Tools for the Trade 2015 Holiday Gift Guide

Josh Smith is an innovative home product enthusiast and has produced our In The House radio show for over 11 years. Josh regularly attends the annual International Builders Show, Kitchen and Bath Industry Show, Coverings, and many other industry trade shows, always keeping up with the latest in building, trends, tools and technology. Here Josh gives some great advice and a huge selection in all categories and price ranges for gift-buying this holiday season!


The Holidays are upon us and Black Friday is fast approaching.  Before waking up at 2AM to get in line at your local big box store, check out the products below.
 

For the new homeowner or the lawn care guru in your family:

The Raven 7100.  MSRP $4,999.99.

Photo credit RAVEN

We’ve had a Raven MPV 7100 for well over a year now and have put it through some serious abuse, logging over 300 hours on the motor.  It’s a great mower, a fun vehicle to drive and an awesome portable generator system.

For those who already own a Raven MPV 7100:

Raven recently released a bagger kit for the MPV7100, and they sent us that as well as the new aggressive tires to review.  I don’t see the tires online as of now, but I’m sure if you call Raven America they can arrange a way to ship them.  We love them and can’t imagine going back to the standard tires.  As for the bagger, it’s available online for $449 and it’s worth every penny.  Think about how much time they’ll save when picking up leaves in the fall – and for the rest of the year it’s great for those that compost.


Photo credit

DEWALT 40V MAX* 16” Brushless Chainsaw

DEWALT has been busy building an entire line of Battery-Powered Outdoor Equipment.  We were given the opportunity to test the 40V MAX*16” Brushless Chainsaw.  While we have not yet finished reviewing the saw, I can give a few pros and cons that we have experienced thus far. 

Pro: The 40V MAX* power source is ample and gives the saw the ability to cut, at high RPM, without bogging down.   It doesn’t require gasoline, so using it in a situation where adequate ventilation is an issue, it becomes a non-issue.  No gas = no pull start = no bloody knuckles.

Con:  Doesn’t run on gasoline.  I live on nearly 4 acres so when I go out to cut, I go out to cut and I make a full day of it with trees ranging from Oak to Pine.  A “recharge,” on a gas motor takes 15 seconds.  With that said, the saw we were sent comes with 1 battery and charger.  If you bought a few batteries or the Brushless Backpack Blower as the batteries are interchangeable, downtime would be the same as a gas motor; swap battery (“refuel”), tighten chain and add chain oil.

SKU & Description

MSRP

Availability

DCBL590X2 - 40V MAX* 7.5Ah Brushless Backpack Blower (includes 2 batteries)

$699

March 2016

DCBL590X1 - 40V MAX* 7.5Ah Brushless Backpack Blower (includes 1 battery)

$499

March 2016

DCCS690H1 - 40V MAX* 6.0Ah 16” Brushless Chainsaw (includes 1 battery)

$479

October 2015

DCCS690M1 - 40V MAX* 4.0Ah 16” Brushless Chainsaw  (includes 1 battery)

$399

October 2015

DCHT820P1 - 20V MAX* 5.0Ah 22” Hedge Trimmer (includes 1 battery)

$199

March 2016

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

TIMBERLINE Chainsaw Sharpener

If you use a chainsaw you either sharpen your own chains, have them sharpened, or buy new chains when the old ones are dull (3rd option we don’t recommend at all as you are throwing money away).  For those that don’t sharpen their saw chains because they think it’s too involved, and for those that do sharpen them but want to speed up the process…. Meet the TIMBERLINE Chainsaw Sharpener (MSRP $124.95 + $20/carbide).


Photo credit - TIMBERLINE Chainsaw Sharpener

TIMBERLINE sent me one of these a few months ago and I have been using it every few weeks to sharpen my chains.  I love this product because IT WORKS!  It’s not a claim to work like some one-size-fits-all products that come and go.  This product works because the device that mounts to the bar is universal and the carbides are specific to your saw chains, so they sharpen your specific chain.  It’s simple and elegant and a must have for anyone that spends time with a chain saw.

For the woodworker:

DEWALT recently released a new 5” Single Speed Random Orbit Sander (DW6421, ~$64) which adds to the existing 5” Variable Speed Random OrbitSander (DWE6423, ~$79).  These are both excellent choices for gifts under $100.  For roughly $15 you obtain the ability to control the speed so it’s worth the upgrade.

Photo credit – DEWALT tools

For the connected home-owner:

We reviewed the D-Link Water Sensor ($59.99) on September 16th 2015.  It’s still in use today and works like a charm, totally quiet until it detects water – then you receive alerts on your smart phone as well as audible alerts and a flashing red light on the unit.  It’s perfect for snowbirds or anyone that travels and their home is unoccupied for days at a time.  A great gift for under $100.

D-Link just released the Full HD Ultra-Wide View Wi-Fi Camera (DCS-2630L), MSRP $199.99.  We received one about two weeks ago to review (which will be included in a larger discussion on home security and surveillance in the near future). 


Photo credit - D-Link

Thus far in testing and review:

  • Setup – using WPS and the D-Link app on my iPhone was a breeze, took 4 minutes
  • Video quality – the 1080P HD image at a 180* field of view is impressive, faces are clear and distinguishable
  • Audio quality – two way speaker capability, Yes!  I love the ability to communicate through the camera, especially with kids at home
  • Cons (Wish list for future): Wish it was all weather and came in a PTZ model with a built in Wi-Fi extender

If you’re looking for a gift in the $200 range for the techie in your life the D-Link DCS-2630L is a great option.

For every homeowner:

The IDEAL 21-in-1 Twist-a-Nut Screwdriver has found its way to my tool bench and I use it frequently.  The handle contains all different bits which are quickly interchangeable, accessed by a screw base.  The screwdriver itself contains a ratchet action to speed up removing long screws (think electrical outlets).  A great tool that I was able to find online via a quick search priced at ~$30.  A perfect stocking stuffer.  At this price buying one for the house, car, boat and one for the kids at college is not a bad idea!

Photo credit - Ideal

 

The BLACK + DECKER Powered Squeegee Vac ($69.99) is a great sub-$100 gift for anyone.  It works by spraying water or a cleaning solution onto the surface, wiping with a powered microfiber head and then using suction to remove all of the liquid from the surface.  Great for anyone with kids that wants to keep windows hand-print free.  I’ve had one since September and I love it.  With the dry season here, car windows quickly load up with pollen, and this Squeegee Vac doesn’t just relocate the dirt and pollen, it removes it.

Photo credit - BLACK + DECKER

 

AirFree DOMESTIC AIR PURIFIERS ONIX 3000

As a severe allergy sufferer when AirFree sent me a press release in March of this year I immediately asked for a sample to test.  They provided me with the ONIX 3000 (MSRP $299).  Since late March when I began using the ONIX 3000 in my bedroom I noticed a considerable reduction in sneezing, sinus pressure, headaches, all the nasty symptoms suffered by those with allergies.  The AirFree does not work with a filter like a traditional air purifier.  Instead it works by heating the air in a ceramic chamber to ~400*F which causes air to flow through the chamber and circulate in the room.  The intense heat actually eliminates the allergy causing agent.  On their website they show a very cool Strawberry mold test, which anyone can do at home, to see the results first-hand.  Personally, I love the ONIX 3000, it’s been providing me with sneeze free nights since March, and I highly recommend it as a great gift that keeps on giving!

Photo credit  - AirFree

 

KWIKSET SMARTCODE 915 (MSRP $179)

Looking for a great gift for the entire home?  Look no further than the KWIKSET SMARTCODE 915.  A great gift that serves dual purposes by esthetically improving the look of your home while upgrading the current lock to one that relies on a passcode input by keypad with the key being a backup. Because it’s KWIKSET it features the SmartKey technology which allows re-keying the lock to match the existing of the home.  We’ve discussed KWIKSET products on the show extensively and this is one of those great products.  Be sure to check out our Project House posts in the near future as we will be showcasing many KWIKSET products.

 

Photo credit - Kwikset

 

Listen Saturday mornings to "In the House with Ken & Jared". Get more Home Tips and show info at the In the House website. For a free estimate on your next Home Improvement Project, visit Universal Roof & Contracting or call now. Orlando: 407-295-7403 Jacksonville: 904-647-3907

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