1. Sidewinder Pliers, by Lee Valley
An exact replica of a tool from the 1870s, these cast-carbon-steel pliers have a serpentine handle that works as a fulcrum, making them perfect for pulling tacks or brads. And if you snap one off, the teeth are sharp enough to snip it flush with the floor. About $15; leevalley.com
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3. 18V LXDT06Z Quick-Shift Mode 3-Speed Impact Driver, by Makita
Impact drivers pack a powerful punch but often leave behind a trail of stripped screws and split boards. This one automatically reduces impact force and rotation speed in the final seconds of driving for a level of control you’d otherwise look for in a less powerful drill/driver. About $180 (tool only); makitausa.com
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4. Carvex 420 series Jigsaw, by Festool
Handling curves doesn’t get any easier: The motor adapts its speed to the material; a blower clears dust from your cutline; and LEDs synchronize with the blade, creating the illusion that it’s stationary and making it easier to guide. About $350; festooljigsaws.com
5. 23-Gauge Pin Nailer, by Bosch
Anyone who has ever installed a stretch of molding only to discover that the gun has been firing nothing but compressed air for, oh, the past 5 minutes will cherish a nailer that stops when the magazine is empty. Not that we’ve ever made that mistake. About $160; boschtools.com
6. Wobble Ratchet, by Craftsman
Nothing is so aggravating as trying to turn a bolt in confined quarters—unless the head of your ratchet swivels on its axis, like this one does; it’s a long-overdue design fix. The telescoping handle lets the tool slip into tight spots. About $40 for a 30-piece set; craftsman.com
7. ProSensor 710, by Franklin Sensors Inc.
No more sweeping back and forth to find both sides of a stud: 13 sensors work simultaneously, illuminating every LED over a stud and taking the guesswork out of finding its center. Works nearly as well on lath-and-plaster as drywall. Best of all? It actually works. About $60; franklinsensors.com
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