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14 Impulse Buys That Make Great Gifts for DIYers

When shopping for the DIYers in your life, one of the best places to look is the impulse buy section found in hardware stores and woodworking shops. Many of these items are either the kind of everyday-use tools that are always appreciated, or deeply discounted sale items, perfect for a stocking stuffer or a "just because" gift.

Our editors and experts handpick every product we feature. We may earn a commission from your purchases.

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Magnetic Parts Holder

A perennial favorite of hardware store bargain bins, the magnetic parts holder is simple in design: a flat-bottomed metal cup attached to a magnet. But, when you’re 20 feet up on a ladder and watching a small fastener tumbling down the rungs, you’ll wish you had this affordable impulse buy.

Parts holders help DIYers maintain proper ladder safety.

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Tape Measure

Falling squarely in the “you can never have enough of these” category, tape measures of all shapes and sizes are a staple of DIYers everywhere. Especially common in the bargain bins are the down-and-dirty models, great to have on hand when making rough measurements. These no-frills tape measures shouldn’t be used when you’re making precision cuts, but having a spare in your toolbox might save you a lot of headaches, and more than justifies the impulse buy and any DIYer on your gift list will appreciate a new one.

Here’s an excellent deep-dive into what makes a tape measure great.

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Since the mass-market availability of LEDs, headlamps have become far more affordable, lightweight and reliable. In fact, they’ve become a fantastic impulse buy, hanging out near cash registers everywhere. You can’t go wrong picking up one of these trusty gadgets for the DIYer in your life.

There’s a reason that headlamps made this list of 11 items all homeowners should own.

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Pull Saw

We’re not sure why, but we often see pull saws in impulse-buy aisles. These hand tools are built to bite into material on the pull, rather than the push stroke. With more precision and less pressure, the blade can be especially thin, which in turn means that it can be used for flush cuts on delicate surfaces. A high-quality pull saw can carry an impressive price tag, but as these tools have grown in popularity, their price point has dropped.

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Power Inverter

Power inverters plug into a car’s auxiliary power outlet (formerly known as the cigarette lighter), and convert the current from DC to AC. This means that items like chargers and laptops, can easily be used on the road. DIYers love these impulse buys because of their added convenience and easy portability.

How to power a laptop or TV with a car power inverter.

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High-end multi-tools can be very expensive, and the priciest are definitely not an impulse buy. However, low-price models can be very affordable, and make a perfect stocking stuffer. While your DIYer may want a high-quality tool as well, it’s often useful to carry a spare multi-tool in a toolbox or glove compartment.

Theses are our editors’ favorite pocket tools.

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Soldering Iron

Not every DIYer has learned how to solder, but every DIYer should consider picking up the skill! Useful for everything from electronics repairs to wood burning or stained-glass projects, a soldering iron is an impulse buy with tons of potential.

How to fix earbuds with a soldering iron.

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Voltage Wand Tester

Non-contact voltage wands are perfect impulse buys! A smart safety device that’s affordable and perfectly shaped as a stocking stuffer, these tools allow DIYers to verify that an electric fixture is safe to work on, or to trace wiring within a wall.

10 annual electrical safety checks for your home.

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Quality Utility Knife

For whatever reason, DIYers usually skimp when it comes to buying their own utility knives, making a good version a great impulse buy. A quality utility knife makes blade changes simple, provides a firm and safe grip, and has a robust structure that can stand up to the demands of a rugged job site.

Kobalt’s folding multi-blade knife is among Family Handyman’s list of best hand tools to buy at Lowes.

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Multi-Bit Screwdriver

A multi-bit screwdriver means that a DIYer always has the right type of driver head at their fingertips, and makes a socket set even more useful. Be sure to look for one with the bit heads in the handle (like this one), so they don’t get lost at the bottom of a tool bag.

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Block Plane

Perfect for woodworkers who love the personal touch, a block plane is useful in all kinds of situations. It can be used to perfectly shape artisan furniture or to simply trim down an oversized door. A block plane is a worthy addition to any DIY toolkit.

Here’s how to use a block plane.

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Pocket Sharpening Stone

When you’re working inside or out, nothing is more frustrating than a dull blade. Even worse, the added pressure required to cut with a dull blade makes it more dangerous than a properly sharpened one. Help a DIYer eliminate this headache by giving them a pocket sharpening stone.

Here’s how to properly sharpen almost any knife blade.

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Hand Warmers

Anyone who’s had to work in inclement weather knows how miserable that can be! Luckily, picking up some hand warmers can go a long way toward making life a little more pleasant for your favorite DIYer who works out in the cold.

10 more ways to keep warm this winter.

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Family Handyman

Found near the checkouts of big-box hardware stores worldwide, an issue of Family Handyman is a great impulse buy and it rolls up to make a perfect stocking stuffer!

Sure, we may be a little biased, but we know Family Handyman is one of the best resources for DIY information and we’re dedicated to bringing you the best content online and in print!

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Dan Stout
Ohio-based freelance writer and author Dan Stout is a former residential remodeler, commercial site supervisor and maintenance manager. He’s worked on nearly all aspects of building and DIY including project planning and permitting, plumbing, basic electric, drywall, carpentry, tiling, painting and more. He also publishes noir fantasy thrillers, including The Carter Series, from Penguin imprint DAW Books.