Best Tools for Mom (7-12)

7. Leatherman's Juice C4 is a pocket-sized toolbox—with everything from needlenosed pliers for grabbing small parts where your fingers can't reach to a corkscrew for impromptu picnics. A knife, wire cutters, four screwdrivers, scissors, a small saw, and the indispensable bottle opener are also packed into the petite, 3 1/4-in. steel chassis. Price: $55; see leatherman.com for dealers.

8.The Lefty/Righty 25-ft. tape measure from FastCap clearly labels fractions down to 1/16-in. on both sides of its steel rule, so Mom doesn't have to crane her neck to read the numbers. A pencil sharpener is built into the base: an ingenious solution, considering the importance of a precision point when laying out accurate measurements. And an erasable notepad on the side of the tape measure's case is handy for jotting down numbers and notes. Price: $8 at amazon.com.

9. This 24-in. True Blue e70 level from Empire is made from aircraft-grade aluminum, so it's super lightweight, but also sturdy enough to withstand a fall from a ladder. Rubber cushions on its face and corner edges prevent the level from scratching painted walls and also give it traction when laying out lines. Price: $35; see empirelevel.com for dealers.

10. The Vise-Grip 10-in. GrooveLock pliers have a press and slide button that lets Mom quickly adjust the lower jaw around whatever she's fixin' to grip and then locks it in place. The all-purpose serrated jaws fit securely around flat, round, square, and hex-shaped workpieces. Great for grabbing pipe for plumbing repairs. Price: $22; see irwin.com for dealers.

11. The original 12-in. combination square from Starrett works as a try square for marking 45-degree miter cuts, a depth gage, a small level, and a steel rule; eliminating the need for a bunch of individual measuring and layout tools. Price: $58; see starrett.com for dealers.

12. Store it all in this sturdy and stylish bag from Klein Tools. The 12-in. canvas carrier has a hinged, steel-framed mouth that opens wide enough for Mom to see all her tools stacked neatly inside. Stitched leather handles are attached to the bag with steel rivets so they'll never snap off. And buckle closure straps keep everything secured inside. The bottom of the bag is reinforced with moisture-resistant vinyl. Price: $64; see kleintools.com for dealers.
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