Professional-grade tape measures like this one deliver much more value and working life than cheap tapes. Watch the video torture test of this tape being run over by a truck. (Photo by Robert Maxwell)

Professional-grade tape measures like this one deliver much more value and working life than cheap tapes. Watch the video torture test of this tape being run over by a truck. (Photo by Robert Maxwell)

HouseWorks: Help choosing holiday gifts

Need help choosing gifts for the handy people on your holiday list? I make it a point to test as many tools and gizmos as possible during the year, so perhaps my experiences can help you. Let me start with something that’s ideal for anyone who owns a vehicle.

Maxwell-Approved Inflator

Cars and trucks naturally lose about 1 psi of tire air each month, and not everyone wants to rely on a service station for top-ups. The DEWALT DCC020IB 20V Max Inflator is an excellent tool that I’ve used many times over the last few years for pumping up the many tires in my life. It uses the same 20V cordless batteries that fit other DEWALT tools, it’s portable, works fast and keeps on pumping for a long time on a single battery charge. The only drawback is that the DCC020IB does not come with a battery or charger. Any loved one on your list with existing DEWALT cordless tools probably already owns a battery and charger that will work with this inflator. You can also buy these things separately, too. The DCC020IB comes with several hoses and attachments that allow inflation of air mattresses, balloons and sports balls, too. Cost ranges from $170 to $180 from Canadian online retailers.

Really Cool Tape Measure

Milwaukee is a tool brand that’s aimed at professionals, but more and more discerning homeowners and serious hobbyists are getting hooked on the quality and toughness of the legendary red and black name.

I’ve owned and used quite a few Milwaukee tools over the years, and their tape measures are particularly impressive.

As with all tape measures, you can get them in different lengths and configurations, but Milwaukee quality remains consistent across the board, as you can see in a video I made.

A while back I wanted to see if the legendary toughness of Milwaukee tapes was up to the challenge of being driven over by my half-ton pickup truck. If you give away any Milwaukee tapes this year, have your phone handy when the present gets opened. I think your loved one will be impressed by watching my tape test at baileylineroad.com/26265. Milwaukee tape measures sell for $30 to $70 in Canada, depending on length and style. There are certainly cheaper brands out there, but please don’t give anyone a cheap tape measure and think you’re doing them a favour.

Up-and-Coming TV Brand

My grade four teacher was named Miss Lalonde and during our school year together she bought a brand new white Toyota Corolla. A year later visible rust streaks were running down the doors. A year after that, you could put your finger through holes in the bottom of the rocker panels. Fast forward 45 years and Toyota makes some of the most reliable, longest lasting, most rust-resistant vehicles on the road. My 16 year old Toyota has 362,000 km on the clock right now, yet still looks great (no rust) and drives like the day it was new. All this is to point out that the amazing brands of the world don’t usually pop out of nowhere. The best brands are intentionally grown into quality over time, but only if the right people are in charge. It seems to me that the Hisense brand of electronics must have the right kind of people behind it. While this brand is ‘Made in China’, the quality of things from this country is on a steady upward trend. The 65î Hisense H78G Series TV we have at our house is a case in point. It’s a smart, full-featured, high-definition model, yet considerably less expensive than comparable brands that have been around longer. If this gift is too big to buy for someone on your list, you might consider it for yourself.

Steve Maxwell has cool new things arriving at his shop for testing every week. Want to ask a question about a particular gift idea you have? Contact Steve at steve@stevemaxwell.ca for personal advice.

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This portable, cordless air pump is useful for inflating tires, sports balls, balloons and air mattresses. It uses the same batteries part of all 20 volt DEWALT tools and has performed well over three years of testing my Maxwell. (Photo by Steve Maxwell)
This portable, cordless air pump is useful for inflating tires, sports balls, balloons and air mattresses. It uses the same batteries part of all 20 volt DEWALT tools and has performed well over three years of testing my Maxwell. Photo credit: Steve Maxwell

This portable, cordless air pump is useful for inflating tires, sports balls, balloons and air mattresses. It uses the same batteries part of all 20 volt DEWALT tools and has performed well over three years of testing my Maxwell. (Photo by Steve Maxwell) This portable, cordless air pump is useful for inflating tires, sports balls, balloons and air mattresses. It uses the same batteries part of all 20 volt DEWALT tools and has performed well over three years of testing my Maxwell. Photo credit: Steve Maxwell

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