Every year you’ll see a number of holiday “gimmick” items gracing shelves about this time of year, stocked by folks who hope you’ll find ’em tempting — especially if you’re looking for a gift for someone who has lots of tools. The “features” seem to set the tool apart from others, many of which your giftee will likely already own.
Two years ago it was the Black & Decker Autotape. Is it junk? No. It does exactly what the box says it’ll do. But in our experience — and the experience of a number of friends who got them as gifts over the last few years — the battery dies quickly, and then it lies in a drawer unused.
Instead, consider purchasing a basic, high-quality tool that’ll give service for years. You can pick up a super-nice short tape — like, for example, the Stanley Bostitch 16′ pictured above — for $20 or even less with some careful shopping. And even if your favorite Toolmonger already owns a short tape, it never hurts to have two. Or three. In short, it’s the kind of gift that’ll always bring a smile because a) it’s useful, b) it’ll remain useful for years, and c) it’s thoughtful.