December 20, 2007

Maxus X-Lite Aluminum Compressor - Review

maxus_front.jpgAn air compressor is essential to anyone who goes beyond the basic levels of the DIY world. With the right attachments, they can serve a lot of purposes; they can power any number of nail guns, inflate anything from car tires to rubber rafts, and even act as a blow gun to get fine dust off of a workplace. There are a few drawbacks though; one is that they tend to be big and bulky items. Over the past few years, smaller 1-2 gallon models have come out, but they're still pretty heavy, although far lighter than the 4+ gallon contractor models. The other issue that the compressor owner is constantly dealing with is the corrosion of the tank. This manifests itself in a blast of rust water every time the compressor is drained (which is supposed to be daily, but we all know how that goes).

To address these two common complaints of compressors, a company called Maxus has recently released the X-Lite line of compressors. The difference between these and other compressors is that the tanks are made of aluminum, thus, in one maneuver, solving both of the aforementioned problems. It's true that hindsight is 20/20, but this seems like a no-brainer. How come no one thought of this before?

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Doug Mahoney at Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

December 12, 2007

Wagner Paint Crew Plus - Review

pcp.jpgPaint Sprayers exist in that terrifying realm of contractors only. But now, Wagner, makers of the great PaintEater, have produced the Paint Crew Plus for the DIYer who wants to take advantage of the wonders of paint spraying.

The Paint Crew Plus (PCP) has the general look and feel of a pressure washer. It has the same two-wheel dolly set-up, complete with a telescoping handle. The machine is easy to roll around, and when it comes time to carry it up a flight of stairs, it's relatively light. It has a removable hopper, 25' of hose, and a roller head that attaches to the sprayer. After some minor assembly (putting the wheels and handle on), we were ready for action.

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Doug Mahoney at Permalink | Comments (3) | social bookmarking

December 10, 2007

Ryobi 4-Piece Lithium-Ion Power Tool Kit - Review

Ryobi_Li_set.jpgLithium-ion batteries are a big deal right now. They last longer, charge quicker, and are half the weight of other batteries. But the catch is that they're quite a bit more expensive. There has been a lot of talk lately about Ryobi and their new line of inexpensive li-ion tools. But are they any good? Bad tools for a good price are still bad tools. Well, we spent all week using and abusing the 4-piece set and we're here to report back our findings. For the review, we're going to look at each tool individually and then wrap things up with some thoughts on the set as a whole.

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Doug Mahoney at Permalink | Comments (3) | social bookmarking

December 5, 2007

Skil 14.4-Volt Lithium-Ion Cordless Drill/Driver - Review

skil14.jpgA little bit ago, we reviewed Skil's 18-Volt Lithium Ion Drill/Driver. We found it to be a nice tool for the casual user, but probably not for the contractor. Now we've gone and taken a good look at the Skil 14.4-Volt Drill Driver and can report that the tools are basically identical, except that the 14.4 is a little more affordable, lighter, and a little less powerful.

Like the 18-Volt Drill, the 14.4-Volt has the strange battery design with the exposed terminals. But this time, we took our heads out of the sand and realized that this serves a purpose. With the charging terminals located at the bottom of the battery, you are able to charge the battery with the tool attached. So there's a purpose to it, but does it make sense? Even in a really rushed situation, we've always had time to take the battery off the charger and plug it into the tool, so it can't be a time-saving issue. But maybe this is more for saving workbench space, so if you're someone with limited room, this could be a good thing.

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Doug Mahoney at Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

December 4, 2007

Proxxon Oscillating Detail Sander - Review

proxxon.jpgWe're big fans of the Fein MultiMaster. In our opinion, it's one of the best tools to come around in a long time. And we thought that it stood alone, with no other tool like it. We've been hearing about the Bosch PMF 180 E Multi, a similar tool that's available in Europe and may or may not be coming to the states, but what we didn't know about was the Proxxon Delta Sander. It's the Mini-Me of the MultiMaster and we were lucky enough to get a chance to test one out.

The basics of the tool are the same as the Fein. There's the oscillating head with interchangeable blades, sanding pads, files, scrapers, and polishers. If you're familiar with the Fein, then all the controls will be familiar to you. The accessories change out the same way, with a little hex key, and there's a little dial to control oscillation speed.

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Doug Mahoney at Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

November 16, 2007

C.H. Hanson Slide Square - Review

slidesquare.jpgApparently, attempting to redefine layout tools with the Pivot Square wasn't enough for C.H. Hanson. The frantically innovative tool company has just released the Slide Square, a tool that may just replace the measuring square as the back pocket tool of choice for contractors.

From what we can tell, just about everything that your measuring square can do, the Slide Square can do. And on top of that there are a few tricks that the Slide Square has that can't be done with a measuring square.

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Doug Mahoney at Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

November 15, 2007

Skil 18-Volt Lithium-Ion Cordless Drill/Driver - Review

Skil_18.jpgSkil has recently gotten into the lithium-ion race with their nice 7-volt Power Wrench and now they're getting into some higher voltage with their new 18-Volt Lithium Cordless Drill/Driver.

Although it's fairly stripped down, the drill/driver comes equipped with some nice features. It's got a little light, located at the bottom of the handle that shines on the tip of the tool, brightening up the work piece. Right next to it is a three light indicator system that displays the charge left in the battery. The drill also has a 15 position clutch and a little forward/reverse indicator light.

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Doug Mahoney at Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

November 4, 2007

Skil 7.2-Volt Lithium-Ion Power Wrench - Review

Skil_wrench_1.jpgNow with just about every major tool company trying to convert every single power tool into a cordless version, there are bound to be some duds. Some tools just won't be able to make the conversion, due to who knows what. So every time a new tool comes out, we cringe a little bit, wondering if it will be the first big disaster. With this in mind, we were curious about Skil's new Power Wrench. Would it be possible to make a battery operated ratchet tool? Skil was nice enough to let us try one out, so we're happy to say we have an answer to that question.

skil_wrench_charger.jpgFirst, some general info on the tool. The Skil Power Wrench has a nice ergonomic handle, complete with little finger ridges. The trigger is right there and is no problem to get to and easy to keep depressed. Like a traditional ratchet, the forward/reverse toggle is located at the rear of the head, and operated just like you expect it to.

The tool is light, weighing just under two pounds. The weight is nicely distributed through the tool, so it's an easy 2 lbs to deal with, making the wrench feel solid and very natural in the hands. The tool operates on an internal lithium-ion battery, and the entire unit plugs into the charger stand, which can sit on any flat surface or be mounted to the wall.

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Doug Mahoney at Permalink | Comments (16) | social bookmarking

October 26, 2007

Dremel Duo (Stylus & Driver) - Review

dremel_duo1.jpgDremel has just released a new lithium-ion powered screwdriver, the Dremel Driver, and they've bundled it with their Dremel Stylus, which has been out since 2006. We were curious to see how Dremel was going to handle the whole lightweight lithium-ion screwdriver thing and we jumped at the chance to test out the little guy and as a bonus, we got our hands on the Stylus as well.

The Dremel Driver and Stylus come nicely packaged together, but are also available as stand alones (more on that later). They come with a stand/charger that fits both tools, charging one at a time. There is also a nice little compartmentalized case for your rotary bits and driver bits as well as an expansion piece for the stand that clicks onto the side and provides a space to store your bits for easy access. This last piece isn't pictured, as we lost it somewhere along the way during our test phase. We're pretty sure it's in the truck somewhere.

dremel_duo_box.jpg

The system has no removable battery to charge. Instead the entire unit clicks into the stand and it does its charging there. This situation presents no bench top space issues, seeing as both of these tools combined are hardly any bigger than the standard 18-volt battery and won't be taking up much space at all.

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Doug Mahoney at Permalink | Comments (1) | social bookmarking

October 3, 2007

Husky 84-Watt Portable Tripod Fluorescent Work Light - Review

light_compact.jpgHusky has just released a new tripod work light and they were nice enough to let us try out. It's an interesting design, and one we've never seen before.

The light comes folded up, looking sort of like a camera tripod with a very large central shaft. At the end of the shaft is a small light. Once the legs of the tripod are set up, the shaft stands upright with the light on top. When you plug in the light (which is made easy by a nice 12' cord), the light on the top lights up (it's blue). Now, here's where it gets interesting. At this point, you find a little locking tab that you press and once that's done, you can now grab the little blue light and pull the main light out of the central shaft, where it's been nicely protected. Once the light slides up to as high as it will go, it locks into place and automatically turns on. This, we weren't ready for.

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Doug Mahoney at Permalink | Comments (16) | social bookmarking

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