The best drone 2018: DJI, Parrot and more for beginners and pros

There’s never been a better time to buy a drone. That’s because drones are housing top-notch 4K cameras and sporting portable form factors. That is, many of the best drones these days fold up for easy transport, so you can take them wherever you’re next adventure is headed. 

Super-steady video stabilization is also a hallmark of a great drone, and you’ll find this available in just about every drone model out there. 

You don’t have to be an expert drone operator to get started with a high-quality drone. Most drones are easy to pick up and start flying, though selecting the best drone is still a difficult task.

We’ve recommended the following top drones after countless hours of rigorous testing high above our heads. Drones by DJI and Parrot continue to rule the skies, whether you’re a first-time flier or a drone pilot expert looking for the ultimate hovering camera.  

The best part of picking from the best drones in 2018 is that affordable or even cheap drones now shoot 4K resolution video with steady image stabilization. It’s true; you don’t need a Hollywood blockbuster budget to capture amazing aerial footage. 

Even if our No. 1 drone recommendation, the DJI Mavic Air, isn’t exactly inexpensive, it’s still the best drone for your money.

Finding a quality drone at a reasonable price isn’t hard anymore. Being able to fly your drone legally is sometimes more tricky, especially in cities. The good news is that the best drones available give you fair warning – usually through accompanying apps – that map out where it’s legal to fly without incurring the wrath of local authorities.

Here are our picks of the best drones for everyone, from beginners to experts.

1. DJI Mavic Air

This is the foldable drone you want in 2018

Weight: 430g | Controller: Yes | Camera resolution: 12MP | Battery size: 2,375mAh | Range: 6.2 miles)

Incredible portability

4K video at up to 100Mbps

Near-perfect obstacle avoidance

Really needs multiple batteries

It’s hard not to absolutely love the DJI Mavic Air, the premier foldable drone that can capture steady 4K video at 60 frames per second, yet fit into a backpack or even a jacket pocket. There aren’t many compromises either if you’re okay with 21-minute battery life. Our tests proves its true flight time can be as little as 18 minutes, but that’s enough time for most people, especially if you buy into the recommended Fly More Bundle with three batteries (totally worth it).

The Mavic Air is small, fast and can do a lot of neat tricks. It can track moving subjects, boomerang around them on a pre-coordinated path, and take spherical video as if it’s crashing down to earth to capture your ultimate drone selfie.

The reason this tops our list is that it’s the best foldable drone for you money, but we do encourage spending a bit more for the totally worth it Fly More Bundle.

Read the full review: DJI Mavic Air

2. DJI Mavic 2 Pro

The king of drones returns

Weight: 907g | Controller: Yes | Camera resolution: 20MP | Battery size: 3,850mAh | Range: 3.1 miles

Excellent foldable design

New photo and video modes

Superior camera

Can’t shoot 4K at 60fps

The second iteration of DJI’s Mavic Pro delivers the sharpest videos and stills of any consumer drone thanks to its gimbal-stabilized Hasselblad camera, which boasts a one-inch CMOS sensor. Pictures are brighter, more detailed, and noticeably superior to those taken using the previous model.

DJI has made improvements on the software side too, with new modes for capturing photos and videos – including hyperlapse, which creates stunning aerial videos

This comes at a price – the Mavic 2 Pro is a pricier proposition than the previous iteration – but it might become much more tempting on Black Friday. Many retailers offer special deals on premium drones, and the Mavic 2 Pro may be among them.

Read the hands-on review: DJI Mavic 2 Pro

3. DJI Spark

Small price, smaller drone, with Jedi-like gesture controls

Weight: 300g | Controller: Yes/Not included | Camera resolution: 12MP | Battery size: 1,480 mAh | Range: 1.2 miles

Controller-free gesture controls

Automatic Quickshot modes

Short flight time

The DJI Spark is the company’s most approachable drone. With its incredibly cool gesture controls that make you feel like a Jedi and its different colored body shells, it’s definitely more fun out of the box than a lot of the others on this list. 

It is easily controlled using your smartphone, but it’s worth noting that that’s the only controller you’re going to have unless you fancy buying a separate controller. It’s definitely affordable in terms of drones, but still we would like to have a controller thrown in for good measure.

It’s an incredibly light drone, unsurprisingly as it’s the size of a can. This is both one of its greatest strengths and its greatest weaknesses as it’s super easy to carry around in your bag, but will be affected by wind during flight. 

Read the full review: DJI Spark

4. DJI Phantom 4

Sturdy and feature-rich

Weight: 1380 g | Controller: Yes | Camera resolution: 12.4MP | Battery size: : 5,350mAh | Range: 3.1 miles

Nice and stable 4K footage

Fisheye lens

Excellent smartphone app

Not easily upgradeable

A refinement of the already impressive DJI Phantom 3 Professional, the Phantom 4 brings with it a more sturdy construction, updated object-avoidance technology and – like so many of DJI’s offerings – an excellent dedicated remote control which connects to an equally feature-rich smartphone app.

4K video recording is supported, and the gimbal design means you get rock-steady footage even when the drone is moving at speed and changing direction. The biggest downer – and you’ll notice this is a common complaint with many commercial drones – is battery life, which is only around 15 to 20 minutes, depending on how hard you’re pushing the drone.

While it’s not quite in the same league as its Inspire 1 sibling, the Phantom 4 offers a similar degree of performance and functionality for a lower price, making it an excellent option for budding aerial photographers rather than experienced professionals.

Read the full review: DJI Phantom 4

5. Parrot Bebop 2

Offers a new perspective on drone flying

Weight: 500g | Controller: Optional | Camera resolution: 14MP | Battery size: 2,700mAh | Range: 300 metres

Shake-free video recording

Excellent controller and headset

Certain functions cost extra to unlock

The Bebop 2 is a mid-range offering which won’t break the bank yet offers a surprising amount of features for the price. The camera utilises a fisheye lens, and stabilization software removes the need for a gimbal; combined with the intelligent construction of the chassis, which uses rubber dampeners to reduce vibration in-flight, this results in video footage that’s refreshingly judder-free.

If you’re feeling especially flush you can take the Bebop 2 to the next level by purchasing the optional flight controller and FPV headset. The former connects to your smartphone and offers proper flight controls, while the latter uses your phone’s screen to present a first-person view of what the Bebop 2 is actually seeing. It’s initially quite jarring to fly the device in this fashion, but after a while you’ll wish all drones came with such an accessory.

On the downside, Parrot has locked away some of the Bebop 2’s more interesting features, such as route planning and ‘follow me’ functionality, behind a paywall, which means the cost increases further if you want to use these. Battery life is also somewhat disappointing, so it may be worth investing in a spare power cell.

Read the full review: Parrot Bebop 2

6. Parrot Anafi

A tiny drone with incredible camera range

Weight: 3202g | Controller: Yes | Camera resolution: 21MP | Battery size: 2700mAh

4K UHD video at 60fps

180-degree vertical camera

No obstacle avoidance

This lightweight, bug-like drone might be small, but its photography chops are among the most impressive around.

Its camera has 180 degrees of vertical range, which enables it to take photos directly upwards – a feat no other drone can match. It also has a 2.8x zoomable lens with no image quality reduction.

The Parrot Anafi is a particularly good choice for selfie fans. Its Follow Me mode tracks your movements, adjusting automatically for more photogenic angles, and its SmartDronies modes – Orbit, Parabola, Boomerang and Tornado – cause the drone to fly around you in various circles and arcs.

The main drawback is the Parrot Anafi’s lack of obstacle avoidance, which makes it hard to recommend to new users. It’s also a shame that a couple of flight modes are locked away as extra in-app purchases after you’ve paid for the drone.

Read the full review: Parrot Anafi

7. DJI Mavic Pro

Still one of the best

Weight: 734g | Controller: Yes | Camera resolution: 12.35MP | Battery Size: 3830mAh | Range: 4.3 miles

Highly portable

Dedicated remote control

Weak low-light shooting

It’s now been superseded by the DJI Mavic 2 Pro, but this is still one of the best consumer drones around – and now it’s more affordable too. Until the DJI Spark came along, the Mavic Pro was the smallest drone in DJI’s lineup. Don’t let its diminutive size fool you though – this pint-sized flyer boasts the kind of performance that DJI’s larger drones are famous for.

The camera is mounted on a gimbal, which is unusual for drones of this size. It delivers fantastic results with both photos and video in good lighting, although the small size of the sensor means low-light shooting can sometimes be tricky. The Mavic Pro has a top speed of around 40 mph, so it’s no slouch in that department, and the battery is good for around 20 to 25 minutes of aerial action.

As is the case with other DJI drones, the Mavic Pro comes with a dedicated remote control that uses your phone’s display to show you exactly what the device is seeing. Range is quoted as being over four miles, giving you the opportunity to capture some amazing stills and video without worrying about the connection dropping.

Read the hands-on review: DJI Mavic Pro

8. DJI Inspire 2

Perhaps the finest flagship-level drone in existence today

Weight: 3440g | Controller: Yes | Camera resolution: 30MP | Battery Size: 4280mAh | Range: 7 km

Amazing build quality

Good battery life

Plenty of features

Quite pricey

Soundly knocking its predecessor off the top spot is the highly impressive Inspire 2. With a sleek metal composite bodywork upgrade, it’s a much more attractive piece of kit. What’s more, with more advanced object avoidance technology you don’t have to worry about that beautiful body getting scratched by you accidentally clipping a tree. 

You get more than 25 minutes of flight time out of the twin-battery arrangement, and the ability to swap camera lenses means that professional photographers and videographers have complete control over their images and 5K video.

The fully-featured smartphone app and dedicated remote control make this drone incredibly easy to control, but make no mistake, this is a professional piece of kit. 

Read the full review: DJI Inspire 2 

9. DJI Inspire 1

A professional drone with a professional price tag

Weight: 2935g | Controller: Yes | Camera resolution: 12.76M | Battery size: 5700mAh | Range: 2 km

Amazing build quality

Easy to upgrade

Pricey for the typical consumer

The DJI Inspire 1 may look like some kind of fearsome war-robot from the far future, but once you’ve gotten over its rather intimidating appearance it’s all too easy to fall in love with this agile and feature-rich device. 

It comes with its own controller, which boasts amazing range (you’ll need to supply a monitor via your smartphone or tablet’s screen, though), and the camera – which is mounted on a gimbal for aiming – is upgradeable, so you don’t need to worry about your investment becoming obsolete after a few months.

Performance in the air is nothing short of exemplary, even in quite windy conditions. The DJI Inspire 1 is also incredibly swift and – when twinned with that excellent controller – easy to maneuver. It’s only shortcomings are its cost and the fact that the bundled battery only gives you around 15 to 20 minutes of flight time before it needs recharging.

Read the full review: DJI Inspire 1

10. ZeroTech Dobby

A drone that’s small enough to fit in your pocket

Weight: 199g | Controller: No | Camera resolution: 13MP | Battery size: *970mAh | Range: 100 meters


Feature-rich mobile app

Battery life is poor

This is the smallest drone featured in this list, and also one of the cheapest. Despite its humble status (and rather odd name) the Dobby is a surprisingly powerful and versatile piece of kit. Pitched by ZeroTech as a ‘selfie drone’, it’s small enough to fit in your bag, which gives it an advantage over many drones, which are often too large to be carried around easily.

The small size of the Dobby means it gets battered around in strong winds, but on a good day its performance is impressive. It’s controlled via a smartphone application and features such as orbital moves, object tracking and facial recognition are all included as standard, and are easy to execute. The drone’s audio and visual sensors, fixed on its underside, mean you can perform palm take-offs and landings, and you can use it indoors.

For such a small drone it should come as no surprise to learn that stamina is perhaps the biggest sticking point with the Dobby – the battery lasts between five and 10 minutes, depending on variables such as wind speed and recording time. Photo and video quality are also a step down from some of the more expensive drones on this list.

Read the full review: ZeroTech Dobby

Best camera 2018: 10 of the best cameras you can buy right now


What’s the best camera? Okay, we admit it – it’s an impossible question to answer. The best camera for a pro photographer is a million miles from the best camera for an adventure sports nut or a novice shooter. 

But if you just want to know what we think are the top ten best cameras you can buy right now – regardless of user level or price point – then keep on reading.

What we’ve done then is to pick out what we think are the standout cameras in their fields. This may be because they have the most amazing features and specifications, because they’re amazing value for what they offer or because they are just brilliant at the job they’ve been designed for.

All these are cameras have been extensively tried and tested by ourselves, so if you want to know any more about any of them as well as check out sample images, just click the link to the full review.

Along the way we’ll explain some of the jargon and the differences between cameras, though if you need a bit more help deciding what kind of camera you need, you can get a lot more information from our special step-by-step guide: What camera should I buy?

On the other hand, you may already have a clear idea of the kind of camera you want, in which case you could go straight to one of our more specific camera buying guides:

Best cameras in 2018

Best camera: Nikon D850

1. Nikon D850

High resolution meets high speed

Type: DSLR | Sensor size: Full-frame CMOS | Resolution: 45.4MP | Lens: Nikon F mount | Viewfinder: Optical | Screen type: 3.2-inch tilting touchscreen, 2,359,000 dots | Maximum continuous shooting speed: 7fps | Movies: 4K | User level: Intermediate/expert

Stunning image quality

Excellent performance

Slow Live View AF speed

SnapBridge connectivity

It may be expensive, but if you’re looking for the best camera money can buy right now, then Nikon’s fabulous D850 DSLR pretty much ticks every box. Packing in a brilliant 45.4MP full-frame sensor, image quality is simply stunning. But that’s just half the story. Thanks to a sophisticated 153-point AF system and 9fps burst shooting speed, the D850 is and incredibly versatile piece of kit, just a home shooting action and wildlife as it is landscapes and portraits. The Nikon D850 is perhaps the most well-rounded camera we’ve ever tested. Like the sound of the D850, but want a mirrorless camera? Check out Nikon’s new Z7 full-frame mirrorless camera.

Best camera: Sony Alpha A7 III

2. Sony Alpha A7 III

Sony’s entry-level full-frame camera is a brilliant buy

Type: Mirrorless | Sensor size: Full-frame CMOS | Resolution: 24.2MP | Lens: Sony E mount | Viewfinder: EVF | Screen type: 3.0-inch tilting touchscreen, 921,000 dots | Maximum continuous shooting speed: 10fps | Movies: 4K | User level: Intermediate/expert

693-point AF system

10fps burst shooting

Limited touchscreen control

No XQD card slots

Sony’s growing range of mirrorless full-frame cameras offer a great alternative to Canon and Nikon DSLRs. The Alpha A7 III might be the entry-level full-frame camera in Sony’s mirrorless range, but it offers a stunning blend of features and performance that makes its a brilliant choice for the enthusiast photographer or pro looking for a second body. The 24.2MP full-frame sensor is excellent, while the advanced 693-point AF (borrowed from the flagship Alpha A9) and 10fps burst shooting should mean you’ll never miss another shot. For the price, there’s nothing that can touch it.

Best camera: Fujifilm X100F

3. Fujifilm X100F

Classic design and controls make it the perfect enthusiast compact

Type: High-end compact | Sensor: APS-C CMOS | Resolution: 24.3MP | Lens: 23mm f/2 | Screen type: 3-inch, 1,040,000 dots | Viewfinder: Hybrid | Maximum continuous shooting speed: 8fps | Movies: 1080p | User level: Expert

Hybrid viewfinder

Excellent image quality

ISO dial not that practical

1080p video only

The X100F is a thing of beauty both to look and and to use, but it’s not for everyone. It’s a relatively large, retro-styled compact camera with a fixed focal length 35mm equivalent f/2.0 lens, and designed for photographers who hanker after the weighty feel and manual external controls of traditional 35mm film rangefinder cameras. It’s a relatively specialised camera and most owners are likely to have other cameras too. It may be a touch pricey, but there’s nothing quite like it – it’s an exquisite camera to look at and to shoot with.

Best camera: Nikon D3500

4. Nikon D3500

Not the most expensive entry-level DSLR, but we think it’s the best

Type: DSLR | Sensor: APS-C CMOS | Resolution: 24.2MP | Lens: Nikon F mount (DX) | Viewfinder: Optical | Screen type: 3.0-inch screen, 921,000 dots | Maximum continuous shooting speed: 5fps | Movies: 1080p | User level: Beginner

Good image quality

Guide mode

Fixed screen

No touchscreen

Nikon’s D3500 is our top pick when it comes to entry-level DSLRs. While it shares quite a few features with the D3400, upgrades for the D3500 include a new 24.2MP sensor, better battery life (to a staggering 1,550 shots) and refined exterior controls. The D3500 is a great camera to pick up and use if this is your first DSLR, with its clever Guide Mode a useful learning tool that gives real-time explanations of important features. There’s no touchscreen, but otherwise, this is our favorite entry-level DSLR right now. 

Best camera: Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark III

5. Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark III

Top-notch performance in a super-small package

Type: Mirrorless | Sensor size: Micro Four Thirds | Resolution: 16.1MP | Lens: Micro Four Thirds | Screen type: 3.0-inch tilting touchscreen, 1,370,000 dots | Viewfinder: EVF | Maximum continuous shooting rate: 8.6fps | Movies: 4K | User level: Beginner/enthusiast

Compact proportions

5-axis stabilisation

Smaller sensor than some

Battery life could be better

While the main specification of the OM-D E-M10 Mark III doesn’t offer a huge upgrade from the Mark II, Olympus has refined and tweaked one of our favorite mirrorless cameras to make it an even more tempting proposition for new users and enthusiasts alike. Some will criticise the smaller Micro Four Thirds sensor format (roughly half the area of APS-C) but the effect on image quality is minor and it means that the lenses are as compact and lightweight as the camera itself. Sporting a 5-axis image stabilization system, decent electronic viewfinder, an impressive 8.6fps burst shooting speed and 4K video, it’s no toy – the E-M10 Mark III is a properly powerful camera.

Best camera: Panasonic Lumix ZS200 / TZ200

6. Panasonic Lumix ZS200 / TZ200

The perfect travel camera – small, versatile and with a decent zoom

Type: Travel compact | Sensor: 1-inch type CMOS | Resolution: 20.1MP | Lens: 24-360mm, f/3.3-6.4 | Viewfinder: EVF | Screen type: 3.0-inch touchscreen, 1,240,000 dots | Maximum continuous shooting speed: 10fps | Movies: 4K | User level: Beginner/enthusiast

1.0-inch type sensor

Decent 15x zoom

EVF still feels a little cramped


The Panasonic Lumix ZS200 (known as the Lumix TZ200 outside the US) is the best travel zoom camera right now. This is thanks in part to the camera using a large 1.0-inch sized sensor that enables the pixels to be about 2.4x bigger than they are in models like the Lumix ZS70 / TZ90, and this helps the ZS200 produce much higher quality images. The zoom isn’t quite as broad as some though, but the 15x zoom should be more than enough for most shooting situations, while there’s a built-in electronic viewfinder that makes it easier to compose images in bright sunny conditions. Add 4K video recording, along with Panasonic’s 4K Photo mode to help capture 8MP images of fleeting moments, and you’ve got a very capable travel companion. If you’re looking for even more performance (and have deeper pockets), check out Sony’s brilliant Cyber-shot RX100 VI.

Best camera: Panasonic Lumix GH5S

7. Panasonic Lumix GH5S

The best video-orientated camera you can buy

Type: Mirrorless | Sensor size: Micro Four Thirds | Resolution: 10.2MP | Lens: Micro Four Thirds | Screen type: 3.2-inch vari-angle touchscreen, 1,620,000 dots | Viewfinder: EVF | Maximum continuous shooting rate: 12fps | Movies: 4K | User level: Expert

Multi-aspect sensor design

Brilliant video spec

Absence of IS not for everyone

Battery life could be better

While it can shoot stills quite happily (although at a pretty limited 10.2MP resolution), the Lumix GH5S should be seen first and foremost as a video camera – if you want to do both you’ve got the Lumix GH5 to fill that brief, thanks to it’s 20.3MP sensor and built-in image stabilization system. The GH5S’s breadth of video features is incredibly impressive, including the ability to shoot cinematic 4K footage at up to 60fps. If you want to shoot professional-quality footage without remortgaging your house to buy a pro video camera, you won’t find a better video-focused camera right now. 

Best camera: Olympus Tough TG-5

8. Olympus Tough TG-5

The best rugged, waterproof compact you can buy

Type: Compact | Sensor: 1/2.3-inch | Resolution: 12MP | Lens: 25-100mm f/2-4.9 | Viewfinder: N/A | Monitor: 3.0-inch screen, 460,000 dots | Maximum continuous shooting speed: 20fps | Movies: 4K | User level: Beginner

Rugged credentials

Raw capture

User interface is confusing

Average battery life

The Tough TG-5 from Olympus is built to survive pretty much anything you could throw at it, literally. Waterproof down to depths of 15m, don’t mistake it for being merely an underwater camera; being waterproof is also useful for hikers, bikers, kayakers, and skiers. In fact, any outdoor pursuit is game for the TG-5, which is crushproof to 100kg and drop-proof from 2.1m. It can even be used in temperatures as low as -10°C. Olympus has taken the unusual step of actually dropping the pixel count from 16MP on the TG-4 to 12MP on the TG-5. Add in raw file support and this makes image quality that bit better than its predecessor, while it can shoot 4K video at 30p or high speed footage at 120p in Full HD. Our pick of the waterproof bunch.

Best camera: Panasonic Lumix FZ2000 / FZ2500

9. Panasonic Lumix FZ2000 / FZ2500

The bridge camera for the photographer who wants quality too

Type: Bridge camera | Sensor: 1.0-inch type CMOS | Resolution: 20.1MP | Lens: 24-480mm, f/2.8-4.5 | Screen type: 3-inch vari-angle screen, 1,040,000 dots | Viewfinder: EVF | Maximum continuous shooting speed: 12fps | Movies: 4K | User level: Intermediate/expert

Large 1-inch sensor

Super-fast AF

Big, heavy and not cheap

No weather-sealing

We don’t normally like bridge camera very much because the ultra-zoom design forces the makers to use titchy 1/2.3-inch sensors the same size as those in point-and-shoot cameras. You get the look and feel of a DSLR, but you certainly don’t get the image quality. But the Panasonic Lumix FZ2000 (known as the FZ2500 in the US) is different. It sacrifices a huge zoom range in favour of a much larger 1.0-inch sensor – a compromise most serious photographers will applaud. While the zoom tops out at 480mm equivalent, which is relatively short for a bridge camera, that’s still plenty for all but the most extreme everyday use. We’d certainly sacrifice a little for of zoom range for better and faster optics. We love the FZ2000 because it delivers both image quality and zoom range, while also offering full manual and semi-manual controls, the ability to shoot raw files and 4K video.

10. GoPro Hero7 Black

Meet the new king of action cameras

Type: Action camera | Sensor: 1/2.3-inch type CMOS | Resolution: 12MP | Lens: wide-angle f/2.8 lens | Screen type: 2-inch touchscreen | Viewfinder: N/A | Movies: 4K | User level: Beginner/intermediate

Refined design

Great image quality

Touchscreen unresponsive at times

Can struggle with voice commands

The GoPro Hero7 Black is without question the best action camera you can buy. It’s pricey compared to some of the competition, but it’s got a wealth of features, including shooting 4K footage at up to 60fps, as well as super-slow-motion 1080p video at 240fps. The improved HyperSmooth image stabilization system is brilliant, as well as footage offering a wider dynamic range and better low-light performance compared to the Hero6 Black. That’s not forgetting it’s waterproof down to 10m, has a useful 2-inch touchscreen, while the updated user interface makes it a much more polished piece of kit. If you want the best action camera, you’re not going to go wrong with the Hero7 Black.

Gifts for Mechanics | Gifts for DIY Dads 2018

Everyone needs a handyman, and if you happen to have one who is a family member or friend, feed their ambition with these 25 must-have tools. It’s a gift that keeps on giving.

Extech EX330


You can’t measure electricity with a ruler. You need a multimeter to read its force (voltage), flow (current or amps), and resistance to that flow (ohms). A multimeter need not cost a fortune. Extech meters range from $20 to $120.

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Milwaukee 15-Amp Super Sawzall Reciprocating Saw


The 15-amp Super Sawzall ($200), the tool that invented the category. It pumps a long straight blade back and forth using a locomotive-like drivetrain. It cuts anything you put in front of it, from a tree branch or root to a cast-iron pipe to a 2×4 bristling with framing nails.

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Craftsman Magnetic Pick-Up Tool


A fallen bolt or screw need not be given up as lost. You can retrieve it with this, a powerful rare-earth magnet on the end of a small telescoping pole. It will repay its price the first time you retrieve something.

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Empire Contour Gauge


When you’re fitting one molding to another or tile around a molding or pipe, you can easily transfer the shape with a contour gauge—hundreds of stainless-steel pins set firmly in a gauge block. Press the pins against the shape and they slide back in the block, revealing the contour.

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Ridgid Model 151 Tubing Cutter


Slide the tool over the tubing and bring up its cutter wheel, then lightly tighten. Make a rotation and tighten again. Repeat until you score through. Ridgid’s 151 costs $45 but you’ll never wear it out.

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Stortz Oval Paint Scraper


Well cared for, it will see you through a lifetime of amateur use or many years as a professional. As I’ve said to my colleagues, the Stortz ($12) will ruin you for any other paint scraper.

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Kobalt Telescoping Mirror


If you can’t see it, you can’t fix it. A pivoting mirror on the end of a small telescoping pole reaches into places to help you find a drip, a loose or missing part inside an appliance, or a burned wire. For $12, it’s a great stocking stuffer and cheap insurance.

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Milwaukee Right Angle Drill Attachment


The right-angle drive attachment consists of a chuck that turns at 90 degrees relative to its driveshaft. Insert that driveshaft in a cordless drill. Now you can drill or drive in a seemingly impossible space, such as between two balusters.

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Spring Tools Center Punch


Take a powerful spring and attach a hardened steel center punch to one end and a steel striking block at the other. When you pull back the striking block and let go, you deliver a powerful thwack, but precisely. Spring Tools work great in tight spots where you can’t swing a hammer, as when you need to mark a hole near the corner of the oddly shaped bracket you have to install because the manufacturer’s hole is in a useless position.

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General Tools Sliding T-Bevel


A bevel gauge copies an angle from one piece of wood (or metal) to another. I bought the old-timer shown here at a flea market decades ago; a new one costs $3 to $30, depending on how nice you want it. Flip its thumb lever to loosen the blade, pivot its blade, and lock it by pivoting the lever back.

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Stanley FatMax Multi Saw


Holds a hacksaw or reciprocating saw blade and works in a tight spot, like in a vanity under a sink, where there isn’t space to work with a traditional hacksaw.

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EdgeCraft Diamond File


The EdgeCraft Diamond File 420 can take the sharp edge off a piece of glass, soften a jagged edge on ceramic tile, or quickly tune up the edge on an axe (working toward its edge or away).

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In addition to what the label says, a 3-ounce can can flush metal shavings off a threaded hole or rod, coat plastic snow shovels to prevent snow from sticking, inhibit rust on metal work surfaces, lubricate the nut on a pipe wrench, clean the groove in a chainsaw bar manually, and lubricate the sliding surfaces on an extension ladder—and a thousand more things.

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Vaughan Club Hammer


A club hammer is a one-hand sledge with a head that weighs 3 to 4 pounds fastened to a short handle. Use it to bust a hole in a block wall, for example, or when you need a heavy hitter for striking stone chisels. The Vaughan 3-pounder strikes with an admirable amount of venom.

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Radnor Safety Glasses


Always. But make sure yours have a Z87.1 safety rating.

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Klein Non-Contact Voltage Tester with Flashlight


A non-contact voltage tester is the safest way to prevent shocks and locate hot wires. The LED bar graph indicates the presence of voltage. The higher the voltage sensed, or the closer to the voltage source, the more LEDs light up. A built-in flashlight helps illuminate a dark work area, and it’s the a perfectly priced and perfectly sized stocking stuffer.

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Estwing 15-Ounce Ultra Hammer


Like all of Estwing’s high-quality striking tools, this American-made hammer is forged from one piece of steel. Its sleek, aerodynamic design and lighter weight helps you maintain speed as you punish one big nail after another. A nail-pulling notch in the side of the head helps in tight spots, and a magnet in the head holds a nail, allowing you to start it with one deft swing.

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Occidental Leather 4-in-1 Tool Holder


Next time you’re working through a DIY punch list, give your pockets a well-earned rest. Instead, stash those essential tools in this American-made, all-leather holder. Besides having dedicated spaces for a tape measure, screwdriver, and carpenter’s pencil, the holder features a plastic tool shield for a sharp tool, such as a knife or chisel. A bonus round-pencil holder within the shield saves needless trips down the ladder when you drop your carpenter’s pencil.

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Ryobi 90-Piece Drill Bit Set


This 90-piece set from Ryobi is the last time you’ll ever need to buy a drill bit. With standard bits, spade bits, hole saws, and screwdriver tips, it has everything you need to drill into wood, metal, plastic, and brick.

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Milwaukee Self-Retracting Safety Knife


Every homeowner needs a good utility knife, and Milwaukee delivers one that actually improves upon the well-loved one-handed-retractable design. Its blade retracts automatically when you release its button. Anybody who has ever gotten a nasty cut from a utility knife will see the wisdom here. Other benefits include storage for five blades inside its all-metal handle and tool-free blade changing.

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Ryobi Whole Stud Detector


From hanging pictures to installing shelves, everyone should have a stud finder. The Ryobi Whole Stud Detector will indicate where the entire stud exists, not just the edges. This helps pinpoint exactly where the center is located. It automatically scans the depth of your drywall, so there’s no need to provide that input, and it will warn you when you are over metal or near AC power.

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Worx Pegasus Workstation


Worx new Pegasus workstation is both a sawhorse and a worktable. It features built-in channels to house two 18-inch quick-clamps and four table slots for securing irregular sized workpieces. The 31-by-25-inch tabletop can support up to 300 lbs. and the sawhorse can support upwards of 1,000 lbs. It can be set up in the garage, driveway, patio, or on a worksite, and packs up easily for storage in a pickup bed or garage. 

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Milwaukee Rover M12 Compact Flood Light


The Rover’s new flood light can go everywhere with you. It can also adjust to your work environment, whether clamping, hanging, or sticking. It can be used in any sized workspace and provides 1,000 lumens of light while parked in “high mode.” It then drops to 400 lumens in medium and a further 200 lumens of output in low mode. 

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DeWalt 8V Max Gyroscopic Screwdriver


This DeWalt is not the first battery-operated screwdriver to use gyroscopic technology, but it’s the first powered by a comparatively beefy 8-volt lithium-ion pack. During our testing, we drove 242 1-1/4-inch drywall screws into a 2 x 4 before the battery died. Thanks to its microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) gyroscope—similar to those found in smartphones—use is simple and intuitive: Twist your wrist to the right to turn the driver clockwise. To back up, twist to the left. For brawny work, the tool reconfigures to a pistol grip.

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Makita Rear Handle Cordless Circular Saw


The new brushless rear handle circular saw from Makita is powered by two of their 18V LXT batteries for max cutting and ripping power. The blade left, rear handle design is a first in cordless tools and a welcome design change for those who dislike traditional circular saws. The saw has a die-cast magnesium base and blade guard with die-cast aluminum blade cover and motor housing, which combines durability with less weight (only 12.4 lbs. with batteries, sold separately).

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SEMA 2018: Popular Mechanics Editors’ Choice Awards

Once you get past the smell of burning rubber and the sound of 800-hp Mustangs doing donuts in the parking lot outside the Speed Equipment Manufacturing Association (SEMA) show, you’ll find more than 2,400 exhibitors showcasing the newest add-ons for cars and trucks. Here are ten of our favorite new products we spotted at SEMA 2018.

Dometic PLB40 Portable Battery

Want to go camping without really roughing it? The Dometic PLB40 provides clean 12V power to your portable fridge, and unlike the 12V plug in your vehicle, the Dometic will protect you from pesky power drops.

The PLB40 uses a lithium-iron phosphate battery (known as LiFeP04), which comes at a premium but makes the unit lightweight and compact and provides more stable power. With this power source you can keep your CFX or new CFF fridge running all weekend. Available January 2019.

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WARN 101155 AXON 55 Powersports Winch


Warn’s Axon is a new premium powersport winch that is specifically designed for use with ATVs and Side x Sides. Warn introduced new technology in this winch called the Motactor—a combination of a motor and a digital contactor in one. Full IP68 waterproof construction keeps the water out, so you can continue to run your ATV through the muddiest terrain. 

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Optima Battery Cases and Trays

A wobbly battery mount can cause the terminals on your vehicle’s battery to loosen, especially when you’re going offroad, so Optima has introduced its own cases and trays that are specifically designed to work with its YellowTop, RedTop, and BlueTop batteries. These cases feature six isolation mounts to protect the battery and withstand the shock of potholes and bumpy roads. They will also have a universal tray that will work with most major brands of batteries.

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Yakima OutPost HD Truck Rack

Vehicle rack-maker Yakima is going after overland adventurers with a slew of new products to help travelers haul rooftop tents and off-road accessories. The OutPost HD truck rack provides a low center of gravity, easy accessibility to gear, and an ideal platform for a rooftop tent. Available in spring 2019 for $500.

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Elongator Integrated Tailgate Ramp

Transporting motorcycles and ATVs by truck doesn’t have to be a huge pain. The Elongator makes loading two-wheelers and four-wheelers into your truck bed easier and safer with an integrated ramp system that folds out to provide one or two ramps that can be stored away in the tailgate when not in use. The Elongator is made in the USA, comes with a three-year warranty, and is available now for $2,750, for every make and model truck.

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Rightline Gear Moki Door Step

If you’ve ever struggled to reach your vehicle’s roof, the Rightline Gear Moki Door Step could be your saving grace. You simply hook the Door Step over the U-shaped door latch in each of your vehicle’s doors, then step up. No more stepping on seats or tires, or dragging out the step stool. The Door Step can be easily stored in your glove box or trunk for use anytime. It will be available on Rightline’s website in January 2019 for $44.95.

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ARB Jack

The hi-lift jack is a staple piece of gear lots of off-roaders swear by. But they can be tricky to use and even dangerous for the untrained. The ARB Jack makes it all a bit easier with a simple design and some help from hydraulics. The base can pivot 360 degrees for maximum usability on unstable ground, and the forged aluminum hook can be mounted on nine different points along the jack. The hydraulic design lets you operate the jack with quick and short cycles of the handle instead of the more arduous full strokes other jacks require. Available now for $812.

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Meguiar’s Hybrid Ceramic Wax

Waxing your car doesn’t have to be a nightmare anymore. After washing, just spray on Meguiar’s hybrid ceramic wax and rinse off. No rubbing, curing, or buffing. The hybrid ceramic chemistry uses a thick, high-viscosity formula and the power of your rinse water to help coat your car’s exterior surfaces. Available in 2019 for $15.

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Gearwrench Bolt Biter Extraction Sockets

Removing rounded-out fasteners costs time and money for mechanics, not to mention the bother of finding replacements. The new Gearwrench bolt-biter sockets solve this with tapered flutes that are designed to fit snugly over stripped fasteners for easy removal instead of digging into the fastener head. The bolts can even be reinstalled using the same socket, which is ideal for hard-to-find sizes. Available individually and in 8-, 15- or 28-piece sets beginning in early 2019.

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WD-40 Specialist Carb/Throttle Cleaner


WD-40’s specialist formulas are particularly designed to conquer one task, unlike the do-everything WD-40. And while carb cleaners aren’t new, WD-4o’s new cleaner has been put to the test in racing conditions. The dual-action cleaning system breaks up baked-on carb deposits and blasts away waste, leaving behind no residue. This results in an engine that starts up fast and levels to a smooth, consistent idle.

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How to Backup Phone Photos to iCloud – Best Photo Organizing Software

Making smartphone photos on mountain

Getty ImagesChristoph Hetzmannseder

Years of mindless shooting and uploading had made my own photo library an unmanageable mess—22,000 images spread across multiple devices, some of which I wasn’t even sure were backed up.

Ever talk to someone who lost their phone and didn’t have it saved somewhere? Those phone photos are the only data they actually care about losing. If you can relate, here’s how to get sorted so you’ll always have access to those memories.

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Step 1: Get Them in One Place

First, I had to assemble everything from a couple dusty hard drives, an old laptop, and my Google and Amazon accounts into one place. I drag-and-dropped every photo from my old MacBook Air and an equally old external hard drive onto a folder on my newer MacBook Pro. (If possible, do this from a laptop. Moving things around on a phone is annoying, and mobile photo apps usually compress or otherwise futz with the library to save storage or data, which can interfere with this process.)

Ever talk to someone who lost their phone and didn’t have it saved somewhere?

I dumped those into one unifying app. I chose Apple’s Photos as my starting point. Over the last few years, Apple has taken it from acceptable to fantastic. It saves everything to iCloud at full resolution, including RAW photos I take on my Olympus PEN-F. Photos makes it easy to correct time stamps, useful for old film photos I’d uploaded that didn’t have dates. And, as with almost every Apple product I’ve owned, it just works. I can open Photos on my iPhone X, delete a few from last weekend, and know that it will free up space on my iCloud. Speaking of which, paying $2.99 per month for a bigger iCloud plan (200 gigs)? Worth it.

Step 2: Start Deleting

If you’re like me, you’ll end up with an ugly mountain of photos. The film photos inexplicably dated to the 19th century are easy to fix by correcting the time stamp. But I had loads of duplicates. I asked Apple, Adobe, and Google whether their software could delete them. “We’ve had a lot of requests for that,” they all said. But none have acted on it, which I get. Yes, they make more money the more storage you use, but accidentally deleting a customer’s photos would look really bad.

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Alex George

This led me to PhotoSweeper, a $10 Mac app that scans your library and shows a side-by-side comparison of what it thinks are dupes. You trash what you don’t want. And unlike similar apps, Photo­Sweeper can adjust. For example, you can ask it to find photos burst-shot within two seconds of each other, and save only the one you like. (For Windows, Duplicate Photo Cleaner comes closest to PhotoSweeper.) Using this, I went from 22,000 to about 14,000. Progress.

Step 3: Delete Some More

Google, Apple, and Adobe all have their own versions of computer vision—software that analyzes your images so when you type in “beach,” or “dog,” it finds all instances of that object. The technology is fallible, but useful for this project. I searched for “receipt” and found dozens of restaurant checks from old expense reports.


Alex George

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Photos also has a Screen Shots section, where I’d saved images of digital plane tickets and text conversations that weren’t as funny as I remembered. Same for the Videos tab, which contained movies of the inside of my pocket. Videos in particular take up a huge chunk of any Cloud storage. Delete ruthlessly.

Step 4: Diversify

Apple is big enough that I don’t fear Photos or iCloud vanishing or changing its conditions anytime soon, but it’s still wise to use good backup practices and use more than one Cloud photo backup. Once Apple Photos on my iPhone was all updated, I downloaded Google Photos (free and unlimited, but compresses your images) and Amazon’s Prime Photos (free for Prime members, but limited storage for videos). This way, even if two of them start charging for storage, or close up shop, I still have a backup of those photos. (It’s a valid concern. Flickr, which used to be one of the best free photo backups on the Cloud, just changed its rules.)

Step 5: Actually Enjoy Them

I was down to 12,300, about 46 gigabytes, just over half what I started with. The change was unreasonably satisfying. And now, with a clean work space, I’ve been teaching myself to edit. I’m favoriting the ones to send to Nations Photo Lab (less than $60 for a framed 8×10). I got back on Instagram. And having fewer files is liberating. Because, unless tech companies find a profitable way to lighten your digital load, you’ll have to take care of it yourself. Photos are the best place to start.

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How do I send a huge file to someone? Or to my laptop? I don’t want to upgrade my Cloud plan.

The app is called Send Anywhere. To go from a phone to a computer: Download the (free) app, pick the file, and hit Send. Within ten minutes, tell the intended recipient to open a browser and punch in the six-digit code. You don’t need to create an account or anything. The size limit is a generous 4 gigabytes. Brilliant.

What new cameras are coming out in 2018? The best camera rumors and predictions

The big news of the year so far has been the arrival of new full-frame mirrorless cameras from Nikon and Canon – in the shape of the Nikon Z7 and the Canon EOS R. Photokina brought its share of surprises, including the new medium format Fujifilm GFX 50R and Panasonic’s S1 and S1R. Even so, we think there’s more to come… and there are plenty of juicy camera rumors. 

UPDATE: Photokina 2018 confirmed a lot of the hot camera rumors we’ve been following and started off a whole load more! We’ve integrated all the latest news into this article and brought in some tantalising new rumors, some from outside and some we’ve decided to start ourselves based on our predictions… 

Sony and Olympus were pretty quiet at Photokina, so do they still have new products in the pipeline? And while the Canon EOS R has caused quite a buzz, we think that’s just the start for Canon’s full frame mirrorless plans. 

So what are we likely to see arrive during the rest of 2018 and into 2019? Which lines will manufacturers update? Here, we’ve collated the camera rumors that are most likely to come true and offered our own predictions as to what we may be seeing before long.

And don’t forget next year there will be two major photography shows in the spring: The Photography Show 2019 at the Birmingham NEC in the UK March 16-19, and Photokina 2019 in Cologne, Germany, May 8-11.

Canon camera rumors 2018

Canon stunned everyone with its announcement of it EOS R full-frame mirrorless camera at the beginning of September. But it is clear that the one camera, lenses and adaptors that have been announced are just the beginning for the new R-mount system. The question is, what will come next?

Canon EOS Rx

We would love to see a professional version of the R, which could well be called the EOS Rx, that is aimed at pro sports and action photographers looking for a mirroless alternative to the EOS-1D X Mark II. We’d expect a modest pixel count of 20 or 24 megapixels, but a dual Digic 8 processor that could deliver a boast mode of around 20fps.
Our predictions for the Canon EOS Rx

Canon EOS Rs

But what about a high-resolution model to compete with the Nikon Z7 and Sony A7R III? Canon already has a 50.6-megapixel sensor waiting in the wings (waiting in the EOS 5DS, actually), so could this be adapted for use in a 50-megapixel EOS Rs?

So far only four lenses have been announced for the EOS R, but we expect additional zooms and primes to be added to the roadmap very soon.

Canon EOS R – the beginning of a new full-frame mirrorless dynasty

Canon EOS R – the beginning of a new full-frame mirrorless dynasty

Canon DSLRs

Canon has done a brilliant job to revamp its DSLR line from top to bottom over the past couple of years, from the baby EOS Rebel T7/2000D and EOS 4000D through to the full-frame EOS 6D Mark II and EOS 5D Mark IV models. 

Read more: Canon EOS Rebel T100 / EOS 4000D review

It’s also recently released the entry-level EOS M100 and mid-range EOS M50 mirrorless model and bolstered its compact line with the PowerShot G1 X Mark III. So what might be next?

Read more: Canon EOS 5D Mark IV vs Nikon D850: Specs compared

Canon EOS 7D Mark III

Canon EOS 7D Mark II - overdue an update

Canon EOS 7D Mark II – overdue an update

One of the strongest rumors right now concerns the imminent arrival of the Canon EOS 7D Mark III DSLR. The existing EOS 7D Mark II is now over three years old, and it lacks many features that are now standard on similar models such as Wi-Fi, touchscreen control, 4K video recording and focus peaking. The fact that Nikon has two very well received alternatives in the D7500 and D500 makes it all the more vital that Canon updates its mid-range APS-C offering as soon as possible.

Despite the fact that there is very little credible information on the specs of a forthcoming EOS 7D Mark III, the current EOS 7D Mark II is well due an update. This is highly likely to sport a sensor that employs Canon’s Dual Pixel CMOS AF technology and, if it’s to compete with the likes of Nikon’s D500, it really ought to offer 4K video recording too.

Read more: The best Canon DSLR in 2018

Canon EOS-1D X Mark III

Another logical addition to the EOS DSLR line would be a replacement for the EOS-1D X Mark II, although there is no great demand for an update here just yet. It does, after all, offer a very respectable 14fps burst shooting option, together with 4K video and am excellent focusing system. That said, Nikon has been giving Canon heat over the past year or so with its excellent D5, so there’s definitely room for something fresh.

We are almost certain to see replacements for the Canon EOS 80D and EOS 77D enthusiast DSLRs in the next year. 

Read more: 10 tips on getting the best out of your Canon camera

More camera rumors: Nikon rumorsSony rumorsOlympus rumorsFujifilm rumorsPanasonic rumors

The EOS 6D Mark II was announced last year

The EOS 6D Mark II was announced last year

What we think: The next camera in the EOS R range can’t be far behind the first – but we probably won’t see this in 2018. We do expect to get much more information about the lens roadmap for the EOS R … we have details of four of the lenses, but we reckon that there are lots of others in development. 

Read more: The complete guide to Canon’s lens terms

Nice Gifts



When you idolize someone, a great way to show your adoration is through gift-giving, right? Well some celebrity fans agree, but they take things too far. Celebs don’t always receive normal gifts from adoring fans – they sometimes receive gifts that would make you cringe.

1. Taylor Swift – Turtle Shell

Taylor Swift has a knack for making the celebrity world seem somewhat normal, but one gift from an adoring fan was decidedly not so. This past Christmas, Swift opened a package to find a turtle shell with her own face painted on it.

2. Harry Styles – Sanitary Napkin

Most people would give a boyfriend a customized t-shirt or a watch. These gifts are personal and show you care, but aren’t so personal that they’re awkward. But some people take a much more intimate route. For Harry Styles, that meant receiving a sanitary napkin with his name written on it in Sharpie.

3. Anna Kendrick – Stalker Relationship Letter

One fan somehow got Anna’s home address and sent her some snail mail. There’s nothing strange about receiving a letter from a fan unless it’s an exorbitantly long epistle detailing why the stranger and Anna Kendrick should be in a relationship. The letter also came with a pair of diamond earrings. “I was just like, these have to go into the trash,” she reported.
“I can’t. I cannot. I cannot wear them. I can’t give them to someone. It’s too weird.”

4. Jared Leto – Human Ear

Another incredibly creepy gift went to Jared Leto in the form of a human ear. It came attached with a note that said, “Are you listening?” What’s even weirder is that Jared kept the ear. He dried it out, drilled a hole in it, and made a necklace. It’s hard to tell what’s stranger about this situation.

5. Daniel Radcliffe – A Photograph of His House

Apparently, Radcliffe’s followers just wanted to prove that they had been to his house. “I … got sent a photograph of a milk bottle and a door,” he said. “It was my house! There were two people in front of it. There was only a door between us.” That’s something that would make it hard to sleep at night.

6. Halle Berry – Diamond Engagement Ring

Most people try to get to know someone before they propose, but one fan must have felt like watching Halle Berry’s movies on repeat for hours on end was enough. He sent her a diamond engagement ring with an attached marriage proposal letter.

7. Jonas Brothers – A Dead Shark

One adoring admirer brought “Shark Week” to a whole new level when they sent the Jonas Brothers a dead shark. “It wasn’t a real big shark though,” Nick Jonas made sure to point out. “It was only a baby shark but they’d preserved it in this tube for us. That was odd.” Meanwhile, Kevin Jonas is still trying to figure out where you can buy a dead shark to send to your celebrity crush.

8. Dolly Parton – A Baby

A dead shark is weird, a human ear is disgusting, but a baby? That’s downright disturbing. In the 1970s, Dolly Parton opened her front gate one morning to find a baby lying in a box. It came with a name tag that read Jolene, undoubtedly after her famous song. Naturally, Dolly handed the child over to the Department of Health and Human Services to find her a good home.

9. Emma Watson – Bibles

It seems that the “satanic” nature of the Harry Potter saga made a few fans fear for Emma Watson’s soul. During the decade she spent starring in the Potter films, she received a whole slough of bibles from concerned fans. “Finding our ‘Harry Potter’ films un-Christian, people think I need to be guided and send me The Bible. I now have a collection of 20,” she said during an interview.

10. Ariana Grande – 42.5 LB Pumpkin

One fan must have felt that Ariana Grande deserved a gift as large and heavy as her voice, because he sent her a ginormous pumpkin. This came from a stalker named Tom Normandin, who also sent her cat and dog calendars, a 3-piece mirror set from K-mart, and a variety of other strange presents. It got so out of hand that Grande involved the polic, who ordered Normandin to stop sending gifts or be faced with harassment charges.