It’s the time of year when people start thinking about gratitude. Feeling thankful for your friends, family members — humans and pets — good health and a place to live is great. But what about the tools that help you patch up your abode when things go wrong? Tools that help you conquer DIY projects with surprising ease and reduce the number of frantic phone calls to your token handy friend?
The list below compiles some of the tools we definitely couldn’t have done without this year. After reading it, you’ll probably discover these essentials helped you out, too — or could have.
Instead of buying a huge set of various-sized wrenches and only using one or two of them, buy an adjustable wrench instead. Quickly change the tool to fit nuts and bolts as needed when doing tasks around the house, and use it on cars and bikes, too. Cost: $15-20
When it comes to figuring out if a piece of furniture would fit in your sitting room, eyeballing the area isn’t good enough. A tape measure lets you verify dimensions in seconds. Cost: $6-20
Drains get clogged even when you’re careful to prevent it. When that problem inevitably happens, drain augers let you target the junk and avoid calling a plumber. Cost: $25 and up
Need to change a light bulb or get cobwebs out of a far corner of a ceiling? Both of those common tasks are next to impossible without a trusty ladder. Cost: $15-40
When it’s time to investigate an issue under the sink or see if your cat playfully batted a missing screw under the bed, a headlamp gives you the visibility necessary to see clearly in dark areas while keeping your hands free. Cost: $10-25
Essential for helping you break into theft-resistant packaging — and preventing you from angrily muttering, “But I bought it, so the manufacturer shouldn’t be trying to keep me from getting to the goods!” — utility knives have dozens of other uses, too. Once you buy one, you’ll wonder how you got by without it. Cost: $5 and up
Many of the pieces of furniture sold by mass-market retailers, including IKEA, require hex keys to assemble. Hex keys are sometimes included, but those don’t always work on every piece, making it necessary to buy your own. Cost: $6 and up
Rather than depending on liquid fuel, the ArcLighter uses rechargeable lithium-ion batteries to provide a heat source you can use to light the fireplace, a grill or even birthday candles. Cost: $36.99
This gadget screws into a conventional spigot and connects to your home’s Wi-Fi network, along with up to four hoses. Use it to schedule timed watering sessions for up to four areas of your lawn. Cost: $149.88
Got a gouged wall that’s making you grimace? These drywall repair clips compress into the wall and feature tabs to make the patch perfectly flush with the wall — giving you admirable results. Cost: $8.99-29.99
Research indicates the average household spends over $1,300 on electricity each year, and many of the biggest power drainers are appliances you probably use throughout the day. Advanced power strips could help you cut back on usage, because they reduce standby power and automatically cut off peripheral devices when a main appliance powers down. Cost: $24.99 and up
Even if you’ve read up on indoor flood prevention measures, it’s still smart to have a tool that can do damage control if you’re not home or are otherwise unaware of an issue. Try the WaterCop, which installs near your main water line and cuts the flow after detecting moisture. Cost: Approximately $500 for water main shutoff tool and flood sensors
This surprisingly inexpensive leveling tool acts as a freestanding and handheld laser. The horizontal and vertical bubbles ensure accurate outcomes during DIY tasks, and the included adhesive strips help the cube stay attached to a flat surface. Cost: $14.97
Use this convenient gadget to place a picture on an empty wall, mark the desired place for it and mount the artwork without mistakes. Decorations fill homes with personality, and this hanging helper minimizes the sinking feeling of thinking you hung a picture perfectly, then stepping back from the wall and realizing you were wrong. Cost: $15.14
Marketed as the world’s smartest toolbox, this high-tech storage solution has an internal battery that powers two USB power outlets. It also boasts three AC power ports, a pair of 20-watt speakers, a hidden mobile phone compartment and a detachable LED lamp that offers four hours of battery life. Cost: $299.00 — but currently back-ordered due to high demand
These are the tools that made domestic duties more bearable this year, and we won’t be embarrassed about expressing gratitude for them — albeit silently — around the dinner table before digging into a Thanksgiving meal. If you don’t already have all or most of these tools, it’s probably time to expand your holiday wish list.