17 August 2018


Long-Reach Stapler

Heavy-duty saddle stapling

My theater group always uses these long-reach staplers ($33) for stapling our programs together. It’s a serious workhorse, big and heavy, and the longer reach will allow you to make booklets out of much, much bigger material than the Mini Booklet Stapler. The stapler has a 12″ reach on it, so you can staple anything up to 24″ wide pre-fold (so architectural ‘D’-sized paper could be used, if you felt like it). And unlike the mini model, it takes standard staples. The staplers we use were old when I got involved with this theater group (about 7 or 8 years ago), and they’re still working like brand new. They are made almost entirely out of steel and are incredibly durable. We mostly use them for programs of no more than 6 sheets of standard paper and a heavy high-gloss cover sheet, but we do several hundred of these programs in a batch every couple of months. We also use them for stapling short scripts, say, 20 pages (long scripts get the three-ring binder). There’s a neat little plastic clip on the stapler (which is nicely graduated) that lets you set the width, which makes lining up the fold on your booklets very convenient; you just push your material to the clip and staple. Great for big batches.

-- Andy Martin 08/17/18

(I've been using this same model of stapler for 30 years. I used it to staple together the first several issues of Boing Boing when it was a print zine. -- MF — editors)

16 August 2018


Removable Magic Tape

Re-stickable adhesive

By the same token as the Restickable Glue Stick, 3M’s Scotch makes a product called Removable Magic Tape which I use extensively in doing rough page layouts of books with a lot of graphics on each page. It sticks to paper or just about any dry surface. Pulls off easily, leaves no residue. Unlike the regular Magic Tape, you can easily pick it up and move things around. I’ve been using it for over 10 years and find it’s less messy and way quicker to use than the glue sticks.

-- Lloyd Kahn 08/16/18

(This is a Cool Tools Favorite from 2008 — editors)

14 August 2018


Whizard Handguard Cut Resistant Glove

Affordable, cut-resistant hand protection

These fiber/stainless gloves are used in the restaurant industry to defend against knife and mandolin cuts, as well as handling trash that may have protruding bits of glass and fish bones. I read about them in a cooking magazine, and bought one glove after cutting myself on a mandolin.

I find the glove allows for ample movement and dexterity. It’s definitely flexible enough to carve with and feels a lot like wearing a winter Thinsulate glove. These days, when I use the mandolin, I find I can get in closer for a few extra slices. Although the glove hits the blade, my hand’s always safe. My gloved hand has even survived an errant cleaver (Fortunately I didn’t hit myself not too hard).

I’ve used mine about five times a month for the past three years. I’ve washed it and haven’t noticed any deterioration, though it does feel a little stiffer at first. Bonus: The weave is much tighter than with a pricier chain mail glove, so it also seems better for guarding against knife pokes.

-- Steve Golden 08/14/18

(This is a Cool Tools Favorite from 2007 — editors)

13 August 2018


Citrus Squeezers

Stowable citrus pulverizer

We make tapenades for the local farmers’ markets and each contain the juice of half a lemon. Before getting this sturdy juicer, not only were my hands and wrists aching after a morning squeezing (literally by hand), but the lemon juice would get onto my fingers and, after a while, burn.

With this juicer, I insert half a lemon and push down using my whole arm rather than squeezing the lemon with my fingers. It works great and takes half the effort. No juice is wasted by dripping onto the hands. And the device is small enough to tote around. One caveat: Smaller seeds can sometimes pass through the juice holes, so I prefer to squeeze the juice through a sieve.

— Bruno Teersteeg

I’m sure some folks are partial to using the specific color-coated sizes, but we rely on the orange juicer for all of our citrus needs. If you’re tackling a bucket of lemons at home you’ll probably want a counter-top unit like the previously-reviewed Hamilton Beach juicer. However, if you’re juicing a few on the fly, I highly recommend these enameled aluminum juicers. There are similar stainless steel hand presses with soft grips, but they can be twice as expensive. Ours is tough enough. Besides, there’s nothing like a bright orange tool to break up the monotony of the silverware drawer.

Steven Leckart

Citrus Squeezers
Available from Amazon

Available from Amazon

Available from Amazon


12 August 2018


Dewalt Right Angle Attachment for Drills and Drivers

Put screws in impossible spots

This time, we’re taking a look at this right angle adapter for your drill or impact driver, made by Dewalt. I picked this on Amazon for around $18, and if you want one for yourself, using the Amazon link in the description helps support my videos and the Cool Tools blog.

Sometimes you need to put a screw in a spot where your drill just can’t fit. I recently had this happen right here in my shed where I record these. I had to repair some of the rotten framing in the corner, but the spacing between the studs was so tight I couldn’t get my impact driver in there to screw in some new wood.

This attachment from Dewalt is specially made to get into tight spots. It can be used with any driver or drill chuck, not just Dewalt. By spinning the shaft, the adapter spins the screwdriver bit at a right angle.
The bit can face left, right, up or down, and you need to stabilize it with your other hand to direct it where you want to go, but it does the job.
One thing that surprised me about this adapter, but is actually pretty smart, is that you have to use a screwdriver or extra bit to eject whatever bit is in here. This helps minimize how much space the bit takes up

It’s also because Dewalt has this magnetic lip out in front of the bit that latches right onto your screw head and holds it flat, which is a great feature when your dangling the screw into a tight spot or over your head, and you don’t want it falling down.

-- Donald Bell 08/12/18

(Cool Tools has a YouTube channel with many more tool reviews — editors)

12 August 2018



Recomendo: issue no. 107

Easy flight delay compensation
My International flight to Los Angeles was delayed for 10 hours. The airline didn’t tell me I was eligible for compensation, but I friend told me about an app called AirHelp. I entered my name and confirmation number. Instantly, AirHelp told me the airline was obligated to pay me about $700. AirHelp did all the work, and about a week later I got the money, minus a 25% commission for AirHelp, which was a small price to pay for not having to do anything. — MF

Learn about nature
I first heard about the iNaturalist app from a Cool Tools Podcast with David Lang. I used it for the first time last week when I was hiking and took a picture of a tree that I wanted to know the name of. I just uploaded the picture and labeled it as “I don’t know what this is.” The next morning, I was happily surprised to see an email alerting me that another user identified it for me! It’s like a collaborative classroom on your phone. — CD

My mother-in-law is 90, doesn’t speak English, and lives with us. She, and I enjoy watching the new season 3 of BattleBots on Amazon Prime. This mindless machine-on-machine violence of robots demolishing other robots is universally entertaining, and spectacular. No language needed. — KK

Instagram cliches made beautiful
Insta_Repeat is an Instagram account that beautifully highlights common cliches on Instagram. Like view through tent hole, or standing on white van.  Hey, travel and outdoor Instagramers, don’t do these! Try something different. Yet I follow it because arrays of the cliches are mesmerizing in their nearly identical images. — KK

Effective no-kill rat trap
I bought this small rodent trap ($8) a couple of years ago and have caught several mice and rats with it. It doesn’t kill the animal, it just traps them in the cage when they touch the lever with the bait. (I use a bit of peanut butter for the bait, and put a little bowl of water in the cage so they don’t get thirsty before I check the trap.) With these kind of traps you have to deal with the problem of what to do with a live rodent, of course. — MF

Affordable inflatable kayak
This inflatable two-person kayak is perfect for beginner couples. It’s sturdy and easy for one person to steer, and it even survived when we took a scary turn toward some fast flowing water — although it’s better for floating down flat water. The best part is it’s really comfortable to sit in and it took less than 40 minutes to both set up and deflate. We bought this a month before summer for $80 and right now it’s $115, reviewers say the price fluctuates between seasons. — CD

-- Kevin Kelly, Mark Frauenfelder, Claudia Dawson 08/12/18


img 08/10/18

Lodge Hibachi Grill

Classic, cast iron cooking

img 08/9/18

Tojiro DP 8-inch Gyutou Chef’s Knife

Affordable entry into Japanese cutlery

img 08/9/18


Aeroponic countertop agriculture

img 08/8/18

Peanut Butter Mixer

Stirs PB with less mess

img 08/8/18

Maker Update: Spider Clock and 3D Printed Robot Toys

The best maker projects and tips of the week

See all the reviews


img 06/24/09

Haws Watering Can

Fine-tuned watering

img 10/9/07


Cheapest hi-quality photo scans

img 03/1/18

LockJaw Self-Adjusting Pliers

Self-adjusting Vise Grips

img 08/15/12


Direct line to a warm body

img 12/9/11

The Wondermill

Countertop flour mill

img 09/19/05

Total Immersion Swimming

How to swim like a fish

See all the favorites



Cool Tools Show 135: Dan Dubno

Picks and shownotes

Cool Tools Show 134: Rose Eveleth

Picks and shownotes

Cool Tools Show 133: Theodore Gray

Picks and shownotes

23 February 2017


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.

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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.