17 November 2017


Twin Line Flossers

Two parallel lines of floss

I hate flossing. Or at least I used to. The options out there were all mediocre at best:

–floss, both standard and dental tape, hurts my fingers

–the wand that you add floss to doesn’t keep the floss tight (Reach Access Flosser)

–the pre-flossed plastic handles have the same issue: floss gets loose after a while.

–I tried Brush Picks as someone else on Cool Tools has suggested. They were better, but didn’t actually work as well as floss.

Then my brother in law introduced me to Plackers. They took the same idea of the pre-flossed plastic handles, and just ran the floss twice. With this arrangement, the floss doesn’t droop, get loose, or anything — and I can easily floss. My dentist is shocked at how good my teeth look when I come in. These things rock.

-- David Gold 11/17/17

16 November 2017


Matt Velderman, Black & Decker Tool Designer

Cool Tools Show 098: Matt Velderman

We have hired professional editors to help create our weekly podcasts and video reviews. It costs us $1,0000 a month. So far, Cool Tools listeners have pledged $320 a month. Please consider supporting us on Patreon. We have great rewards for people who contribute! – MF

Our guest this week is Matt Velderman. He’s a DYIer, an engineer, inventor, and he leads Stanley Black & Decker’s Breakthrough Innovation Group.

Subscribe to the Cool Tools Show on iTunes | RSS | Transcript | Download MP3 | See all the Cool Tools Show posts on a single page

Show notes:

FlexVolt Miter Saw ($699)
“This is one of the ones I’m most excited to tell you about. This is a new product for Dewalt as of June of last year, I think. In Dewalt we have a platform called 20 volt max, and it’s a very large platform. There’s 130 tools or something like that that run off a 20 volt, but we wanted to make more powerful tools and ones that were more efficient. One of the ways to do that is to make a higher voltage …. so we made a battery that actually converts between 20 and 60 volt mode. That’s a world’s first. What’s really cool about it is you could take two 60 volt batteries and put them in series and get 120 volts. If you know anything about the power grid here, it’s 120 volts AC coming out of your wall. We made a miter saw that runs both off two 60 volt batteries, 120 volts DC, and it will also run off of 120 volts AC coming out of your wall with safe performance, whether it’s corded or cordless.”

Rockwell JawStand ($45)
“A clamp / stand combination that allows me to do a variety of work solo that would otherwise require another set of hands. I use it for holding doors, outfeed for a table saw or surface planer, as a support for long boards in the bench vise, to hold a deadman for installing hanging cabinets, etc.”

Honda Electronics Ultrasonic Cutter ($305)
“This is probably one of my favorite tools in the lab at work. We do a lot of modification of plastic. We have to make very quick prototypes and usually hacking up something that already exists. This gives me super precision to make precise clean cuts off existing prototypes or production parts. What it is is it’s like a penknife that has a small ultrasonic motor, for lack of a better word, inside of it, and it oscillates at a very high frequency with very minute movements and more or less melts the plastic as it cuts through the prototype or whatever you’re trying to hack up. I just have not found a better way to modify things. Tools like a Dremel or any of the kind of power tool that rotates just doesn’t have the precision to mate stuff together and make these clean cuts.”


Stanley Removable Compartment Professional Organizer
“A great way to store random small parts. The real value of this system is when you commit to the system, get a bunch of them, and create a DIY storage cabinet. This an alternative to Adam Savage’s sortimo recommendation. It’s basically the same thing, but at a lower cost and more available. I recommend both Stanley and Harbor Freight varieties.”


16 November 2017


Pocket Bellow Collapsible Fire Tool

20-inch lung-powered telescoping bellows

Anyone will tell you that a roaring fire is an essential element of camping. Starting a fire is often another story, especially if your wood is wet. I don’t recall how I discovered these Pocket Bellows but they have been a game-changer for me. Instead of blowing into the fire directly to stoke it, this telescoping tube allows you to maintain a safe distance from the fire while directing oxygen exactly where it’s needed. No more dizziness from hyperventilating, no more coughing from inhaling smoke, and best of all no more singed eyebrows. After seeing mine in action, several of my friends who use wood stoves have bought their own, claiming the bellows drastically reduce the time needed to kindle embers and the amount of soot on their pots. If you’re not convinced there are countless 5-star reviews on Amazon and Youtube; most negative reviews seem to focus on the semantic use of the word “bellows” or feel that the product is essentially an overpriced car antenna. As the manufacturer points out (and I will attest), the edges are chamfered so they don’t cut your lips, the blend and thickness of the steel will not rust or kink, etc, so a lot of thought went into the design. For about $13 and 21g of weight, this should be a no-brainer addition to your backcountry arsenal.

-- Blake Aubrey 11/16/17

16 November 2017


Cool Tools 2017 Holiday Gift Guide: Kevin’s Picks

Favorite gift ideas from the founder 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: Kevin’s picks.

Everyone can use a perfectly balanced, lifelong kitchen knife. It’s an ideal gift. One I like to gift is the Kuma Chef Knife ($25) which gets rave reviews from kitchen knife aficionados who normally review two-hundred dollar knives, yet the Kuma only costs $25. It’s ergonomically optimized for your hand, easy to keep razor sharp, and will last generations. These days it’s the one I always grab. When I lift mine, I smile.

I give IFixit Toolkits ($20) as gifts for the tech adventurous.

Bose QuietComfort 20 Headphones ($250) are expensive, but they really work and are super portable.

This Cardboard cutter ($8) is a kid-safe knife for cutting corrugated cardboard

I found a whole army of knock-off Legos from China available on Amazon. They cost about 2.5 cents per piece.

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

-- KK 11/16/17

16 November 2017


Clear Removable Mounting Squares

Temporary wall glue

I have been using these wonderful little Clear Removable Mounting Squares from Scotch for about 2 years now for holding things up and down and together and have loved them. I was desperately searching for an easy and elegant way to tack down my speaker wire for a new surround sound system when I stumbled upon these little gems and knew that I had found the answer. These squares are like a cross between Sticky Tack and the best Scotch tape you’ve ever used–they are gooey and very sticky, yet hold their form and are almost totally invisible. For tacking down speaker wire, many folks nail those little “U” shaped brackets into the wall; but these are so much better. I simply stuck one to the wall, stuck the speaker wire to it and then stuck another one over it to make a “sandwich” with the speaker wire in the middle. It looks fantastic, it’s non-marring, it’s easy and fast, and it really holds well! Not to mention that these hold up pictures, posters and even light objects with ease. They are truly an innovation and fill a need that many don’t realize they have until they see the product. They are just great to have around.

-- Peter Lio 11/16/17

(This is a Cool Tools Favorite from 2004 — editors)

15 November 2017


Car Lock Pinball [Maker Update #60]

The best maker tools and projects of the week

This week on Maker Update: A Pi-powered Airplay boombox, the Hackaday Grand Prize winner, pinball with car parts, drying filament, and exploded diagrams. The Cool Tool is a LewanSoul Servo Tester.

-- Donald Bell 11/15/17


img 11/15/17

Mont-Bell Compact Camera Case

Protective case for compact cameras

img 11/14/17


Colorful alternative to sudoku

img 11/14/17

EK Tools Bone Folder

Cheap plastic bone folder that lasts forever

img 11/13/17

Trigger Point Foam Roller

Relief for tight muscles, knots, and kinks

img 11/13/17


Elegant bug removal

See all the reviews


Recent Questions Answers Given Answers Favorited

Where are September and early October reviews?

There seems to be a gap between August 31st and October 23rd.  Wondering if you were aware of it and …

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Flexible gutter that only bends laterally?

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img 12/18/15

Bose QC20 Headphones

Best all around noise cancelling earphones

img 07/24/17

Stretch Wrap

Quick self-binding wrap

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Realtime budget overview

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Pogo Connect

Best iPad stylus

See all the favorites



Cool Tools Show 098: Matt Velderman

Picks and shownotes

Cool Tools Show 097: Jim Beloff

Picks and shownotes

Cool Tools Show 096: David Lang

Picks and shownotes

23 February 2017



We Refreshed Our Website

If you read Cool Tools via RSS (which is the way Kevin and I read blogs) then you probably don’t realize we updated our website design today. We took your feedback seriously and tried our best to simplify the design and make it more legible.

I’m sure we got some things wrong. If you find a mistake or have suggestions about our current iteration, please let us know in the comments.

Thanks for reading Cool Tools and being part of the community.

If I’ve still got your attention, I’d like to remind you that Cool Tools runs reviews written by our readers. Please recommend a tool you love.


Cool Tools is a web site which recommends the best/cheapest tools available. Tools are defined broadly as anything that can be useful. This includes hand tools, machines, books, software, gadgets, websites, maps, and even ideas. All reviews are positive raves written by real users. We don’t bother with negative reviews because our intent is to only offer the best.

One new tool is posted each weekday. Cool Tools does NOT sell anything. The site provides prices and convenient sources for readers to purchase items.

When Amazon.com is listed as a source (which it often is because of its prices and convenience) Cool Tools receives a fractional fee from Amazon if items are purchased at Amazon on that visit. Cool Tools also earns revenue from Google ads, although we have no foreknowledge nor much control of which ads will appear.

We recently posted a short history of Cool Tools which included current stats as of April 2008. This explains both the genesis of this site, and the tools we use to operate it.

13632766_602152159944472_101382480_oKevin Kelly started Cool Tools in 2000 as an email list, then as a blog since 2003. He edited all reviews through 2006. He writes the occasional review, oversees the design and editorial direction of this site, and made a book version of Cool Tools. If you have a question about the website in general his email is kk {at} kk.org.

13918651_603790483113973_1799207977_oMark Frauenfelder edits Cool Tools and develops editorial projects for Cool Tools Lab, LLC. If you’d like to submit a review, email him at editor {at} cool-tools.org (or use the Submit a Tool form).

13898183_602421513250870_1391167760_oClaudia Dawson runs the Cool Tool website, posting items daily, maintaining software, measuring analytics, managing ads, and in general keeping the site alive. If you have a concern about the operation or status of this site contact her email is cl {at} kk.org.