Holiday Tool Buying Guide

By Robert Robillard on Tools PLUS!, Weekend warrior

Holiday Tool Buying Guide



Holiday Gift Guide 2016

It can be difficult to buy for the men or woman in your life, who work with their hands. If they follow ACC, then their most likely not interested in fancy bows, colorful ribbons, or fluff. They prefer tools, knives, gadgets, and gear! So we’ve put together a holiday tool buying guide, in no particular order, that includes a little of each:

Kershaw Ration “Return of the Spork”

What is the Ration? It’s a SPORK! This is NOT the plastic spork you remember from your days in the school house cafeteria.

Kershaw Ration


If you camp, backpack, hike, or hunt, you’ll want the Kershaw Ration.

Let’s not stop there;  if you’re a deck jockey, who eats at their desk, or a contractor who packs his or her lunch, then the Ration can help you too!

Ration is a combination spoon-and-fork, this tool weighs 1.1 ounces, measures 4.6 inches overall and is compact. It is made from 3Cr13MoV stainless steel and has a bead-blasted finish. Sporting a large spoon on one end, and a fork with tines long enough to actually be useful at the other.

A built-in bottle opener is useful for choir practice after work, and the carabineer, easy to clips the Ration to a backpack, briefcase or doubles as a cool keychain and conversation starter.


Lightweight and functional and it sells for $11.00 here: Kershaw-1140X-Ration-Tool-Silver

Kershaw ZT Zero Tolerance Knife [Gentlemen’s knife

The ZT knife is one of those tools, it’s a true gentleman’s knife, that can handle abusive tasks. Its a perfect EDC for guys not in the trades, or to wear when not working, in nicer clothes.

The Kershaw ZT Zero tolerance knife is something I can picture the “most interesting man in the world,” carrying!

You know him, he’s got everything, needs nothing, but  appreciates well-made tools and gadgets.

Kershaw ZT Zero Tolerance Knife

The Zero Tolerance 0450 folding knife is a version of an award-winning collaboration between ZT and custom knife designer Dmitry Sinkevich. Read my review here Zero Tolerance 0450 folding knife review. The blade steel is S35VN for exceptional toughness, wear resistance, and edge retention.


  • Made in the USA
  • KVT ball-bearing opening system
  • Flipper
  • Reversible clip (left/right)
  • Titanium frame lock, hardened steel lock bar insert
  • Stainless steel: S35VN, DLC coating
  • Handle: Carbon fiber front, titanium back
  • Blade length: 3.25 in. (8.3 cm)
  • Closed length: 4.1 in. (10.4 cm)
  • Overall length: 7.4 in. (18.8 cm)
  • Weight: 2.7 oz. (76.5 g)

The 0450 knife uses a KVT ball-bearing opening system, and finger flipper, allowing a lightning fast, smooth opening. This blade opens so fast it actually feels like an open assisted knife instead of a flipper.

The S35VN blade is DLC coated for matte-black good looks and enhanced performance. The front handle scale is carbon fiber, balancing the knife’s solid construction with lightweight convenience. As an extra visual touch, ZT has added two emerald-green anodized-aluminum tube spacers that are especially eye-catching, standing out against the black handle.

While it’s a smaller, more gentlemanly knife, the 0450CF proudly lives up to the “overbuilt standards” for which ZT is well known.

The ZT Zero Tolerance is a really nice looking knife, the fit and finish of the stonewashed handle, clip and polished pivot hardware make this knife almost too good-looking to use daily.

You can purchase this knife online here for $160: Zero-Tolerance-Sinkevich-Titanium-Folding

Coast FL75R HeadlampCoast FL75R Headlamp

Everyone should own a headlamp. Whether you’re working in a crawlspace, inside a base cabinet, running at dusk or just looking for something in your attic, you can’t beat the hands-free lighting convenience offered by a headlamp.

We use and recommend Coast flashlights and the FL75R is our favorite. The reason it received the esteemed category as crew favorite is because its rechargeable


  • Light Output (HIGH) 530
  • Light Output (LOW) 65
  • Beam Distance (HIGH) 511 FT / 156 M
  • Beam Distance (LOW) 177 FT / 54 M
  • Runtime(HIGH): 2H 15MIN
  • Runtime (LOW) 11H
  • Weight 3.2 OZ / 90.71 G


The light features our Flex Charge Dual Power system. The Flex Charge feature allows for the rechargeable battery pack to be recharged inside or outside of the headlamp using a micro USB. The Dual Power allows for it to run on its rechargeable lithium battery pack or standard AAA alkaline batteries.

Outfitted with two buttons, the first button turns on an ultra-wide flood beam and then quickly twist the bezel to a long reaching spot beam with transition halo. The second button on the headlamp enables the user to switch quickly to a fixed red LED light to preserve night vision.


This headlamps rugged and durable and will withstand harsh environments. It also includes a reflective safety strap for additional safety benefits. Being a Coast product its durable and is impact resistant, weather resistant and its LED is virtually unbreakable.

We feel the FL75R is a light the man who has everything can be without. Purchase it on line here for $89.00 here: Coast-FL75R-Rechargeable-Focusing-Headlamp

Coast PX1 Flashlight

Coast PX1 Flashlight

Flashlights are like beer, my favorite one is the one in my hand! While that’s kind of funny, it’s not true.

Having a work light that provides consistent colored as well as bright light is a must when distinguishing important structural details, seeing measurements, differentiating electrical wire colors, searching for the Holiday bulbs in the attic or looking for suspects!

It’s been said that a lot of lumens with little Lux amounts to a poor lighting situation, poor color and poor quality light. Not only has COAST figured out the lumen / lux recipe but they are using quality LED bulbs. Better quality LED gives you a better light output and better light color.

The Coast PX1 light is a recipe for success, its a durable, go-to flashlight. At 4.5 x 1 inches and 4.2 ounces in weight why not carry a flashlight everywhere you go. I have multiples in my cars, bedrooms, tool belt and shop.

  • Light Output:  315 lumens on high and 25 lumens on low
  • Beam Distance: 429 feet on high and 121 feet on low.
  • Runtime: 2 hours 15 minutes on high and 41 hours on low.

The Coast PX1 is a must have light that features the ability to twist focus, for a variety of distances. While in flood mode, the light casts a huge circle of light that is equally bright across without any dark spots. Then twist it into spot mode and the light will reach far downrange with a transition halo that allows for a large viewing area surrounding the tight spot beam.

The PX1 sells for $21.00 online here: Coast-Performance-Focusing-Lumen-Flashlight

Milwaukee Magnetic Tape Measures

Milwaukee Magnetic Tape Measures

The other day while eating my lunch, Phil walked over to me, with a tape measure in his hand. About five feet away from me he stops and starts pushing the tape out to me. It gets closer and closer until it eventually wacks me in the face.

I ask him “What are you doing?

“He says, “I’m measuring your patience.”

Like me, the folks at Milwaukee, have zero patience for crapy tools. They recently updated their tape measures with new compact magnetic end and finger stop.

As their boss, Steve Richman always says, they strive for continuous disruptive innovation.

Following this mantra these new tape measures are more compact and ergonomic. The finger stop mechanism protects users’ fingers during tape retraction, while helping the user to stabilize the tape when laying out measurements.

Our favorite part is the improved wire form belt clip that has been optimized for bag/belt storage and to reducing tearing up your pant pockets!

4 new updated Milwaukee magnetic tape measures with finger stops are available in lengths of 16’, 25’, 30’, and 35’ along with 2 new metric versions 5m/16ft and 8m/26ft.

The Milwaukee 16’ Magnetic tape measure sells online for $24.00 here: MILWAUKEE-ELEC-48-22-5116-Magnet-Measure

Arborwear Double Thick Pullover Sweatshirt # 400240

My search for rugged cold weather clothing never ends. I am always on the lookout for premium clothing that has exceptional durability, comfort, quality of construction, and fit that you can not only feel in the fabric but see the results in the performance of the clothing.

Working in construction and having rugged clothing go hand in hand. There is nothing worse than working in clothes that easily tear, wear out or just do not perform well in the elements, especially when the temperatures get COLD!arborwear tech double thick sweatshirt

Several years ago we stumbled across Arborwear clothing from a friend on the job site. After researching Arborwear clothing products I was impressed and curious to see if their clothing was worth the hype.

The Double Tech Thick Pullover Sweatshirt has the following features:

  • 100% Polyester
  • 2 layers 13 oz. 100% Polyester fleece
  • Moisture Wicking
  • Teflon Fabric Protector
  • Durable Water Repellent Finish
  • Oversized 3-piece hood
  • Snap neck collar
  • Gusseted underarms
  • Vertical recessed handwarmer pouch

This hoodie is and will be the heaviest and best sweatshirt you will own and it’s water repellent!

Built to last and endure the harshest environments it features gusseted armpits for freedom of movement. Snap closures at the neck keep the neck and chin warm, and an oversized hood fits over a hard hat or helmet.

It is so thick that it actually stops the wind…. a real nice feature.

After wearing the Arborwear clothes on the job site I’m sold on the companies idea to create quality, comfortable and rugged clothing that you can trust day in and day out.

If you’re like me and appreciate top-notch construction and quality that will last a long time, I highly recommend you get this sweatshirt, it’s not cheap, but its worth the cost.

Plan on spending $79.00 and purchase it online here:Arborwear-Double-Pullover-Sweatshirt


RIDGID Cordless Palm Impact Screwdriver Kit

Tired of futzing around with screws in tight spot and impossible locations? The Ridgid 12-volt right-angle palm impact R8224K is the solution.

The COOLEST thing about this tool is the trigger, there isn’t one.


To activate the tool you simply grasp the tool and push down on the fastener bit. Ridgid call is “Push-to-Drive Technology,”

I call it genius as it allows you to hold the tool in any orientation.

RIDGID Cordless Palm Impact Screwdriver Kit

This tool is perfect for any contractor or DIY-er wanting to get into hard to reach locations. Powered by the included 1.5 Ah Hyper Lithium-Ion battery and charger, this tool is the perfect gift for anyone needing a small tool to access tough spots!

An on board grip light engages LED light and fuel gauge independently of push-to-drive switch so you can see what you’re doing in these tough locations.

The Ridgid R8224K Pal Impact sells online for $99.00 here: Ridgid-R8224K-Lithium-Ion-Cordless-Screwdrive

RIDGID Stealth Force Pulse Driver

The STEALTH FORCE Brushless 18-Volt 3-Speed Pulse Driver uses a unique hydraulic oil pulse mechanism to operates quieter and capable of driving tough fasteners. Impact driver have changed the fastening industry!RIDGID Stealth Force Pulse Driver

This Stealth is twice as fast as standard impact drivers and half the noise.

“Shhh. Be vewy vewy quiet, I’m hunting wabbits,” While that may work for Elmer J. Fudd, a fictional Looney Tunes cartoon character who attempts to hunt down Bugs Bunny, but he usually ends up seriously injuring himself and other antagonizing characters.

We’re hunting fasteners and our goal is safety!

This kit also includes 2 Hyper Lithium-Ion batteries that provide up to 2X more run-time compared to standard lithium-ion batteries.

3-speed settings provide adjustable power and speed and 3 LED lights around the front housing of this tool eliminate shadows.

We have always said that RIDGID is the hidden gem in the tool industry, and this driver is no different. Check it out at this super low price of $174.00, online here: Ridgid-R8224K-Lithium-Ion-Cordless-Screwdriver


Makita B-46919 Impact GOLD 26 Pc. Torsion Bit Set

An impact driver uses both bit rotation and concussive blows to power-drive screws. The result of this combo is a powerful driver that deliver two to three times more turning force (torque) than the average drill/driver.

Improper bits result in broken bits and sometimes broken parts inside the tool! Not good, trust me.

High-torque impact drivers are everywhere but not a lot of guys are using the proper impact bits. The problem with regular fastener bits is then can not with stand the continued impact force.

This Makita Impact GOLD set is designed exclusively for use with high-torque impact drivers, with high-strength steel for longer life, and a precision-fit tip engineered to prevent “cam-out” and stripping. These bits feature Xtreme Torsion Technology, which allows the torsion section of the bit and bit holder to flex under load and take pressure off of the bit tip for increased durability in high torque applications.

The bit holder has a rare earth Neodymium magnet is two-times stronger than magnets in standard insert bit holders, so users get the added convenience of one-handed fastening.


  • (1) Mag Boost
  • (1) Torsion bit holder
  • (20) 1″ Insert bits: (2) PH1, (5) PH2, (3) PH3, (1) SQ1, (2) SQ2, SQ3, (1) T15, (1) T20, (2) T25, (1) T27, (1) T30
  • (2) 2-1/2″ Double ended power bits: (1) PH2, (1) PH3
  • (2) Magnetic nutsetters: (1) 1/4″, (1) 5/16″

The Makita B-46919 Impact GOLD 26 Pc. Torsion Bit Set is a no-brainer for the Pro or DIY-er. You can purchase it online for $14.97 here: Makita-B-46919-Impact-Torsion-Insert


Dewalt 60 Volt battery

Dewalt 60 Volt battery

These batteries are backward compatible with all 20V Max cordless tools.

Dewalt designed these 60 V FlexVolt batteries to have corded, power tool KICK-ASS power!

Dewalt designed these new batteries with 15 rechargeable cells, wired in both parallel and in series, bringing the  battery voltage from the customary 18 volts to 60 volts max (54 volts nominal). The higher voltage makes the new packs well suited to high-demand tools like cordless miter saws, table saws, outdoor landscape tools, and heaving drilling application.  The backwards compatible  means that these batteries will work with all 20 volt cordless tools.


Dewalt’s goal is to provide a battery that delivers a corded tool power!  You can purchase one of these batteries online for $150.00 here: DEWALT-DCB606-FLEXVOLT-Battery-Pack


Milwaukee M18 FUEL SURGE Hydraulic Driver

Milwaukee Surge Impact Driver

Buy Quiet – for less occupational noise exposure. Tool noise and vibration are common with power tools. Loud noise and vibration lead to operator fatigue, and fatigue to accidents.

Hearing loss impairs quality of life and increases the risk of injury.

Every year, thousands of construction workers suffer hearing loss from excessive noise exposure on the job. According to the CDC: 1 in 8 U.S. Workers Has Some Hearing Loss.

The construction industry comes in a second in terms of most hearing-impaired workers.

The Occupational Safety and Health Agency (OSHA) has determined safe noise levels and has made recommendations that specific ear protection devices be worn within sound levels of 85dB.

The M18 FUEL SURGE 1/4″ Hex Hydraulic Driver uses oil hydraulic technology to operate. The 50% quieter, and operates at 76 dBA, well below the OSHA recommendation. For me, I prefer working smarter. That means using the right tool for the application at hand. Using a lighter, quieter tool that has less vibration makes sense.

Work smarter, and protect yourself, no matter how loud it gets at work. Purchase this bare tool for $120.00 online here: Milwaukee-Impact-Driver-Model-2653-20

Rockler Universal Small Port Hose Kit

Rockler Universal Small Port Hose Kit

At Concord Carpenter, are a huge advocate of collecting dust at the source, but tool-makers don’t make that easy.

On of my biggest pet peeves when working ins my shop is the lack of proper interface between my HEPA vacuums and my tools. It seems that manufacturers just don’t want to agree on a standardized dust-port size for portable power tools.

So what do we do? We buy a slew of adapters and improvise with utility tape.

The folks Rockler recently came out with a solution called the Dust Right Universal Small Port Hose Kit. This kit is comprised of an expanding hose with flexible ports that allow you to hook up to and use dust collection with nearly any handheld power tool.

The hose and attachment flex to fit on almost any tool dust port and thread onto an included flexible dust hose, which has a standard 2 1/4 inch opening that fits most shop vacuums and dust extractors and stretches up to 15-foot.

The Dust Right Universal Small Port Hose Kit, two smaller adapters, have swiveling rubber dust-port nozzles, the kit comes with three port sizes:

  • 1 inch
  • 1 1/2 inch
  • 2 1/4 inch

These three dust ports swivels function to keep the dust hose from twisting up and annoying you! The 2-1⁄4 inch outside-diameter swivel port connects the flexible hose to standard shop vacuums, and is priced at $39.99 here:Dust-Right-Universal-Small-Port

Milwaukee Compact Flip Utility Fastback Knife

Anyone and everyone who uses a utility knife needs a Milwaukee Flip Utility Knife!

With this new version, Milwaukee changed the belt clip on the Fastback Compact from the wire clip to a flat steel one. Personally I always liked the wire clip because it was very accommodating of clipping onto various thickness of materials.

When working without my tool belt and I need a utility knife this knife is not only safe but effective, and the best quality I’ve seen yet. I was highly impressed!

The Milwaukee Fastback Compact Flip Utility Knife is a great addition to the Fastback utility knife line and keeps all of the core features but in a smaller, lighter, and more compact form factor.

This knife sells for $ 8.99 here:  Milwaukee Fastback Flip Utility Knife


If you enjoyed this post, make sure you subscribe to my RSS feed!

About the author

Robert Robillard

Carpenter / Remodeler / Editor

Rob Robillard is “The Concord Carpenter” Rob is a builder, general contractor, carpenter, woodworker, and editor of Concord Carpenter and ToolBoxBuzz As a General Contractor and carpenter, Rob owns and operates Concord Carpenter LLC. A full-service remodeling and construction company. Rob is a recognized leader in home building best practices and a source for how-to information for building professionals. On this website, Rob covers all aspects of home construction, building science, home improvement, woodworking, remodeling, and some of the best product and tool reviews. Rob is in charge of our Tool and Product Review series - Concord Carpenter Videos where we post all of our tool reviews and video tutorials. Rob approaches remodeling and building construction with a pragmatic and problem-solving approach. He enjoys using his knowledge and experience to help and educate building professionals as well as DIYers on best practices in the construction and remodeling industry. He's a strong advocate for "raising the bar" in the construction trades and promoting the trades to youth. #BeAMentor #Green2Great Craftsmanship, quality, and pride guide his journey on this channel The Concord Carpenter's motto: "Well done is better than well said!" : Read more about Rob

All posts by Robert »

Not what you're looking for?

Search for more articles here. Enter keywords like roof leak, bookcase, deck, etc to find your topic.

© Copyright 2019 A Concord Carpenter · All Rights Reserved