2023 Holiday Gift Guide

2023 Holiday Tool Gift Guide

This year’s TBB’s 2023 Holiday Gift Guide will help you pick out the perfect gift(s) for that hard-to-buy-for tradesperson in your life. Especially if you’re shopping for someone who just wants tools but already seems to have too many. Or that special person talks about tools and hardware even when they know you don’t have a clue what they are talking about. Yeah… we’re here to help!  Whether you need that last small gift or are looking to start off with a big bang, we have you covered. We go through the heartache, pain, and suffering of testing out some of the industry’s uniquest (yep, that’s a real word), most practical, and just plain coolest tools and job site gadgets to create a full-spectrum holiday gift guide.

To help you out, regardless of your budget, we broke down the tools by price categories which are:

  • $30 and under:  The Simple gift
  • $30-75:  The Perfect gift
  • $75-200:  The Surefire gift
  • Over $200:  Santa’s REALLY nice list!

And all of the tools in our 2023 Holiday Gift Guide are ones that are in our job site kits or our Pros’ workshops. So hang some lights and then get ready to hang out with us for a bit.

$30 and under Gifts | The Simple gift

  • DEWALT Elite Ceramic-Coated Abrasives

If you are trying to think of something small to finish off your list or throw in a stocking these DEWALT abrasive discs are awesome. They come in a variety of sizes to fit a wide range of angle grinders. The ceramic abrasive quality is second to none. It may not seem exciting but having discs on hand that don’t burn out in a hurry is awesome when you’re in the middle of metal fabrication of any kind. It’s a fun way to let someone try a new brand or style of something they may already buy on a regular basis.

Purchase at DEWALT for $8-20

  • Kobalt 24 & 48 in. Levels

We’re sure you builder has calibrated eyeballs (just like us) and doesn’t always need a level. But when they do… have them reach for one of these Kobalt levels. The 24″ level is great for most common indoor tasks like hanging pictures or shelves. And the 48″ level is great for more intense tasks like leveling framing or as a straight edge for plywood or drywall sheets. The bubbles on these Kobalt levels are easy to see, they are durable, and best of all the price is reasonable.

Purchase at Lowes for $18-25

  • Milwaukee Tape Measure 2-Pack Set

We will probably never have a holiday gift guide without a tape measure. This year it’s the Milwaukee tape measures that caught our eye. They are the most essential tool at hand and one that typically wears out from such frequent use. These tape measures are easy to read, have a solidly designed locking lever, and are rugged as hell. They have great extension rigidity until they hit their fold point. They are sure to last until you decide to replace them next holiday season (and beyond). You cant go wrong with a Milwaukee tape measure.

Purchase at Home Depot for $20

  • Gerber Zilch Knife

If you’ve relied on any of our previous holiday gift guides you’ll know that we love a good pocket knife. Chances are your tool lover may as well. Look for further than the Gerber Zilch. This is a sharp-as-hell out of the box, straightforward folding knife. There are multiple color schemes to choose from (we loved the tactical coyote brown and black knife). Its lightweight and sports a great belt clip. The locking mechanism is a standard inside handle locking tab design and it works great.

Purchase at Gerber for $25

  • Elgin Firebolt Flashlight

The Elgin Firebolt is a well-rounded flashlight in every way. First, it features a tough yet lightweight metal case. And the case is hex shaped to prevent it from rolling off work surfaces. It also has a magnetic integrated into the side so you can stick it on a close metal surface to work hands free. Second, its satisfyingly bright (~100 lumens) for a single LED light. And third, the battery life (2x AAA batteries) is surprisingly efficient. And the IP66 rating means it’s actually quite weatherproof. Shoot, get a couple to leave in the shop or in some vehicles and you’ll be reaping the rewards of a solid holiday purchase for a long time to come.

Purchase at Elgin USA for $25

  • Ryobi USB Rechargeable Inflator

Having an inflator in your vehicle can be a literal lifesaver. The Ryobi USB-battery digital readout inflator works wonderfully. It’s the most compact battery powered inflator we’ve used and includes an integrated inflator needle if you need to fill up a ball. The USB battery is recharged using a Type C USB cord which is pretty universal these days. Getting the tire pressure low warning on a cold winter morning is no fun but skipping a quick trip to the gas station or firing up your air compressor saves time and frustration.

Purchase at Home Depot for $30

  • Milwaukee Hex Key Set

There are few things more annoying than having a missing hex key when you are in the middle of a task involving small bolts or fasteners. This Milwaukee hex key set eliminates that hassle by conveniently mounting common hex key sizes on a flip out style handle. The handle, unlike some cheaper versions, is sturdy and won’t crack under the torque applied from breaking free stuck fasteners. They are compact and easy to store too with hardened metal that won’t strip easily. These make a great small gift or stocking stuffer for sure!

Purchase at Home Depot for $30

$30-75 Gifts | The Perfect gift

  • Craftsman Versastack Tool Box

A good storage option is always appropriate. And the Craftsman Versastack Deep Tool Box is a great option in the storage department. It checks all the boxes we look for — weather protected (IP54 rated), stackable, reconfigurable, durable, and cost effective. The last thing we want is to spend more on the toolbox than the tools inside them. But the Versastack is not a compromise as much as its a innovative solution. It allows you to fit a variety of tools and parts in mutliple compartments to make getting them safely to and from a jobsite hassle free.

Purchase at Lowes for $38

  • KREG Rip Cut System

Kreg #KMA2685 - 2

For those of us that may not have a panel saw set up in the garage or want to go through the hassle of laying out and fitting up a track saw… check out the KREG Ripcut System. This system incorporates a universal base to house your circular saw and a sturdy, adjustable guide bar to quickly and easily Rip panels to desired widths. It takes up hardly any space and is surprisingly accurate for rough carpentry jobs. And in this price category it probably doesn’t break the bank either.

Purchase at Home Depot for $40

  • Microjig Dovetail Ratchet Clamp

One of our shop Pros recently needed some quick-adjusting clamps with a dovetail-compatible foot for a table saw rail and CNC table hold-downs. He tested out these Microjig Dovetail Ratchet Clamps and loved them. The foot securely slides along a T-Track or dovetail groove. The foot firmly ratchets into place and includes a spring mechanism to allow it to maintain its setting despite gravity’s best efforts. The angle of the foot is designed to work with a 14-degree dovetail as well so this clamp allows for completely custom jig and clamp designs that can be reconfigured with ease.

Purchase at Microjig for $42

  • KREG Drawer Front Mounting System

We couldn’t decide which KREG tool we loved more (see above) so we decided to include the KREG drawer front mounting system as well. This custom jig set makes quick, accurate, and repeatable work of mounting drawer fronts on custom drawers. So not only does this work great for new build projects on the horizon but can also help with renovating current installs with easy drawers’ front swaps to upgrade your current abode. It’s another space efficient, low cost, unique tool that your tool lover might not realize they’ve always wanted.

Purchase at Kreg for $50

  • Gearwrench 3-Ton Jackstand Set

Does your tool hound like to get under a hood and turn a wrench? If so, or if they aspire to, then check out the new Gearwrench 3 ton jack stands. They have a double pin locking feature for an added safety feature to make sure the vehicle you’re working on stays where it should – above you! They are rugged and offer an industry standard wide base and ratcheting adjustment design. Plus the yellow powder coat finish looks great… especially if your gift getter has other gold toned tools in the shop!

Purchase at ACME Tools for $50

  • Garret Wade Caliper & Compass set

Fine craftsmanship and finish carpentry require precision. So whether your making sure the thickness of your substrates and materials is exactly the same or ensuring that multiple work points have the same center radius offset, these Garret Wade precision tools are perfect. They are crafted from solid back steel with brass fittings. So they not only are designed well but look outstanding. They come in a convenient storage box that will ensure they stay in place to be handed down to the next generation of woodworker in your family line.

Purchase at Garret Wade for $50

  • Ryobi USB Rechargeable Soldering Pen

You know what we don’t love? Contorting our bodies into confined spaces while doing plumbing or electrical work and THEN having to manipulate a hot soldering iron and cord with Flux and wire. So we love a cordless option here to make maneuvering to secure (or resecure) a tight to reach pipe or wire connection. The Ryobi USB soldering iron incorporates a Type-C USB rechargeable, 2 Ah battery into a compact design to create a functional yet lightweight and comparatively inexpensive option to benefit any homeowner DIYer. It’s definitely worth considering!

Purchase at Home Depot for $70

$75-200 Gifts | The Surefire gift

  • Bosch Colt 1-HP Palm Router

Palm or trim routers are very useful tools to ensure smooth laminates or layer-ed glue-up tasks. As far as routers go, they are lightweight and portable. The Bosch Colt 1-HP palm router is impressively powerful and smooth and stands out in this compact router class. It is great for small shops where power and outlets are plentiful. It is also an excellent choice for any CNC router tools and investments which is a task we tested heavily while trying out the Bosch Colt. The variable speed dial is responsive and stays in place despite constant vibrations which is an important feature. The collet was easy to access, and the quick release collar was well designed and easy to adjust. All in all, this is a great trim router option with all the core features we look for in a corded option.

Purchase at Lowes for $79

  • Elgin Rampage Headphones

We’ve had Elgin USA hearing protection on our shops for years and are as impressed with them today as we were when we first put them on. And we appreciate a variety of designs to match a variety of tasks. So, while we love Elgin’s REBEL earbuds for welding and grinding, the RAMPAGE headphones are awesome for tasks like cutting and nailing. They fit snugly over your ears without becoming uncomfortable after hours of use. They offer a respectable 25 dB noise rating (OSHA compliant!) and connect to a phone via Bluetooth. Best of all though the button design was designed in an easy-to-operate-even-with-work gloves way. Use it to adjust volume or make calls with the integrated mic. These is truly a well thought out piece of hearing protection.

Purchase at Elgin USA for $85

  • Go Rhino HS-30 Hitch Step

Not all of those getting gifts are young and spry. So if your gift target might be a little slower or more careful reaching into the bed of their truck these days, check out the Rhino hitch step. It’s a straightforward design that fits into a standard 2 in. female hitch receiver. Between the heavy-duty steel, powder coat finish, and non-slip surface treatment, this is a rugged and practical gift that will earn its keep time and time again. Even better? The angled-corners design of the HS-30 means that if you forget it’s mounted at walk into it (not that we ever do that) you are less likely to hobble away with a serious injury.

Purchase at Real Truck for $86

  • Bosch BLAZE 165 ft. Green Laser Measuring Tool

When you need to frequently take long distance measurements this is the tool for you. But this Bosch BLAZE (GLM165-25G) does way more than just straight liine measurements. Integrated features include: Fixed/Continuous measurement, area, volume, indirect height, and wall area calculating among others. The green laser is extremely bright and easy to see even in full daylight at distance. And if you’re skeptical on its precision don’t be; this laser measurement tool is accurate to +/- 1/16 in.  Bosch included a haptic vibrate feature so even if you’re on a loud jobsite, you can still feel confirmation of button presses even if you can’t hear the audible beeps. Lastly, the BLAZE is a rugged design ready for the elements with an IP65 weather-protected rating and reinforced housing. This is a great investment for PROs and folks doing onsite estimates and measurement with regularity.

Purchase at Home Depot for $97

  • Gerber FAST Tanto Knife

Does a knife enthusiast ever have enough knifes? Nope, no way. So if you’re looking for a good knife option with some unique features you should consider Gerber’s FAST Tanto knife. Gerber has an assisted opening design, called FAST, that makes this knife as fun to open as it is to use. It’s got a great textured grip that helps keep it firmly in your grip. And the black Tanto-style blade is different than your average round edged blade and really stands out. And at $99 its a mid-range option that feels more high end than that!

Purchase at Gerber for $99

  • Kobalt Utility Cart

There is nothing more frustrating than setting down a tool mid task only to turn around and have it disappear. We blame it on shop Gremlins… Having a utility cart that easily rolls from task to task is a life saver for keeping the Gremlins at bay. This Kobalt cart makes it easy to sort and store your tools and accessories as you go. It saves you time and frustration. And can even prevent you from losing or accidently breaking pieces and having to re-buy them. It’s a great option that may not be the first thing they think of or ask for.

Purchase at Lowes for $119

  • Husky Liners Weatherbeater Floor Mats

We admittedly put our work trucks through their paces. So, one of the first things we make sure they have is some heavy-duty rubber floor mats. These Husky floor mats fit like a glove and are built to stand up to the rigors of a work crew. But that doesn’t mean that they are only for work trucks. They look so good that they are an instant upgrade to any vehicle – cars, vans included. The only vehicle we wouldn’t put them on is a motorcycle. They are a breeze to pull out and hose or power wash off as well. And the sectioned design means that spills of mud won’t spill off the edges of the mat. Grab a set for an easy win.

Purchase at Real Truck for $60-199 ($125 as shown)

  • Gearwrench Rolling Mechanics Seat

Sometimes it’s nice to get off your feet in the workshop. And when you can do that in a seat designed to make shop or mechanic work easier than all the better. This Gearwrench rolling mechanics seat features an adjustable height air shock and full 360-degree swivel to allow you to adjust to any angle or position required by the task at hand. Its powder-coated steel finish and rubberized, solvent-resistant seat are built to last. And maybe best of all? The base hoses 5 magnetic pie-shaped storage trays to conveniently hold your small parts as you work. Don’t wait to load one up so your holiday recipient can take a load off.

Purchase at Home Depot for $135

  • Craftsman OVERDRIVE 121-piece Mechanics Tool Set

Another staple we like to include for gift guides is a well thought out hand tool set. And Craftsman’s OVERDRIVE mechanics set is a great option. It has all the common wrenches and sockets your tool lover will need to tackle any nut and bolt-based task they can dream up. It has a wide range of both metric and SAE sizes conveniently packaged in a hardshell clam case to keep them secure and accounted for. The gunmetal grey style finish looks great too. Plus, these sockets and wrenched meet or exceed all AMSE certified tolerances so they are plug and play for any commercial uses as well. You can’t go wrong here with this mechanics set from Craftsman, especially with an extra $50 off for the holidays.

Purchase at Lowes for $149

  • Garret Wade 333 drill/driver Bit Set

Can we ever have enough drill and driver bits? No… we cannot. And this Garret Wade 333-piece drill and driver accessory set is a huge step in ensuring you always have the drill and driver bits you need on hand. The case makes for secure and organized storage which can be a huge timesaver vs. hunting for a loose accessory. Drill bit styles include: long and short masonry, long and short spade, TiN twist, black oxide twist, and brad point bits. Driver bits include: 100 hex shank drivers of every description, a drill sizer, multiple nail sets, drill stop collars, a countersink, and a dozen fractional socket drivers. Yeah, it’s a complete set for sure!

Purchase at Garret Wade for $160 (on sale)

  • Danner Bull Run Chelsea Boots 6 in.

When you’re on your feet for hours at a time, usually on hard, rocky, or uneven surfaces, a good pair of work boots makes a world of difference. Enter the Danner Bull Run Chelsea boots. They look great and feel just as good. The Ortholite sole and steel shank keep your foot well supported and protected, as does Electrical Hazard protected sole (ASTM F2892-18 rated). In addition, the traction is oil and slip resistant while the lace-free slip on design means that wood or metal shavings and slag won’t get trapped in the tongue or laces. These boots are a great value considering they’re under $200. And if the person receiving them is inclined to get them re-soled vs replace them down the road then that’s even an option as well. There’s a reason Danner has a great reputation and these boots definitely live up to it!

Purchase at Danner Boots for $173

  • Ryobi 18V Cordless Drill & Driver +2 Combo Kit

There was no way we could put together a gift guide without featuring a cordless too combo. We were still surprised to be able to put the tool combo in this price category though. Here’s the kicker though; this 2-tool Drill Driver combo comes with 2 free additional tools to choose from. Besides that, this Drill Driver combo kit is worth the cost on its own. It makes easy work of 1/4 in. hex shank bits and round bits up to 1/2 in. diameter while providing ample power for any DIY task you throw at it. Ryobi’s ONE+ 18V lineup has countless compatible tools so this is a great starting point for anyone looking to get into a cordless DIY lineup!

Purchase at Home Depot for $199

  • Helly Hansen Insulated Oxford Work Jacket

Having to work outside on a cold jobsite in the winter can be miserable. So, we are always open to outdoor workwear to keep up warm and comfortable so we can focus on our work and not the weather. The Helly Hansen Insulated Oxford Jacket is a heavy-duty option that is warm and comfortable. We were impressed that it didn’t impede our overall mobility as much as other winter workwear we’ve tried out. Plus, It looks awesome so you can wear it out on weekends, and it will still impress. Helly Hansen is a go to brand for us because they deliver great looking, tough clothes that are built with the details in mind. And the insulated Oxford Jacket exemplifies these traits.

Purchase at Helly Hansen Workwear for $199

  • Gearwrench 3 & 3.5 Low-Profile Ton Jacks

So, if you’re considering 3-ton jack stands why not up the ante with a heavy-duty jack from Gearwrench to go with it? Whether you opt for a standard 3 ton or 3.5-ton low profile jack, they’ll be thrilled. These are automotive tech geared, professional-level floor jacks. They offer exceptional speed and ease of lifting in a rugged piece of equipment. The protected handle is a nice feature to prevent accidental automotive paint scratching while the dual pistons create a smooth and easier lifting action. They even have an integrated small parts storage spot to throw small parts so they don’t get lost. Lastly, these jacks are certified to the ASME PASE lifting standard to keep any commercial uses industry safety compliant.

Purchase at ACME Tools for $190-220

$200+ Gifts | Santa’s REALLY Nice List!

  • Milwaukee M18 Cordless Finish Nailer, 18GA

Here’s a simple fact… waiting for air compressors and dancing around air hoses is not ideal. So when we tested out the Milwaukee 18V finish nailer a while back, it didn’t take long for us to fall in love. This nailer is as smooth and reliable as any pneumatic one we’ve used without the hassle. and with approx. 1500 nails on a single 2Ah battery, the battery life won’t hold you back. It offers versatility and performance in a compact design that upholds Milwaukee’s standards of excellence. it is a great addition to the M18 lineup and would make a great gift for the handyperson on your shopping list. It also made it a great inclusion in our 2023 Holiday Gift Guide.

Purchase at Home Depot for $249

  • Dovoh 3-plane 360-degree H3 laser level

We were very impressed with Dovoh’s new 3-plane, 360-degree laser. It has all the features we hoped for — super bright (110mw), green laser lines with fantastic optics (up to 197 ft!), rugged construction with a secure case and good rechargeable battery life up to 18 hrs (plus it comes with a spare battery).  The Dovoh 3-plane laser gives you the ability to easily switch between auto level mode or angle lock mode for non-level line projections. And it’s among the best as far as level accuracy goes (±1/13 in. at 33ft). It comes ready to mount on a standard tripod 1/4 in. x 20 threat mount. The magnetic base with the fine adjustment design allows you to easily get the exact alignment you need. And if you’re hesitant about going with a new brand, know that Dovoh backs their products with a 2-Year Quality Warranty + 5-Year Accuracy Warranty!

Purchase at Dovoh for $279 (10% off w/ code SASOFF10)

  • DEWALT 20V Cordless Belt Sander

Most woodworkers have a variety of sanders, and a few of them are likely to be cordless. But a belt sander is often thought of as a corded tool and may not be one of them. The DEWALT 20V cordless belt sander (Bare tool) may just change this assumption. It proves power on par with mane 110V corded belt sanders. Better yet it features a swiveling shop vac port that provides good flexibility and a dust decreased (never free) environment. They lock-on button is easy to use, and the variable-speed trigger and dial settings allow for a wide range of speed settings. Loading new sandpaper is easy with the quick release lever too. and the 3×21 in. roll size is comparatively large for a cordless belt sander. This is on Santa’s really good list for a reason; it’s a really good sander!

Purchase at Lowes for $299 (Tool Only)

  • Lund Duraloader Arched Aluminum Folding Truck Ramps

We load/unload a lot of tools and equipment into our work trucks. So anything that makes that job easier and lowers our risk of breaking them or hurting ourselves while doing it is a great thing. The Lund Duraloader Arched Folding Ramps are priceless when it comes to loading your truck. And if your gift receiver regularly loads an ATV, dirt bike, lawn mower, or other power equipment with wheels into a truck and doesn’t have a good set of ramps then just commit to these ramps now. They are long (10 ft.) and arched to provide a shallow entry angle and prevent bottoming out while loading. They only weigh 17 lbs yet can support 750 lbs per ramp. And they fold in half for easy truck bed storage. They are made of durable aluminum and have a great grip design to prevent slips and falls even in slick conditions.

Purchase at Real Truck for $299 (per ramp)

  • Kobalt 7 in. 20V Cordless Wet Tile Saw

We were thrilled to test this tool out since the versatility offered by a cordless tile saw is phenomenal. cutting tile is not something that many folks think cordless for but after testing out the Kobalt 24V tile saw, you may want to reconsider. The water basin design does a good job of catching spray to recirculate while the full sliding top is smooth and allows for repeatable and accurate cuts to a variety of sized tiles. This tool is a godsend when working in a renovation with no power. It limits trips to and from the saw to remeasure tile fit since you can easily bring the saw right to your tiling location. And you don’t have to fight for generator outlets or drags cords to get there. Awesome!

Purchase at Lowes for $380

HAPPY HOLIDAYS… | 2023 Holiday Gift Guide!

We know shopping for tool lovers is definitely a labor of love. It makes you ask “What do you get someone who seems to already have everything?” Just trust TBB’s 2023 Holiday Gift Guide to give you some great suggestions whether you are looking for the perfect small gift or that one unbelievable, big gift. Happy Holidays from the Tool Box Buzz Team!

About the author

Ben Fecteau

Benjamin is a former project manager, CNC-designer, and AWS-certified welder with experience running a commercial and industrial steel design and fabrication company. Before making the jump to commercial construction, he spent years renovating houses and building furniture where he became skilled in the art of home wiring, flooring, siding, and custom tool modifications. Benjamin has a Masters Degree in Education and is passionate about sharing his love of design with his sons and through community-based outreach. He resides in Cape Cod, Massachusetts and enjoys spending time with his family, in his workshop, and serving as an Air Force Officer.

All posts by Benjamin »

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