Tools & Materials
What’s New in Cordless Tools for Contractors
Six more reasons to cut the cord! Check out these tools that can change the way you work.
Non-Backbreaking Miter Saw
A lot of trim carpenters and flooring guys set up shop in one room and make all the cuts from there, even though cutting in the same room where you’re installing eliminates a whole bunch of trips back and forth to and from the saw. That’s because miter saws are heavy and moving them is a pain.
But DEWALT’s new cordless, 7-1/4-in., sliding miter saw makes quick moves a snap. It won’t cut as wide as a 10-in. slider, but at 32 lbs., it’s 25 lbs. lighter than full-size models, which makes hauling it around a breeze. And for a little guy, this saw has a lot of guts. It can make 275 cuts through 3-1/4-in. base on one charge. Buy the DCS361 without the 20V MAX battery for $319 where DEWALT tools are sold.
SUPER HAWG for Super Big Holes
Electricians are lucky because they shed their cords a while ago, but that’s because they’re mostly drilling rather wimpy 3/4-in. holes all day. You plumbers and HVAC guys are still tethered because of the huge holes your trade requires. Milwaukee may have finally freed you from your chains/cords.
The new M18 FUEL, SUPER HAWG is designed to drill big holes—a lot of them. Milwaukee claims this tool can power through 75, 2-9/16-in. holes on a single charge, and is capable of muscling through holes as large as 6 in.! Could this be the beginning of a totally cord-free rough-in? The SUPER HAWG will be available in early October, 2015. Buy one where Milwaukee tools are sold. Expect to pay $549 (includes two batteries and a charger) or $349 for the bare tool.
A Screwgun for the Skeptics
If anything is overdue in the cordless world, it’s a quality screwgun that doesn’t require frequent trips to the charger. Pro drywall hangers have been one of the last of the trades to embrace cordless technology simply because of the prodigious number of screws they drive in on an hourly basis. Maybe Bosch’s new SGH182 18V screwgun will change their minds. It promises a more comfortable feel, and boasts the ability to drive in a whopping 3,400 screws per charge! Buy one for $189 for the bare tool or $349 for the tool, charger and two batteries.
Not Just for the Yard
A blower is a handy tool to have around the house, so why wouldn’t it be handy at the jobsite as well? You could use one to: clear the floors; blow shingle grit off a roof; clean up that miter saw before loading it up for the day; dry the morning dew off your outdoor workstation; blow the filth out of your work truck; you could even use it to dust yourself off before heading home for the day.
If you’re already invested in DEWALT’s 20V MAX system, the new DCBL720P1 blower just might be a tidy solution to a messy jobsite. It won’t take up much more space in your truck than a push broom, and it cranks out 400 CFM and blows air at 90 MPH! It costs about $200.
Double or Nothing
Many first-generation cordless circular saws lacked power, which caused stalls and binding, and the number of cuts completed with one battery was lackluster, at best. Makita now makes a full-size, 36V cordless circ saw that may give its corded cousins a run for their money. The XSH01X/Z is part of the X2 platform, meaning it runs off two Makita 18V lithium ion batteries, the same battery that powers the world’s largest cordless tool selection.
It weighs in at 10.1 lbs, which is less than some corded sidewinders. And while light on weight, it’s definitely not light on runtime: Makita claims it can cut 250 2x4s on one charge. Other tools in the X2 family include: chainsaws, blowers, trimmers and a rotary hammer. Buy the XSH01X/Z at stores where Makita tools are sold. Expect to pay about $200 for the bare tool.
Milwaukee Wireless Jobsite Speaker
For half the price of a quality jobsite radio, you can get yourself a M12 wireless Jobsite Speaker that will stream podcasts or music via Bluetooth from your smartphone. It won’t sound quite as good as a full-size radio, but what you sacrifice in sound, you benefit in size. This rugged little speaker runs off of one M12 battery, and it’s small enough to rest on a windowsill and can fit inside a tool bag at the end of the day. It communicates with your smartphone up to 30-ft. away and also has a handy USB port in case your phone battery gets low. Buy one for $69 where Milwaukee tools are sold.