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Best gift for DIYers 2021: IT pro tools

Gifts for the DIYer and fixer in your life. (Or gifts for your wishlist, if that's you!)

There's an old adage worth remembering when it comes to tools: "Feel the pain once when you pay for the tool, or feel the pain every time you use it!"

Do yourself a favor and get yourself or your loved one decent tools. Having the right tools not only makes the job quicker. It also makes the job safer and prevents you from causing more damage and mayhem during the repair process. Also, there's nothing like the satisfaction that comes from using quality tools to get a job done.

Here are a selection of tools and gadgets that I find indispensable when testing, tearing down, or repairing gadgets.

iFixit Pro Tech Toolkit

A really solid toolkit for the modern engineer

iFixit Pro Tech Toolkit

This is a wonderful package of well-made tools that are designed to tear down and repair modern gadgets. I've had one of these kits for years and I use it all the time.

  • 64 Bit Driver Kit
  • Anti-Static Wrist Strap
  • Small Suction Cup
  • 3x iFixit Opening Tool
  • iFixit Opening Picks x6
  • Nylon Tipped Reverse Tweezers
  • Angled ESD Tweezers
  • Blunt ESD Tweezers
  • Spudger
  • Halberd Spudger
  • Metal Spudger
  • Jimmy
  • Magnetic Pad
  • Tool Roll

Ulefone Armor 9

The perfect Android smartphone for the engineer or DIYer

Ulefone Armor 9

While I'm an iPhone user, I've been had this Android smartphone in my toolbox for months, and I love it. 

The Ulefone Armor 9 is a solid Android smartphone that's water-resistant, dust-resistant, can take hard knocks, and has a built-in FLIR thermal camera.

There's also the option to add a borescope, turning this into a toolbox you can keep in your pocket.

I've tried a lot of ruggedized Android phones, and a few with built-in thermal cameras, but this one is the one I like the best. It's tough enough to survive heavy use, the thermal camera is so very usable, and the phone has enough premium features to keep me happy.

Tech specs:

  • MediaTek Helios P90 octa-core processor, up to 2.2GHz
  • 6.3-inch 2340 x 1080 FHD+ 410 PPI LCD multi-touch display with IPS technology
  • 8GB LPDDR4x dual-channel RAM
  • 128GB UFS2.1 ROM
  • SD card Up to 2TB
  • FLIR Lepton thermal camera with -10℃ - 400℃ range (assisted by a 5-megapixel rear camera)
  • Samsung 64-megapixel rear camera
  • 2-megapixel secondary rear camera
  • Quad-LED flash
  • 8- megapixel front camera
  • 6600mAh battery
  • 18W fast charging supported
  • Fingerprint unlock
  • Dual-SIM support
  • Headphone jack
  • Endoscope port
  • USB-C port
  • IP68/IP69K/MIL-STD-810G rated

Wiha Insulated Slim Screwdriver Set (11-Piece)

These screwdrivers will last a lifetime -- and could save your life

Wiha Insulated Slim Screwdriver Set, 11-Piece

A good set of screwdrivers is vital for the DIYer. Using the wrong -- or a bad -- screwdriver can cause more problems by chewing up the heads of fasteners.

These Wiha insulated screwdrivers are not only brilliantly made and will last a lifetime, but they are insulated, so if you happen to touch something you shouldn't, you'll live to tell the tale (something that I've done more than once).

Slotted 

  • 9/64 In. x 4 In.
  • 5/32 In. x 4 In.
  • 3/16 In. x 5 In.
  • 7/32 In. x 5 In.
  • 1/4 In. x 6 In.

Phillips 

  • #1 x3 In.
  • #2 x 4 In.

Square 

  • #1 x 3 In.
  • #2 x 4 In.

Xeno 

  • #1 x 3 In.
  • #2 x 4 In.

Wiha Insulated Industrial Pliers/Cutters Set (3-Piece)

A set of pliers that will last a lifetime

Wiha Insulated Industrial Pliers/Cutters Set, 3-Piece

Sometimes fingers are not enough to get a grip on something, and the situation demands a pair of pliers for the job. Also, when cutting things like wire, pliers are a better choice than the kitchen scissors.

And these pliers are quality tools that will, if looked after, last a lifetime.

  • Ergonomic cushion grip handles for comfort and control
  • Dual durometer construction for long-lasting durability
  • Handles direct molded to tool steel for permanent bond
  • Slip guard handle design for added protection
  • Wiha premium quality tool steel for strength and durability
  • Standard industrial brushed finish for surface endurance
  • Induction hardened cutting edges and jaws for superior sharpness and longevity

DeoxIT Survival Kit

Best contact corrosion buster in the business

DeoxIT Survival Kit

When electronics get wet or batteries have been leaking, DeoxIT quickly becomes your friend. This is not something a DIYer will need every day, but when you need it, this can save the day!

This product features an oxidizing solution, a spray, and tube pro-gold preservative and lubricant for plated metal connections, and a spray and tube cailube lubricant for plastic and carbon compound faders. 

Wera Tool-Check Plus (39-piece, Metric)

Great tool for compact spaces

Wera Tool-Check Plus, 39-piece (Metric)

This is like a whole toolbox that fits into a pocket. And no, it's not a multitool, but instead a small set of sockets and screwdrivers.

I've been using a set like this for years, and it has never let me down and come in useful for all sorts of repairs, from car repairs to assembling BBQs!

The ratchet is extremely strong. It's capable of 48 ft. lbs. but has a return angle of 6 degrees. With a bit installed, the ratchet is 1 1/8-inch high x 3/4-inch wide. Great tool for compact spaces. Plus, there is a 1/4in Ergonomic screwdriver x 3in that's equipped with a strong permanent magnet to securely hold and magnetize insert bits.

  • Kit comes complete with 28 high-quality bits and 7 metric sockets all held securely in a durable plastic belt case until needed.
  • Rapidaptor 1/4" magnetic bit holder can hold insert or power bits. Can quickly be chucked into a cordless tool. Rapidaptor holds bits secure but patented design allows for quick bit changes.
  • Extra tough PH1 (1)
  • PH2 (3)
  • PH3 (1) Extra hard PZ1 (1) PZ2 (3) PZ3 (1) Tamper Torn
  • TX10
  • TX15
  • TX 20
  • TX 25
  • TX30. Standard Torn TX10
  • TX15
  • TX20
  • TX25
  • TX30
  • TX40. Hex Plus bits 3.0mm
  • 4.0mm
  • 5.0mm
  • 6.0mm
  • 8.0mm. Slotted bit 1.00 x 5.5mm. 1/4" Socket Adaptor
  • and 7 sockets 5.5mm
  • 6.0mm
  • 7.0mm
  • 8.0mm
  • 10.0mm
  • 12.0mm
  • 13.0mm

Wera Tool-Check Plus (39 pieces, Imperial)

Still working with Imperial fasteners? No problem!

Wera Tool-Check Plus, 39 pieces (Imperial)

This is very similar to the Metric version of the Wera Tool-Check Plus, but is instead equipped with Imperial-sized tools.

iSesamo Pry Tool (2-pack)

The very best pry tool on the market

iSesamo Pry Tool (2-pack)

We DIYers spend as much time taking things apart as we do putting them back together and having the right tools for taking things apart is not only a huge timesaver, but it means causing less damage to things (there's nothing like using a screwdriver as a prybar to make a mess of things!).

These pry tools are often imitated, but the clones are always inferior. Get the genuine iSesamo!

  • Professional-grade stainless steel construction ensures repeated use
  • Ultra-thin design allows for easy opening of numerous devices
  • Includes clear, flexible rubber handle for no-slip grip
  • Ideal for pros and DIYers
  • Makes short work of electronic repairs

iPlastix Opening Tool

The right tool for removing screens

2021-10-26-11-17-40.jpg

Modern devices need care when disassembling, and having the right tools makes all the difference. Using metal pry tools on things like displays is a guaranteed fast track to destroying the component.

iPlastix is the newest opening tool invented by Dottorpod. It's a bit different to other opening tools in that rather than being made from metal, the Plastix is made from super plastic, soft, durable material and at the same time very strong. 

It is designed to carry out delicate tasks, such as popping up plastic covers, separating touch panels and LCD from touchscreens, and removing batteries without any risk to scratch frames or cracking the screen.

Horusdy 3-Piece Magnet Trays Set

Keep all your parts in order during teardowns

HORUSDY 3-Piece Magnet Trays Set

For years I lived without magnetic trays. I suffered. Screws and other tiny parts pinged off and vanished into carpets and crevices.

Don't be like me. Get a set of magnetic trays.

  • Made of stainless steel material, strong and durable.
  • Includes 3", 4" and 6" diameter trays
  • Keeps parts and tools from being misplaced or lost while working
  • The magnets are super strong, and the trays can be used upside down, sideways, on the side of toolboxes etc.
  • Rubber magnet cover prevents equipment from being scratched

UNI-T UT210E Mini Digital Clamp Meter

A handy, fully-featured pocket-sized multimeter

UNI-T UT210E Mini Digital Clamp Meter

This pocket-sized multimeter is the perfect tool when diagnosing problems with devices. This multimeter measures all things electrical that the modern DIYer could possibly need, in a portable package. And don't let the price fool you -- I've tested this and it's as accurate as a meter many times its price.

For me, this has replaced expensive -- and needlessly complex -- multimeters. 

Features: 

  • Display Count: 2000 
  • Auto Range: Yes 
  • Jaw Capacity: 17mm 
  • True RMS: Yes 
  • Diode: Around 3.0V 
  • V.F.C.: Yes 
  • NCV: Yes 
  • Data Hold: Yes 
  • Zero Mode: Yes 
  • LCD Backlight: Yes 
  • Auto Power Of: Around 15 Minutes 
  • Continuity Buzzer: Yes 
  • Low Battery Indication: ≤2.5V 
  • Input Protection: Yes 
  • Input Impedance for DCV: ≥10MΩ 

Specifications:

  • AC Current (A):2A/20A/100A ±(2.5%+5) 
  • DC Current (A):2A/20A/100A ±(2%+3) 
  • AC Voltage (V):2V/20V200V/600V ±(1.0%+3) 
  • DC Voltage (V):200mV/2V/20V200V/600V ±(0.7%+3) 
  • Resistance (Ω):200Ω/2KΩ/20KΩ/200KΩ/2MΩ/20MΩ ±(1.0%+2) 
  • Capacitance (F):2nF/20nF/200nF/2μF/20μF/200μF/2mF/20mF ±(4%+5) 

General Characteristic:

  • Product Net Weight: 170g 
  • Product Size: 175mm * 60mm * 33.5mm 
  • Power: AAA 1.5V x 2 
  • LCD Size: 39.3mm * 21.5mm 
  • Product Color: Red and Grey 
  • Package Size: 18.6 * 7.2 * 5.9cm / 7.3 * 2.8 * 2.3in 
  • Package Weight: 328g / 11.6oz 

MakerHawk Type-C USB Tester

Test everything, from chargers to power banks

MakerHawk Type-C USB Tester

Being able to test ports on computers and other devices like power banks can save a lot of time. This meter gives the DIYer everything they need to know about a USB-C port.

Specs:

  • VBUS voltage range: 0-24V
  • Current range: 0-5A
  • USB HID interface voltage range: 5V
  • D+/D-/CC1/CC2 signal pin withstand voltage range: 3.3V

MakerHawk USB Power Meter

Fully-featured USB tester

MakerHawk USB Power Meter

This is a tiny computer that is used to measure the power coming from USB-A ports. I use these all the time for measuring how good a power bank is to figuring out if a charger block is faulty. 

Huge timesaver, and much quicker than using a multimeter!

Specs:

  • Supports Micro USB or Type C connectors and fast charge mode recognition, including QC 2.0/3.0, iPhone 2.4A/2.1 A/1A/0.5A, Android DCP. 
  • Measure wire resistance by differential pressure method. 
  • Gold-plated USB contacts and upgraded USB male-female connector. 

Nitecore Tip 2 LED flashlight

Magnetic key chain light

NITECORE TIP 2 LED flashlight

For peering into those dark crevices, this is the perfect flashlight. Not only is it small, yet super powerful, it's also rechargeable using a microUSB cable.

  • 720 max lumens with 2 x CREE XP-G3 S3 LEDs
  • Built-in 500mAh Li-ion battery
  • Dual-core magnetic key chain light
  • Rechargeable hundreds of times

How these products have been chosen?

Everything here has been extensively tested over many weeks and months. 

When it comes to tools, I look for a number of things:

  • Durability: Tools get a hard life, so they need to be tough and be able to put up with abuse.
  • Reliability: For electronic tools such as multimeters I want a product that will not only last, but that are accurate enough for my needs.
  • Cost-effective: You can pay a LOT of money for tools. While I'm a firm believer is "buy cheap, buy twice," it's possible to overpay for tools (especially big-brand names aimed at professionals). I find that I can get the same quality for a fraction of the price if I shop around.
  • Usefulness: I'm wary of buying a tool that I'll only use once. Yes, a laser glass remover would be handy, but it's expensive and not something I'd use a lot.

What do you have against cheap tools?

For many years, I use screwdrivers that fit badly and would chew screwheads, or pliers that gripped badly, were uncomfortable to use, or where the wirecutter would blunt after a few uses. 

"Buy cheap, buy twice."

Can you replace a toolkit with a multitool?

In my experience, no. While multitools have their uses, I find them better suited to occasional or emergency use.

Are all crosshead screws the same?

No. Get the right screwdriver for the fastener. If you're unsure, test the fit before going full power on a screwhead.