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Favorite 2018 Tool Finds Under $10

Great stocking stuffers for tool users

Today I’m talking about my favorite inexpensive tool upgrades and accessories of 2018. For me, there’s nothing better than finding a great, cheap tool.

I’m going to start off with my cardboard cutting knife — but not the one you think. You guys have probably heard me wax poetic about this yellow handled Canary brand cardboard knife. These are great and cheap make carving through cardboard a breeze. But for just a few extra bucks you can step up to a retractable version.

Not only does this design make it easier to safely carry around, but it also allows you to replace the blades when they wear out. And that’s the real catch with the yellow cardboard cutters is that the do get dull after a while. With this, you get a sturdier, safer design with a better grip and replaceable blades. All for around $9.

Next up for $5, this Makita magnetic bit holder. You pop this in your drill or impact driver, load in the bit, and the magnetic collar around the tip holds screws tight. This way you can keep one hand on your drill and one hand on what you’re driving into. No need to guide the screw with your hand. For $5, this is a dramatic upgrade for your drill or impact driver.

Next up, for $6, a box of disposable flexitips you can use with superglue. You get 24 in a box, and the allow you to put down a very fine, precise amount of glue. CA glue is magical when it comes to creating quick strong bonds. But it’s nearly impossible to clean up when you overdo it or drip some on your project. With these, you can get surgically precise and minimize spills.

At $9, the Komelon Speed Mark 25 ft Gripper tape measure. I went looking for a measuring tape upgrade this year and I have a whole separate video on that. The short version is that I fell in love with this great, cheap tape measure. The markings on this are big and easy to read, with the fractions labeled. I have tape measures everywhere now, but I always look for this one first.

Next up, the 3M Virtua CCS safety goggles and earplugs. It’s $5 for the goggles and $5 for a box of earplugs. Put them together and you have one of the lightest, most comfortable safety goggles out there, plus a strap hold them so they don’t get scratched, and ear plugs that stay with you. There’s even a removable gasket on here that keeps dust out of your eyes, but still breathes enough so they don’t fog up too easily.

You can also get these with a smoked lens, but both versions are UV coated to protect your eyes outside. I’m sure next year I’ll find an option I like even better, but for now, these are my favorite at any price.

Now, I’ve given you 5 recommendations here for under $10. I’ll give you one more tool upgrade I’m really glad I got this year, but it’s over budget. At just under $30, the Engineer SS-02 solder sucker has changed my relationship with electronics. It hasn’t made me any better at making and soldering circuits, but its made it much less painful to fix my mistakes. With this, I can put the sucker right on my soldering iron tip and pull off any solder I don’t want on my project. It is a dramatic step up from any other tool for this job, and worth every penny.

So there you go, some of my favorite tool upgrades and accessories I purchased this year. You can find links to all of the them in the description along with a link to my 2017 roundup of tools under $10, which are all different and still great.

-- Donald Bell 12/14/18