7 Incredible Products That Will Make You a Better DIYer
Keep your workshop up to date with the newest tools and gear that Family Handyman editors absolutely love.
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.
Big Value in a Big Saw!
Harbor Freight’s Hercules 12-in. miter saw has many features in common with expensive pro-grade saws: an LED light to show the cutting line, the ability to bevel both directions, and of course, the sliding feature for wide cuts. Its bevel adjustment works smoothly and has the standard positive angle stops other saws have. The angle adjustments go from 60 degrees on the right side of the blade to 50 degrees on the left. Dust collection is hopeless, even with a vacuum, but that’s true of all miter saws. If you want a contractor-grade miter saw without the contractor-grade price, you’ll be perfectly happy with this lower-cost alternative. It’s available for $350 at Harbor Freight stores and harborfreight.com.
A miter saw is only as good as it’s stand. Check out this convertible, mobile stand from Family Handyman magazine.
Rotating Hedge Trimmer
If you’re still using a corded hedge trimmer, it might finally be time to leave the cord hassles behind. Many manufacturers make battery-powered hedge trimmers, but Worx has one with a unique feature: a rotating handle so you can cut vertically without contorting your torso. It takes just a few seconds to twist it the other way for horizontal trimming. This 24-in. trimmer includes two 20V batteries and a double charging station to charge both at once. Available for $150 at worx.com or on Amazon.
If you already have a hedge trimmer, check out these pruning tips for healthy bushes.
Nailer for Framing Connectors
If you’re still nailing or screwing joist hangers, rafter hurricane clips or any other metal connectors to wood, consider investing in a metal connector nailer. One of these will save you hours of painstaking screw-driving or hand-nailing (and smashed fingers!). The Bostitch StrapShot 250 is a great option. Its compact size lets you fire nails into spots most other connector nailers can’t. With this design, you insert the actual nail tip into the connector opening and pull the trigger—a surefire system. The StrapShot 250 can fire both 1-1/2-in. and 2-1/2-in. nails, but if you only use 1-1/2-in. nails, save a few bucks and get the StrapShot 150. Find the StrapShot 250 and 150 on Amazon for $300 and $200, respectively. Click here to find the project that this nailer dominated.
Premium Chalk Reel
The Tajima Chalk-Rite II is the best chalk reel out there for one reason: It makes a solid line every time. Some chalk reels leave lines with gaps, which can be a problem when you’re cutting along the line or using it as a reference for measurements. The combination of Tajima’s proprietary chalk and the ultra-thin line gives you consistent and accurate snapped lines every time. If you like perfect lines, put the Chalk-Rite 2 in your tool apron and your old one on the shelf. It’s available for $30 on Amazon.
Don’t know the best way to use a chalk line? Watch Family Handyman senior editor, Travis Larson, explain it.
Wet-Vac Labor Saver
Wet vacuums make short work of cleaning up messes, but disposing of them can mean lugging around gallons of liquid. The Quick Connect Pump Accessory for Ridgid wet/dry vacuums lets you swap the heavy lifting for the flip of a switch.
You just attach the pump to your vacuum’s drain port, hook up a garden hose to the pump, and send the contents outside or to a drain. Turn the pump on and watch it empty the vacuum. The Quick Connect Pump fits onto a standard-size drain port, but check your vacuum to make sure it will fit. If you have a wet vacuum, you need one of these! It’s available for $40 at Home Depot.
Shop vacuums are incredibly useful around the house. Learn how to dry out carpet with one by clicking here.
Quick-Setting CA Glue
I’ve made a permanent home in my toolbox and trimming apron for cyanoacrylate glue, also known as superglue. But not the thin, runny style you’re probably familiar with. I prefer thick-viscosity versions, which are offered by most CA glue manufacturers. I’ve been using it in place of nails to create jigs for woodworking and to assemble smaller pieces of trim. The brand I keep on hand is Stick Fast. A 2.5-oz. bottle is about $10 at Rockler or online from Amazon.
Glue bottles like these can get really annoying when the caps get stuck. Find the solution by clicking here.
The words “mosquito repellent” and “pleasant smell” are rarely uttered together. But Murphy’s Mosquito Incense actually has a nice smell and we’ve found it also keeps the bugs at bay. It’s plant based and free of DEET and petroleum—no worrying about breathing in harmful chemicals.
Poke a few in the ground nearby, or buy the stand to hold the sticks upright. A tube of 12 sticks is available for $12 at Target and online from Amazon.