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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!"
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 -- perfect for holiday gifts for any DIYer.
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. In it comes a 64-bit driver kit, an anti-static wrist strap, iFixit's opening picks, different sized tweezers, and more.
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.
Here's a gift idea that you might end up buying for yourself. The Xiaomi Mi Cordless Screwdriver makes assembling furniture and appliances a breeze, thanks to its battery-powered motor and compact form factor. Xiaomi is best known for producing quality tech gadgets at affordable price points. But besides the fact that this electric-powered screwdriver sells for as low as $49.99, it's a very handy tool to have, and one that you or your recipient will thank you for.
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)
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.
Some key features:
Ergonomic cushion grip handles for comfort and control
Dual durometer construction for long-lasting durability
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.
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.
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 time saver, 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 iFixit Jimmy!
Professional-grade stainless steel construction ensures repeated use
Ultra-thin design allows for easy opening of numerous device
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.
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 have used 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.