As technology changes, so do once-basic tools like pliers, saws and flashlights. Heres just a sampling of new stuff thats out there that even the barely handy would love to own.
Gyro screwdriver from Black&Decker
$39.97, hardware and home improvement stores
Early reviewers say the Gyro screwdriver takes some practice, but its still way cool. Turn your wrist to the right and the gyroscopic technology powers the screwdriver to rotate in that direction. Turn your wrist a quarter-turn to the left for reverse. The rechargeable 4-volt screwdriver also features variable speed and an LED light.
Rockwell oscillating tool
$149 at Lowes
Oscillating tools saw, cut, sand, scrape, polish and even remove grout. The Rockwell nine-piece oscillating tool kit features a 3-amp motor, tool-free accessory change, and will accept accessories from other makers.
Lights from striker: Light Mine and FLEXiT light
These innovative lights have been featured on national TV, and the company that makes them is based in Mooresville. The Light Mine is about the size of a golf ball, but contains a bright LED and a dozen magnets. Set it on any surface as a tripod, or attach by magnet. The FLEXiT light is a thin, flexible LED flood light. The silicone body lies flat or wraps around objects to send light where you need it. Its magnetic, too.
Black & Decker easy edge
$35. Arriving at Target, Ace Hardware and other stores
Black & Decker says its new Easy Edge paint applicator eliminates the need for painters tape. The vibrating tool features adjustable flow and can paint an edge up to 25 feet on a single fill. Edge cleanly around molding, windows and doors. Fill the tube directly from paint can. Applicators and tubes are disposable, so theres no cleanup. Powered by AA batteries.
Levels from Irwin
$1.99-$4.49; hardware stores, www.irwin.com
Levels are like clamps when the do-it-yourselfer needs one, he appreciates the right one. Consider a duo of affordably priced Irwin levels as stocking stuffers: The Bullseye levels surfaces in all directions, which makes it perfect for leveling appliances and pool tables. The Post Level features a magnet and rubber strap, for hands-free use when youre working by yourself on deck posts or railings.
Lighted Craftsman tools from Sears
The 8-inch LED lighted long-nose and diagonal wire cutters set is $31.49; www.sears.com
We scoffed at first, the realized how much we appreciate the work light on our battery-powered drill. Now Sears offers LED lighting on pliers and other tools. Watch batteries that power the light are protected in a sealed compartment thats waterproof and oil proof. An auto off feature extends battery life.
Slogger gardening shoes and boots
$23.99-$43.99 at Seaboard Ace Hardware, 802 Semart Drive, Raleigh. sidesloggers.com
Who says gardening shoes have to be ugly? Help someone upgrade from those grubby sneakers with fashion-forward and super-comfortable waterproof clogs, shoes and boots from Sloggers. Theyre made from a tough but flexible resin that protects your feet even as the cushy insoles pamper them. And a grippy tread will keep you on your feet for all your outdoor projects. Styles and sizes for women and men.
Stacy Chandler, correspondent
Council Tools Velvicut Premium Hudson Bay Axe
$119.98 at Burke Brothers Hardware, 5227 Hillsborough St., Raleigh. www.counciltool.com
This is a gift destined to become a family heirloom. Its made with a high-grade steel alloy that stands up to heavy use while keeping its edge, and details in the shape of the head and wooden handle make it comfortable and easy to use. Bonus points: Its made from American materials right here in North Carolina; Council Tool has its headquarters at Lake Waccamaw.