August 3, 2009

Ryobi TEK4


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.


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 (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.

ArrowContinue reading: "Bosch SPS10-2 4-Volt Pocket Screwdriver - Review"

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

June 15, 2009

New Tools From Milwaukee


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

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.

ArrowContinue reading: "Skil 18-Volt Lithium-Ion 4-Piece Combo Kit"

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:

Porter Cable tools at Lowes

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

May 5, 2009


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.


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

April 27, 2009

Ridgid LCDPak and MiniPak for the SeeSnake


Ridgid recently increased the capabilities of their SeeSnake with the release of two new monitors for the system. The big selling point on these two new items seems to be the fact that they can be powered by both standard AC or with Ridgid's 18-volt li-ion battery. This feature obviously translates into a much greater degree of portability and ease of use.

The LCDPak is the larger of the two new monitors. It's got a 10.4" color LCD display with 640x480 resolution and ten levels of light adjustment. The LCDPak can run for about five hours on two 18-volt batteries, but can also operate for a shorter time on one if need be.

The MiniPak is a smaller version and can also be run off of both power sources. It has a 5.7" color display and only takes one battery to get to the five hour mark.

Keep in mind that these monitors are part of the SeeSnake system and aren't necessarily sold with the SeeSnake camera hose. They are also high-powered pieces of digital equipment and are priced accordingly. As stand-alone items, the LCDPak and MiniPak retail for $2,600 and $2,000 respectively. It ain't cheap, but that's not to say it's not handy either (hellooo double negative). We've played around with both the Ridgid and Milwaukee hand held versions of the inspection camera and quickly saw how these larger models could be helpful. They're not really items for the homeowner, but someone in the trades could put them to good use.

MiniPak at Ohio Power Tools
LCDPak at Ohio Power Tools

Here's a video with more information on the LCDpak:

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

March 25, 2009

Porter-Cable Introduces Seven New Cordless Tools

In May of this year, Porter-Cable is adding seven new tools to their cordless catalog. They're also releasing two new 18-volt lithium-ion batteries (which we covered here). With one exception, the new tools are all 18-volt and they're going to be sold without batteries or chargers, which will be available separately. We discussed the possible advantages and disadvantages of this set-up here.

The oddball tool in the seven tool release is a 12-volt impact driver that is powered by a Ni-Cad battery and comes with a charger and two batteries.

The run-down on the tools is as follows...

From the press release:

Impact Drivers
pc_impact_driver.jpgPORTER-CABLE introduces two new 1/4-inch hex impact drivers, available in 18-volt (PC18ID) and 12-volt (PC120IDK-2) configurations. The 18-volt impact driver also is available as part of a lithium-ion kit (PCL180IDK-2), while the 12-volt impact driver comes standard as part of a NiCad kit. The impact drivers offer high-torque output, virtually eliminating kickback, thus allowing users to take-on heavy-duty fastening applications for extended periods without fatigue.

With a heavy-duty impact mechanism, the 18-volt and 12-volt impact drivers can deliver up to 1,600 inch-pounds and 1,400 inch-pounds of torque, respectively, at 2,800 blows-per-minute (BPM). The impact block is cold-forged to provide maximum durability.

At 6-1/2 inches, the impact drivers fit into tight areas not accessible to larger impact drivers and drill/drivers. To achieve the shortest length in their class, the impact drivers utilize a high-output, compact motor. The impact drivers incorporate a variable-speed trigger to provide a smooth power curve for maximum control across a range of applications and an on-board LED work light to illuminate dark areas without compromising battery run-time.

The 18-volt impact driver (PC18ID) will be available for a suggested retail price of $69.97 (batteries and chargers sold separately). This impact driver also will be available in an 18-volt, lithium-ion kit (PCL180IDK-2), which contains two standard lithium-ion batteries, a lithium-ion fast charger, a screwdriving bit, a belt clip and a storage bag, for $199.00. The 12-volt, NiCad impact driver kit (PC120IDK-2) contains two NiCad batteries, a one-hour NiCad fast charger, a screwdriving bit and a storage bag, and will be available for $139.00.

ArrowContinue reading: "Porter-Cable Introduces Seven New Cordless Tools"

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

March 24, 2009

Porter-Cable Rolls Out Nine New Tools and Two New Batteries


Porter-Cable is in the process of rolling out a number of new tools, both corded and cordless, as well as two new battery platforms. Over the next couple days, we're going to be checking out the new tools, but here, we're going to take a look at the batteries.

Both of the new batteries are 18-volt lithium ion, which are built in such a way that they're backwards compatible with all older model 18-volt Porter-Cable tools. Porter-Cable already has a compact 18-volt li-ion battery on the market, which they released last year, but these two new ones offer longer run-times (at a heavier weight). They're sort of a momma bear and poppa bear to the existing baby bear.

It looks like Porter-Cable's plan is to release the batteries and tools separately. Because in the standard cordless tool kit, the batteries are equally as expensive as the tool, this is going to allow the user to save some money. It's a particular plus to the weekend DIYer, who can buy say three or four cordless tools at short money and only invest in one battery/charger kit (as opposed to paying for all those extra batteries). It poses a problem though for the tradesman who is going to be giving his tools constant use and will need all of those extra batteries kicking around. Porter-Cable's solution to this problem is to offer two new combo kits, which come with the tools as well as batteries and a charger.

From the press release:

LX Lithium-Ion Battery Pack (PC18BLX) The LX Lithium-Ion Battery Pack holds 18-volts of power in a pack weighing less than one pound. Available for a suggested retail price of $69.97, the PC18BLX is ideal for drilling, driving screws and other applications where a lighter weight and compact size are preferred. The LX battery pack has a 1.3 amp-hour rating.

EX Lithium-Ion Battery Pack (PC18BLEX)
The EX Lithium-Ion Battery Pack stores twice the power capacity of the more compact LX battery pack, doubling the run-time on a single charge while weighing 20 percent less than the PORTER-CABLE 18-volt NiCad battery pack. With this extended capacity, the EX battery pack is ideal for heavy-duty applications that require high power or longer run times such as projects involving extensive sawing or hammerdrilling. The EX battery pack has a 2.6 amp-hour rating and will be available for a suggested retail price of $89.97.

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

Join the Mailing List Newsletter
Enter your Email

Powered by FeedBlitz
Subscribe - RSS

facebook_badge.jpg twitter_badge.jpg

Recent Reviews
Recent Comments
Steve: I have this light and have used it a lot. read more
Rob: Nail guns with gas cartridges have always seemed to work read more
toolsnob: yes, yes, yes. Thanks, I'd blame it on autocorrect, but read more
SteveR: Nice article. I think you meant "subtlety", however. read more
Grant: Check out our Centerfire Blade that won. I believe it read more
Site Navigation

Visit our other properties at!


This weblog is licensed under a Creative Commons License.
All items Copyright © 1999-2015 Blogpire Productions. Please read our Disclaimer and Privacy Policy