High-tech Tools for the Gadget Lover

While most of us don't have the need for band saws or drill presses in our daily lives, some tools are still necessities — at least until those maintenance droids arrive to do the work for us. Simple tools like the flashlight and tape measure are even getting a makeover for the 21st Century. Here are a few items for your space-age toolbox.


Black and Decker SS925 All in One Rechargeable Power Source/Radio/Light
(blackanddecker.com, $99.99) If disaster movies have proven anything, it's that a flashlight and a radio are absolute necessities — and that you can never find either when you need them. That'll change with this combo power source and radio, which continually charges from your home's AC outlet. You'll be ready for blackouts and other emergencies, while an automatic locator light will guide the way in those times of need. Also onboard are an AM/FM radio and a detachable flashlight. This multitasker can even pitch in as a 25-watt power source for juicing up low-wattage devices like your cell phone — so you can call for help!


Stanley MaxLight 369 Tripod Flashlight
(stanleytools.com, $24.99) OK, admit it: you've done the flashlight-in-your-mouth thing while searching for a cable at the back of your home-entertainment rack. While somewhat effective this isn't very hygienic — probably why it seems like a bright idea. Stanley's MaxLight 369 will provide hands-free light without compromising your health. Powered by three, six, or nine batteries depending on the level of illumination you need, the MaxLight uses a folding tripod that makes up the body, while the adjustable head shines light where you need it most.


RJ45 Tool Kit
(usbfirewire.com, $34.40) Setting up a home network can be difficult enough; the last thing you need is a cable that doesn't work. To be sure it's good, you could try it on various devices, plugging and unplugging all day — or you could just use this handy cable tester. The kit also includes a cable stripper/cutter that does triple duty as a crimp hammer, so when you spot a problem cable, you can attach a new plug in a jiff and get back to networking!


Stanley 77-910 TLM Max Tru-Laser
(stanleytools.com, $99.99) Whether you're looking for a new apartment or just deciding the right-size TV for your room, determining exact distance and square footage can be a bit tricky. Forget the old-fashioned tape measure and math — with the Tru-Laser you can get accurate distance and automatically calculate room dimensions. Only Mr. Spock and his tricorder could do better.