Best New Tools From 2018
The coolest new tools from 2018
2018 was a year full of great new tool releases from a lot of innovative company. Here's a collection of tools we thought were the most noteworthy and essential for pros across the trades.
A manageable cut-off saw
STIHL developed the world’s first cut-off machine powered by a 36-volt Lithium Ion battery, the TSA 230. This saw is light and maneuverable and only weighs 8.6 pounds (half as much as a similar-powered model). And there’s no exhaust, making it ideal for indoor use. It has built-in water control and many of the same features as it’s bigger brothers. The STIHL TSA 230 is available at authorized STIHL dealers.
Portable fan built for the jobsite
The 11-in. Jobsite Fan from DeWALT is a great little fan that gives you the perfect mix of portability and power. The main draw of this fan is its versatility. It has both corded and cordless functionality and can be hung, stood up or mounted. There’s pretty much no place on the jobsite this fan wouldn’t work. When in cordless mode it runs off of the standard DeWALT 20V MAX battery. Plus, the fan speed is completely adjustable. The 11-in. Corded/Cordless Jobsite Fan is available from most online retailers and in hardware stores for $79.00.
Porter Cable cordless wet saw
Porter Cable recently unveiled their new 20V MAX* Table Top Wet Tile Saw, continuing the on-going trend in the tool industry of “there’s a cordless version of everything now”. While table top saws are mostly stationary, the cordless-ness of this tool would still be advantageous on a jobsite with no or limited outlets. If you’re worried about the run time of a battery powered saw, don’t be; Porter Cable claims that this saw can make up to 154 cuts on a single charge. The 20V MAX* Table Top Wet Tile Saw can be found online for $269.99.
Milwaukee bolt cutter
Normally, when your bolt cutter lacks the leveraged to cut the mustard (so to speak), you either have to switch to a larger bolt cutter, or contort your body so you can use your hands feet and backside all at the same time. Now there’s a third option: Create your own larger bolt cutter. These new Milwaukee Bolt Cutters are equipped with POWERMOVE Extendable Arms. They have up to 30% more cutting power at full length. The 14-in. and 24-in. Adaptable Bolt Cutter with POWERMOVE Extendable Arms are available now on Amazon and wherever Milwaukee tools are sold.
Makita Cutout Tool
Makita is now offering the world’s first (as far as we know) Cordless Cut-Out Saw, designed specifically to cut through layers of drywall without cutting too deep. Whether you’re remodeling or installing outlets, this is incredibly helpful. The saw just barely cuts through drywall so you don’t run the risk of accidentally nicking any pipes or wires that might lie on the other side. It also includes dual L.E.D. lights so you can always see where you’re cutting and an adjustable blade depth with a max depth of 1-3/16-in. The Makita Cordless Cut-Out Saw can be found online and in home centers for $187.36.
You may have noticed that everything on the jobsite is going cordless. One unfortunate side effect of this is that air-compressors are slowly becoming a rare sight, so if you get a flat tire you may just find yourself in a bind. That’s where Milwaukee Tool’s Compact Inflator comes in. According to Milwaukee this is the first ever cordless inflator capable of filling a light truck tire from 0 to full in under 1 minute. One great feature is the “TrueFill Auto Shutoff Technology” which will shut off the inflator as soon as your tire reaches the desired pressure. The M12 Compact Inflator can be found in stores and online now starting at $69 for the bare tool.
For a while now Festool’s Domino Joiner system has been a favorite among cabinetmakers and carpenters. Festool recently launched a new generation of Domino connectors that work with their DF 500 Domino Joiner. The new mechanical Domino connectors can be used to create tight, seamless connections between flat or corner joints with just a hex wrench. They eliminate the need for gluing and clamping without giving up any connection strength. Whether you are making cabinets in a workshop, working on site as a carpenter or just trying your hand at furniture making, Festool’s new Connectors are a great way to make strong and fast joint connections. The connectors come in a variety of styles and package sizes with prices starting at $35.00.
Funky New Design
Bosch’s new 12V Max Palm Edge Router just looks… different. That’s because it is. Bosch built a compact grip that resembles a jigsaw more than a router. It feels more natural unlike other palm routers that can feel like trying to cut with a jar of pickles. Also, this cordless router weighs just 2.2 lbs., which is almost half as much as comparable models. The Bosch GFK12V-25 12V Max Palm Edge Router is available online and in stores for $149 (bare tool only).
One Wrench, One Driver, One Tool
Bosch’s new 2-in-1 Hex and Square Drive Socket-Ready Impact Driver can handle both standard hex bits and sockets. The square drive simply has a hole in it that accepts the hex bits, so there are no parts or attachments to swap out and keep track of. This is the perfect tool for building decks or any project that requires switching from screws to bolts/ lags. You can buy one online or in home centers for $199.00 (bare tool).
Handy Cord And Hose Management
Rockler’s new Ceiling Track System is a great way to get cords and hoses out of the way when working in a garage or shop. The track system provides ring and hook attachments that move along the ceiling mounted track. Just position the hook above your workspace and hang up the cord or hose. Now they’re out of the way but still easy to move around, and thanks to adjustable stops in the track they’ll only travel as far as you want them to. Each section of track, sold in 4-ft.-segments, is rated to hold up to 60 pounds. The Rockler Ceiling Track System starter kit costs $69.97 and additional components can be purchased here.
No More Frigid Fingers
For those of us who live in places that get battered by harsh winters, Milwaukee has us covered- or our hands covered at least. Milwaukee Tool’s new USB Rechargeable Gloves will keep your hands nice and toasty during those long winter months with three heat settings and up to six hours of run time. These gloves are powered by the same technology that Milwaukee uses in their rechargeable flashlights, REDLITHIUM USB, and can reach full heat in just 2.5 minutes. Made of GRIDIRON Ripstop Polyester, Milwaukee’s USB Rechargeable Gloves will be a great way to keep those digits heated even in the tough conditions of the winter jobsite. They are available now for $179 a pair.
DeWALT’s first stud finder
DEWALT is finally getting into the stud finder game with two new models. One has a depth-detection of 3/4-in., and the other can detect studs that are buried 1-1/2 inches deep. Both of these stud finders feature DEWALT’s one-step Center Find Technology, which finds the center of the stud instead of just the edges. Kind of a no-brainer, eh? Also, both models do not need to be calibrated all the time, which definitely speeds up the process. The DEWALT ¾-In. Stud Finder (DWO100) is available for $17.99 while the 1-1/2-In. Stud Finder (DWO150) is available for $19.99 online and in stores.
Milwaukee Stubby Impacts
An impact wrench that can fit into all sorts of nooks and crannies? Sign us up! Milwaukee Tool’s new M12 Fuel Stubby Impact Wrenches are an industry first. They combine the power of the M12 platform with a small, compact design so they can fit into tight spots you may have not been able to reach with a bulkier tool. But the compacted design doesn’t mean that you are going to sacrifice power- these impact wrenches still boast 250 ft.-lb. of breakaway torque. That should be more than enough to remove even the stickiest bolts and fasteners.
The M12 Fuel Stubby Impact Wrenches will be available September 2018 in ¼”, 3/8”, and ½” sizes. They will be sold online and in stores starting at $149.00 (bare tool).
DEWALT recently announced a new line of SDS Plus 2 Cutter and SDS Max High Impact Carbide 4 Cutter Bits with a No-Break Guarantee. That’s right, if any of these masonry drill bits breaks DEWALT will replace it, free of charge! The only caveat is that the wear-mark on the bit needs to be still visible. DEWALT has also increased the durability of theses bits with a redesigned full-carbide head that they claim will double the life and reduce head breakage. They obviously feel confident or they wouldn’t offer to replace them. The wear-mark indicator on these bits also works as a guide for drilling to an ANSI hole diameter specification for mechanical anchors. Bits under the protection of the “No-Break Guarantee” can be replaced in one of three ways:
- Call 1-800-4DEWALT
- Visit a DEWALT Service Center
- Visit a local retailer
Milwaukee Cut Off Tool
Sure, a regular grinder works fine as a cut off tool but now there is a better (and far safer) option. Milwaukee’s M12 FUEL 3” Compact Cut Off Tool is super user-friendly. It has reversible blade rotation and the option to attach a vacuum directly to the tool. It’s optimized for one-handed use and has just a 3-in. head that allows easy access to tight spaces. The cut-off tool can cut through a wide range of materials, including:
- Light to medium gauge metals
- Fiber cement
The M12 Fuel 3” Compact Cut Off Tool can be purchased online and in stores for $147.91 (Bare Tool Only).
2018 STANLEY® FATMAX® tape measure
Stanley FATMAX tape measures have been a go-to measuring tool on jobsites for years now. They recently released 2018 model of the tape that has some great new features, including straighter blade standout that can extend up to 13-ft, and an impact resistant case that Stanley claims can survive a 50-ft. drop onto packed soil. And this 25-ft. tape measure acutally pulls out to 25-ft. instead of stopping a couple feet short like many other tape measures do. The most interesting change is the case; it has been redesigned with a rounder overall shape simulating a baseball-style grip that fits comfortably into the average hand. The 2018 Stanley FATMAX Tape Measure is available now online and at select retailers for $29.99.
18V LXT® Lithium ‑ Ion Brushless Cordless 10″ Top Handle Chain Saw
It’s a race to fill out the product lineups of cordless alternatives to gas-powered landscaping equipment, and Makita remains among the leaders. Their latest competitor is a fully-cordless top handle chainsaw with a brushless motor and a 10-in. blade. Top handle saws (also called arborist saws) are much more maneuverable. They work great for trimming trees and are a must for those arborists dancing amongst the tree tops. The chainsaw’s features include:
- Weighs 7.2 lbs.
- Torque boost mode for cutting through dense material
- Variable speed trigger
- Adjustable, automatic chain lubrication
The Makita 18V LXT Lithium Ion Brushless Cordless 10” Top Handle Chain Saw is available now for $239.00
Tubing cutter twofer
Ridgid's new C-style close-quarter tubing cutter slices through both 1/2-in. and 3/4-in. tubing, which means one less tool to carry and fumble around for. The cutting wheel is spring loaded so it needs no adjustment as you spin the cutter, and the outside surface has screwdriver slots for getting leverage in tight spaces. The 1/2 – 3/4 Rigid tubing cutter costs $32 and is available at plumbing supply stores and online retailers.
That’s one tough corner
Patching a hole in drywall is not a big deal. Patching a dent in a drywall corner usually means replacing the corner bead—that IS a big deal. CertainTeed has a new tough drywall corner called NO-Coat that stands up to some serious abuse. The corners are a three layer sandwich: the bottom layer is joint tape; the center is a high-strength copolymer plastic, and the top is a surface paper designed to resist scratches and abrasions. The NO-Coat corners are applied with joint/taping compound and come in various lengths and profiles.
Apparently these things stick to wood, hot stuff, cold stuff, wet stuff, brick, metal, plastic pipes, ladders, stair treads, flooring, the side of a truck, copper, tools, siding, co-workers, concrete, tile, drywall, asphalt, house wrap, light fixtures, switches, cabinets, leather belts, windows…well, you get the idea. Post-it Extreme Notes are available now.
Cortex just put the “fast” in its fasteners
Many, maybe most, of the deck builders we talk to absolutely love the Cortex Hidden Fastening System. The system is strong, won’t void warrantees, and looks fantastic (or it would if you could actually see it). But the love affair isn’t without its drama. Unanimously, installers hate dropping the tiny plugs, or having them roll and get stuck between the cracks. They don’t enjoy trying to match up the grain, or appreciate bludgeoning their fingers over and over. But what they complained about most was the fussy process itself and how much time it took. It’s amazing that a plastic strip could solve all those problems. Cortex is now available in corrugated strips!
Sidewalk clearing robot
This is one of the coolest pieces of equipment I saw this year. It’s the SnowBot made by Left Hand Robotics. It has a 4-ft. brush on the front and can clear a sidewalk of snow in one pass. Before the SnowBot ventures out into the frozen tundra, its route is marked out with a GPS Path Collection Tool. Then the robot simply follows the path with an accuracy of a couple inches. There are sensors that will stop the machine if there is something/someone in its way. It will also lay down deicing chemicals when fitted with a spreader. The testing phase is done, and the SnowBot will be available this 2018-2019 snow season. Prices start at $32,995.
A lot of zero turn mowers have some sort of suspension that the manufacturer claims to be revolutionary, so when I first heard about the Toro MyRide suspension, I admit I was skeptical. But I actually got a chance to try it out, and all I can say is, “Wow!” The big difference with the MyRide suspension is that the operator is almost totally isolated from the rest of machine. Both the seat and footrest are part of a cradle like platform that moves independently of the mower’s frame. In addition to being amazingly comfortable, the MyRide suspension does not affect the mowing deck. Other machines have springs that allow the wheels to go up and down but this can cause the deck to bounce more on rougher terrain producing a choppy cut. MyRide is available on the Timecutter, Titan, and Z Master machines. Prices start at about $4,000.
Fence Post Repair
Not all of your customers can afford the full “Teardown, haul away, and rebuild” treatment. And some of those small repair jobs lead to larger jobs and referrals down the road. So if you have a customer with just a couple/few rotted fence posts that need replacing, check out the EZ Mender. Pound them in—fasten them to the post—away you go. Simpson E-Z Menderscost $8 each (each post requires two) at the Home Depot.
Mini Spray Booth
Here is a no-brainer product made by HomeRight. It’s a portable spray shelter: I think anyone who has ever used an airless paint sprayer, a High Volume Low Pressure (HVLP) paint sprayer or even a can of spray paint knows that overspray can easily get away from you, and spraying outdoors isn’t always an option. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve used a cardboard box or even made my own temporary spray booth/shelter out of sheets of poly. The HomeRight Spray Shelters are available in a small benchtop size, a medium size, and a large shelter that resembles a camping tent. When not in use, they fold up and don’t take up much space at all. There’s even one that hooks up to a box fan. They’re available at online retailers and cost between $28 and $50.
Okay, when I first stopped by this booth I was thinking, “A door stop, Really?” But after talking to the inventor I saw the light. Yes, it is only lowly doorstop, but it works better than other doorstops, and it folds up small enough to fit comfortably in your pocket. Why would you want a doorstop in your pocket you ask? Think commercial contractors, movers, maintenance staff, housekeeping or any other folks who need to keep doors open on a regular and mobile basis. See, you never know until you ask. PocketStops are made in the USA and cost $15.
Disclosure: This post is brought to you by The Construction Pro Tips editors, who aim to highlight products and services you might find interesting. If you buy them, we get a small share of the revenue from the sale from our commerce partners. We frequently receive products free of charge from manufacturers to test. This does not drive our decision as to whether or not a product is featured or recommended. We welcome your feedback.