Must Buy Products

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So it’s difficult to catch up on years worth of amazing products, but I am going to do my best here.  These are products and brands I’ve personally used for periods of time and highly recommend.  My best advice is buy nice or buy twice, buy the best your budget can afford.  For example, tools don’t depreciate very quickly despite new models coming out every couple of years.  You’ll find these products in action in my various blog posts, across various categories.

Another thing I’ve learned over the years is there is a tool for everything.  Which ultimately makes your DIY projects much, much easier and less time consuming.  Shaving hours and hours off various projects adds up.  Especially now that I’m older and half broken, less chance at throwing out my back! Work smarter, not harder.

Starter Tool Set:  A recommendation I used at my starter condo to finish the basement.

  • Black and Decker helped me finish my basement at my condo. It’s an entry-level brand from a price perspective that is fairly reliable. While I have graduated on to higher end Dewalt tools, for fans on a budget this could accomplish quite a bit of your DIY Projects. (BLACK+DECKER BDCD2204KIT 20-Volt MAX 4-Tool Combo Kit)

Recommended DeWalt Tools:  I am completely invested in Dewalt!

  • Dewalt DPG55-11C Clear Safety Glasses, I’ve got multiple pairs. You can even go shooting with ’em.
  • Dewalt DWHT10035L Folding utility knife, just fits the hand nicely and it’s easy to swap blades.
  • I buy “Bare Dewalt” tools and save money by purchasing batteries separate.
  • Dewalt DCBL720B Hammer Drill and Impact Driver Combo.  This kit is the best “2 tool” variety, I mention this because it has the “better” hammer drill.  A few other 2 piece combo sets exist but they have a less powerful hammer drill.  Who wants that nonsense?
  • Dewalt DCS387B Compact Reciprocating Saw, I like the compact model.
  • Dewalt DW716 Circular Saw
    • I’d recommend this middle ground blade : DEWALT DW9196 40T Blade
  • Dewalt DW745 Table Saw, its been a #1 for a while, this is a great option if you need a mobile saw.  However I actually went with the larger DWE7491RS  model due to rip capacity (32.5″). We were doing a kitchen renovation and I wanted to be able to rip 4×8 sheets of plywood easily to build cabinets.  This DeWalt DWE7491RS job saw with a 10″ blade comes with a Rolling stand that is top notch, I highly recommend.
  • Dewalt DW716 Double Bevel Miter Saw, for the record I have had good success with the half price Harbor Freight Model.  Folks on a budget I recommend it as another diamond in the rough.  You can get it for around $150-180 at local stores with 20% coupon.
  • Dewalt D26451 Random Orbit Sander 
  • DEWALT DCS355B, I’ve been a big fan of the versatile multi-tools for a while. They are great for cutting 1/2″ off door jams, cutting nails, cutting bolts that have broken or been stripped on cars, removing grout from floors.  The options are limitless, just get the right blades.

Mechanic Tool / Garage Related:

Outdoor & Lawn Care: 

Floor Tiling Projects:

  • Harbor Freight Wet Saw – I got this local with stand for under $300 which is a steal for the quality of the device. I Really hate buying Harbor Freight but this continues to get stellar reviews over YEARS.  It is also available on Amazon but I suggest getting 20% off coupons and buying local (Easier to fix if has issues local as well).  Alternative was a $850 dollar Dewalt model for reference!
  • In 2017 I tackled a pretty large scale tiling project, about 700 sq ft of large format tile (8″ x 48″).  To help keep things level and make the installation faster and bullet proof I used this leveling system.  Its not cheap but given how much money I was saving with a DIY it was worth it.  I still recommend it but since my project I did see a cheaper set I’ll recommend as well because it looks very similar.  I do not recommend the kits at Menards.
  • Dewalt DCH133B,  Rotary hammer drill : I ended up adding this to my collection for breaking out tile floors and various other applications like that.  I went with the DeWalt to mix with my existing 20v collection.  The Previous “Hammer drill” that I have does not have a “hammer only” function.  That’s where this tool comes in to play.  Breaks up Mortar, thinset, and tile very well. It leverages “SDS-PLUS” bits, I picked up this wide steel chisel for the flooring.

Home Preventative / Safety Equipment:

Electrical Work:

Toilet Repair:

  • Jam-Bar Toliet Bolt Lock Wrench – I’ve replaced 4 toilets now at 2 different properties.  EVERY TIME the bolts that hold the toilet down spins freely.  Only after the 3rd time did I really research available options and find this tool.
  • Korky 4010PK Universal Complete Toilet Repair Kit. When I work on a toilet I replace everything. Because its so annoying I’d rather only deal with it once very 10-15 years. I have tried a lot of universal kits and surprisingly they are not always compatible.  I recommend this particular brand and setup, Korky has worked really well for me, and includes all the various parts you need for a variety of toilets.
  • Wax Ring related, I’ve had good success with the Danco model, its less messy to work with and has multiple adjustments for tile, laminate, etc flooring setups.
  • Koehler Enterprises RA990 Multi-Use Siphon Fuel, I dont know what more people dont use something like this to drain the bowl and the tank of water before removing.  Its insane all the crap people do on youtube (Solo cups?!).  Just use this and empty everything in to the sink to make the removal processes much easier and cleaner.
  • Slow close toilet seats are one of those things you dont know you’ve been missing. I use these in high traffic areas or near where baby’s sleep so you dont have a loud bang at 2 am when your fumbling around in the dark. I like the wood models over plastic.

Knives:

  • Gerber Pocket knife is my favorite pocket knife and utility knife,  I have multiple of these. Mainly to open amazon boxes but they are so small they fit in my pocket and blades are easy to swap out.
  • I think fixed blade knives are a luxury item. Ka-Bar are top rated for all the right reasons. I keep this one in my car behind my driver seat. Man I cant wait for zombies.
  • Ever have dull knives?  If you would actually like the “art” of sharpening blades wicked sharp, I’d recommend this economical kit.  The AGPtek sharpening kit comes with everything you need to sharpen an army of various blades.  You will need to practice often to get the hang of it and the inventor has many videos to watch for guidance on youtube.  If you want something super easy to “Freshen up” a blade often and your lazy go with this one, the AccuSharp Knife Sharpener.

Woodworking:

Demo and more significant remodeling:

  • Fubar, simply because its called FuBar.
  • Very versatile pry bar, can access tricky places and is adjustable.
  • Molding/Trim remover, I don’t own this but I’ve seen it in action and if you dont already have wonderbar I would recommend this. Especially if you intend on re-using molding or do not want to damage the drywall.
  • More protective glasses, because things fly at your eye balls.
  • Wonderbars are cheap and fairly easy to maneuver around job sites.
  • Dewalt DCH133B,  Rotary hammer drill : I ended up adding this to my collection for breaking out tile floors and various other applications like that.  I went with the DeWalt to mix with my existing 20v collection.  The Previous “Hammer drill” that I have does not have a “hammer only” function.  That’s where this tool comes in to play.  Breaks up Mortar, thinset, and tile very well. It leverages “SDS-PLUS” bits, I picked up this wide steel chisel for the flooring.
  • Specialized tool for pulling nails if you need to take apart frame work.
  • I’ve had to replace a lot of doors at one time, I recommend a few things to make life a bit easier.
    • Door Hinge Pin Remover
    • Swivel Door and Board Lifter – This is handy if your replacing doors by your self which is my norm.
    • Door Shims, if your house has settled or your door is not staying open these may be used to fix the issues.  If your super cheap you can try bending a door pin and that may help keep the door from closing with gravity.

Misc Tools:

  • Tape Measure 25′ – Fatmax variety
  • 10′ Micro Measuring Tape, I have these everywhere (Kitchen, Car, Garage, etc)
  • Bucket Boss Bucket Boss 70012 Gatemouth Hard Tote – I keep one in my trunk with car tools for general purposes.  I also have multiple for different tool sets. Such as electrical, drywall, plumbing.  So I can grab a set of gear, know I have everything and head off to a job site.
  • Magnetizer – Occasionally I’ll have a tool that’ll need this!
  • Metal Clamps, I used to get Harbor Freight cheapo’s but they fall apart!
  • Micro Flashlight, I have these everywhere.
  • Good product for indoor/outdoor protective sprays (vs rust or squeaks)
  • Rarely need an angle grinder so I went “corded”.  Dont be intimidated if you need to cut thru metal car parts.
  • Spade Bit Set by Irwin – Speedbor is sweet.  Cuts fast and clean.
  • I find myself using this more and more to fix little things around the house.  It’s a wild concept – a Plastic Welder.  Uses a liquid and then you hit it with a UV light and it hardens and dries in seconds.  As long as you prep both surfaces it bonds very strong like super glue.
  • However you have to be able to see the product to dry it with the UV ray.  So it does not replace superglue applications.  I still use gorilla gel for that.  I like this better because it is not runny, and wont get on your fingers as easy.
  • This is an impressive stud finder. Takes batteries but is brilliant.
  • I’ve tried a dozen headlamps and then found these at Costco (cheaper than Amazon).
  • Excellent Caulking gun, just throw out your old one.
  • Magical air staple gun.  Lots of great features, and very versatile
  • I like these protective gloves, multiple versions are available.
  • Its important to have solid set of wrenches and each provide a unique, and important function when your dealing with metal, plastic, etc pipes.  I’d consider getting each of these.
    • Channellock 6WCB WideAzz Adjustable Wrench
    • Channellock 8WCB WideAzz Adjustable Wrench
      • Why 2? Because in some pipe applications like removing a water line for a toilet require you to “hold” a bold in place while twisting off the water line.  If you don’t hold it in place you’ll break something important.  This gives you a 6″ and 8″ model for different leverage.  Dewalt has a set roughly the same price but I like the handles on these models better.
    • DEWALT DWHT70486 Push-Lock Plier set 10 and 8 inch, These are great for high torque applications. But I’ve found if anything is old or rust you’ll damage the bolt/nut head pretty bad just because of the force this can apply.  That’s where the channellock wrenches are better, they dont apply that kind of pressure that damages things. Irwin has another set that is also very well rated and the same style I’ve used.
    • DEWALT DWHT70485 Compound Action Plier 3pk, finally a nice Dewalt set to balance our your setup. I keep these in my car and various other mobile applications since I use them pretty often.

Technology: 2017 is a big technology year for me.  Stay tuned for rapid updates.

Misc/Nifty:

Storage Solutions: I like everything on wheels. If you have access to Costco buy everything there, very similar products and at times half the price of even discounted amazon!

Car Related:

Pets: We have a large English Mastiff, so I don’t mess around with dog toys.

Meal Prep Related:

Diet & Nutrition:

Fitness:

  • Wife and I have tried a dozen yoga mats.  This is the clear winner
  • Bad Back? Snag this, very good for strains or disc issues. I use it for flair ups.
  • I’ve been using a at home Tens device a lot lately since I’m laying a lot of tile. It helps when you have an achy back and its so easy to use/portable I can walk around and do chores while I have them on.
  • Kettlebells are one of the best home fitness pieces of equipment.
  • If anyone is looking for a 80’s fanny pack alternative for the gym check this out. I’ve had the constant struggle of keys and phone at gym or on a run and its annoying as hell if they are in my pocket. With this I don’t even notice I’m carrying them. Its called Flipbelt.

Survival Gear:

Reading: