It’s not the first thing you think of when you pack your tool box, but a reliable blower at your side is an essential tool for the DIY newbie – especially one with a belt clip and a torch built into it.
BT’s ruggedised Elements is the best DECT phone workmate we’ve found. Its rubber casing can withstand a tumble and survive a soaking in the great outdoors – hence the name – while its ability to double as a torch could be invaluable if you happen to drill though the power lines.
Besides the torch, Elements doesn’t have any other surprise features. It’s a basic brick with no answer machine and no SIM card reader. Instead the emphasis is on ease of use and practicality. The numbers are big and easy to dial, there’s a basic 50-name phone book and a keypad lock to stop you dialling New Zealand by mistake.
It’s hard not to love this chunky handful of rubber though. It fits in your mitt like a hand grenade and feels tough enough to bang in a nail if you’re lacking a hammer.
In reality, the rubber suit doesn’t completely cover the phone and if you drop it from the top of a stepladder, there’s a good chance you’ll smash the screen. What the IP54 standard does guarantee is protection from dust, rain and splashes. From a DIY point of view, this means you can hose it down after its been covered in sawdust and fingerprints in your workshop.
Three dazzling LED bulbs deliver the beam of light that could help you rewire the fusebox you just blew or locate that replacement bulb. LEDs, of course, manage a brighter and whiter light than a regular halogen lamp and are much more sparing on your battery. It’s still quite demanding though, so you’ll want to recharge the handset at the end of each day.
The range on this wireless handset is an impressive 1,000m and we found that it worked with equal clarity in the shed at the bottom of the garden as it did in the pub around the corner. Favouring your landline phone could save you a few quid on your mobile phone tariff too.
It’s GAP compatible too, which means you can add more phones to your home network. After all, it could be more than a little annoying for the rest of the family if you and the phone have gone and are holed up in the shed.
As a regular house phone, you’ll probably miss the answer machine and the ability to transfer your address book by inserting a SIM card, but for the roving handyman this is the perfect tool for the job.