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What’s New: Summer Tools for Your Home

A new crop of warm-weather problem-solvers for your home.

This article appeared in the Summer 2021 issue of This Old House Magazine. Click here to learn how to subscribe.

1. Cuts and digs

Summer 2021, What’s New, Japanese gardening knife

HoriHori Garden Tool

This updated version of a traditional Japanese gardening knife has a forked, 7-inch stainless-steel blade for planting bulbs, slicing roots, and shearing stems. Finely honed on one edge, with sharp serrations on the other, the blade is embedded in a soft-grip polymer handle with an ergonomic profile. Comes with a plastic sheath that clips on to your belt.
$25; Fiskars

2. High-speed whacker

Summer 2021, What’s New, string trimmer

M18 Brushless String Trimmer Kit

Spinning at speeds of up to 6,200 rpm, this 9.1-pound trimmer can run for an hour on one charge as it makes a wide, 16-inch cutting swath. Fitting the optional attachments to its shaft can convert it to a chainsaw, pruner, hedge trimmer, or edger.
$249, battery and charger included; Milwaukee

TOH Pro Tip

“Wide rings of mulch around trees will keep a string trimmer from getting too close and scoring the bark.” —Jenn Nawada, landscape contractor

3. No key needed

Summer 2021, What’s New, smart padlock for a shed

Tapplock one+

It works like an ordinary padlock to secure sheds and outbuildings, but this waterproof, biometric model opens without a key. Instead, you use a smartphone, your fingerprint, or tap in a custom code. The stainless-steel shackle and rechargeable battery function from 149°F to -4°F.
$99; Tapp

4. Protects weathered wood

Summer 2021, What’s New, water-repellent wood stain

WoodForce

Like the look of natural wood siding, fences, or railings as they age—but not the decay that comes with it? This penetrating, water-repellent coating guards against rot and blackening so that the wood will weather to a uniform color. Two coats, brushed or sprayed on to vertical surfaces, last four to six years. Comes in clear—or in 27 tints.
From $55 per gallon; Sansin

5. Find studs, and more

Summer 2021, What’s New, stud finder

SuperScan Kx Series Studfinders

New scanning technology enables tools in this series to find the edges, centers, and direction of studs and joists, identify metal and plastic pipes, and alert you to live wires.

From $41; Zircon

6. Zero turns, with zero emissions

Summer 2021, What’s New, riding lawnmower
LED lights in the front, rear, and sides extend mowing times well past sunset.

EGO Power+ Z6 Zero-Turn Riding Mower

Four 56-volt batteries give this 42-inch mower the same power as a 22-hp gas engine, a cutting speed of up to 7 mph, and the “stamina” to mow up to two acres on a single charge. (For bigger lawns, add up to two more batteries.) Recharges in just 2 hours.
$4,999; Ego