Favorite Stuff 2017

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It's that time again!  As we rapidly approach AZ DIY Guy's 5th year, I'm sharing my 6th episode of Favorite Stuff (2013 had 2).

The stuff I feature on this list is a small selection of things I have actually used this year and and honestly recommend picking up. 

This is stuff I think a wide-eyed, DIY'ing, weekend warrior bad-ass should love to add to his/her collection. For gifts or for yourself, this stuff is AZ DIY Guy approved!

I've included Amazon.com (affiliate) links for sourcing, but you can find most of this stuff at other retailers. If you purchase anything through these links, I'll earn a modest commission to help me run the site (at no cost to you!). Thank you for your support.

A house is just a place to keep your stuff while you go out and get more stuff.

                                                                                               - George Carlin

So, in no particular order, I hereby present,...


Digital Protractor

I picked up this cool tool to build my distressed, wooden flag project. The Arizona banner, between its rays and the star, is a collision of precise angles that must be laid out perfectly to achieve proper proportions

With the precise LCD display, this little widget really helped with both the rays and the metal star. A digital protractor has been a welcome addition to my measuring and layout tools. It's also a great help with crown molding and the like, when using my miter saw. 


Keen Utility Men's Davenport Mid Waterproof Industrial and Construction Shoe

I'm not one of those weekend DIY'ers that does home improvement projects wearing flip-flops. I'm an idiot, just not that kind of idiot. I wear boots. Bad-ass boots.

I deal with foot-pain every day from a few years of cheap footwear, I don't need to create any more.  Honestly, as of today, this pair of Keen's is the most comfortable footwear of any that I own. That's why you've seen me committing the fashion faux pas wearing them with cargo shorts in nearly every project photo this year. 

Hugs for my feet

Hugs for my feet

These bad boys have composite (non-metallic) hard toes to protect your doggies. They feature: a waterproof breathable membrane, natural odor control, oil and slip resistantance, and a non-marking rubber outsole.  I'm wearing them right now. 

Also, check out the Keen Detroit shoe for a lower cut. I've been wearing them to work with khakis.  Keen has plenty of awesome shoes and boots for women, too. 


I've been a big Kreg fan since I started with the Kreg Jig Jr pocket hole jig. My love of that jig led me to choose the cabinet hardware jig when it came time to install the knobs and pulls in our kitchen. It's just so stinking ingenious and easy to use. 

Check out my review and step-by-step tutorial on how I used the jig to install knobs and pulls in our brand new cabinets without fear of making a costly mistake. 


I've been upgrading my power tools this year after selling my aging 18 volt NiCad stuff. Already investing in the DeWalt 20 volt Lithium Ion line, I started with a whole new kit and have been adding pieces throughout the year. My absolute favorite, most used, gonna have to pry-it-from-my-cold-dead-hands tool is the 20V MAX XR Li-ion 2.0 Ah Brushless 0.25" 3-Speed Impact Driver. 

It's tough as nails and has tons of power, three-speeds, compact size, and an incredible battery life. No question, my favorite of the bunch. 

New KLEIN Electrical tools

Loose in Home Depot with a gift card, burning a hole in my pocket, I paused on a whim and added to my electrician kit. All three items I grabbed were winners. I could climb into the attic with just the trio in my nail apron and take care of nearly anything. 

  • Klein Heavy Duty Wire Stripper - I really like this extra beefed up pair of wire strippers. With a heavier wire cutter and heavy nose section akin to a pair of linesman pliers, they can do the work of both tools. They retain the features of the standard pair, stripping #12 to #20 AWG wire and neatly cutting both 6/32 and 8/32 screws. They feature thick, comfortable hand grips and a serious locking mechanism.

  • Klein NCVT Non-Contact Voltage Tester with Flashlight. - This pen sized tool helps identify, troubleshoot, and safety check electrical wiring. You just poke it at the "hot" side of an outlet, or lay it on an electrical cable to get a light and audible tone. In an era of fishing a cell phone out for a flashlight, I like having the extra feature clipped to the neck of my T-shirt when I'm crawling along in the attic.

  • Klein Ratcheting Stubby Screwdriver - A pocket-sized mini-wonder, with speedy ratcheting action and the ability to fit in small spaces. This mighty mite includes #1 and #2 Phillips tips, ¼” and 3/16” Slotted tips, and ¼” and 5/16” nut drivers.

Stanley Xtreme Fubar Functional Utility Bar

Regular readers have seen me wielding this instrument of destruction for years. I've brought it out of the drawer several times in 2017 as I've been doing so much demolition. (Read my original review) I don't know how I missed it in earlier, favorite stuff lists.


It's a well-balanced demolition hammer, ripping claw, pry-bar, and nail puller that's a world champion of busting stuff up. I'm glad I bought it to help me bust up the old porch overhang back in 2013. I use it every time I need to bash, smash, and pry. 

New DeWalt Measuring Trio

DeWalt: 9' Tape Measure, Laser Distance Measurer, and 25 foot XP Tape Measure

DeWalt: 9' Tape Measure, Laser Distance Measurer, and 25 foot XP Tape Measure

I first got my hands on a couple items of these when I went to the DeWalt 2017 Tough in The South Media event this past summer.  These are cool, new measuring tools that I've gotten to put through their paces in my projects. From the left:

  • DeWalt 9ft. Magnetic Pocket Tape Measure - This little rascal is perfect for slipping in a pocket or nail apron. It's good for the close quarters stuff, especially woodworking. I love having a super compact tape in my pocket, when I inevitably lose track of the 2-4 full size tapes I have scattered around the room. It features a belt clip and a magnet to help keep track of it.

  • DeWalt 30-foot Pocket Laser Distance Measurer - I've had a lot of fun with this little widget. It actually shoots a laser point across the room and, with one touch of the button, gives a measurement on screen, accurate to 1/8 of an inch. The units can be changed, but I like to keep it on feet and inches. The best part is that it's rechargeable with a USB cable so I don't have to hunt down some odd-sized mini-battery.

  • DeWalt 25' XP Tape Measure - This is a tough as nails monster tape measure. It can handle a 60' drop! It has huge standout (13'), an oversized front hook, and a reinforced blade to prevent breakage. I love this one. There's also a 35-footer for bigger projects, and even larger coming in 2018.

Bernzomatic Trigger-Start Hose Torch

I've been a Bernzomatic Torch Bearer for a few years now and get the chance to play with a wide variety of their tools. This year, I'm adding the Trigger-Start Hose torch to my list. I really like the ability to get in tight spots without the fuel cylinder in the way. I recently used it to run a new waterline for our refrigerator. 


It's an easy to hold, lightweight handle that allows you to work with a remotely attached fuel bottle (propane, or hotter burning MAP-Pro) sitting on the side or in a belt holster. Not only have I used it for kitchen plumbing, I've also used it to remove built up paint from metal and to loosen rusted nuts and bolts outdoors.

Best of the rest

That's it for this years list, but because it's my 5th blogiversary year, I'll do a quick round-up of champions from my past Favorite Stuff lists. This is the best of that stuff, that's still in heavy action:

2016: Little Giant Adjustable Ladder - Big time stuff during the remodel

2015: DeWalt 20V XR Lithium-Ion Oscillating Multi Tool - One of my favorite tools of all time!

2014: DeWalt Right Angle Attachment - power in tight spaces (Also an "Amazon's Choice")

2013: TIE! Victorinox Swiss Army SwissTool & Kreg Jig Jr. Pocket Hole Jig System 


Want more? Here's one last bit of cool stuff. It's nothing to do with DIY, but it's one of my best new things this year. Eagle eyed readers may have noticed my Samsung Gear S3 Frontier smart watch in action. I try to remember to to take it off when I'm doing heavy DIY, but I have jumped headlong back into watch wearing and usually have it on.

I'm using this powerful wrist computer for time, weather, text messages, email, social media, fitness, music, and other apps while leaving my phone in my pocket. I swapped the silicone sports band for rugged, leather for everyday, and a dressy, black metal-link style for more formal occasions. With the always-on display, most people don't even realize it's a digital watchface. I can even talk on the phone through it like Dick Tracy. 


One of the coolest things is the Samsung Pay feature. I stroll up to nearly any cash register with a card-swipe thingie and hold out my wrist. The clerk usually says, "Oh, sorry we don't take,.. <BLOOP!>... oh,..cool, it worked." Grand fun. Using it earns points for gift cards and stuff.

The S3 is pretty big for a woman, the smaller S2 might be a better fit. 


Happy Stuff everyone!