6 holiday gift ideas for handy people

If you’re not handy yourself, it can be difficult to know what gift idea are good for the handy people on your list. That’s where this article can help.

Over the course of a year, I get to try many different tools for renovations and hands-on living and the suggestions you’ll find here are guaranteed to please.

(Note: Most of the gift idea links lead to Amazon simply for illustration. Most items can be found elsewhere, including at local stores.)


Six gift ideas for handy people

DEWALT 20V MAX impact driver kit

diy tools dewalt impact driver
Compact, powerful and reliable, this 20-volt cordless impact driver makes it a lot easier to drive screws than a cordless drill.
Photo: Steve Maxwell

Besides driving screws faster and for longer between charges than a comparable cordless drill, impact drivers keep the tip of the screw driver bit engaged in the screw head much more reliably than with a drill. This might not sound like much, but it’s a huge advantage.

The particular DEWALT impact driver kit I like ($300) comes with two batteries and a charger, and the tool is exceptionally short from front to back. The shorter the impact driver, the easier it is to wield. I guarantee this model will bring smiles.

MetMo Grip

gift ideas for handy people diy tools adjustable wrench
Based on a 93-year-old nearly lost design, this adjustable wrench uses a sliding mechanism to open or close the jaws for use with nuts and bolts of various sizes.
Photo: Robert Maxwell

This is a kind of adjustable wrench that’s made new today but following an old design patented in 1929. Originally manufactured by Edwin Evans, the Grip ($53) is cool to look at and quite effective. You can see this wrench in action in this video I made:



Busy Bee hand planes

gift ideas for handy people diy tools hand planer
One of many different planes offered by Canadian company Busy Bee Tools, this line of high-quality, mid-priced planes was released last year.
Photo: Robert Maxwell

Hand planes shape and smooth wood by removing thin strips from the surface, but hardware store hand planes are typically way too shoddy and leave a lot to be desired. Busy Bee is a Canadian company that released a line of very good-quality hand planes at reasonable prices last year.

I’ve used their planes and they really do work well. If you’ve got a serious woodworker in your life, one of these planes will certainly be appreciated. Plus, they make good medium-range presents. The mid-size No. 5 1/2 jack plane ($169) is a particularly good all-around choice.


Irwin universal handsaw

diy tools handsaw
Cuts fast and well and lasts a long, long time, this hard-point handsaw is the best Maxwell has ever used.
Photo: Robert Maxwell

I’ve used many handsaws over the years, but this one cuts straighter, faster and better than any other I’ve tried. It’s even fast enough that I sometimes choose to use it over power saws. With good technique you can make about one inch of progress with each stroke cutting through 1½-inch construction lumber.

The 15-inch-long model is great ($38), but I like the 20-inch model ($41) because it allows a longer stroke and faster cutting. Even people with power saws sometimes need the manoeuvrability of a handsaw.

Megapro precision screwdriver

gift ideas for handy people diy tools precision screwdriver
The Megapro is like a full-sized interchangeable screwdriver but with tiny bits made to fit tiny fasteners used most often with consumer electronics.
Photo: Steve Maxwell

Made especially for handling all those tiny and weird little screws on computers and electronics, I use mine most often for servicing my laptops. Tiny, precise interchangeable tips come in a range of shapes, saving you from keeping a bunch of individual drivers.


At $50, this is a pretty expensive screwdriver, but it’s professional quality.

Champion 4000 Watt digital hybrid generator

diy tools hybrid generator
An excellent combination of price and performance, this small generator is quieter, lighter and runs longer than many other models in its class.
Photo: Steve Maxwell

In my tests, this small, lightweight generator is quieter than most and uses fuel more frugally. It also offers multiple outlets for 120 volts and a 12-volt port like you find in vehicles for accessories and USB charging.

Unlike other frame-style generators, this one functions more like an inverter, allowing reduced engine speed when reduced electrical loads are demanded. Available for about $1,200, this is a pretty big gift, but it does offer exceptional value.


About the Author

Steve Maxwell

Steve Maxwell

Steve Maxwell has been helping Canadians with home improvement, gardening and hands-on living since 1988. Visit for videos, stories and inspiration.



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