August 4, 2009

Ryobi P580K 18-Volt 4" Wet/Dry Tile Saw

Ryobi_wet_dry_tile.jpgIf you're like us, you saw this image and thought, "sweet, finally a circular saw that comes with its own roll of toilet paper!" But unfortunately, tool technology isn't that advanced yet. What you're looking at is the latest in Ryobi's 18-volt li-ion line, a wet/dry tile saw. The roll of toilet paper is a water bottle that you fill and *boom* wet saw capabilities.

The tool has a on/off toggle for the water but in all other respects it appears to function like the 18-volt circular saw that Ryobi has had on the market for a couple years.

This one looks really useful to us. Having that kind of portability with the built-in water dispenser just seems like a tile/stone guy's fantasy. Just think of what this thing could do with a blue stone walkway or a slate floor...

The saw costs about $200 and that's for the saw, one battery, the blade, and a charger.

At Home Depot

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

August 3, 2009

Ryobi TEK4

ryobi_tek4.jpg

It looks like Ryobi has a new 4-volt battery on the market and a number of interesting tools to go with it. Rather than looking at the 4-volt battery system as a smaller version of the 18 and 12-volts, they're looking from the bottom up, treating it as more of a pumped up AA battery. This thinking results in some unique tools that have uses beyond home improvement.

A handful of these new tools are measuring devices, an area that both Bosch and Milwaukee have recently moved into as well. With their new system, Ryobi has an infrared thermometer, a distance measure, and a multimeter. They also have a plumb/cross laser lever, a LED flashlight, and a portable power source, which is similar to the Milwaukee 12-volt Power Port that we're big fans of.

In the 'things we've never seen before' category, Ryobi is offering a 4-volt camera, noise suppression headphones, a motion sensor with an alarm, and a digitally keyed lock.

It's all very interesting and with Ryobi's placement at the giant orange store, this is likely to be a winner of a line. Hopefully, Ryobi's ability to serve up a quality tool at a great price will avoid these items from becoming VPX'd.

More information on Tek4 at Ryobi
TEK4 Tools at Home Depot

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

July 6, 2009

Milwaukee M12 Power Port - Review

m12_powerPort_w_phone.jpgWe used to own a Jeep Cherokee which had its ups and downs, but would always charge our cell phone even with the engine off and the keys out of the ignition. Now we drive around in a Tacoma which is great but the truck kills the outlets as soon as the engine is off. We're pretty good at keeping our phone charged either at home or during the commute, but sometimes (like the other day) we forget and arrive at the site with the battery not fully charged. The point of this story is to relay how we became fully dependent on the M12 Power Port the other day. If we didn't happen to have it on us, we would have been completely screwed.

m12_pp_end.jpgm12_pp_in_hand.jpg

The M12 Power Port is a simple affair, about the size of a bulky remote control. It has an indicator light to let you know if the battery still has some juice and a little flip down door to protect both the USB port and the DC port from dust and dirt when it's not in use. To use the item, just plug in your cell phone, iPod, whatever and the 12-volt battery starts transferring the charge.

But back to our story. It was one of those end of day "how come the condenser stopped working?" things where we had to call the HVAC guys and the electricians multiple times and do all sorts of coordination and troubleshooting. During the first call the phone went dead. After a quick hustle to the truck to get the Power Port, we were back in action and resolved the situation. If we hadn't had the Power Port on hand things would have gotten ugly.

m12_pp_w_phone2.jpgSo what does this all mean? Well, the M12 Power Port is not going to be your full time charger. Why would it? You would constantly need to charge a battery in order to charge a battery. But what it is is a nice insurance policy, a safety net. The price is right too. If you already have a Milwaukee M12 tool with batteries and charger, the Power Port is only going to set you back about $25, which isn't a whole lot for something that you'll use in an emergency. It would probably be nice on a camping trip too, but we're going to keep ours in the glove box.

At Amazon.com (tool only)

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

June 23, 2009

Bosch SPS10-2 4-Volt Pocket Screwdriver - Review

Bosch_4_volt.jpgBosch has been one of the leaders in the 12-volt li-ion market and it seems that now they're branching off into the even smaller 4-volt category. We have no idea if they're going to get into tools other than their Pocket Screwdriver, and for the purpose of this review, we don't really care. We're here to review the SPS10-2 and that's what we're going to do.

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Doug Mahoney at Permalink | Comments (5) | social bookmarking

June 15, 2009

New Tools From Milwaukee

MIlwaukee_tools.jpg

Last week we were lucky enough to go out to the Milwaukee Tools HQ to get a glimpse at some of the new releases they've got all geared up for this year. As one of our favorite tool companies, they didn't disappoint with the sheer variety and usefulness of their new tools and accessories.

A few of the highlights of what we saw were...

Milwaukee_cordless_bandsaw.jpg18-Volt Cordless Bandsaw - They're still putting the finishing touches on this one, but were nice enough to let us try it out and, honestly, it's the kind of tool that makes us wish we had taken up plumbing instead of carpentry. It's got a whole lot of power but it's light enough to easily work with both above your head and in tight spaces. Having an awareness of how people will be using it, Milwaukee has made the shoe retractable, so the tool is able to cut a pipe that's already attached to a wall. It's one of those tools that makes your chest swell a bit when you hold it. There will also be a corded version available and both will be hitting the market probably in October.

Milwaukee_shockwave.jpgShockwave Driver Bits - This is one of those ideas that, once you hear it, you wonder why it took so long for someone to think it up. Driver bits built specifically for impact drivers. Anyone who spends time on a job site these days (like we do), knows that impact drivers are taking over. That said, they really do a number on driver bits so Milwaukee has tailored this new line to withstand the abuse. In addition to other features, the new bits have a slight degree of flexibility in order to handle the added intensity of the impact driver.

Milwaukee_PVC_Cutter.jpgCordless Tubing Cutter - Much like their copper pipe cutter from last year, this one is a real niche tool. We tried it out and it had no problem slicing up pex and pvc. It has a great feel and possibly the power to do a little topiary sculpting as well.

Testing and Measurement Tools - This is a new area for Milwaukee, but judging from what we saw, they're going to quickly establish themselves in the market. Of the tools, the most interesting is the Sub-Scanner which is sort of like an amped up, battle-crazed stud finder. It can be used to find studs and pipes in walls and ceilings, as well as rebar in concrete. The cool thing about it is that it lets you know the exact depth of what it is you're finding, so if you only have one option for placing that pipe hanger, you'll know that only a 2" screw will work because of the rebar that's hidden in the wall.

Those are just some of the highlights and by no means a complete overview of what we saw. Milwaukee is also rolling out some nice 12-volt LED flashlights, a 12-volt power port, a very cool looking mini-radio, oh and about a thousand new grinders.

Follow the action over at Milwaukee Tools.

Milwaukee tools at Amazon.com

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

June 8, 2009

Skil 18-Volt Lithium-Ion 4-Piece Combo Kit

Thumbnail image for Skil_4_piece_combo.jpgSkil recently released a 4-piece Li-Ion combo kit and in addition were nice enough to let us test one out. The kit includes 2 batteries, a drill/driver, a circular saw, a reciprocating saw, and a charger. All put together it can be packed comfortably into the carrying bag. For the review, we're going to look at each tool separately and then close with some general thoughts on the kit as a whole.

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

June 3, 2009

New Porter-Cable 18-Volt Tools Now Available in Stores

pc_impact_driver.jpgIn late March, we told you about Porter-Cable's seven new 18-volt cordless tools. It looks like they're now finally available in stores. Just in time for Father's Day.

It looks like the best place to find these tools is at Lowes, but from what we understand they will be sold at other retailers as well.

There is more information at the website: deltaportercable.com/18volt/

Porter Cable tools at Lowes

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

May 19, 2009

Coleman Flashcell 5.4-Volt Cordless Screwdriver

coleman_flashcell.jpg

If you've ever wanted a cordless screwdriver that charged so fast it was at risk of opening a worm hole, your day has come. Coleman's Flashcell 5.4-volt screwdriver charges in all of 90 seconds, shorter than the time it takes for Paula Abdul to ramble out her opinion on American Idol.

This tool has actually been out for well over a year and we've been meaning to write about it, but we figured we'd wait to see if it caught on or not. At the moment, Coleman's Flashcell website happily announces that the item is sold out and that you can email them to get on a waiting list. We also saw that it's at Amazon, with no indication of being sold out. To further confuse us, an old Gizmodo post from October 07 states that the tool costs $100. But back at Amazon, it's currently being peddled for $40. Not exactly an indicator of a high demand item.

Either way, it does look like an interesting tool and particularly handy for all of you city apartment dwellers out there who don't have a need for a larger cordless driver and who live in such a fast-paced world that even the 90 second charging time is bordering on too long.

At Amazon.com

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

May 11, 2009

Ye Olde Makita Drill: RIP

makita_drill.jpgLast Friday was a sad day for us because it marked the last breath from our Makita Drill. It's been our go-to cordless since the Panasonic died in November 2006 and during that time it's been a total badass. It's funny, but with all the hooplah about lithium-ion and compact this and micro that, it was always the 14.4 NiMH tool we'd go for. Over the two plus years it served us, it never gave out, took a tremendous beating and managed to do everything we asked of it, some of which was pretty extreme. Tools like this we practically consider to be our friends and we really hate to see it go. But since now the chuck won't spin and it only makes a strange farting noise, into the abyss it goes. Goodbye pal.

We still don't have a replacement and are happily taking suggestions/recommendations in the comments section.

Makita 14.4 Drill, Impact Driver, and Flashlight at Amazon.com

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

May 5, 2009

VPX RIP

B_d_vpx.jpgWe were just researching the new Milwaukee 12-Volt Power Port when we remembered that Black & Decker had released something similar way back in October 2007 as part of their VPX line. We did a quick check over at the VPX micro-site and discovered that at some point the line was taken behind the woodshed and dispatched with. The site now contains little more than a shadowy picture of the VPX battery and a notice that the line has been discontinued.

We wrote about the VPX line when they were released, but really never heard much else about them. We saw them once in a Home Depot and thought that they felt pretty cheap and we had a few conversations with our readers who all thought the same. Still, we liked the idea that Black & Decker was going to make a battery system that would go beyond standard power tools and get into things like air inflators, hand vacs, power sources, etc.. But apparently no one really bought into the idea. Our guess is that this is old news considering the VPX sale we stumbled across over a year ago.

It looks like the tools are still available at Amazon for some pretty low prices if you're interested.

At Amazon.com

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

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