Quality tools can last a lifetime and help you handle everything from day-to-day fix-it tasks to major home improvement projects. The GearLab testing team has purchased and tested hundreds of tools—everything from different styles of drills, complete tool sets to cordless leaf blowers, and much more — subjecting each to rigorous side-by-side testing to figure out which ones are worthy of a place in your garage. Our extensive testing can help you choose tools that will serve your needs for years down the line. In this article, we share the tools our experts pick for themselves and would recommend to friends and family.Editor's Note: We updated this article on July 29, 2022.
Finding the right drill is one of the most fundamental tool decisions. A quality drill will be one of your most essential workhorse tools for your household, coming in handy for repairs, DIY projects, and more. During our comprehensive drill-testing process, we drilled over 400 holes with each product and drove in over a thousand screws to help you find the best tool to meet your needs and budget. We pushed these tools to their torque and battery limits with enormous lag screws and giant hole saws and compared their ease of use before deciding on our picks.
If you plan to hang a picture, put together furniture, or tackle any DIY home projects, a cordless drill will be an indispensable tool in your lineup. If you are new to drilling, don't worry, you'll quickly get the hang of it. Below you'll find our favorite cordless drills:
Kobalt 24-volt Max 1/2-in Brushless Drill KDD 1424A-03
Milwaukee M18 Fuel 1/2" Drill Driver
If you are looking for a little more power, consider upgrading to an impact driver. These tools are a favorite for those who use their drill more frequently and need a little more oomph for their projects. These drivers are our top choices for most users:
Milwaukee M18 Fuel 2853-20
Milwaukee M12 Fuel 2553-20
We've also included our favorite drill brush sets for those who want to expand the range of drill projects to include cleaning. While using a hand brush is an entirely viable option for most projects, if you have a gnarly mess on your hands or have a large surface area to cover, you may want a little more power to back you up. To speed up any scrubbing job, these top drill brushes are going to be your best friend:
JUSONEY 23-Piece Brush Attachment Set
Drill Brush 360 Attachment Kit
Whether cutting down that Christmas tree, making a bike ramp for your kids, or trimming those annoying bushes out front, a good saw quickly becomes a can't-do-without tool. In our various saw reviews, we test for speed, cut quality, and accuracy, among other things. We put products head to head to compare performance and useability. The list below contains our best recommendations for these categories, including top performers and budget picks.
In a handsaw, effectiveness, accuracy, and cut quality are some of the most important characteristics to look for. Our testers literally sawed through hundreds of pieces of wood for our comprehensive handsaw review to evaluate these factors. These are the ones that made the task easier:
IRWIN Coarse Cut ProTouch
If you find yourself regularly taking on woodworking projects, a circular saw is essential. With batteries getting better every year, going cordless is becoming more appealing. We tested some of the best cordless circular saws available, and these are the ones that we like the most:
Milwaukee M18 2631-20
Kobalt KCS 6524B-03
Battery Powered Chainsaws
If you need to do some light trimming or cutting and don't necessarily feel the need for the power of a gas power machine, a cordless chainsaw is the way to go. We tested for noise, battery life, saw performance, and ease of use for these items. These are the ones that came out on top:
Ego Power+ CS1800
To keep any yard maintained, you need a quiver of…ummm, stuff. And nothing is more annoying than having to buy new stuff every year. To help you find the toughest and top-performing yard tools and keep you from spending hundreds each year, we tested hundreds of products from top brands and some lesser-known ones. We bought and tested many yard and garden tools to see which made it easy to maintain a clean and tidy outdoor space.
Whether you have a large yard filled with deciduous trees that drop their leaves every fall or just want to keep your patio free of dust and debris, a leaf blower can help you take care of both jobs. We recorded the power of these top leaf blowers and tested them on driveways, decks, and parking lots. These are the models that gave the best results:
Ego Power+ 615 CFM Blower LB6151
Ryobi 40V RY40460
We evaluated the cleaning stats of the top pressure washers through a battery of tests, including cleaning gutters, fence boards, driveways, wheelbarrows, and dirty trucks. These are the machines that proved to be the most useful:
Westinghouse WPX3200 Pressure Washer
Sun Joe SPX3500
If you have a yard with many tight corners and obstacles to mow around, you may also need a string trimmer to keep your grass tidy and uniform. The cordless string trimmers we tested are relatively light and convenient and are great supplementary tools for those with irregular lawns. These are the models that we like the most:
Makita XRU15PT 36V
Gas-powered mowers are no longer the only option for cutting your grass. But are you wondering if battery-powered lawn mowers stand up to the acclaim? We put that question to the test and compared the top cordless mowers on the market. Our favorites are listed below:
Last but not least, we got our workout testing snow shovels. If you live in an area that gets any amount of snow, whether it comes down by the foot or you just get a light dusting every few days, a snow shovel is a worthwhile purchase, in our opinion. Our top picks are below:
True Temper 20 Inch Aluminum
Bench Tools & Accessories
A good tool should last a very long time, which is why buying the right one is essential. Below is a hand-picked list of the best tools for your workbench, shed, or garage. How do we know? Our testers have put the top items through a long and rigorous testing process, from complete sets to stud finders, levels, and more. We aim to help you build the best tool kit possible so you can be prepared for whatever project you want to take on next. Below is a list of our top picks in each category. Enjoy!
To evaluate the best tool sets, we analyzed tool selection, quality, and the carrying case included with each pack. It is easy to accumulate more tools than you know what to do with, and our favorite sets included everything we needed and nothing we didn't. That being said, each collection has a different assortment of tools that may be useful in different scenarios. These are our favorites:
Kobalt 230-Piece Household Set
Amazon Basics 65-Piece
A stud finder is a quick and easy way to ensure accurate drilling. After all, the task of patching and repainting a misplaced hole is never enjoyable. Accuracy and ease of use take top priority in this category, and these are the stud finders that proved themselves in our testing:
Bosch Digital Multi-Scanner GMS120
Zircon StudSensor A100
When taking on larger home projects, ensuring everything is square, and level is essential. The smaller size of compact torpedo levels makes them convenient to bring along and handy for tight spaces. When testing these tools, we look at accuracy, durability, readability, and more. Listed below are the ones we would trust the most for any project:
Ideal 35-207 6" Electrician Level
Empire Level EM81.9G
A utility knife has a million and one uses and comes in handy when you need small, precise cuts. To test utility knives, we looked at sturdiness, grip, and even their ability to slide into, and stay, in your pocket. These are the knives that are the easiest to use:
LENOX Utility Knife Quick-Change
Kobalt Utility With 11 Blades
Heat guns are most commonly used to strip paint and join or bend plastic items, but you can use them for so much more. Features like an adjustable heat range, consistent output, and comfortable grip make all the difference in the perfect heat gun. These models went above and beyond in our testing:
TACKLIFE Mini Heat Gun
Of course, don't forget your good old safety glasses. Protective eyewear is essential when performing any constructive activity, from drilling to sawing to hammering. Below are the models that provide the most comprehensive protection while also being comfortable and durable.
NoCry Clear Anti Fog
SolidWork Safety Goggles
If you are not much of a woodworker and engines are more up your alley, we looked at some of the most commonly used auto-centric tools and accessories. Whether you are gearing up for a road trip or just needing to update your current kit, we can help. We bought, tested, and used each of these tools in real-life scenarios to find the products that proved to be the most useful. This included jumpstarting cars, checking our tire pressure, and comparing results to find the most reliable tools to recommend to you.
A jump starter is one of the best things to carry in the trunk. A best-in-class jump starter has more power and needs less charging, which is exactly why we connected these top jump starters to a 12-volt compressor to determine how long each battery lasted among other tests.
GOOLOO 1200A Peak
Proper tire pressure can increase gas mileage, lengthen the lifespan of your tires, and improve your car's handling. Luckily it is one of the easiest things to track and correct when it comes to vehicle maintenance. These top tire gauges proved to be the most useful in measuring tire pressure:
Accutire MS-4021 Digital
JACO ElitePro 100 PSI
What about the best car charger to get your phone powered up with the least amount of fuss? We went through the hassle of trying out several different brands so you can skip the guesswork. See below for our top picks.
Nekteck USB Type C
Anker PowerDrive 2
Finally, don't let that lead foot get the best of you. Brush up on the latest and greatest radar detectors, so you can hit those brakes just in time. These are our favorites:
We hope this list of top tools is helpful to you. Rest assured, each of our recommendations from every category is tested in full. We take the testing process very seriously and do not cut any corners. We bought every item at the store, just like you would. Unlike most review sites, we accept no manufacturer freebies. Our reviews are 100% unbiased and free of all influence.
If you like what you see here or in our full comparison reviews, tell a friend and share online. Word of mouth has always been our bread and butter.Want to get in touch? Give us a shout or a comment here. Thanks.
— GearLab Review Team
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GearLab is founded on the principle of honest, objective, reviews. Our experts test thousands of products each year using thoughtful test plans that bring out key performance differences between competing products. And, to assure complete independence, we buy all the products we test ourselves. No cherry-picked units sent by manufacturers. No sponsored content. No ads. Just real, honest, side-by-side testing and comparison.Learn More