Contractors, amateur renovators, and even DIY enthusiast can be tough to buy for during the holiday season. Before you go running to spend your hard-earned money at Restoration Hardware, here are a few ideas to help them get the job done, without doing the job for them.
Little Giant Ladder Systems
One of the few “As Seen on TV” products you can believe in, Little Giant Ladder Systems delivers on its promise to provide a strong, durable ladder that can be changed to any size and utility you could need. The system has many useful configurations, including A-frame, straight, scaffolding, 90 degree, and staircase. One complaint of the original ladder system was the heavy weight, making it tough to move around during construction. Little Giant has delivered with its Xtreme series, keeping a 300-pound duty rating while cutting down on weight to half the amount of the original model, 52.2 lb (for the 26’ model).
- Save storage space with an all-in-one tool
- A durable and safe ladder with lots of great reviews
- Plenty of accessories to fit all project needs
- Lifetime warranty
- Need time to read the product manual and understand all the settings
- Multiple accessories can drive the price up on this system
- Utah and Nevada residents have to pay sales tax with online orders
Kreg Jig R3 Jr. Pocket Hole System
This Kreg system has been making its way around internet blogs, and deserves the attention. It takes advantage of “Kreg Joinery,” an innovative way of jointing wood without the use of glue. The device is clamped onto the wood that is jointed, and the included bit is used to drill in screw guides at an angle. Self-tapping screws are then drilled to joint the wood together, creating a secure joint with a flush finish. Kreg Jr. can cut down on the time it would take to glue and clamp a traditional joint overnight, saving hours (if not days) on a traditional woodworking project. From building your own furniture to numerous home repair jobs, this little piece of innovation is a must-have for all levels of woodworkers. For more serious jobs (contracting and construction), the company offers the K4 model and the K5 Master systems.
- A metric ton of time saved on projects
- No need to line up dowel holes or use mortise and tenon joints
- Works with any bar or c-clamp
- Save money on glue
- A few complaints that the junior system doesn’t work on boards larger than 2x4s
- No reason to binge on Netflix while “waiting for the glue to dry”
- Transitioning out of antiquity/traditional woodworking
Hour-long consultation with a top designer or landscaper
An original and useful idea, this gift shows thoughtful consideration for someone special in your life. Taking the time to let another person gain a professional opinion not only opens a homeowner’s eyes to a fresh perspective, but can also benefit the ROI (return on investment) of a potential project. Ask for references and read impartial online reviews to find the top professionals in your area, or use the Kukun professional network.
- Outside-the-box gift
- Valuable insight into the needs of a home and the potential equity gain that comes with different projects
- Possibility of making a new friend
- Potential for stylistic clashing
- Industry leaders can be expensive
Nest Learning Thermostat: Third Generation
This thermostat has had the marketplace abuzz over the past few years. Some consumers shy away from this product because they think it must be complicated to install, or that a professional from the company needs to visit their home to install the device. However, Nest works with most existing HVAC systems, and can be installed into a compatible system in less than an hour with relative ease (and it’s easy to determine if your current system is compatible). The Nest app works with iPhone and Android, and can be installed on multiple devices, giving users the ability to control the temperature of their homes from anywhere. A learning feature, highly marketed by Nest, states that the thermostat better learns users’ preferences the more the system is used. This unique AI claims to save 10 to 12 percent on heating bills, and up to 15 percent on cooling bills, making this system a must-have for budget-conscious homeowners.
- Third-generation thermostat comes with a larger display and a more flush-to-the-wall design
- Potential savings on energy bills using the “learning technology” built into the system
- Modern design and ambient light replaces the common eyesore of normal thermostats
- 24-hour tech support for those who like installing thermostats at 4 in the morning
- Some HVAC systems not supported
- Multiple thermostats needed for multi-level cooling systems
- Turns on the entire HVAC system to charge if the system remains off for an extended period of time, unless attached to an extra C wire (a potential money waster for temperate climates)
- Susceptibility to pranks for anyone who gains smartphone app access to your Nest system
Ryobi 4V Quickturn Screwdriver
This new offering from Ryobi is an excellent choice for those who need more versatility than standard right angle screwdriver offers. The Ryobi changes to an inline driver with one quick motion, making it perfect for those who work in cramped spaces such as attics and crawl spaces. The screwdriver comes with two speed options (200/600 RPMs) and has been generally well received, living up to the expected quality of Ryobi products.
- Versatility of a right angle/inline driver
- Includes a two-finger trigger, an ergonomically pleasing design
- Some hearsay about battery life problems (AMP rating is 1.3 hours)
- Unable to tackle jobs that require a heavy-duty driver