September 3, 2010

Craftsman Accutrac Laser Measuring Tool

sears_accutrac.jpgOne time we were at a fishing derby that was held at a golf course. The ponds were stocked with fish and everyone just stood around them with their lines in the water (excitement level: zero). So every time someone would catch a fish, all the other people around that pond would rush over to that area and cast their lines at the spot where the fish was caught. It was pretty strange to watch.

Anyway, that, in a nutshell is sort of how we view the tool industry (or, really any industry for that matter). The tool companies are the fishermen, the bait is the product, and you all are the fishys. Let's explain further; there's Bob the fisherman who baits his line with a nice, big worm (a.k.a. shiny new product). He throws it out there where it floats for a bit (on the shelves at Home Depot). Then along comes the fish (you) la-de-da-ing along and you're attracted to the product, you sniff around it, and decide it's worthy, and you take a bite (drop some cash for it). The fisherman is ecstatic and pulls you in (possibly gaining a long term product buyer). Now, at this point, the other fisherman look over and say to themselves, "what the hell did that guy just do? Whatever it is, we've got to do the same thing!" So they run over the same spot and find a similar worm and toss their lines in, hoping to get a similar fish.

And yes, we're aware that the analogy has some holes in it (the worm and the location are technically 'the product') but you get our point (that is, if you're still even reading this nonsense). Basically, one company does something and then all the companies do it.

This is a really long-winded way of saying that Craftsman has just released a laser measuring tool (we would like to note that our fish analogy isn't intended to be directed specifically to Craftsman - we just happened to be thinking about that fishing derby this morning - also, it's not a bad thing either, we view industry competition as a positive for the consumer). The Accutrac measuring tool looks like it has all of the features that are now standard in these little measuring devices (a variety of measurement units, area/volume calculators, and the ability to add and subtract measurements).

Our main experience with these tools comes from the DeWalt DW030P that we reviewed here, and it looks like the Craftsman has a few improvements over that model. First, it has a flip out extension pin for measuring inside corners. Second, it's about $20 cheaper.

And what do we think about these tools? Like we said in the DeWalt review, it's not going to replace your tape measure, but it is helpful for material take-offs and figuring room dimensions. For example, we're in the process of designing a number of built-ins for our office, so we're doing a bunch of sketches for it. To get the room dimensions (and locations of the windows), we used the laser measuring tool and the whole process took about 5 minutes.

At Sears

Press release is as follows....

...Handling a 100 ft. steel tape measure isn't the easiest task especially if you're working solo.

The Craftsman® Accutrac® Laser Measuring Tool is like having an assistant and more. This easy-to-operate, pocket calculator measures distances up to 100 ft.

with +/- accuracy of 1/8 in. The icon labeled unit button convert measurements to decimal feet, feet/inches, decimal inches, inches, meters and millimeters. There's even a flip-out extension pin for measuring from inside corners. The tool's read button activates the laser and begins the measurement, while pressing the mode button

calculates length, area, volume and 2 or 3 point Pythagorean measurements. Add a large. hi-vis, backlit LCD screen and this measuring tool handles the grunt work. It comes in handy when sizing up a room for buying paint, wallpaper, carpet, flooring, trim, window treatments, fencing and more. The tool is powered by 2 AA batteries (sold separately).

The measuring tool has an impact-resistance resin shell with a rubber over-mold grip for secure and comfortable handling. The Craftsman Accutrac Laser Measuring Tool (#48277, $99.99)

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Posted by Doug Mahoney at September 3, 2010 2:10 PM
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