General Purpose Tools

Cool Tools 2019 Holiday Gift Guide: Best Gifts for $10 or less


Best Gifts for $10 or less

The editors of Cool Tools have curated a number of gift suggestions selected from our website, newsletters, videos, and podcasts. This week: Best Gifts for $10 or less!

Kum Long Point Pencil Sharpener ($6)

I use soft pencils and I bear down hard when I write. As a result, I have to resharpen the pencils frequently. A few years ago I came across this pocket-size two-hole pencil sharpener and now swear by it. It produces very sharp points and does so efficiently. — MF


Pentel GraphGear 1000 ($5)

I use pencils a lot, and I particularly like 0.9mm mechanical pencils as you can draw on most textured surfaces without the lead breaking. Over the years I have had many variations of the 0.9mm mechanical pencils. Up until now they have all broken. Enter the metal body Pentel GraphGear 1000. I have had this pencil for over two years now, the same one, it has not broken and is precious enough that I keep very close track of it. It is a bit more expensive than some, but completely worth it. — Bart Trickel

Asian Stainless Steel Soup Spoons (12 for $7)

A spoon may not seem like much to get excited about, but a carefully designed spoon can be a wonderfully versatile tool. These are the spoons you see in constant use all over Asia. First: the shape is perfect. Second: easy to grip, a boon for toddlers and those with fine-motor mobility issues. Flat bottom prevents tipping if you set it down. Third: stainless steel! Durable, corrosion-free, easy to clean, recyclable, eco-friendly. Shiny! Fourth: CHEAP! — Barbara Dace

Tick Key ($7)

Though I wish my dog’s tick prevention worked 100% of the time, it just doesn’t. The Tick Key makes the unpleasant task of removing ticks much easier. I purchased the key shaped tool a year ago after noticing it by the cash register at my local outdoor store. All I do is align the larger end of the key’s opening over the tick, draw the tool toward the narrow part of the opening, and the little sucker just pops right out. My favorite canine, who always dreaded our approach with tweezers and made tick extraction an exercise in fortitude and contortionism, is not bothered by this method at all. — Amy Reavey

Tovolo King Cube Ice Tray ($9)

I don’t own a fridge with an ice maker, and so for the past few years have been relying on the cheap white ice trays that seem to inhabit everybody’s freezer. They’ve done their job, but never very well. Recently, however, I picked up the Tovolo King Cube Ice Tray and have been blown away with the oversized ice cubes it produces. The silicone ice tray produces the largest cubes of ice (they’re 2″ x 2″) of any tray I’ve seen.

Coghlan’s 12-in-1 Scissors ($7)

The Coghlan’s 12-in-1 scissors is a silly looking and cheap tool that is surprisingly useful. It will cut fairly heavy material, has a bottle opener, screwdriver, and will come apart so you can use it as an awl or hole punch in an emergency. Granted, it is not elegant but it is surprisingly useful. I have two pairs of these in my camp gear, and end up using them for stuff like gripping needles to pull through heavy fabric, and other unexpected uses. They are cheap to buy and a useful addition to any kit. — Stephen Young

Tovolo Silicone Mixing Spoon ($10)

Without pontificating about the long history of spoons and new materials like silicone, the combination of the two by Tovolo is remarkable in their mixing spoons ($10). The relatively soft silicone won’t damage cooking surfaces or anything else really. The silicone cleans easily too, and the stainless handle also cleans up fast. The bowl and handle are both stiff enough for vigorous mixing. — Wayne Ruffner

Silicone Pinch Bowls ($9 for a set of 4)

I’ve been using these little Norpro silicone pinch bowls for about a year now. I picked them up on a whim at the grocery store and they are now easily one of the most useful and well-loved items in my kitchen. Tiny, colorful and versatile with a seemingly never-ending number of uses. — Shad Miles

Accusharp Knife Sharpener ($10)

The sharpener is a simple device built around two pieces of carbide that form a “V” in a plastic handle that when run along a blade shaves the edge to a sharpened point. Unlike a whetstone, the carbide pieces will eventually wear away and lose their ability to produce an edge, but the Accusharp is designed so that the carbide can be flipped or replaced. After a few swipes with the Accusharp I could cut tomatoes into perfect slices, and it took a measly 15-minutes to clean up the edge on almost every knife I own. It even worked on my breadknife! — Oliver Hulland

See our other 2019 gift guide picks to date. Want more? Check out our 2018 Gift Guide picks, as well as our 2017 Gift Guide, 2016 Gift Guide, 2015 Gift Guide, 2014 Gift Guide and our 2103 Gift Guide