With these clever helpers, you won't have to schlep out to the garage every time you need a tool
My family's favorite hammer had a hollow handle filled with graduated sizes of slotted screwdrivers, all nested together like a Russian doll. It lived among the family clutter in a kitchen drawer, alongside a rusty wrench, some featureless pliers, and a ragtag bunch of other gadgets. Dad might reach for one on occasion, but in truth, they were everyone's tools.
That's the nature of good kitchen-drawer tools. They arrive as they're needed—for tacking up picture hooks, say, or unscrewing a light fixture to change a burned-out bulb—and stick around only if they're compact, easy to use, and versatile. Anything too big, too specialized, or too fussy quickly ends up in the big toolbox in the garage.
Our collection took years to assemble. But you can jump-start the process with our handpicked lineup, which just happens to include nifty little gifts for anyone.
Why gnaw off a loose thread when you can sever it neatly with these petite, spring-loaded snippers? They're also good for cutting twine on recycling day or trimming the ribbon on a just-wrapped package. About $18, Garrett Wade
A "razor" with a stiff plastic blade can remove sticker goo from dishes or scrape a glass cooktop without scratching the delicate surface. About $4 for five blades and a holder, Lee Valley & Veritas
The Golden Retriever looks like a 7 ½-inch-long LED flashlight. But it telescopes to 22 inches, and its lighted tip has a built-in magnet strong enough to pick up a ferrous 5-pound object—or that key ring you dropped behind the sofa. About $20, Duluth Trading Company
About the size of a key, the 1-ounce Screwz-All contains four tiny screwdrivers on a ring. The number 2 flat and Phillips heads turn common screws; the number ones twist those little fasteners on toys, electronics, and spectacles. About $6, Duluth Trading Company
Duct tape fixes everything (or so we'd like to believe), but those silvery rolls are too big for most drawers. The new 1-inch-wide Gorilla Tape is stronger and stickier than run-of-the-mill duct tape, yet you can still tear it by hand. About $3, Gorilla Glue
Next time you're tempted to grab a butter knife, reach for the painter's 6-in-1 tool instead. Use it to scrape baked-on food from a casserole or pop the top of a baking-powder can with the lid-prying tab. About $5, Hyde
Save yourself from squinting with the 31⁄2-inch-long Magnifier Tweezers, which put tiny splinters in plain view with an integral 5x quartz-lens magnifying glass. About $7, Lee Valley & Veritas
If you want a glue that will stick to anything (and who doesn't?), go with polyurethane. Rhino Ultra Glue will steady that wobbly chair leg or stick the handle back on a favorite coffee mug. About $8, Rockler Woodworking and Hardware
Macho home-center tape measures are more than you need to mark off the right size paper for a grade-school art project. This skinny 6-foot tape is a convenient size for everyday use, and its hardwood sheath looks pretty, too. About $36, Dixon Tape and Rule Co.
A Japanese-style pry bar is made for removing delicate trim and digging out nails. But it has more pedestrian uses, too, like scraping a pan, chopping up bagged ice, or prying open paint cans. About $15, Estwing
The Pocket Hammer's sweet 7-inch handle and 6-ounce head make it just right for everyday jobs such as tacking up picture hooks or burying a popped nailhead. About $12, Lee Valley & Veritas
When you need a pinch in a pinch, good old slip-joint pliers are better than your fingers (or teeth). These have cushioned handles that allow you to give them a firm, no-slip squeeze even with slick hands. About $5, Lowes
Normally you'd need a foot-long adjustable wrench to turn nuts and bolts up to 11⁄3 inches across, but the WideAzz does it in a 6-inch package. We were offended by the name, too, until we used it to tighten a loose toilet seat. About $25, Channellock Tools
Combining the bubble-pack-opening usefulness of a box cutter with the safety of a pocket knife, this utility blade folds closed, so you won't get cut when you're rummaging in the drawer. About $20, Klein Tools
A power screwdriver is handy only if it has the bits you need. This Velcro-sealed pouch stores 21 hex-shank bits, including 10 of the most needed (and most likely to go missing) #2 Phillips. $20, Bosch Tools
Light and easy to use, this kitchen-drawer driver has a long-lived 3.6-volt lithium-ion battery. The handle pivots for tight spaces or straightens into a 10-inch stick. About $70, Hitachi Power Tools