General Purpose Tools

Cool Tools 2016 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.

I started trying some of the ceramic coated pans a few years back and have found one to be the best, the Scanpan ($98). They are not cheap but I have used their classic fry pan to make eggs every morning for a couple years and the coating looks as good as new and as I have added others to my collection I find that they are the ones I reach for every time. — Alexander Rose

With a 3-outlet multi-tap ($8) you can be a minor hero at a crowded airport by letting a few others charge up *their* laptops or phones when the too-few AC outlets are full: I’ve never been turned down when asking politely to share the wall, nor turned down someone who wants to use one of the outlets. — Timothy Lord

I carry one of these tiny flashlights ($32). Its LED runs on one lithium CR2 battery and it blasts out enough candlepower to actually light up the inside of a machine, illuminate a far dark corner, or to read a book at night. — KK

Kwik Sip ($17) is a simple gadget that replaces the screen on your existing faucet to create a drinking water fountain. It took less than 30 seconds to install with a pair of adjustable pliers and it is a pleasure to use. You just pull the little handle and the water faucet is re-routed to the water “fountain.” — Bob Cooper

I have been trying to pick locks since I was a child. I have many lock picks I have bought or made myself over the years, but never saw what I was doing until I was given a clear plastic padlock ($11) a few months ago. Now I can plainly see the pins, driver pins, sheer line and springs etc. — Kent Barnes

This iFixIt Pro Tech toolkit ($50) has all the bits and drivers you need for pretty much any modern piece of hardware, plus the specialty “spudgers” for popping open pressure-fitted cases like i-devices. I was able to bring old iPod back to life, which made the cost for this toolkit totally worthwhile. — Seth Wilson

This push-pull door knob ($28) offers, as the name implies, multiple ways to open. The push method is why I bought it, since it lets you easily open the door if you have both hands full by pushing it with either your hip or whatever is in your hands. — Steve Pender

As the days get shorter, bike commuters have to find ways to make themselves more visible when riding in the dark. These spoke reflectors ($14) fit the bill.

I have been using Velcro One-Wrap Thin Ties (100 for $7) for about a year now and I can tell you, there is not a better product for wrapping up your headphone cords, computer cables, and anything else you can think of. — Stuart Peterson

I’ve used this half mask respirator ($24) for a number of months and am very pleased with it. It is valved for easy breathing, and the replaceable filters snap into the sides rather than residing in external canisters that add bulk to the unit. – Bruce Bowen

3M Transpore Surgical Tape (2 x 10 yards for $11)is the undisputed “go-to” tape for medical professionals such as doctors, nurses, and paramedics. Long available in healthcare facilities, it is a relative novelty in the consumer world. — Nabhan Islam

Long rigid power strips ($40) are mostly used in server rooms and the like, but make a fantastic way to add a bunch of outlets at home. Unlike their smaller plastic brethren, they look ok when mounted under a counter or at the base of a backsplash. Unlike smaller strips you can use the mother-of-all wall warts (the ur-wart?) in each outlet and not block anything. — Dave

Want more? Check out our other 2016 gift picks as well as our 2015 Gift Guide, 2014 Gift Guide and our 2103 Gift Guide