March 30, 2011

i-drill 12-Volt Impact Driver and Flashlight - Review


A number of years ago, we read a book by Virginia Postrel called, The Substance of Style: How the Rise of Aesthetic Value Is Remaking Commerce, Culture, & Consciousness. It's a good book and in it she talks about how, in a more and more diversified culture, the look and feel of something is plays an expanded role in purchasing decisions. Why are we talking about this? Because right now we're looking at an impact driver that no carpenter we know would ever use. But at the same time, it's an impact driver that would be happily be purchased by someone who likes things that look all kinds of clean and sleek and Steve Jobsy.

As you've already surmised, i-drill was nice enough to send us a couple more items to test out (we reviewed their 12-volt drill/driver here) and this time we're going to look at their impact driver and LED Flashlight. As with most of our reviews, we simply put the tools in the rotation and used them when we could. As it turned out, we're in the middle of a room renovation, so these two items got a good workout. Here's what we thought...

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

February 22, 2011

Makita LCT208W 12-Volt Combo Kit (Driver and Circ Saw) - Review


UPDATE: The mini circ saw is now available as a stand alone, with two batteries and a charger. Makita's page is here and it's available at here.

Anyone who was on a jobsite in the 90s is probably familiar with the 9.6 volt circ saw that Makita used to manufacture. You know, the one with the long, skinny handle. Yeah, that one. Well, it's taken a while, but they've finally updated it for their new 12-volt platform (they've bundled it with one of their 12-volt drivers). They shipped us a kit to test out and for the past month, we've been driving it like a stolen car and here are our conclusions.

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Doug Mahoney at Permalink | Comments (4) | social bookmarking

January 28, 2011

Ryobi Tek4 Cordless Inspection Scope - Review


In just a few short years, inspection scopes have gone from, "only the specialists have them" to "my mom's got like three of these things." Actually, that's not true, we're not there yet, but we're getting there. And with its big box store availability and nice price, the Ryobi Cordless Inspection Scope, powered by their 4-volt Tek4 battery gives a solid push in that direction. Ryobi sent us one to check out and after using it for about a month in a variety of settings, here we are writing the review...

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Doug Mahoney at Permalink | Comments (6) | social bookmarking

January 24, 2011

i-Drill 2i-Drill Review


There's a new 12-volt platform on the block and it's from a company called i-Drill. They were nice enough to send us one of their new 2-Speed Drills to review.

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

January 20, 2011

Milwaukee M12 Cordless Multi-Tool (Oscillating Tool)


So this one was just a matter of time. We're actually surprised it took so long for Milwaukee to get with the oscillating tool program and on top of that, we're actually disappointed that they opted for a cordless version. We privately had high hopes for a corded version that would give King Fein some competition. No such luck.

But still the new Milwaukee Cordless Multi-Tool looks like a nice item and while we're generally uneasy with the idea of a cordless oscillating tools because of the fast battery drain, the Milwaukee is powered by their new Red Lithium battery so it stands a pretty good chance of breaking this curse, or at least making it less obnoxious. So far, cordless oscillating tools seem to drain out within 10 minutes of constant sanding, which to us is just not enough. Powering an oscillating tool is a lot to ask of a battery, and from what we've experienced, the oscillating function, when used in a construction site setting, is simply incompatible with the life that a 12-volt battery can afford it.

So anyway, we talked about Milwaukee's new Red Lithium battery here and according to the company, it supplies the juice for 40% more run time. If this holds true here, then we might finally be in business with the cordless oscillating tool.

It looks like this oscillating tool has all of the trappings of yet another solid Milwaukee offering; a metal gear case, a nice gripping area, and easy controls. The kit comes with two batteries and an accessory adapter which makes it compatible with most available accessories.


Doug Mahoney at Permalink | Comments (13) | social bookmarking

January 12, 2011

Craftsman QuickBoost Charger


tipped us off to this new item about a month ago and because they made us promise we wouldn't say anything until its official release today at the Builder's Show, we've been chewing on our knuckles and shoving socks in our mouths in order to not spill the beans. The news is that their new 12-volt Nextec charger can do something they refer to as "QuickBoost."

What this charger does that no other charger can do is put 25% of a charge back on a dead battery in three minutes. That means that in the time it takes you to boil an egg, you could have your tool powered up enough to finish your project.

And don't sit there rolling your eyes thinking that 25% of a full charge isn't that much. According to Craftsman, three minutes of quality time with the QuickBoost means another 70 screws (1-1/4") driven by their Right Angle Impact Driver (which we reviewed here). It also means another 4 hours for their flashlight. So we're not talking just enough to put in one or two more screws, but rather enough to finish the last third of your project.

This three minute charge is twice as fast as their current charger which takes approximately six minutes to get to the 25% mark. Might not seem like a huge difference, but if you're standing there propping up a half-installed upper cabinet, it'll all make sense.

This gives Craftsman a nice step up against their 'one-battery' competitors (companies that offer two batteries with each tool are on a different playing field because, if you're smart about it, you'll always have a full battery ready to go).

So as it stands, all Craftsman 12-volt tools released from here on out will be sold with the new charger. And because it's compatible with all existing 12-volt Nextec batteries, the charger will also be available as a stand alone for a slightly higher price than the existing charger, which currently sells for about $30.

Doug Mahoney at Permalink | Comments (2) | social bookmarking

January 7, 2011

Milwaukee M12 Heated Jacket - Review


Once you've conquered the massive 12-volt Pex expander market, there's really nowhere left to go but casual outerwear. And that's what Milwaukee has done. Their crushing domination of the 12-volt world is fully on display with the release of their new M12 Heated Jacket. It's almost like they're taunting the other companies at this point. Whether or not that's actually the case (it probably isn't), they nicely sent us one to check out.

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Doug Mahoney at Permalink | Comments (2) | social bookmarking

January 5, 2011

Bosch IXO Vino Cordless Lithium-Ion Screwdriver with Corkscrew Attachment


Because of the lame litigious nature of the society we live in, the marriage of drinking and power tools has yet to be fully explored in a commercial context. Thankfully, Europe feels differently, particularly Euro-Bosch. Usually, when we're describing something with the prefix, 'Euro,' it's not a good thing (see: Euro-trash, Euro-hair, Euro-tude), but this time it's different.

bosch_corkscrew.jpgBehold, the 4-volt Corkscrew! Huzzah!

It's really just a 4-volt Bosch screwdriver with a funky corkscrew attachment, but we're going to ignore the fact that the tool can be used like any other screwdriver and pretend that it can only be used for opening wine bottles.

The corkscrewdriver comes with a wooden case which is quaint and nice and like everything about this tool, probably only gets nicer as more and more wine is opened and consumed.

The corkscrew costs about 40 pounds which translates to around $60USD.

At Amazon UK


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

December 17, 2010


idrill.pngWhile this might seem like something from an Onion article, it's not. There really is something called the i-Drill. It has just hit the scene and it has some interesting mojo to it.

The i-Drill is a 12-volt drill/driver with a standard three-jaw chuck. It's got two gears and a variable speed trigger. As far as function goes, it appears to be a standard 12-volt drill driver (minus the part where it looks like it's made from Stormtrooper armor).

But there are two things that are unique about the drill. First, it comes with a number of international plug adapters for the charger, like you get if you travel overseas and get an international cell phone. With these adapters the tool can be used in "99.9% of the countries in the world." Our guess is that if you live in that unfortunate 0.1%, you've got larger problems than not being able to use the i-Drill. But this universality is certainly good for online retailers who can sell the drill to just about anyone in the world. It's also good if you spend your weekends in Iceland, helping your friend Bjerg tinker around with his geothermal heating system.

The other interesting thing about the tool is the look of it. There are a lot of companies out there who try to capture the 'non-tool' market, whether it's making pink tools to target women or giving tools easy-to-use features. But to us, this looks like the first tool to really succeed on that front. It has a really stylish and smart look about it with none of the 'you-don't-know-anything-about-tools' pandering that we see elsewhere. But we can't seem to shake the feeling that we've seen the general aesthetic before. We can't quite place it but there's something very familiar about it...

At and i-Drill (they also have a few other tools on the platform. An oscillating tool, an impact driver, a smaller drill, and a flashlight)

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

November 11, 2010

Ridgid Job Site Radio with ShockMount Technology

ridgid_jobsite_radio.jpgAny video that begins with a warranty disclaimer stating that the tool will be shown in "abnormally abusive situations,' is one that we're going to watch. We're fully in favor of the current trend in which companies display their tools' toughness by beating on them in front of a camera, but what Ridgid does in this video goes above and beyond.

To say that they're bringing down the hurt on their new radio is like saying Charlie Sheen likes to have a beer every now and then. To say that they seem to be truly attempting to destroy the tool is far closer to the truth. The standard beat-the-tool video has kind of a contrived feel, like they're going most of the way, but backing off on the abuse when they know the tool might be at risk. Not this one. And Ridgid not only doesn't back off at that delicate point, they seem to accelerate.

The one fatal flaw in the video is that there is an editing cut after they throw the radio off the roof which is the only time the face of the tool sees any us cynical, but our BS detectors went bonkers at that one. Still, the cinder block bonanza is sublime.

Check it out...

(and thanks to Reader Thomas P. for the head's up)

Ridgid doesn't have any info at their site yet, but we found the radio at Home Depot for $150

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

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