Unlike gift-buying for many hobbyists, shopping for stocking stuffers for a DIYer can be a lot of fun. There are so many small tools and gadgets they might love that you almost can’t go wrong. Some of those gadgets are more useful than others, and the thoughtfulness of a handy tool won’t go unnoticed.
This guide contains genuinely versatile items that your favorite DIYer will gush over this holiday season. And, since they all fit in a stocking, your mantle will be full of project and building potential.
1. Stair Gauges
Stair gauges are truthfully one of the most versatile tools a DIYer can own, as they have a ton of uses. These gauges’ purpose is to clamp to a framing square at the appropriate run and rise for quickly marking stair stringers. But, they can also clamp to the shoe or bed of a router or circular saw to create a cutting guide in a pinch or a miter saw fence where they act as stops for consistent cuts—something your craftsperson will surely appreciate.
2. Adhesive Measuring Tape
If you really want to improve your DIYers’ workflow and consistency, supply them with some adhesive measuring tape. They can place this tape along the front of their table saw, the fence of their miter saw, or simply across a workbench. They’ll be able to cut or mark the material faster and more accurately, with less reaching for a tape measure or rule.
3. Carpenter’s Pencil Lanyard
All cards on the table, DIYers are really bad with marking tools. Pencils fall out of pouches, bury themselves in the bottom of tool bags, and end up in junk drawers at the end of a project. But with a retractable carpenter’s pencil lanyard, your favorite DIYers will be able to clip a pencil to their pocket or tool belt, keeping it within handy reach at all times.
4. Pocket Shield
There are two things that die-hard DIYers do: keep their chisels sharp and cringe as they slide them into their expensive tool belt. With a pocket shield, they can protect the tip of the chisel without concern about it poking through their leather or nylon bags. The shield also keeps the moisture that leather can capture away from the chisel, keeping it in better shape for as long as possible.
5. Flashlight with a Hat Clip
Occasionally, a project might take your DIYer into some dark places. Shed some light on those dark times by stuffing their stocking with a flashlight equipped with a hat clip. These lights’ clips slide over the brim of a hat, allowing the wearer to light exactly where they’re looking for safer, more precise projects.
6. Stud Finder
Keep your DIYer from poking holes or rapping their knuckles fruitlessly against your drywall surfaces with a quality stud finder. A digital stud finder will show the location of the edge of the stud and alert DIYers to any electrical wires that might be hiding behind the drywall, quickening the time it takes to finish a project while also keeping it safe. Zircon’s stud finder was the best overall pick in our editors’ tests of the best stud finders of the year.
7. Laser Tape Measure
Basic tape measures are a staple in the construction, home improvement, and DIY world. But they can be clumsy and difficult to use over longer distances. Give your DIYer the upper hand with a laser tape measure, which can reach longer distances instantly while providing very accurate readings. Bonus: Your loved one won’t have to call you in to hold the end of their tape measure anymore.
8. Pocket-Sized Multi-Tool
A quality multi-tool that fits in both a stocking and a DIYer’s tool belt could be your handyperson’s favorite gift this year. A good pocket-sized multi-tool will include pliers, knives, screwdrivers, files, and more. Your DIYer will have countless uses for it during building or repair projects this holiday season and beyond.
9. Pencil Compass
As a DIYer’s skill set broadens, so does the need for increasingly precise tools. A pencil compass, also known as a set of scribes, allows the user to adjust boards to dips and bows in a wall or floor. With the help of a jigsaw, they’ll create custom-fit pieces for a seamless result. Without a good compass, that might not be possible.
10. Utility Knife
Every DIYer needs a solid, dependable utility knife, and what better time to give one than this holiday season? They’ll use their knife for cutting drywall, slicing boxes, removing carpet, trimming precision fit moldings and boards, and much more. And, with this tool’s quick blade release, they’ll be able to swap the blade around and get right back to work—workflow killer, begone!
11. Safety Glasses
For some folks, scoping out the neighborhood light displays is the best part of the holiday season. Ensure that your DIYer can join in the festivities by protecting their eyes with a quality set of safety glasses. These glasses can take impacts from errant nails or wood chips, keep dust out of the eyes, and much more. Bonus: Your favorite DIYer will appreciate that these glasses look pretty cool, too.
12. Pocket Notebooks
Few things will sap the holiday spirit quite like taking a measurement, walking out to the shop, and forgetting what the tape measure displayed. Give your favorite handyperson a free pass from this frustration by sticking a pocket notebook or two in their stocking. They’ll be able to keep these notebooks in their tool belt or pocket, scribble down important measurements or calculations, and then refer back to them when needed.
13. Carpenter’s Pencils
One doesn’t have to be a carpenter to appreciate a pack of quality carpenter’s pencils. Carpenter’s pencils are thick and flat, and it’s for several reasons: They’re more durable than a traditional pencil, they won’t roll off of a board or work surface, and they can be used to scribe against a floor or wall. Give your Yuletide carpenter the gift of marking with a pack of these handy tools.
14. Paint Risers
While it might appear simple, finishing can be one of the most challenging times of a DIY project. Doors, furniture, cabinets, and other homebuilt projects can be hard to paint or stain without making a mess or ruining the finish. With a set of paint risers, your DIYer will be able to hold the workpiece up off the table or saw horse for better coverage and fewer blemishes.
15. Work Boot Laces
DIYers put their work boots through a lot. Between kicking materials into place, wet surfaces, extreme heat, and the snags and splinters that come on every project, their boot laces take a beating. This holiday season, stuff that stocking with the gift of tight boots with a set of high-quality laces designed specifically for hard-wearing footwear.
16. Painter’s Tool
Painter’s tools might seem like gimmicks, but when your DIYer’s hands are busy on a painting project, the multiple functions this tool performs will be a relief. Painter’s tools can clean paint rollers, tighten wall plate screws, set nails, scrape off dried paint and caulk, and even crack open a cold one during a paint break. And, since it fits nicely in a back pocket (and a stocking, coincidentally), painters will always want to keep this tool on hand.
17. Spray Paint Handle
Raw fingertips and awkward angles are always issues with DIY paint projects, but there is a way around it. Stuff that stocking with a handle and trigger designed specifically for cans of spray paint. These handles snap onto the rim of the can and allow the user to squeeze a trigger rather than a small, sharp, plastic cap, preventing fatigue and improving paint project results.
18. Small C-Clamps
The usefulness of a small C-style clamp cannot be overstated, and your DIYer deserves one in this year’s stocking. They’ll be able to keep this clamp in their tool belt, allowing them to pull it out at a moment’s notice. C-clamps can be used as a removable handle for a sheet of plywood, a stop for a miter saw, or even a way to hold a board in place while climbing a ladder.
19. Pry Bar Set
Not every prying application requires a big, heavy-duty crowbar—and big crowbars are tough to fit in a stocking, anyway. For lighter-duty applications, your holiday handyperson will appreciate a set of smaller pry bars that fit in small spaces but still offer the leverage necessary to get the job done. And since they fit in a stocking, they’ll fit just as easily in a tool pouch or toolbox.
20. Hand Cream
Cold, dry weather can take its toll on a DIYer’s skin, particularly during projects involving paint, joint compound, and sanding. A small tub of hand cream to repair the cracks and cuts associated with a hands-on lifestyle can be a lifesaver, particularly when your DIYer finds it in a stocking hung from the chimney with care. Skincare, that is.
21. Hand Cleaner
When projects get tough, the tough get dirty, and the dirt, junk, and gunk that accompanies home improvement and repair projects can be difficult to remove. Arm your hard worker with a quality hand cleaner that’s tough on those substances without damaging their skin. Since it doesn’t require water, this hand cleaner works anytime, anywhere. The case contains six 6.75-ounce tubes of cleanser, so you can share them with all the DIYers on your holiday list.
22. Hex Key Set
You’ll probably have to break this set free of its packaging to fit it in a stocking, but three folding sets of hex keys in a single stocking is sure to be a hit. With a set of SAE, metric, and Torx keys in their toolbox, there won’t be a fastener your DIYer can’t handle (or turn).
23. Driver Bits
Whether you’re a pro contractor or DIYer, driver bits always seem to disappear and require replenishing at least every half-dozen projects. Give your DIYer a jumpstart on the next home improvement endeavor with a complete set of quality, impact-ready driver bits. The set should fit in a stocking, and the impact (pun intended) they’ll make on the recipient is huge.
24. Multi-Tool Screwdriver
Time spent looking for the right screwdriver is a waste, and using the wrong bit for a screw can damage it to the point that it can’t be removed. A multi-bit screwdriver is the tool for the job, with several bit types and nut driver sizes all available within the handle. If you slip one of these handy screwdrivers in their stocking, your DIYer will be sure to pack it on every job.
25. Sliding T-Bevel
If you really want to transform the way your resident handyperson tackles projects this holiday season, include a sliding T-bevel in the stuffed stocking. These tools allow the user to find the angle between two planes without measuring or complicated math. They’ll be able to gauge the angle and transfer it to a board or piece of trim in seconds, rather than crunching the numbers with a pencil and paper.
The prices listed here are accurate as of November 21, 2023.