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The GarageSpot Gearhead & Garage Geek Gift Guide (2019 Edition)

It’s Christmas time and that means websites everywhere are publishing their holiday gift guides. Since GarageSpot.com is a website, we’ll play along. Plus, our personal wish lists are quite extensive. So if you’re in a giving mood, our addres… just kidding.

In no particular order, here goes…

Grease Gun Holder

Grease guns can get nasty—leaking and dripping all over the place. There are some cool DIY PVC pipe solutions for storing grease guns, but the Koova Wall Mounted Grease Gun Storage Holder ($30) is pretty awesome. It’s made of powdered coated steel and in the USA! The removable drip basin means it’s easy to clean. Plus, it’ll hold an additional tube of grease in the middle. Good stuff.

Pro-Level Diagnostics

Engine trouble lights and other car or truck problems can be tough to diagnose on their own. And whatever the problem is, there’s a pretty good chance a confident auto enthusiast could fix it for half the price of a dealership. There are lots of different OBDII scanners on the market today, but the Innova CarScan Pro 5610 ($330) brings pro-level diagnostics to the home garage. While the learning curve is a tad steeper than some other solutions, pairing the 5610 with Innova’s RepairSolutions2 IOS or Android app makes it easier to digest the data, find a solution, and even order the right parts. Less feature-rich versions of the device are available but when it comes to diagnosing car problems, more data is better.

Sidenote: The GarageSpot.com crew is working on a detailed review of two Innova CarScan models, which should go live soon. We will say that we recommend the 5610 pro-level scanners over the other models, despite its higher price tag.

Paint Can Holder

Spray paint and lube cans usually end up on a shelf totally unorganized so their labels are hard to read. Larry B’s has a solution: a great looking and well-designed wall mounted wooden spray paint and lube can storage rack. There are multiple sizes, holding anywhere from 12 to 40 spray cans. We like Larry B’s 24 Can Wall Mounted Storage Rack ($53) because it’s longer than the 20-can version is tall. Just know that (at the time of this post), shipping was a whopping $18 for most of Larry B’s racks. That’s a lot.

Portable Jumper & Device Charger

We reviewed a portable jumper/charger years ago and still use the same device today in our GarageSpot Jeep but technology has improved and the more recent DBPower Portable Car Jump Starter ($70) is a must for every vehicle. Forget the old-school jumper cables! This gadget fits in the palm of your hand, jump-starts a typical car or truck up to 20 times, and chargers tablets, phones, laptops, and more with its 1800mAh battery.

Portable Workbench

We’re working on a review of the WORX Pegasus Work Table ($99) now and have to say, we really like it for the DIYer! Yes, it’s plastic but it’s plenty strong enough to handle pretty much anything you’ll need to do on-site or in the garage. This table is ready-to-go straight out of the box, sets up and folds down in a few seconds, can be used as a sawhorse, includes a well-designed integrated clamping system, and holes for the four included bench dogs (but see the next gift idea, too!). You can even secure two or more tables together for larger projects.

Pliers Rack

Organizing pliers in a toolbox (or on a pegboard) is always a challenge. Most of the cheap wire racks never quite work well or don’t accommodate larger handle pliers. The Plyworx PliersRack II ($25) is a great option with room for 14 pliers, including a few larger sets. This steel rack can stand on a workbench, hang on pegboard, or sit nicely in a 2.5(ish) in. toolbox drawer. Get two or a few to finally organize those pliers!

12 Tools in One

Everyone should have a multi-tool in their vehicle or even as an everyday carry, depending on what it is you do for a living. Gerber makes some of the best multi-tools around, and the Gerber Suspension Multi-Plier ($50, on sale for $30 at the time of this writing!) is no exception. With 12 integrated tools, the lightweight stainless steel frame makes it easy to carry. Tools include knives, screwdrivers, pliers, and a bottle opener.

Magnetic Tool Holders

Pegboards are great and all (kinda) but nothing beats a good magnet for quickly accessing a handful of frequently used tools. We have several of these magnets mounted to the walls of our garage and love ’em. The set of four 12″ Magnetic Tool Holder Racks from Vanitek ($25) are super-strong and will hold just about anything you need… assuming it’s made of metal.

Hands-Free Headlamp

When you’re working under the car or truck solo, it can get really frustrating trying to position a flashlight—even the magnetic ones. That’s where a good headlamp comes in, like the ELMCHEE USB Rechargeable Headlamp ($15) with six LEDs, eight different brightness settings, pumping out a solid 12,000 lumens. Also useful for camping and hiking, this headlamp includes an SOS and strobe mode (you know, for when you’re dancing in the garage).

Power On-the-Go

Long road trips or camping excursions make laptops, tablets, and other portable devices nice to have in the car or truck. Some newer model vehicles have power inverters built-in, but not most. For that, there’s the BESTEK 300W Power Inverter ($22). This little device turns 12V DC power into 110V AC power via a cigarette lighter plug. This inverter has two USB ports and two AC outlets and can power anything under 300 watts total or multiple devices with a combined draw of the same. That should handle most laptops, tablets, and phones. It will not handle power tools, [most] console gaming devices, etc.

Know Your Hardware

From rope and chain and toilet guts to adhesives, nails, and hex nuts, The Illustrated Guide to Everything Sold in Hardware Stores ($18) is a fun book for any DIYer. With over 240 pages of colorful closeups of various hardware, you’ll never make a second trip to the hardware store because you bought the wrong part. OK… you probably will, but this is a handy book to keep in the garage.

Precise Shape Duplication

When you need to duplicate a shape or design exactly for woodworking, tile installation, or similar, a contour gauge is the best way to get it done. The General Tools Metal Contour Guage ($9) is a six-inch gauge with 35 3 ½” leaves per inch. This allows for the precise replication of just about any shape or designs up to six inches long. There is also a 10″ version available.

Dremel Lite

We LOVE our Dremel tools. Seriously, we use them on just about every imaginable project where full-sized sanders, grinders, etc. are just too much. These little rotary tools can actually help turn people on to creating, even if they’ve never done so before. Not that we’re really “creators” but we do use-n-abuse our Dremel tools.

So, we’re excited to see another entry into the Dremel line: the new Dremel Lite ($50). Where larger Dremel tools may be too much, the Dremel Lite should shine in and around the garage, home or workshop. It’s going to be perfect for light-duty repairs, detailed crafts, and just about anything else where light sanding, grinding and cutting is needed.

Foam Cannon

If you’ve got a pressure washer and you wash your own vehicle, a foam cannon will make the chore of washing a car or truck so much more fun. The MATCC Adjustable Foam Cannon ($19) is an absolute steal (we bought ours for $30)! With the right soap, a foam cannon will coat your vehicle in a glorious layer of thick, rich foam. Let that foam set for a few minutes and it’ll break down dirt, grease, grime, and mud. Nah, it’s not as good as a full-on wash, but as a quick wash or (what we do) a pre-soak before hand wash, foam cannons are fun and useful.

Premium Car Care Kit

Every garage needs certain car washing and detailing supplies and the Meguiar’s Complete Car Care Kit ($50) is a great start. Meguiar’s has been a trusted name in the car care biz for a long time and their products work really well. This 10-piece kit includes a collection of premium Meguiar’s products, which includes everything needed to protect the care top-to-bottom and inside-out.

THE Knife Sharpener

There are knife sharpeners and then there’s the Work Sharp Knife & Tool Sharpener ($67). This tool will sharpen every knife you own like a pro quickly, easily and with repeatable, consistent results. Features interchangeable guides, flexible and replaceable belts, all with the ability to sharpen knives, tools, and scissors with or without serrations.

Precision Screwdriver Set

Working on electronics, RC cars, firearms, or other small gadgets is challenging without the right tools. The WIREHARD 62-in-1 Precision Screwdriver Set ($14) has its place on just about every workbench. We’ve used this kit for a few years now and it’s never let us down. That’s because it includes 56 magnetic, chrome vanadium steel bits that are all organized in a handy case.

The DIY Manual

When two popular magazines—Family Handyman and Reader’s Digest—joined forces to create a comprehensive guide to home improvements, the result was fantastic. The Complete Do-it-Yourself Manual ($20) is best as a hardcover and includes over 3000 photos and illustrations to make even the most complex projects and repairs easy to understand.

Maximum Impact

With so much growth within the cordless tools sector, a lot of DIYers now own impact drivers when they didn’t before (because they required an air compressor). But, too many are using standard sockets on their impact drivers, and that’s no good. The DEWALT 1/2″ Impact Socket Set ($44) is a great set to have on-hand for use with an impact driver or with the included (or any) 1/2″ drive ratchet. With 23-pieces covering both metric and SAE common sizes, this set should be plenty for the typical garage.

Non-Contact Voltage Detector

Before working on any electrical project, ensuring that it’s safe to do so is kind of important. For that, there’s the Klein Tools Non-Contact Voltage Detector ($24). With this little pen-like tool, you can test for 12-to-1000V AC with both visual and audible voltage indicators—without touching anything. The tool also has an integrated flashlight and a visual LED bar graph indicating the level of voltage present. This is a must-have tool for anyone working with electricity.

Get a Gryp!

We’re willing to bet that just about every single one of us has set a socket, bolt, or wrench on the radiator only to lose it behind the bumper when it drops through the black hole that is the engine bay. The Grypmat Non-Slip Flexible Tool Tray ($90 for all three sizes) is a silicon-like tool tray that’s flexible and “sticky”—tools and parts won’t slide around at all, even when the Grypmat is draped over a fender flare. Super handy, indeed.

1080p Dashcam

Oh, how we love to sue each other here in America. Sigh. Protect yourself on the road with the super-popular APEMAN 1080p Dashcam ($45). This dashcam records high-resolution video at a super-wide 170° angle viewpoint.l The 3″ large LCD screen delivers clear video and images, too. A built-in G-sensore automatically detects sudden collisions, shakes or other drastic movements and locks the footage from being overwritten, even in loop recording mode. Finally, the f1.8 aperture with night vision means clear, color-accurate images, even at night.

Telescoping Ladder

Extension ladders can be a real pain to store in the typical home garage. Many of us end up hanging our ladders high and out of the way so that we actually need another smaller ladder or step stool to get to them. Those days are over… for some. The XTEND & Climb Pro Series Telescoping Ladder ($300 but cheaper options available) meets new 2019 ANSI and OSHA standards for safety and is engineered from airplane grade aluminum alloy for superior strength. This ladder extends one foot at a time, up to 12.5′ and collapses all the way down to 32.25″ for easy storage and transport. The double overmolded feet are slightly angled and are designed for stability. This is the ladder to replace all ladders in your garage.

Gimbal Ratchet

Getting standard ratchets into tight places—like under dashboards or deep into the engine bay—can be a frustrating experience, to say the least. That’s where the GearWrench 3/8″ Drive Gimbal Ratchet ($13) comes in. The gimbal design allows the ratchet head to rotate on two planes, providing easier, and therefore less frustrating, access to the fastener. This gimbal ratchet uses a 72-tooth ratcheting mechanism with a five-degree swing arc so it fees similar to a standard socket wrench. A very useful addition to the toolbox, indeed!

Emergency Road Kit

Everyone should have basic emergency gear in their vehicles, including a first aid kit, battery jumpers, a seat belt cutter, tow strap, gloves, a good knife or multi-tool, and even a small air compressor. The First Secure Emergency Roadside Kit ($55) is the perfect travel companion, with all of the aforementioned and more! And, it all packs neatly into a nice bag. We will say, however, that seatbelt cutters should be accessible from the driver’s seat, in case you need to use it on yourself.

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About Michael Turner

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Forty-something years later, Michael still doesn't' know what he wants to do if he grows up. Raised around cars and trained in diesel mechanics, Michael has owned a successful detail shop, developed and sold software, led a K-9 SAR team, ridden the dot-com wave as a marketing & PR executive, led digital strategy teams at both large and small agencies, and now this. He digs Jeeps, off-road racing, football, photography, writing, making EDM, cranking metal, PC gaming, and a plethora of other contradictory things.

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