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

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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 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

April 27, 2009

Ridgid LCDPak and MiniPak for the SeeSnake

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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.

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

March 24, 2009

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

pc_battery1.jpgpc_battery2.jpg

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

February 27, 2009

Hitachi 10.8-Volt Right Angle Impact Driver - Review

hitachi_rt_ang.jpgProbably the most interesting tool in Hitachi's new 10.8-volt lineup is their new right angle impact driver. We're pretty sure that this is the first right angle impact driver in any of the new micro lines of tools, which is why we were interested in checking it out and seeing how it holds up to both it's larger cousin, as well as finding out what kind of niche it can carve for itself in the world of tool functionality.

First, like Hitachi's mini-reciprocating saw, the ergonomics are off the charts. Again, the crazy Spiderman design, which we've been critical of in the past, gives it all the right bulges in all the right places (well, we never thought we'd ever write that sentence), making it a very easy tool to hold and maneuver into tight spots, which you'll likely be doing with the right angle feature.

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

February 26, 2009

Skil Twist 4.8-Volt Screwdriver

skil_twist_1.jpgskil_twist_2.jpg

We noticed the Skil Twist the other day while researching our post on their iXO3. The Twist has similar functionality to other low-voltage screwdrivers with the hinged body, but the difference here is that the handle twists instead of folding. The tool also has the general pug-nosed look of Skil's iXO series, and this body-type allows for getting in some tight spots.

Judging from our impressions of other low voltage Skil tools, our bet is that this little guy works fine and that the 4.8-volts is enough to handle any light-duty tasks around the house. It costs about $30 which is about half the price of the Milwaukee and roughly the same as a similar Black & Decker model.

It's also worth noting that, unlike the Milwaukee, the Skil has an on-board battery, so the only charger needed is an a/c adapter that plugs directly into the tool.

At Amazon.com

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

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