How to Gift a Tool Without Looking Like a Big One

How to Gift a Tool Without Looking Like a Big One
Photo: Sergey Ryzhov, Shutterstock

Bringing holiday joy to that special DIYer in your with the gift of a tool is a tricky proposition. Picking something that will truly be useful to the recipient while maintaining a sense of surprise can be tough if you’re not a tool expert yourself, but fear not: This guide will help you select the best gift for your favourite craftsperson, without all the stress.

Don’t buy low quality “gift sets”

Around the holidays, it seems every retailer wants to get in on the tool-gifting market. From clothing brands to big box stores, there seem to be a thousand tool gift sets on offer. The problem is that most of them are full of fluff (heavy, metal fluff). A few low quality tools tossed into sleek packaging — these sets look nice, but don’t offer much to someone who actually uses their tools on a regular basis. Buying a pre-made gift set that’s not made with high quality materials and may contain many duplicates of tools already owned by the recipient isn’t a good use of funds.

Most handy-people would rather have a small box of high quality drill bits than a large box of poorly forged hammers and wrenches. Some tool sets available from dedicated hardware stores are indeed worth the money, and are a good choice for someone building their collection, but check the labels and do your research to make sure the tools are made from tempered steel, and don’t forget to check the warranty information.

Intended use counts

When buying tools for a tinkerer, consider the intended use for their tools. If they like to work on cars or bikes, mechanic’s tools are a good choice. For a carpenter, woodworking tools are helpful. You can also find tools specific to working in the garden, or sets that are designed for DIY around the house. Depending on the experience level of the recipient of your gift, choosing something specific to their intended task is a good call.

Batteries included

Power tools often come as packages, and around the holidays there are great sales on cordless tool sets that come with batteries and chargers. These are a good deal because the batteries are often expensive when purchased separately; getting them as a part of the set lowers the overall price of the tools significantly. If your gift recipient already has some cordless tools, a tool that will work with the batteries they already have is a good idea. If you’re intending to upgrade an old set or buy new for a beginner, a well-known manufacturer will net you the best results in terms of longevity and battery life. A wide variety of manual gardening tools are also available in battery operated models, so a green thumb might also appreciate a set with batteries included.

Something for everyone

If you’re not sure exactly what type of crafter you’re shopping for or what tools they already own, a good knife, a tape measure, or a tool bag are good universal options. No one who works in a shop or garage can ever have enough of these items, and keeping extras in your vehicle or go bag is always a good call. Spending a little bit more on a nicer version of one of these items can really upgrade an existing tool kit.

Personalise it

Personalizing a tool with someone’s name or a unique marking is a good upgrade when gifting. Engraving or stamping metal tools or embroidering a tool bag can really make a gift stand out. If your intended recipient brings their tools to work sites or shares tools with friends and neighbours, having an unmistakable marking can help get tools back if they’re left behind or accidentally make it home in someone else’s pocket.

Stocking stuffers

For stocking stuffers, professional marking tools such as carpenter’s pencils, indelible markers, and scribes for marking wood or metal are a great idea. You can also get squares, compasses, and angle measures that will come in handy at almost any skill level. No wood or metal worker ever runs out of uses for marking or measuring tools, so there’s no chance you’re getting them something they don’t need.

Safety first

Quality safety gear is always a great gift, especially for a beginner. Safety glasses, face shields, dust masks, and ear muffs and plugs can all be helpful, depending on the type of work being done. Comfortable safety gear can be a little bit pricey if you’re new at building and making things, but it’s essential, so gifting it is a thoughtful way to support and encourage an aspiring craftsperson. (A good first aid kit is also necessary for any shop, so that’s worth considering, too.)

Bringing joy

The central aspect of good tool gifting is finding practical gifts that will bring joy to the person receiving them. There’s nothing better than using a new adjustable wrench or pliers on a project and reflecting on how much easier the task is now — all because someone was thoughtful enough to find you the perfect gift.

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