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Best Tools of 2020 (According To Pros)

Pros know better than anybody which tools make their jobs go faster, easier and smoother. Check out their recommendations here.

Every editorial product is independently selected, though we may be compensated or receive an affiliate commission if you buy something through our links. Ratings and prices are accurate and items are in stock as of time of publication.

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Pros know better than anybody which tools make their jobs go faster, easier and smoother. Check out their recommendations here.

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A Woodworker’s Favorite Drill

We asked professional woodworker Marty Dyck to name a favorite tool he’s purchased in the last year. For Marty, the answer was easy: He loves his new DeWalt 1/4-in. Impact Driver, which he says he uses hundreds of times daily. The tool’s durability is impressive, and Marty finds it easy on the wrist with a great range for hard or soft wood.

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via Amazon

Do-Everything Electrical Tester

Al Hildenbrand, a master electrician, has several favorite tools. But the one dearest to his heart and the workhorse of his stable is the Greenlee GT-95 electrical tester, which he says is durable and easy to use.

The feature that sold Al was the ability to test for a hot wire without the need for a known ground. You simply hold the tester in your hand and touch one probe to the wire you want to test. Push the test button to see if the wire is hot. The GT-95 also features a GFCI tester, a non-contact voltage tester and a continuity tester, in addition to a digital and LED display for reading voltage.

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FH10NOV_513_52_028 painting cone filter standFamily Handyman

The Secret to Super-Smooth Finishes

Bill Nunn, a master painter, has two favorite tools for helping him achieve a flawless finish. One is this handy cone filter stand he picked up at a paint store many years ago. The other is a pair of mesh socks he uses to strain latex paint before applying it.

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FH10NOV_513_52_022 linoleum knife multi use toolFamily Handyman

A Do-Everything Tool for Tile Setters

This hooked knife is intended for linoleum and vinyl flooring work, but Dean Sorem, a tile setter, likes it for a host of other tasks.

“I picked up the use of a lino knife from working alongside a seasoned jack-of-all-trades flooring installer,” he says.

He uses the sharp point to lift misplaced or ill-fitting tiles and to score backer board. At $5 a pop, you really can’t go wrong keeping a few of these handy knives in your toolbox.

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FH10NOV_513_52_037 board buddies for router table or shaperFamily Handyman

An Extra Helping Hand

When you use a router table or shaper to produce a decorative edge, it’s critical to simultaneously press the board down and into the fence while you’re pushing it forward. One of our readers, a pro woodworker, discovered that Board Buddies are perfect for this task. The rollers are shaped to push in and down, maintaining even pressure against the board, the table and the fence.

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chisel and plane sharpenerFamily Handyman

Super-Simple Sharpener

Like most woodworkers, Dave Munkittrick relies on sharp chisels and planes for his livelihood. He has a large collection of sharpening tools, but his favorite is the WorkSharp system, which sharpens chisels and plane blades quickly with no mess. The best part is that you don’t need any practice to get a razor-sharp edge.

“I used to put off sharpening because it was such a hassle,” he says. “With this machine, sharpening is a quick task, not a project.”

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FH10NOV_513_52_025 dremel mini cutterFamily Handyman

Dremel Mini-Cutter

Costas Stavrou, an appliance repair pro, has a ton of cool specialty tools for appliance repairs. But this Dremel tool is the one that often gets him out of binds. Stavrou fits his Dremel with an abrasive cutoff wheel to remove the heads from stuck sheet metal screws, cut through rusted-on laundry hoses and remove corroded appliance parts.

“This little tool has gotten me out of some bad jams,” he says.

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FH10NOV_513_52_043 folding triangle toolFamily Handyman

Time-Saving Triangle

When Jeff Timm installs paver patios and driveways, he focuses on top-quality workmanship. This giant triangle is perfect because it allows him to quickly and accurately chalk square layout lines. He could do the same thing using the 3-4-5 triangle method, but this is faster. Just align the chalk line with the edge of the triangle and snap the line. The triangle folds to take up less room in the truck.

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FH10NOV_513_52_007 work boots boot guardFamily Handyman

Boot Saver

Jeff Gorton, a longtime handyman, is hard on boots. Unfortunately dirt, gravel, stones and pavers chew up the toe box before the rest of the boot wears out. But he found a solution. He coats the toes with Boot Guard, and it really works. With a $12 investment, you can save your favorite $100 work boots from premature replacement.

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FH10NOV_513_52_008 horsehair vacuum brushFamily Handyman

No-Scratch Duster

“Tack rags are good, but you need to vacuum to get a really smooth finish,” says Nunn. So he vacuums everything before he paints it.

Nunn thinks the brushes that come with shop vacuums are too stiff. “They can scratch the surface and don’t pick up fine dust,” he says. That’s why he replaced the dusting brush on his shop vacuum with a horsehair brush.

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DeWalt 60 Volt MAX Circular Saw

A Saw for the Ages

The DeWalt 60-volt MAX circular saw is a cordless worm-drive circular saw with a lot to love. Like all worm-drive saws, the left-side blade position makes it easy to see your cutting line.

It’s a workhorse: The 60-volt battery coupled with DeWalt’s thin-kerf FLEXVOLT blade (specifically designed for cordless saws) creates a saw that’s fast and powerful. It can churn through materials up to 2-1/2-in. thick and cut bevels up to 53 degrees.

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purdy chinex brush

Easy-Clean Chinex Brush

The editors at Family Handyman love Chinex bristle paintbrushes. But it’s not just us. Our set builder doesn’t use anything else, and the pros we talked with agree that paintbrushes made with Chinex bristles are nearly perfect. They work equally well for oil-based and water-based paints.

But the best feature of Chinex bristles is how easy they are to clean. Many of the new formulations of water-based paint dry quickly and stick tenaciously to other types of synthetic bristles, leaving you with a tough cleanup job. Chinex bristles solve this problem. Paint rinses out easily, giving you a brush that’s like-new clean.

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FH10NOV_513_52_034 diamond hole sawFamily Handyman

Diamond Hole Saw

Diamond hole saws are no secret to tile setters. Diamond grits embedded in the perimeter of the hole saw cut through tough materials like stone and porcelain tile, making short work of what used to be a difficult task.

The 1/4-in. hole saw is really handy if you need to drill mounting holes in tile for grab bars or other fixtures. The set we recommend includes a guide and a bottom seal that allows you to contain a pool of water around the bit to keep it cool and eliminate dust.

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wooster paint bucket

Brilliant Paint Bucket

One of our pro painting consultants turned us on to this paint bucket, and we think it’s perfect for DIYers, too. We like it because it holds more paint than a tray so you don’t have to refill as often. And unlike a tray, it’s easy to move around without spilling.

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