Go-To Vendors


Classic, great outlets for gifts

Still hunting for the perfect gadgety gift? Looking to treat yourself to what you actually want but didn’t know you need? You’re bound to find something truly wonderful with one of these stores or catalogs previously reviewed in Cool Tools. I read magazines and blogs. I enjoy reviews and recommendations. Sometimes the best stuff materializes via happenstance clicking, especially if you know where to look.

— Steven Leckart

X-Treme Geek


Like its competitor Think Geek, X-treme Geek favors products that are high tech, slightly unusual, maybe hackable, and certainly ingenious. However X-treme has a wider range of stuff than Think Geek… — KK

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McMaster-Carr Online Catalog


The best way to describe McMaster is to say that they carry everything you need to build anything. Items that you could normally only order through factory distributors, or materials that could only be ordered in large quantities, are easily available in any size and quantity, no matter how small. (No minimum order, either!) Their prices are excellent and they tend to only carry good merchandise… — Alexander Rose

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The Japanese consumer often gets futuristic gadgets years before the American does. For those who can’t wait, imports advance Japanese goods. Their prices include appropriate duties, warrantees and modifications for the US market; for that service they charge about 30% more than the same device would demand in the Akihabara electronics mall of Tokyo. specializes in ultra-lightweight laptops (like the coveted Libretto) and ultra-small digital cameras. Tomorrow’s technology today. — KK

Available at



The most he-man cool tool catalog I’ve come across yet. Gemplers began by supplying the hardware needs of commercial farmers. It now also serves gentleman farmers and dude ranchers, and anyone else working outside — like contractors, surveyors, landscapers and groundskeepers. The catalog is huge: 563 pages of outdoor gear and heavy-duty tools that real men covet. Many of these tools are specialized or little known. Not just another industrial supply catalog, it’s the ultimate backyard wishbook. Their service is good. — KK

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Harbor Freight Catalog


Both a web presence and a store chain with a mail order catalog, Harbor Freight imports really inexpensive machine, automotive and woodworking tools from the People’s Republic of China. It’s the first place to go for tools which are needed for one project but you don’t anticipate a huge use for afterwards… — Thayer G.

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Related items previously reviewed in Cool Tools:

Google Catalogs

Guides to Gear

A Review of Review Sites