With Fathers Day rapidly approaching, it is time to start thinking about Fathers Day gifts. If your Dad enjoys spending his time out in the garage fixing up the family’s cars, then here are the Top Ten Tools that he will love to have in his toolbox. All of these tools are items that the team here at Check Engine turns to regularly when we need to work on our cars, and we can vouch for their quality and value. We have also included a variety of both common and specialized tools at a range of different price points, giving you plenty of options to find the right Fathers Day gift for Dad.
1 – 10″ KNIPEX Cobra Pliers
A pair of good pliers is always handy around the garage, and we’ve found that KNIPEX makes the best pliers around. This German company has been in business for over 135 years and manufactures all of its tools at its plant in Wuppertal. Not only will this high-quality tool last forever, but the KNIPEX Cobra’s unique adjustment system makes it far easier to use than traditional channel lock pliers. Further, the sharp teeth mean that this set of pliers will not slip off no matter how hard the job is. A KNIPEX Cobra will be the tool Dad will reach for first when he needs to tighten a nut.
2 – Wera Zyklop Speed ½-Inch Ratchet
When working on cars, it is difficult to overestimate the value of a good ½-inch drive ratchet. Pretty much every job, big or small, calls for a ratchet, so this tool is one that Dad is sure to appreciate. Not only is Wera another German company that manufactures nearly indestructible tools that come with a lifetime warranty, but its Zyklop ratchet has a few special tricks up its sleeve. Unlike normal ratchets, the Zyklop has a full 180-degrees swivel head, allowing it to squeeze into the tightest places and even be used as a screwdriver. Further, the large buttons are easy to use even with greasy hands or when wearing gloves.
3 – Harbor Freight ICON Box Wrench Set
Although you can use a ratchet for nearly anything, sometimes a good box end wrench can make the job easier. These slim tools can slip into tight spots, and their solid steel construction gives better durability when wrestling with a tight bolt. While you can spend a lot of money on a top-shelf box wrench set, we’ve found that Harbor Freight’s ICON brand offers the best bang for the buck. They might not say “made in Germany,” but Dad won’t be disappointed to have these quality tools in his toolbox – just make sure to get a Metric set and not an SAE one unless Dad likes working on old American muscle cars.
4 – Milwaukee M18 ½-inch Impact Wrench
When it comes to automotive power tools, the number one item on the list is a powerful impact wrench. Not to be confused with normal power drills, an impact wrench delivers high torque to break loose any fastener and will let Dad change a tire in a matter of seconds. Today, the top impact wrenches are battery-powered, and Milwaukee’s M18 Fuel battery system is the best of the bunch. The same batteries used in Milwaukee’s ½-inch Impact Wrench can also be used to power a wide variety of other garage tools, making things even easier for Dad.
5 – Milwaukee M18 ROVER Flood Light
Among the over 200 Milwaukee power tools that use the M18 Fuel battery system, one of the most useful is the ROVER Flood Light. Garages aren’t usually the best-lit places, and it can be difficult to see well when you are under a car – unless you have a powerful LED floodlight. There are a lot of ultra-bright lighting options available today, but the convenience of sharing batteries between lights and power tools means that Milwaukee’s M18 Fuel system again comes out on top. The 1500 lumens and 10-hour runtime of the ROVER Flood Light make this an even better option for making Dad’s DIY life easy.
6 – Harbor Freight 4 Lb Dead Blow Hammer
At only $11.99, this tool is the most affordable one on our Father’s Day tool list, but that doesn’t mean Dad won’t love it. Sometimes, parts need to be pounded into place, and a good dead blow hammer can do that without causing damage or bouncing off. Harbor Freight’s 4-pound hammer is our go-to for this type of work. Not only does it have a low price tag, but its bright neon orange color means that Dad won’t lose it in his pile of tools.
7 – Wiha SoftFinish Screwdriver Set
One of the most used tools in any toolbox, a good screwdriver set is indispensable and often overlooked in favor of flashier tools. For our screwdrivers, we like to turn to Wiha, another old German company. The chrome-vanadium-molybdenum hardened steel construction and hard chrome finish of their tools make them last forever, while the SoftFinish cushioned grip is ergonomic and comfortable. Plus, unlike many lesser tools, the precision-manufactured tips will not damage screws. A Wiha screwdriver set will be something that Dad can count on for years to come.
8 – Tape Measures and Zip Ties
Not every tool needs to last forever for Dad to love it – in fact, there are many “disposable” items that he will love to have more of. Two of our top picks here are tape measures and zip ties. A big bag of zip ties will come in handy for almost any DIY task around the garage or around the house, letting Dad hold things in place while working on them. Of course, zip ties are one-time use, so having a whole bunch of them will make things easier. Tape measures aren’t one-time use, but given how often they get lost, it may seem like it at times. It is a rare mechanic who can’t find a use for another tape measure.
9 – Fluke 1AC II Non-Contact Voltage Tester
If Dad is the type who works with electricity, then a non-contact voltage tester is a must. This critical safety tool will allow him to check for the presence of voltage before putting his hands on a live wire, preventing a lot of potential pain and even injury. Our favorite non-contact voltage tester is the Fluke 1AC II. Not only is Fluke our go-to for most electrical equipment, but the 1AC II is reliable, easy to use, and can detect a much wider range of voltages than most competing products.
10 – Creeper
Sometimes referred to as a human dolly by non-mechanics, a creeper is any form of wheeled rest that can be used to roll around the garage. There are two main types – seats and backboards. Seat-style creepers are useful for working in the wheel wells or engine bay, while a backboard-style creeper is indispensable for working under a car. Which exact creeper is right for Dad will depend a lot on what he will be comfortable on, so shop around for something that is the right size to fit him (and his garage) properly and has the right amount of padding for his taste.