseboard, crown molding, or other trim work, you know it’s pretty easy to either damage the trim or the wall behind it in the process. I picked up a Trim Puller recently and it makes saving trim extremely easy and greatly reduces damage to the wall. Just line it up with the joint of the trim against the wall, hit the back of it with a hammer and the trim pops loose.
Whether your building new or demolishing existing, chances are you’ll need to pull a nail somewhere. The DA Bar was another one of my recent purchases and its beauty is the ability to dig its claws into wood to expose sunken nails and the leverage it provides to pull it out. The nail puller comes in 8”, 10”, 11”, and 12” sizes.
Removing hinge pins on doors are annoying and using a screw driver can cause damage to the finish on the hinge. Spring Tools not only has a spring loaded hinge pin remover, but also a nail set for those pesky nails that refuse to be driven flush to the surface. Both of these have come in extremely handy for me recently and it’s also another tool that I’ve purchased.
As every contractor knows, wall corners are rarely ever 90 degrees. The Starrett Miter Saw Protractor, another one of my recent purchases, is a low tech way of finding the exact angle of the cut that you need, whether it’s joining 2 pieces together or making a single cut. This simple tool takes a lot of frustration out of the finishing process.
If your house is like mine, the labeling system inside your circuit breaker box is an absolute mess, which makes it extremely difficult to find the correct breaker to turn off when needed. The Klein Tools Digital Circuit Breaker finder is a 2-in-1 tool that not only can confirm that your outlets have been properly wired, but it can also help you easily locate the correct breaker an outlet is wired to. Simply plug the outlet tester into an outlet, bring the receiver wand to your breaker panel, and run the receiver down each breaker until the light indicates that the correct breaker has been found. Of course, you should ALWAYS double check that power has been turned off to whatever electrical system you need to work on before beginning.
For those in the industry that need to change their electronic devices, like laptops or tablets, this is a fantastic mobile option. It provides 175W of power off of a Milwaukee M18 battery pack and, other than charging electronics, it can also power box fans and TVs, making it an option for tailgating purposes. The Top-Off features (3) different charging ports: (1) AC 120V outlet, (1) USB-C Power Delivery (PD) port, and (1) USB-A port, and all 3 can be used at the same time.
The Top-Off was just recently announced at Milwaukee’s online product showcase, PIPELINE, and is currently available for pre-order with the hope they’ll be shipped before Christmas.
I’ve included some version of Isotunes on nearly every one of my gift guides, because they offer a rugged product with sound dampening technology. Last year, the brand released a rechargeable, cord free version of their ear buds, but this year, they have released their first set of earmuffs, by popular request of their customers. The Isotunes Link headphones reduce noise by 24 decibels, have an IPX4 rating for water and sweat resistance, provide 14+ hours of runtime on the included lithium-ion rechargeable battery, or 28+ hours with 3- AAA batteries.
The Bosch GLM400CL is the coolest laser I’ve ever used, because it solves a laser measure’s biggest problem: sunlight. With the use of a built-in camera and on-screen crosshairs, this measure lets users measure up to 400 feet away without the need to see where the laser is pointing. This laser will set you back around $300, so if you don’t want to spend that kind of cash, Bosch makes plenty of other great laser measures that won’t break the bank. Their GLM30 model has a 100’ range and can be found for around $70 currently.
Truewerk makes some seriously comfortable work pants. You may like your jeans, but your jeans aren’t water repellent, stain and wind resistant while also being breathable and stretchable for increased mobility.
The T3 Werkpants are made for the colder months, as they are fleece lined for additional insulation. I’ve been wearing mine for a couple weeks and they truly do make a difference.
For warmer climates, the T2 Werkpants are not lined, but have all of the same features as the T3. For even warmer climates, the T1 Werkpants are even thinner and more breathable than the T2. I have all 3 versions, most of which I have purchased myself and they’re quickly becoming my favorite pants for not only working, but for a casual look when I leave the house.
If you’re on a jobsite that allows music, this compact 12V battery-powered radio from Milwaukee is an easy-to-transport and easy to use radio and Bluetooth speaker. You’re not going to be blown away by the volume it puts out, but that’s probably for the best, as contractors need to be aware of their surroundings on a jobsite. It connects very easily on the Bluetooth setting and I’ve been pleased with the sound quality and runtime from a 2.0ah battery. It can also be plugged in for infinite runtime and for battery charging.
Modular tool storage can make anyone in construction more efficient, as it helps them stay organized, while also making it much easier to get all of the tools they need on and off the jobsite. DeWalt has recently updated their popular rugged storage solution, Toughsystem, with an updated version called Toughsystem 2.0. It features and easier to use, one-handed latching system, upgraded latches and wheels, the ability to connect new half-width cases, and add interior trays for the deeper boxes.
The Toughsystem 2.0 is also reverse compatible with the original version, other than a few exceptions, but the updates make this storage system much easier to use and more versatile.
Ladders are one of the most dangerous tools on any jobsite and much of that can be attributed to using the wrong type of ladder for the task. The good news is that Werner has solved that problem for many different situations with the Leansafe X3. Not only can this ladder be safely used as a step/a-frame ladder, it’s also designed to be leaned against a wall (something that most tradesmen do with other stepladders, but aren’t supposed to), and the back of the ladder can be extended vertically to transform the ladder into a straight ladder, giving the user several additional feet of climbing height.
This Type 1AA ladder has a load capacity of 375 pounds, making it super sturdy to go along with its versatility.
Fall, winter and spring can come with some pretty cold and rainy days, so it’s important to keep yourself or the contractor in your life dry and warm on those days. I’ve been wearing this Milwaukee Hydrobreak jacket for over a year and it’s my go-to for days I have to be in a wet environment. It’s thin enough to not make you uncomfortable on warmer days, but also provides wind resistance to match the water resistance if you want to wear a thermal layer underneath on colder days. Combine it with a base layer of a Milwaukee M12 heated jacket for maximum warmth.
For the female contractors working in cold climates, this new Helly Hansen Luna Winter Jacket is a high-quality, lightweight, waterproof, and windproof jacket perfect for the jobsite. Like many brands have discovered recently, you can’t just shrink down a men’s version of workwear and call it a women’s size, it has to be completely redesigned to meet the needs of the women wearing them, which is exactly what Helly Hansen has done with the Luna collection.
A few different cordless trim routers have hit the market in recent months and I picked up the DeWalt version a few weeks ago and have been extremely pleased with it. It’s powerful, quiet, and smooth, making it easy to control while adding those finishing touches to your trimwork. It also has plenty of power to cut out windows and doors in plywood for framers.
Heading into the cold and wet months of the year, it’s extremely important to find a work boot that is not only comfortable to work in, but also waterproof. Keen Utility recently released a new boot called the Chicago, which features their KEEN.dry waterproofing membrane and a cushioned midsole for added comfort. The 6” boot comes in a variety of different versions, including a soft-toe, carbon fiber toe, a metatarsal guard, a women’s version, an Electro static dissipative (ESD) version, and even a low-top oxford version.
Days are much shorter in the later months of the year, making it extremely important to have a good lighting solution on the jobsite. No one matches the collection of lighting solutions that Milwaukee has and one of their latest releases is the upgraded LED Rocket Light/Charger.
With an output of 6,000 lumens on high, this light can be set up and extended to 7’ high in a matter of seconds. The max height helps reduce shadows and its 3 heads can all be angled separately to provide both ambient and task lighting. The onboard changer can also charge M18 batteries while plugged into an extension cord. I’ve had this Rocket light for a few weeks and, if you only need one light that can pretty much do it all, this is a great place to start, but you’ll have to pay for all of those features.