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.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

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

Just Posted

As of Friday, Alberta has under 10,000 active COVID-19 cases. (Image courtesy CDC)
Alberta identifies 573 new COVID-19 cases, 13 deaths on Saturday

There are currently 9,727 active cases of the virus in the province

A firetruck sits in front of a home on Harvey Close in Red Deer Saturday afternoon. (Photo by Sean McIntosh/Advocate staff)
Firefighters respond to Red Deer fire

Red Deer firefighters responded to a blaze in the north part of… Continue reading

(Courtesy photo)
Red Deer rental prices drop slightly

Renting an apartment in Red Deer became slightly cheaper last month. Rentals.ca… Continue reading

Rylee Trippel was last seen Friday. (Photo contributed by RCMP)
Red Deer RCMP looking for missing teen

Police are looking for a teen who was last seen in the… Continue reading

The Red Deer Outreach Centre’s Adopt a Family program raised $60,000 in 2020. (Photo courtesy Red Deer Outreach Centre’s Facebook)
Red Deer Outreach Centre’s Adopt a Family program raised $60K in 2020

The executive director of the Red Deer Outreach Centre says she is… Continue reading

Former Alberta Premier Rachel Notley shakes hands with Joel Ward, former Red Deer College President and CEO, as Notley announces that the college is on the path to grant degrees. Red Deer-South MLA Jason Stephan says university status is not a necessary condition for offering degrees. (File photo by Advocate staff)
Future of Red Deer University increasingly uncertain

MLA’s college update says RDC more like SAIT and NAIT than a university

RCMP say missing teen Hope Tivendale has been found. (File photo by Advocate staff)
No foul play suspected after burned body of homeless person found in North Vancouver

VANCOUVER — A burned body, believed to be of a homeless person,… Continue reading

The central zone experienced a spike in the number of COVID-19 cases Thursday, rising from 454 to 508 active cases over the past 24 hours, with 10 people in hospital. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck)
Spartan Bioscience says Health Canada has approved its rapid COVID-19 test

TORONTO — An Ottawa company says it’s received approval from Health Canada… Continue reading

Conservative Leader Erin O'Toole holds a press conference on Parliament Hill, in Ottawa, Thursday, Dec. 10, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole defends decision to back, then oust, Sloan

OTTAWA — Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole says he was once willing to… Continue reading

Quebec Premier Francois Legault pauses as he speaks during a news conference on the COVID-19 pandemic, Thursday, Jan. 21, 2021 at the legislature in Quebec City. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jacques Boissinot
Non-essential travel ban would violate Constitution but courts might allow it: expert

MONTREAL — Fear that Quebecers will catch a new variant of COVID-19… Continue reading

A woman walks outside the Roberta Place Long Term Care home in Barrie, Ont. on Monday, January 18, 2021. The devastating toll of COVID-19 on long-term care residents in Canada has underscored the need for increased public funding for home care, advocates say. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
COVID-19 deaths in long-term care reveal need for home supports: advocates

VANCOUVER — The devastating toll of COVID-19 on long-term care residents in… Continue reading

A Chinese flag is illuminated by sunshine in the Hall of Honour on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Thursday, September 22, 2016. China is threatening retaliation against Canada after Prime Minister Justin Trudeau condemned a new security law giving Beijing more control over Hong Kong.. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Diplomats contact Canadian held for over 2 years in China

BEIJING — Canadian officials have met online with former diplomat Michael Kovrig,… Continue reading

Marc Gold (centre) stands with senators André Pratte (left) and Peter Harder before being sworn in during a ceremony in the Senate on Parliament Hill, Thursday, Dec. 1, 2016 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang
Senator urges study of vexing barriers to using secret information in court cases

OTTAWA — A Senate committee should examine the hurdles that make it… Continue reading

In this file photo, a lotto Max ticket is shown in Toronto on Monday Feb. 26, 2018. (By THE CANADIAN PRESS)
Winnipeg ticket holder wins Friday night’s $60 million Lotto Max jackpot

TORONTO — A ticket holder from Winnipeg won Friday night’s whopping $60… Continue reading

Most Read