The best gifts have that little something extra you might not buy for yourself, but will find a use for again and again. These three new products from 2013 will have your lucky contractor thinking of you every time he or she gears up.
3M Peltor EARBud Noise Isolating Headphones Impressed by the longevity of his first pair of noise isolating earphones from 3M, Tools of the Trade senior editor David Frane went back for the newer model. Great for use on the jobsite when operating non-hazardous tools such as sanders, vacuums, and gas-powered string trimmers and blowers, the headphones have a noise reduction rating (NRR) of 20 dB with UltraFit tips and 29 dB with Skull Screws—which is more protection than you’ll get from many plugs and most over-the-ear headphones. $50 online. See David's full review here.
DeWalt’s new line of heated jackets warms the core of the body through three zones—two at the chest and one at the back. They are powered by the company’s 12V and 20V Max batteries, which connect to the jacket through a Power Source adapter. The adapter has two USB ports and can also charge electronic devices. Four styles are available: soft-shell work jacket, hooded work jacket, camouflage, and orange camouflage. The jacket can be purchased as a kit with a 20-volt battery and charger or as a stand-alone. Price: $150 to $230, depending on style and kit. www.dewalt.com
3M Tekk WorkTunes This earmuff headset allows you to listen to music while protecting your hearing from construction noise. Its NRR is 24 dB, and the built-in AM/FM radio has an LCD screen and will accept up to 50 station presets. Large knobs and voice control assistance allow you to operate the tuner without removing the headphones to see what you’re doing. There’s also a jack for plugging in an MP3 player. Price: $60. www.3m.com