This special issue published by jointly Fine Homebuilding and Fine Woodworking magazines gives in-depth, comparative reviews of several hundred tools. The two sister magazines of Taunton Press roundup all the tool reviews that have appeared in their pages during the past year. They’ll test a bunch of jigsaws, or portable table saws, or T-squares, and then give you smart recommendations for the best one to get.
Their selection of candidates for each tool is wide, fairly unbiased by freebies or advertisers, and just not stuck on the newest things; they’ll include older models as well. I’ve used their annual Guide to find and choose a number of great tools for my toolbox. This year’s list includes deep reviews of the best routers, miter saws, shop mats, hole saws, paint brushes, bench-top lathes, cordless nailers, and many more. (“201 tools tested” they claim on the cover.)
I like their sensibility — stressing function over looks, reliability over fancy features, and I have come to trust their judgements. Generally if they recommend something as good, it is. I especially value the non-power tools they review, such as the best first aid “tools” for injuries on a worksite in this issue. Their reviews are is the same spirit as Cool Tools, but they go much deeper and are more thorough.
These annuals are so good I even recommend the past few year’s versions, since building tools don’t change that fast.