(ARA) - In the early days of the do-it-yourself movement, the words "home improvement" often conjured images of bearded, outdoorsy fellows in flannel shirts. The new face of home improvement, however, is far more diverse and increasingly feminine.
If you think home renovation is still strictly a boy's club, think again -- and check out the growing number of Web sites and tool manufacturers catering to female do-it-yourselfers. Women once had to contend with heavy hammers and unwieldy drills made for larger male hands.
Now tool companies are making female-centric products designed to appeal to women's need for finesse rather than brute force.
"More women than ever are delving into home improvement," says tool expert Steve Sholem of StuckOnTools, a maker of innovative tools and tool storage solutions.
"Whether it's because they live in an apartment, own their own homes or have mates who just aren't handy, a growing number of women are going the do-it-yourself route when it comes to home repair and improvement."
So what's new in the world of women's tools?
* Lighter weight: Hefting a heavy power drill can be awkward and tiring for any user. Tool manufacturers are now making power drills that weigh less but pack power and torque to compete with the heaviest duty products.
A variety of drills are now available that easily fit into a woman's smaller hand, allowing the user greater mobility and fatigue-free use - long enough to get the job done.
* Adjusted lengths: To achieve maximum leverage and impact with tools such as hammers or screwdrivers, the tool needs to be a comfortable length for the user. Shorter shafts and handles on hammers make it easier for women to achieve balance when wielding tools.
* Simplified battery and accessory changes: While tool manufacturers across the board seem to be making an effort to make battery and accessory changes easier, makers of women-specific tools are putting an emphasis on the issue.
Many power tools now feature easy-to-change batteries, and some even offer an accessory belt clip so you can detach the battery and make the product even lighter for carrying and storage.
* Improved visual appeal: It's probably safe to say that most men do not purchase tools based on visual appeal. Black, orange, yellow -- the occasional manly blue -- are the dominant colors in the hand and power tool aisles of most hardware and home improvement stores.
Until now, women's tools have simply been scaled-down versions of those made for men, with the same uninspiring style and colors. Tool makers have begun offering products in more feminine colors, like pink. Courtesy of ARAcontent