Some of the best tool gifts of 2019

It can be daunting to buy a tool as a gift for someone who really knows his or her way around a workshop or garage. We’re here to help. Consumer Reports has spent thousands of hours testing hundreds of tools, ranging from cordless drills to string trimmers. And we have some great choices from our tests that won’t break the bank.

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Here, we highlight some of the best tool gifts of 2020, with an emphasis on models that blend solid performance, unique features, and value within their respective type. 

And if you’re thinking of including some extras with your gift, you may be pleasantly surprised: “If you look, you can almost always find good deals on tools and outdoor power equipment that are bundled with extras like bits for a drill or an extra battery for an electric string trimmer,” says Courtney Pennicooke, CR’s market analyst for cordless drills and outdoor power equipment. 

For information on all sorts of tools, see our comprehensive buying guides and test ratings for chainsawscordless drillslawn mowersleaf blowerspressure washerssnow blowers, and string trimmers

Read on for the 10 best tool gifts of 2020.

Gas Chainsaw
Ryobi RY3818

For anyone who loves to cut firewood or fell the occasional tree or limb, a chainsaw is a must. This Ryobi is a solid bet as a gift. It costs about half of what you’d pay for similar models from other brands, and it gets our top rating of Excellent for its solid safety features. It has metal bucking spikes, a chain brake, a protective case, and a protective sheath for the blade.

Quick Take

Ryobi RY3818

Price: $170

Safety
Cutting speed
Handling
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20-Volt Cordless Drill
DeWalt DCD 991P2
A cordless drill is the most crucial tool for any weekend warrior because you’ll need it for everything from building bookcases to hanging cabinets. We haven’t seen a better drill than this 20-volt model from DeWalt. It not only is exceptionally powerful but also comes with two 5.0-amp-hour batteries, which means it can run a really long time, enough to drive about 400 screws. Those batteries can also be used to power any 20-volt tool DeWalt makes; that list has grown to more than 200 models, including circular saws, impact drivers, and work lights. 

Quick Take

DeWalt DCD991P2

Price: $280

Power
Speed
Run time
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12-Volt Cordless Drill
Ridgid R82005K

Even though they’re smaller, in the past decade 12-volt cordless drills have gotten exponentially better, largely driven by improvements in lithium-ion batteries. This slim, pistol-gripped tool from Ridgid is plenty capable, with the strength to hang cabinets, build a bookcase, or mount a TV to the wall. And at just 2.6 pounds, it’s just over half the weight of some of the brawnier 18- or 20-volt drills. This model is a Home Depot exclusive and one of the best values in its category.

Quick Take

Ridgid R82005K

Price: $85

Power
Speed
Run time
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Battery-Powered Lawn Mower
Ego LM2101

For years, battery-powered mowers were anything but powerful. This Ego battery-powered push mower is the first we tested that offers performance that’s on a par with gas models. It can cut up to about ½ acre of grass on a single charge, and better still, the price has dropped by about $200 since we first tested it several years ago.

Quick Take

Ego LM2101

Price: $400

Evenness
Mulching
Side discharging
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Zero-Turn-Radius Riding Lawn Mower
John Deere Z345R-42

This 22-hp zero-turn riding mower from John Deere is the biggest splurge on our list. It has a top cutting speed of 7 mph, and it’ll handle nimbly around any property and cut beautifully, too. Wrapped in a big red ribbon, it’s a tough gift to top for someone with a sizable yard.

Quick Take

John Deere Z345R-42

Price: $2,800

Evenness
Side discharging
Handling
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Battery-Powered Backpack Leaf Blower
GreenWorks BPB60L510

Backpack leaf blowers like this model from GreenWorks are a nice step up from handheld blowers because the weight is distributed to your back, so your arms don’t get tired when working in a larger yard. This blower is also battery-powered, meaning it runs quieter than a gas version, and the battery can be used in other GreenWorks outdoor tools, including its lawn mower.

Quick Take

GreenWorks BPB60L510

Price: $250

Sweeping
Loosening
Handling and ease of use
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Electric Pressure Washer
Craftsman 99016

This Craftsman electric pressure washer is a reasonably priced tool that’s every bit as effective at cleaning up a salt-covered car in winter as it is powering through crud on a deck or walkway come spring. It’s cheaper than many of the models in our ratings and cleans better than some gas-powered models, too.

Quick Take

Craftsman 99016

Price: $140

Cleaning
Power
Ease of use
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Two-Stage Gas Snow Blower
Troy-Bilt Storm 2665

This Troy-Bilt two-stage gas snow blower hits the sweet spot as a gift. It’s a third of the price of machines in our tests that don’t clear snow nearly as well. Plus it has multiple clearing speeds, an electric start, and a headlight, all nice features to find at this price.

Quick Take

Troy-Bilt Storm 2665

Price: $800

Removal speed
Plow pile removal
Throwing distance
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Single-Stage Gas Snow Blower
Troy-Bilt Squall 179E

If you don’t live in a region with heavy snow, this single-stage gas snow blower, also from Troy-Bilt, is an excellent value. It’s among the cheapest models of its kind but still packs a punch, helping it clear up to 9-inch-deep snow in a single pass. This model has an electric start and a single headlight.

Quick Take

Troy-Bilt Squall 179E

Price: $450

Removal speed
Plow pile removal
Throwing distance
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Gas String Trimmer
Troy-Bilt TB35 EC

This Troy-Bilt straight-shaft string trimmer is about half the price of competitive models, and it tackles tall grass and weeds with ease. It also turns in solid performance at trimming and edging along a patio or walkway. 

Quick Take

Troy-Bilt TB35 EC

Price: $130

Trimming
Edging
Tall grass and weeds
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