February 11, 2010

Rdigid 12-Volt Lithium-Ion JobMax

R99234_family-A.jpgUPDATE: our review of the Ridgid JobMax is posted up here.

...And the innovations keep a coming. This time it's Ridgid adding some heat to the 12-volt world. It looks like what they've done is made a universal lightsaber base with a number of attachment heads that dramatically alter the function of the tool. From what we can tell, the attachments they have now are:

  • Right Angle Impact Driver
  • Right Angle Drill
  • Ratchet Head
  • Oscillating Tool
  • AutoHammer
This is a cool idea making us think you'll be able to buy all of the parts separately, but at the moment it looks like there are only combo kits available.

There's not much definitive pricing info at the moment. The tools were released at the IBS show last month, and the Home Depot website is behind the curve. They have a graphic showing the JobMax tool available in a kit with Ridgid's 12-volt drill selling for $200 (which is a good price considering the drill alone is $140), but any purchase links they have are dead.

The Ridgid website mentions two different kits; one of them with the JobMax and the drilling/driving attachments and the other with the JobMax, the oscillating head, the AutoHammer head and the 12-volt drill.

Sorry about the dinky image, but it's all we could rustle up.

More info at Ridgid here and here.

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

January 19, 2010

Dremel 8200 Cordless Rotary Tool

dremel_8200_Hero.jpgIt's amazing how much mileage Dremel has gotten out of the rotary tool. Each year seems to bring a new and improved version each with significant advancements over the previous models. The company would be deemed completely insane if it weren't for the fact that each tool really is that much better than the last. So it's not like these guys are coasting on a single tool (well, they sort of coasted on the Golf Cleaning Kit), instead they're seemingly on some sort of frenzied quest to create the perfect rotary tool.

Late last year they released the 4000 corded rotary tool (our review here), which suprised us with its jobsite-ready power (we used it yesterday, in fact). So if 2009 was the year of the corded upgrade, 2010 must be the year of the cordless. Which brings us to the new 8200.

It appears that the 8200 is the companion cordless to the 4000. The removable nose has the same look as the corded version and the new tool can handle all of the Dremel accessories, including the new detailer's grip and the sanding guide.

The 8200 is powered by a removable 12-volt li-ion battery that, according to Dremel, gives the tool a speed of cut that's twice as fast as any other cordless rotary tool out there. The battery recharges in 1-hour.

The 8200 will be available in April and will range from $100 to $140, depending on the kit.

At Amazon.com

The press release is after the jump.

ArrowContinue reading: "Dremel 8200 Cordless Rotary Tool"

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

December 4, 2009

Bosch 3-Mode 18-Volt Impact Driver

Bosch_3_mode_impactor.JPGSince reviewing Bosch's 18-volt Impact Driver back in September, we've continued to work the tool harder than the horse from Animal Farm, and each day it shrugs off the abuse like it was nothing. For an essential day to day tool, it's exceeded our expectations for toughness, portability, and power. But still, we need a drill around for all of our precision work. Or do we? Maybe we just need Bosch's new 3-Mode Impact Driver.

Tailor made for today's impact driver-obsessed carpenter, the new tool is an impact driver that has the ability to toggle in and out of impact mode. So now, you theoretically only need one tool for drilling and driving. This is a nice idea, but because the tool has a 1/4" quick-change chuck it means that you'll probably need to go and get a new drill bit set.

We're not sure how much we'd use this tool. To date nothing has ever stopped us from putting a drill bit in our impact driver and, in fact, we find it to be pretty effective, particularly for rough tasks. Also, because the new tool doesn't have a clutch setting (and what impact driver does?), it's not going to replace the cordless drill/driver for all tasks, so you'll still want a regular old screw gun, at the very least, in the gang box - you just might not have to take it out every day. When it comes down to it, the 3-Mode Impact Driver is all about the streamlined work day and productivity. If you're in a fast-paced situation where you're constantly going back and forth between tools, this new item from Bosch might be a good thing for you.

They're calling it a three mode because there's a high speed, a low speed, and the impact setting.

This fella is going to retail for about $370, which includes 2 Fat Pack batteries. With the added technology on the tool, this price makes sense given that the straight up impact driver goes for about $315.

The full press release is after the jump and there's more info at Bosch.

ArrowContinue reading: "Bosch 3-Mode 18-Volt Impact Driver"

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

November 3, 2009

Ryobi 12-Volt Auto Hammer

ryobi_auto_hammer.jpgLast week, ToolGuyd had a nice find with the new Ryobi 12-Volt Auto Hammer. By the numbers, the tool is nearly identical to the Craftsman version: 3,600 hits per minute, magnetic head, both under 2lbs. Also, like the Craftsman, the Ryobi comes with only one battery and a canvas carrying case).

We tested out the Craftsman and had some success with it, even though it's not going to replace your traditional hammer. Our Tool Snob review is here, and we also wrote about it for Popular Mechanics, even going to far as to smash our thumb with it.

Oh yeah, one difference between the tools is that the Ryobi is $89, making it $10 cheaper than the Craftsman.

Ryobi 12-Volt Auto Hammer at Home Depot

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

October 15, 2009

Craftsman 12-Volt Nextec Multi-Tool - Review

craftsman_mt_hero.jpgAnd why shouldn't Craftsman make an oscillating tool? Everyone else is doing it; Dremel, Bosch, Chicago Electric, Proxxon, even the creepy guy down the street has one half made in his garage. But is there really anything that Craftsman can do to improve on the tool in this quickly saturated market? Well, they were nice enough to send on one of their new 12-volt Nextec Oscillating Tools so that we could take a look and find out for ourselves.

ArrowContinue reading: "Craftsman 12-Volt Nextec Multi-Tool - Review"

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

October 13, 2009

Milwaukee M12 3/8" Right Angle Drill/Driver

milwaukee_Right_Angle.jpgWe're quite enamored with our Hitachi 12-volt Right Angle Impact Driver (in fact, we had to use it yesterday), so we're happy that Milwaukee is expanding their already impressive 12-volt system with a new right angle drill/driver. It looks like a very useful tool and with a 3-3/4" head length, it should fit in some awkward spaces with no problem. It's also got a little LED and 12 clutch settings.

We also noticed that it only comes with one battery, which is too bad for anyone who hasn't bought into the Milwaukee M12 line. It makes sense though, as it's unlikely that the tool will ever get a full day's workout. But still, any cordless tool that only comes with a single battery makes us feel like we're somehow getting short-changed.

We also want to applaud Milwaukee on their press release. We read a lot of these things and most of them are filled with all sorts of business market share talk. But instead of going down that route, Milwaukee lays out the tool with this dead-on quote:


"A right angle drill driver is similar to jumper cables for a car," says Paul Fry, Director of M12™ for Milwaukee Electric Tool Corporation. "Many people do not realize they need one until they are in a tight space and need help."

it looks like this guy's going to cost in the arena of $140-$150, which we think is an entirely reasonable price.

At Ohio Power Tools

Read the entire press release after the jump.

ArrowContinue reading: "Milwaukee M12 3/8" Right Angle Drill/Driver"

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

September 18, 2009

Bosch 18-Volt Litheon Impactor - Review

bosch_impact.jpgBosch recently added an 18-volt impact gun to their Litheon line and we've had our hands on one for about three months now. We skipped any staged testing protocols (i.e. how many 3" lag screws can it drive) and just brought it to work. So for the last 14 weeks we have treated this tool in such a way that we now understand what red-headed step-children have to go through. Instead of carrying the gun down a ladder, we threw it. Instead of packing it up in its case, we lobbed it in the back of the truck, instead of putting it under a tarp, we left it out in the rain. If this thing is going to be a job site gun, it's got to survive basic training. So on to our thoughts...

bosch_impact_base.jpgFirst, the Bosch comes with a few practical features, but thankfully, nothing audacious or gimmicky. It's got an LED, a nice little bit holder at the base of the handle and a belt clip that can be placed on either side of the handle (with just the removal of one screw), depending on the task at hand, or whether you're a righty or a lefty. The belt clip is nice, but it's one of those things that will hop off your hip going down a ladder or crouching over. It's handy for a quick holster, but nowhere near as secure as a Prazi Monster Hook, so we would still recommend picking up one of those or something like it.

And as for day-to-day functionality, the Bosch Impactor is really a top-notch gun. It laughed at our rough treatment and easily and consistently drove 6" Timberlok screws into wet 4x6s. It's shorter and stubbier than our old Makita, and it feels better in the hands.

bosch_impact_nose.jpgOur one gripe with the tool is that the nose of the gun has a protective rubber sheath on it, which is great and prevents surface marring in tight spots, but the piece is removable and somewhat loosely fit. On more than one occasion, the piece would come slightly loose and snag on something (one time even causing the gun to hop off our hip and fall onto a finished floor). Why not just make the piece permanent? This might sound like nit-picking, but with Bosch so close to making a perfect impact driver, this loose flap of rubber really bothered us.

Bosch_impact_case.jpgAnd as always, Bosch provides a great case with the tool, capable of holding extra batteries and bits and with enough room left over for a few hand tools as well.

We also had the opportunity to check out the difference between the Bosch slim pack and fat pack Litheon batteries. Obviously, the fat pack are going to be stronger (they were) and last longer (they did), but it all comes at the cost of a heavier unit (and a more expensive one). Both batteries held charges for quite some time, but the fat pack were tremendous on this front. Sometimes we would go a few days on one battery. Keep in mind, we weren't doing production work, but still, under the same load, we would have had to hit up the Makita charger at least three or four times. The way we see it, there is really no way you'll ever find yourself in a situation where you're standing around holding a dead battery, waiting impatiently for the other one to charge.

bosch_impact_hand.jpgBosch_impact_w_makita.jpg

The bottom line here is that this is a fantastic tool. It's durable and powerful, and to be honest, this tool integrated itself so well into our life that we forgot we were reviewing it. If Bosch keeps the battery line alive, this is a tool that you could potentially have for a long, long time. But this kind of quality doesn't come cheap. The Bosch Impactor costs anywhere from $250 to $380 depending on the package you get. You can get the gun with either 2 fat pack batteries or two slim pack batteries. Our opinion on this is that if you're going to be working the gun pretty hard, the fat pack are worth it, but if you're an electrician or someone who won't be using it full time or for particularly strenuous tasks, the slim packs should do you fine.

Bosch Litheon Impactor with 2 Slim Pack Batteries at Amazon.com
Bosch Litheon Impactor with 2 Fat Pack Batteries at Amazon.com

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

September 10, 2009

Tools We Keep in the Truck

There are very few tools we keep in the truck at all times. The small space behind the seat is prized real estate and not to be wasted on redundant tools that are easy to come by on a job site. Instead, we reserve this spot for those special tools, the ones that can do things no other tool can. The ones that, when you need them, you need them. Over the past few months, we've narrowed down our repertoire to a select few. They are as follows:

hitachi_rt_ang.jpgHitachi 12-Volt Right-Angle Impact Driver (our review here): This tool is worth it's weight in gold, which, oddly enough, isn't all that much because it's so light and compact. It has a clearance that is so small it can fit anywhere and while it's powerful enough to drop a 2" screw in a 2x4, where this tool shines is with the small fussy tasks, like working up in a shade pocket or behind a fan coil unit.

Thumbnail image for fein_multimaster.jpgFein MultiMaster (our review here): With the expiration of Fein's oscillating tool patent, the market has been flooded with other models by everyone from Craftsman to Bosch to Dremel to Rockwell. But the funny thing is that even though there are now a ton of oscillating tools on the market, the Fein still has no real competition. This isn't to belittle the others, we've tested out the majority of the new tools and they're fine, it's just that the MultiMaster is nearly a work of art. Once you hold one, you'll know what we're talking about.

Hackzall.jpgMilwaukee Hackzall (our review here): Of the tools on the list, this is the one that has elicited the greatest response from the rest of the site. It has been affectionately dubbed, "the turkey carver" and it's constantly getting borrowed by carpenters, plumbers, electricians, and anyone else who needs to make a quick, no-hassle cut. The only downside to the tool is that it comes with the single worst case in tool history.

Thumbnail image for m12_pp_w_phone2.jpgMilwaukee 12-volt Power Port and Flashlight (our reviews here and here): This is sort of the emergency kit and hangs out under the passenger seat next to the first-aid bag. It's always good to have a flashlight on hand and the Power Port is good for a quick cell phone charge here and there (the truck stops charging when the engine is off).

...and those are the ones we keep close at hand. Granted, we've been in the finish phase of the job, so these are all detail oriented tools, good for the small fussy stuff. It's likely they'll get cycled out during the framing of the next job, but for now they're there, constantly getting us out of trouble.

HItachi Right Angle Impact Driver at Tool Barn
Fein MultiMaster at Amazon.com
Milwaukee Hackzall at Amazon.com
Milwaukee Power Port at Amazon.com
Milwaukee Flashlight at Amazon.com

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

September 8, 2009

Rockwell LithiumTech 18-Volt Combo Kit

rockwell_18v_combo.jpgEarlier this year (much earlier...the spring, actually), Rockwell hopped into the lithium ion market with the release of a drill/driver and an impact gun. From what we can make out from the product description and price, these are in that mid range between the hard-core contractor tools and the more inexpensive, strickly-homeowner tools. In other words, there's some durability for an affordable price, sort of a Porter-Cable/Ryobi vibe.

For their lithium line, Rockwell seemed to have snagged Ryobi's colors, which is a bit strange. So if you prefer a darker color palette, they have a Ni-Cd line available called ComPak which looks like it's also worth checking out. Both lines fall under Rockwell's insane 'free replacement batteries for life' program.

At Amazon.com

Read the Lithium Tech press release after the jump..

ArrowContinue reading: "Rockwell LithiumTech 18-Volt Combo Kit"

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

September 3, 2009

Ridgid Explorer vs Milwaukee M12 M-Spector AV

ex-v-m12.jpgJay over at CopTool has just posted up a nice review of of the two most popular inspection cameras on the market, the Ridgid Explorer and the Milwaukee M-Spector. The upshot of his review is that the Ridgid Explorer seems to have the better selection of features, but that it costs almost three hundred dollars more. But this isn't to say that the Milwaukee is a bad tool at all, because it's not. It has it's own set of advantages such as battery compatibility with other M12 tools, a longer battery life and a built-in microphone.

Check out CopTools review here.

(Image gratuitously snagged from CopTool)

Ridgid Explorer at Ohio Power Tool and Amazon.com
Milwaukee M12 M-Spector at Ohio Power Tool and Amazon.com

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

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