Best Elegantly Engineered Gifts for Mother’s Day
This article was published in partnership with Leatherman
It’s not just tie-receiving dads who are disappointed by holiday gifts. The good graces flowers afford you last about a week after Mother’s Day. This year, when shopping for the best Mother's Day gifts, hone in on the activities she likes to do, and make it easier and more enjoyable for her to do it with reliable, well-crafted tools that feel special enough to gift but are utilitarian in nature.
Springing for quality is always the best move, but the return on investment is even higher when we're talking about everyday items she can put to good use. Tools that are engineered with form and function in mind make everything from cooking to gardening to DIY home projects a breeze.
The key to a worthwhile Mother’s Day gift is to reverse engineer it: Instead of finding something unexpectedly extravagant she’ll enjoy but seldom use, find a tool she turns to often or a task she'd like to take on—then get the right tool for the job.
We did the hard work for you. All you need to do is pick the gift that's best-suited to your mom, mother-in-law, and/or wife.
Best Gifts for Mother’s Day Moms Will Actually Use
Even if Mom has a Leatherman for her everyday carry, chances are there's a kitchen junk drawer that could use a tool so well-designed, Amazon packages quiver in its wake. Raptor Response is that tool. It folds down to just over 4 inches long, so it fits anywhere. When unfurled, it offers plenty of grip space for fingers—even with a gloved hand doing yard work. She might not employ the oxygen wrench to open a valve all that often, but this will be in heavy rotation for breaking down cardboard boxes, weeding and gardening, and more. Pro tip: Leatherman's Custom Shop has preset colors of certain tools at no additional cost, but you can also enter custom patterns and designs to embellish handles and blades (on certain items) at an added cost.
Most home cooks address a chef’s knife in need of sharpening, but odds are high her dull veggie peeler is knocking around the utensil drawer. A blunt blade makes prep work harder and more time consuming. The beauty of The Forever Peeler is its stainless-steel design; it's ergonomically shaped to fit comfortably in-hand to minimize fatigue whether Mom's peeling tons of apples for pie or potatoes for a summer BBQ salad. The pivoting blade disrobes fruit and veggie skins with great efficiency and can also shave chocolate and hard cheeses. Best of all, she can replace the blade once its lifespan comes to an end. Pick one of three metal finishes.
Mom can plunge these tools into a bucket filled with sand and mineral oil, and the hard-working carbon steel will last long enough for her grandkids to use. Sure, carbon steel is a little fussier than stainless, but it, along with the oak handle, is nearly indestructible when kept out of the rain. This three-piece set includes the foundation of any garden tool kit: a trowel, a 3.34-inch-wide rake, and a hoe. It's the 2.36-inch-wide head on the hoe that makes weeding in tight beds and containers almost fun. Don't be surprised if she promptly tosses those plastic-handled gardening tools in the trash; these are premium and a major upgrade.
Screwdrivers are baked into plenty of multitools, but it’s often a weakness. That's not the case with Leatherman's Skeletool. When open, it reaches 6 inches long, meaning there's room to get a good grip. Where the bit driver on most tools can help with easy tasks, like taking off a switch plate cover’s slotted screws, this one is ready to tackle a wider range of jobs. If she opens it to an “L” shape, she’ll have an easier time applying torque. The holder secures a double-sided bit while another one rides securely in the handle. Combined with a one-handed blade opening, a pair of pliers, and a carabiner clip, this might be the handiest multitool around. This is another chance to take advantage of Leatherman's Custom Shop if you’re worried Mom won’t love the same stainless steel Leatherman everyone else has. Keep the 2.6-inch-long blade sharp by running it through Leatherman's Blade Sharpener ($15), a portable, two-stage treatment that realigns the cutting edge, then hones it with a few quick pulls.
Hand turned on a potter’s wheel in Maine, this 28-oz stoneware jug looks good enough on its own to leave on the counter. Mom can fill it with avocado oil to drizzle on vegetables, fish, and poultry for roasting, or extra virgin olive oil to keep on the table for dressing salads and putting the finishing touch on recipes. She can also break the mold and use it everywhere from a bar cart to a coffee station to dole out simple syrups. The pour spout pops off and everything is dishwasher safe. Choose from three colors: charcoal, golden umber, and pebble. (If you're smart, you'll select the one that complements her kitchen.)
All cast iron is durable enough to last several lifetimes, but this version is easier to cook with between now and then. The interior is ground to a polish, not the rough surface most modern cast iron leaves the factory with, so it maintains its non-stick properties better. The dark finish also wears much better over the long run; those colorful, flashier versions don’t remain gleaming with significant use. Along with compatibility with virtually any cooking fuel, from gas and induction to a grill, it has a clever lid design that drips accumulating moisture back onto the food.
There are full-size grills that last for years and smaller ones that are portable yet disposable. Snow Peak's Takibi Fire & Grill is the sweet spot between the two. The stainless-steel construction resists rust for years while the roughly 18-inch square grate holds enough food for two or three people. The cooking grate clips in at three different heights for temperature control, and the baseplate below the charcoal chute does double duty by protecting the ground from getting scorched and catching ash. The grill packs down into a canvas back, so Mom can bring to campgrounds, the beach, the park, or her own backyard.
A canvas tote is a classic blend of functionality and good looks, but that open pit can become a headache if you need organization. This tote keeps everything in its place with eight exterior pockets to stash tools, reusable water bottles, and farmer's market finds. The main carry handles are wrapped in leather and the shoulder strap is stitched in without any metal hardware to get in the way. At nearly 19 liters, it’s roomy enough to carry a haul from the grocery store, organize gardening gear, and haul a picnic’s worth of snacks.
Sure, AirTags exist now, but tethering this mini multitool to Mom's keys or car fob is arguably the easiest way to find 'em. (Not to mention a Bluetooth tracker can’t cut open packages on the fly.) A pair of scissors with 2.5-inch-long handles mean these are comfy enough to use for small jobs, and the 1.6-inch blade comes in handy for a range of daily tasks like cutting string, sharpening a pencil, or opening mail. At 51 grams, Micra doesn’t weigh much more than the keys it attaches to, so they won't weigh down her purse, tote, or backpack.
It’s really easy to part with cheap hardware store gloves, but she'll be hard pressed to let these out of her sight. The work gloves come in three colors and sizes, packing the quality and feel that only cowhide leather provides. Made by hand in Pakistan, they protect hands without sacrificing dexterity, so she can do everything from move hot coals to handle delicate garden work. The elastic back helps keep fingers clean and, over time, they'll mold to the shape of her hands. The only upkeep is occasionally using a conditioning balm to keep the leather supple.