Cool Tools 2017 Holiday Gift Guide: Mark’s Picks
Favorite gift ideas from Mark Frauenfelder, editor-in-chief of Cool Tools
The editors of Cool Tools have curated a number of gift suggestions selected from the pages of Cool Tools: A Catalog of Possibilities (which itself makes a great gift), and from the website. This week: Mark’s picks.
There used to be two kinds of ukuleles: pressed cardboard junk for less than $50, and professional quality beauties for over $500. Now there is a third option – the Fluke ($199), a half-plastic, half-wood ukulele that costs half that. As soon as my fingers hit the cute-as-a-bug instrument, I fell in love with it. It’s a pleasure to play and the sound is strong and chipper.
“Since I spend a reasonable amount of time traveling for work (mostly via car) and I like my morning espresso I’ve tried several portable espresso machines to get me my morning espresso fix. I’ve found that the Wacaco Minipresso ($58) is the best portable espresso machine available.” — Jason Reljac
The Paderno spiral vegetable slicer ($20) is made of plastic and it looks like it would snap into pieces as soon as the crank is turned, but don’t let its appearance fool you. This thing has a set of three sharp blade attachments that make short work of sweet potatoes (and, I assume, the sweet potato’s evil cousin, the white potato).
“The FiAir battery powered blower ($25) has turned out to be quite good at fanning dying embers into a hot flaming fire again. Using three AAA batteries, it seems to last for a long time, in fact, I have not run the batteries low after at least three dozen extended uses.” — Kent Barnes
“It’s so, so very much easier than playing a guitar, though I’ll admit, the tuning is a tad tedious (36 strings). But the chord bars on an autoharp ($358) vastly decrease your chances of hitting the wrong note, and there are none of those cramp-inducing finger contortions required for playing guitar. Just hold down a bar, and strum — and there’s your chord!” — Barbara Dace
Want more? Check out our other 2017 gift guide picks, as well as our 2016 Gift Guide, 2015 Gift Guide, 2014 Gift Guide and our 2103 Gift Guide 11/30/17