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2015 Gift Guide for Builders, Handymen, & Dad

I’m a gear nerd.  I like things that work well, I like owning the best.  I think many Builders, DIY’s, and Dads think similarly.  I buy things that will work well, and last.

This is my third year producing a Gift Guide and my first time doing it on video.  I hope this helps you shop for those people on your list that aren’t usually easy to shop for…  Let’s get to it, here’s my top 10 for 2015.

1. Gear Ties by NiteEyes $4-12 each.  (Fantastic Stocking Stuffer!)

Nite Ize Gear Tie’s. I like the small packs for phone cord organizing & larger 18″ for extension cord organizing.

These are incredibly handy!  I’d start with the yellow one in the picture for wrapping electrical cords.  Then, buy the smaller ones for organizing your cell phone charger cords.  Frankly, I’ve found uses for several flavors.  You can’t go wrong.

2. Klein Tools 11-in-1 Screwdriver/Nutdriver $18

Klein Tools 11-n-1 Screwdriver
Klein Tools 11-n-1 Screwdriver/Nutdriver  A great tool that not everyone knows about.  I own two of these and would like another!

I keep one in my truck driver side door, and one in my kitchen junk drawer.  This is SO much better than the cheap 4-n-1 version.  I love that this Klein Tools model includes nut drivers and even square drive.  Great tool for the price.  I use mine several times each week.

3. Steelie Phone Mount by Nite Ize $17

Nite Ize Steelie Cell Phone Mount for your vehicle.
Nite Ize Steelie Cell Phone Mount for your vehicle.
Magnet for the back of your case, then the ball mounts on your dashboard.
Magnet for the back of your case, then the ball mounts on your dashboard.
It's second nature when i get in my Tundra to drop my phone on the Steelie. I like how it also organizes my charge and audio cords.
It’s second nature when i get in my Tundra to drop my phone on the Steelie. I like how it also organizes my charge and audio cords.

I found this about 6 months ago and I love it.  It’s habit now when I get into my truck to pop it onto the ball mounted on my dashboard.  I can now see who’s calling as I’m driving without looking down, and similarly with navigation it’s a lifesaver (literally).  I have one in my wife’s car now too.  Fantastic hardware from NiteEyes, very satisfying clunk when it mates the magnet to the ball.

4. External Battery – Amazon Basics 10,000 mAh $25

http://amzn.to/1PQpprI A fantastic battery at 1/4 of the price compared to many on the market.
Amazon Basics 10k External Battery Cell / Ipad Charger.  A fantastic battery at 1/4 of the price compared to many on the market.

I’ve owned several external batteries over the years and I think bigger is better.  For the price, this model is hard to beat!  I keep it in my briefcase in a ziplock back with my Lightning Cable ready to charge anytime I’m out.  I prefer this style battery because I can drop it in my coat pocket and still talk on the phone with my cable attached and charging.  Other models with attached connectors are hard to charge while using the phone.  Even if you don’t travel much,  having one of these for emergency power outages is key.  You’ll get several days cell phone use with this battery.

5.  Flashlights –  I keep one in my truck, nightstand, and kitchen drawer.  A nice flashlight will make them VERY happy.

A.  Fenix E12 1AA $26  I really like this style flashlight with a single battery.  It’s light and can drop in your pocket easily.  Plenty of light (130 Lumens) for a visit to an attic or crawlspace (or a trash to the curb run).  Put an Energizer Lithium AA battery in yours and it’ll last a LONG time.

Fenix E12 - Uses 1AA battery so it's small but really bright. I'd recommend using Energizer Ultimate Lithium Batteries in yours.
Fenix E12 – Uses 1AA battery so it’s small but really bright. I’d recommend using Energizer Ultimate Lithium Batteries in yours.

B.  Fenix PD22 1 CR123 $51  Again, this is a single battery, but now we are really pumping out some lumens!  510 to be exact.  This is a nice upgrade in performance but keeping to a small form factor.  You’re going to kill batteries quickly, but this is a sweet flashlight for daily use.  I reach for this one most often.

Fenix PD22 has three brightness settings. Nice pocket clip, but no lanyard like the 4Sevens lights.
Fenix PD22. Small light, yet really stinkin' bright using only one CR123 battery.
Fenix PD22. Small light, yet really stinkin’ bright using only one CR123 battery.

C.  4Sevens Maelstrom $83  This is my favorite flashlight brand for three reasons:  Built like a Tank, Rechargeable,  and includes a Neck Lanyard.  It includes rechargeable batteries and puts out a healthy 800 lumens.  I’m not too upset if my kids leave this one on as it’s cheap to recharge compared to the price of CR123 batteries.

I really like the neck straps that come with 4Sevens brand flashlights.
I really like the neck straps that come with 4Sevens brand flashlights.
4Sevens Maelstrom has a micro-USB port to charge the included batteries. So cool!

D.  NiteCore P12 $45  This little beast puts out an outstanding 1000 lumens.  It’s a great flashlight for hunting or ranch use as you often want max lumen output.  I’ve had this for almost a year and it’s been fantastic.  No neck strap included, I made one from Paracord.  Didn’t make the video but I recently realized that the price has dropped from $80 that I paid last year to $45 today.  Crazy good light for that price.

Nite Core P12 takes CR123 batteries and has 4 brightness settings. No strap included.
NiteCore P12 1000 Lumen flashlight
NiteCore P12 1000 Lumen flashlight

Last tip here as we are talking flashlights.  If you don’t use your flashlight daily, then I’d recommend Energizer Ultimate Lithium batteries.  These last 7-8x longer than standard Alkaline batteries, but they also won’t leak!  If you change batteries often my second best choice for long life is Duracell’s Quantum.  These are an advanced version of Alkaline and I’ve found these to be 2-3x longer lasting than standard batteries for a small premium in price.  Also, I really like these Storacell battery cases.  I keep spare AA & CR123’s in this case inside my Glove Box, and another set in my briefcase.  For $5 this is a great stocking stuffer for the Organized guy in your life.

Energizer Ultimate Lithium Batteries last longer and won’t leak. Use this in any expensive device that doesn’t get battery changes often. Duracell Quantum is a budget choice for high drain devices, and the Yellow Storacell battery holders are fantastic to organize your spares in a briefcase, truck, or camera bag.

6.  Knives –  Every Builder needs a knife in his pocket, here’s three good options from cheap to pricey.

L-R SOG Key Knife, Benchmade mini-Barrage, Kershaw Cryo
L-R SOG Key Knife, Benchmade mini-Barrage, Kershaw Cryo

A.  SOG Key Knife.  $12  If you don’t like carrying a knife in your pocket, or you forget your knife then this is the one to buy!  It look just like a key, and even has a lock back feature I didn’t expect when I first bought it.  Great stocking stuffer.

B.  Kershaw Cryo.  $30  The Kershaw brand makes a terrific knife for very little money.  This one is made in china, but so far mine has held up well.  I really like the finger flipper action to open with assist.  Very good knife for the money.  I’ve seen many others under $50 that disappointed.

C.  Benchmade Mini-Barrage $119  I got this as a gift from my Framer last Christmas and have LOVED this knife.  It’s one of the expensive, but super-satisfying purchases. It’s my daily companion.  Made in Oregon. You’ll be happy for many years with this amazing knife.

7.  Flir One Thermal Imaging Camera for iOS or Android $350

Flir One for iOS shown here plugged into the Lightning Port on my iPhone 6+

I’ve had one for about 6 months now, and this little device is amazing.  I also own a full size Flir, but this one gets more use because of it’s size and the fact that it lives in my briefcase.  I did a full review of mine on this blog post.  The Building Science Geek on your list will LOVE this, and it could likely pay for itself with just one or two mistakes it finds in your thermal envelope!  Definitely splurge on this!

8.  Yeti Rambler 20 & Yeti Colster coozie

Yeti Colster – Stainless Double wall insulated uber-coozie.
Yeti Ramler 20 – Stainless Double Wall insulated crazy good coffee mug.

Are you familiar with the Yeti brand?  They make some amazing coolers but these mugs are more affordable.  I gave the Yeti Rambler 20 as a Company Christmas gift last year and everyone flipped.  I use this every morning for my coffee.  It keep my French Press’d coffee hot from 7Am when I leave the house till 9-ish when I typically finish the last hot drop.  I think this size is better than the larger model.  I got mine tatoo’d with my logo for $8 each at a local Laser Etch company (Perfect Etch if you’re in Austin TX).  My wife got me turned onto the Colster which is a fancy double wall stainless coozie.  It really keeps your drink cold for a solid 2+ hours.  I kicked my soda habit with sparkling water, and this is how I keep it cold.  These aren’t generally on Amazon but you can buy direct from the Yeti website.  http://yeticoolers.com/rambler-tumblers/  Or you can find them at outdoor stores like Cabela’s or Bass Pro.

9.  ZTS mini-multi Battery Tester.  $42

ZTS Multi-Mini Battery Tester. This little guy tests all the major battery types/sizes.

Admittedly I’m a geek, but I think most Builders/Handymen would like a nice battery tester.  I found over the years that the cheap models aren’t very accurate, nor do they test Lithium & NiMH batteries (this one does!).  Again, I keep this in my work briefcase so it’s with me wherever I go.  Check your 9V smoke detector batteries, Lithium AA’s in your cordless mouse, or the batteries in your camera flash before heading out the door.  It’s a pleasure to use.

10.  Nikon Monarch 7 10×42 Binoculars $445

Nikon Monarch 7 Binoculars. These aren’t cheap, but are an amazing bino that will be the highlight of present opening should you choose to buy these for him.

I keep binoculars in my truck so I’ll never be without them.  I use them to check the condition of a roof, or see if the kickout flashings are correct.  Then, when deer season starts these go into my backpack for the tree stand.  I did some extensive research assuming I’d buy a pair of $2000 bino’s because they were “the best” but these Nikon’s for under $500 are so close I couldn’t justify it.  Super nice Binoculars, plus Nikon has a “No Fault” warranty that’s pretty amazing.  This is a stretch gift I realize, but maybe if you’re reading this list YOU might need to buy something for yourself.  🙂


Thanks for checking out my list.   Please comment if you think I missed something, or tell me what you’d like this year!  If you’d like to see what I’ve recommended in the past here’s my 2014 Gift Guide, and my 2013 Guide.

Lastly, if you’d like to get in on my Holiday Gift Giveaway I mentioned in the Video you just need to be a YouTube subscriber AND post a comment to that video!  Good luck.  Someone is going to get a nice box from me before year’s end.  I’ll pull the winner on Dec 24th!

One lucky winner will get all this if you Subscribe to my YouTube Channel and post a comment on my Gift Guide video.

FYI:  I’m an Amazon Associate and when you buy through the links in my blog I get a small referral fee from Amazon.  You’ll aways pay the same price, but that small fee adds up for me and keeps the lights on for my blog.

Lastly, If you need some more ideas see these blog posts for previous guides… for my 2014 Gift Guide, or this one for my 2013 Gift Guide.

MERRY Christmas Y’all!

-Matt Risinger

Risinger Homes in Austin, TX

Visit my Blog at www.MattRisinger.com

Risinger Homes is a custom builder and whole house remodeling contractor that specializes in Architect driven and fine craftsmanship work. We utilize an in-house carpentry staff and the latest building science research to build dramatically more efficient, healthy and durable homes.

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