Money Saving Eco-Friendly Tools Gift Guide

ratchet wrench set
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‘Tis the season for making gift lists and taking environmental action. This year, vow to marry those two goals.

Real Metal Tools

While there are many high-tech options for going green, sometimes the simplest tools are the most environmentally friendly.

There are two primary ways to be an eco-friendly shopper. The first is to look for natural and recyclable materials. The second is to identify quality.

Sourcing materials for products requires a lot of resources. Thinking of clothing, for example, cotton requires land and water. It then goes through a manufacturing process that uses more water and electricity while producing waste.

When it comes to filling the toolbox, look for heavy-duty metal and avoid anything plastic.

A comprehensive wrench set is a standard necessity and is pretty easy to find. However, watch the packaging as many of them come in a plastic holder or organizer.

Look for something like this TEKTON Combination Wrench Set. It earned a nearly-perfect 5-star average from over 3,800 reviews where people speak of the high quality, comfort, and function. Choose between 15-piece sets in standard or metric. Select the pouch option to avoid the plastic holder.

Also check out this VCT 1" Drive Deep Impact Socket Set which features 10-pc. 1 in. drive sockets SAE 7/8, 1", 1 1/8", 1 1/4", 1 3/8", 1 1/2", 1 5/8", 1 3/4", 1 7/8", 2". All pieces come in a durable metal storage case.

This JEGS 10-Piece Impact Socket Set also comes in a metal case with no additional plastic inserts, which is incredibly difficult to find even with mainstream and high-end brands.

ratchet set in blue box

Tool Boxes

In order to keep an assortment of tools clustered together, place them in a long-last metal toolbox. Note that metal is heavier than plastic and when filled with more metal, it gets heavy in a hurry.

Rather than trying to stuff all tools into a single toolbox, separate them by type and put them in a smaller one like this very affordable BIG RED TB102 Torin 16" Hip Roof Style Portable Steel Tool Box with Metal Latch Closure. It’s highly rated and made of alloy steel.

If you want to put an assortment of items in the same carrying case, check out the BIG RED 18" Tool Box,Portable Steel / Metal Locking Toolbox Organizer with 5 Cantilever Tool with five trays for separating screwdrivers from wrenches and pliers.

multi-level toolbox


Another way to help the environment is to rely on tools that serve more than one purpose. Avoid the ultra-specific tools that will be used infrequently if you can find a quality alternative that will do that job and others.

Simply minimizing the number of unnecessary tools cuts back on material and resource requirements as well as costs, but when choosing multi-use items make sure to look for quality and plastic-free design.

The Leatherman Wingman Multi Tool is the granddaddy of multitools. It’s a trusted brand for a reason with a longstanding record of quality and durability. Even those sold on Amazon today are averaging 5-star ratings after over 8,000 reviews.

It features 14 tools including a neat little gadget for opening tough-to-access packaging and is proudly made in the USA in Portland, Oregon. Leatherman provides a 25-year warranty which stands as a testament against cheaper brands that may not last.

While a multi-tool might be just what you’re looking for, keep an eye out for other types of tools that tackle many tasks. We’re talking about things like the ever-popular Dremel.

Unfortunately, you’ll have to watch for plastic cases, but the Dremel 8240 12V Cordless Rotary Tool Kit with Variable Speed is organized into a fabric bag instead. The many attachments allow you to cut door trim, file the dog’s nails, make jewelry, perform leatherwork, etch glass, carve pumpkins, or create wood art.

It tackles the jobs of cutting, sanding, grinding, and sharpening.

One tool with many attachments is more efficient and cost effective than a variety of separate tools. The PORTER-CABLE Oscillating Multi-Tool Kit is another example of that.

The well-regarded brand offers a basic oscillating tool that is equipped with a variety of attachments to meet your needs for DIY tasks around the house and beyond. This is great for a new homeowner, child moving away from home, or professional contractor.

power tool with carrying bag

Kitchen Tools

If your gift recipient is an avid cook or baker, focus on kitchen tools that will help the process along in an environmentally-friendly way.

Use glass, metal, or silicone muffin tins and baking sheets. All of these materials are durable and long-lasting for a lifetime of use without the need to replace them. Check out this Aluminum Nordic Ware 3 Piece Baker's Delight Set, which includes three sizes for baking meats, roasting vegetables, and making cookies.

Top your gift off with the Amazon Basics Silicone Baking Mat Set to protect the trays and make cleanup a breeze.

Go with cast iron skillets for cookware. A single, properly cared for cast iron skillet will last generations. There are a couple of primary brands, each of which produce quality goods. Lodge is perhaps the most well known and this Lodge L8SK3 10-1/4-Inch Pre-Seasoned Skillet is a good place to start.

cast iron pan

Lawn Tools

Perhaps the biggest impact towards reducing carbon emissions from your home tools is through eliminating gas-powered lawn and garden helpers.

Moving to tools powered by electrical cord or rechargeable battery means zero emissions. Oftentimes, these tools are quieter than their gas-powered counterparts too. There are typically less parts to worry about repairing and maintaining so they make a thoughtful gift on many levels.

When looking for tools that require a rechargeable battery, note that batteries are an expensive part of the equation so still with one brand whenever possible. That way you can swap out the same batter from the leaf blower to the edger.

Electric Chainsaw

If you have someone in your life who frequently cuts logs into rounds for firewood, branch removal, or woodworking, an electric chainsaw provides an effective way to get the job done.

Fortunately, they are getting easier to find and since they’ve been on the market for a while, you can read feedback from actual customers.

The EGO Power+ CS1604 16-Inch 56-Volt Lithium-ion Cordless Chainsaw is a prime example of an environmentally-focused brand that’s getting it done.

They have an assortment of tools in different categories so you can swap the battery between them and use the same charger if you have more than one battery.

You can buy the chainsaw with or without the battery for this reason.

This chainsaw has a 16-inch bar length that can tackle most home jobs. The same brand offers an 18-inch option too.

electric chainsaw

Electric Leaf Blower

Although raking leaves by hand is both the healthiest and most environmentally-friendly option, since we’re talking about gift giving here, powering up the process will be appreciated.

Again, if your recipient already has products of a certain brand, stick with it. But if they don't, one highly-rated option is the Makita XBU03SM1 18V LXT® Lithium-Ion Brushless Cordless Blower Kit. It comes with a charger and a battery so they can begin building their battery-powered arsenal more affordably moving forward.

Going back to the previous mention, the EGO Power+ LB6504 650 CFM Variable-Speed 56-Volt Lithium-ion Cordless Leaf Blower is highly-rated and would make a nice bundle with the chainsaw.

Another option worth mentioning is a corded leaf blower at a much lower price point. It’s still highly rated and will get the job without fuels, however since it uses a cord, it may not be as versatile. The AVID POWER 12Amp 600CFM Electric Leaf Blower offers variable speeds, a comfort grip, and a light five-pound weight.

electric leaf blower

Lawn Mower

Go big on the gift giving with a quiet and emissions-free alternative in the Makita XML03CM1 36V (18V X2) LXT® Brushless 18" Lawn Mower Kit with 4 Batteries. This yard buddy will mow up to ⅓ acre in less than 45 minutes thanks to the four batteries in the pack. It features an 18” cutting blade and weighs in at a fairly light 58 pounds.

Another affordable option is perfect for aging parents or a friend with a small lawn. The BLACK+DECKER Electric Lawn Mower plugs in to manage the task without air pollution. There’s also a combo pack that includes an additional trimmer for cleaning up the lawn edges.

Solar Panels

Look, not everyone will get it, but solar panels are the gift that keeps on giving. You don’t have to throw down tens of thousands of dollars. A smaller gift is enough to power a hot tub, water heater, or swimming pool.

Solar panels are the ultimate renewable energy source in most areas. They come in small, portable formats for RV use and can be used to power up the backup generator. The truth is that solar panels are quickly becoming an essential part of clean energy management for businesses, at home, or on the road.

small set of portable solar panels

Cordless Drill

There are copious options for a cordless drill and whichever one you choose will be a welcome addition to the toolbox.

Cordless drills are probably the single most-frequently used power tool in the average household.

They are incredibly versatile since they can be equipped with drill bits of various sizes to tackle everything from hanging a mirror to building a play structure.

In addition, cordless drills hold other types of bits so they can drive in screws of every shape and size, even those odd square holes on decking screws or hex screws on furniture.

Cordless drill batteries are interchangeable with some other tools too, but note these batteries are different from the ones mentioned above for lawn mowers, trimmers, and leaf blowers.

Check out the classic Makita XFD13SM1 18V LXT® Lithium-Ion Brushless Cordless 1/2" Driver-Drill Kit that comes with the drill and battery accessories. Another reliable brand comes in a combo kit to keep the work day flowing.

Look at the Ryobi P1817 18V ONE+ Lithium-Ion Cordless 2-Tool Combo Kit for a serious upgrade to a manual-only toolbox.

Cordless Combo Packs

In addition to the cordless drills, other common tools rely on battery power. It’s a convenience that allows you to take power tools to the job site or down the hill from the house without worrying about extension cords. They are also safer to use while balancing on a ladder or crawling around in the attic.

Several tools can rely on the same battery pack. Each will eat up the charge at a different rate so it’s always nice to keep one battery charging as a backup while the other is in use.

Like the lawn tools above, if you know your friend or family member is a fan of a certain brand you can save yourself some money buying the brand they already have a battery for.

If you’re trying to help someone get started in a well-rounded tool kit though, check out combo kits like the popular DEWALT 20V Max Cordless Drill Combo Kit, 10-Tool that includes everything from the drill and batteries to a flashlight, grinder, circular saw, reciprocating saw, and even a bluetooth speaker.

cordless power tools

Honor Thy Recipient

The most important thing to remember when gift giving is to consider the wishes of the person you’re gifting to.

If they are minimalist in their belongings, don’t give them more stuff. Give them gift cards or experiences instead.

Pay for a class where they can learn to make a project, or safely use power tools, or learn about organic gardening.

If you know they have a big project coming up, offer to rent the tools they need. Also be open to buying used tools. Most times, specialty tools have very little use and a substantial discount. A frugal-minded friend will appreciate the gesture and be glad you were able to save some money.

Gift giving is all too often a wasteful and environmentally-damaging process that is full of waste. From packing to unwanted gifts, the entire process needs a good cleaning.

If you’re looking to take a step in that direction, remember to stay focused on finding durable, long-lasting products that will serve the needs of your recipient for decades to come.

Think about smart devices as a gift giving option too, from a money-saving thermostat to an outdoor camera that doubles as a motion-sensored flood light, you’ll be adding safety, convenience, and cost savings. Find out more in our articles 4 High Tech Tools and Outdoor Smart Home Devices.

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