May 5, 2008
Lately Skil has been showing a good eye for innovation. They jumped right into the li-ion market with tools like last year's Power Wrench and the new Power Cutter, and now they're on the verge of releasing a whole new line of benchtop tools created specifically for the casual and first-time user.
Late last week, we had the opportunity to check out these new tools, and we have to say that we were very impressed. There are ten tools in all; two table saws, two miter saws, a miter saw stand, a scroll saw, a band saw, a drill press, a bench grinder, and a belt disc sander. Like all Skil tools, they're durable (but not indestructible), and priced at a very reasonable level. Because they are all designed for the beginner there is an added emphasis on safety as well as ease-of use. Although they did have more features, they are similar to Delta's Shopmaster Series.
The bad news is that you're going to have to wait until September to see them in stores. They will be available exclusively at Lowes and, with a few exceptions, they're going to cost about $100 (one of the table saws and one of the miter saws will be in the $150-160 range and the bench grinder is somewhere around $40).
In the days and weeks ahead we'll be looking at each tool individually, but for now, we'll just say that for the price, these are going to be tough to beat.
April 28, 2008
A couple weeks ago we reviewed TKTool's new pocket driver, and we found it to be an inexpensive and effective little tool. Well, Tool King was nice enough to also let us test out their new 18-Volt Drill and here's what we found.
The drill has some cool features on it. It has a 23-position clutch, two speeds, a little level, and two bit holders (one on each side of the level).
Continue reading: "TKTool 18-Volt Drill - Review"
April 18, 2008
Makita has two new Jigsaws to add to their catalog. Actually, it's essentially one saw that's available in either barrel grip or D Handle. Pretty much all of the specs are the same other than the handle; same weight, same power, etc.
We've never used a Makita jigsaw and have to admit that this one looks very nice. It appears that the key feature of the saw is that they've translated their AVT (anti-vibration technology) into the jigsaw. This not only reduces movement (increasing accuracy), but it makes for a quieter saw as well.
Continue reading: "Makita Jigsaw with LED Light (4350FCT and 4351FCT)"
April 10, 2008
If you're not impressed with Black & Decker's VPX tools, you can still get their standard red and black tools. And if you're looking for a nice homeowner kit, you might want to check out this 5-piece drill set. Not only does it look like a good selection of tools, but it's also dirt cheap.
The kit consists of a drill, a flashlight, a vacuum (dust-buster-style), a stud finder, and a small battery-powered screwdriver. The light, the drill, and the vacuum are all compatible with the single 18-volt battery that is included in the kit, while the finder and the screwdriver are, we assume, powered by traditional batteries.
Here's the crazy part: the kit is selling for under $45. That's less than ten bucks per item. The tools probably aren't up for a whole lot of abuse, but at that price who cares? If you know of someone looking for some tools help out with junior's science projects and stuff like that, you might want to tell them about this.
The kit doesn't come with a carrying case, which is no big shocker considering the price.
April 8, 2008
Tool King is one of our favorite online tool retailers. They're fast, the price is competitive and they're always offering some sweet rebate that we can't resist. For the most part, they deal exclusively in contractor-grade tools. You go to their store looking for Bosch, DeWalt, Festool, Hitachi, and Jet. But, recently, they've stuck their toe into the light-duty arena with the release of their very own line of tools. TKTools was launched last month and they were nice enough to send us some samples to check out. Here, we're reviewing their little 4.8V Screwdriver, and at some point soon, we're going to look at their 18-volt drill.
Continue reading: "TK Tool 4.8-Volt Screwdriver - Review"
March 26, 2008
Lately, we've been spending a lot of time using the new Ryobi Cordless Reciprocating Saw. And the more we use it, the more we dislike it. When we wrote our review of the tool, we were suspicious of the strange body design, and our fears have come true. In situation after situation, the bulky battery placement simply gets in the way, there's just too much tool sticking out of the bottom of the handle. These frustrations have caused us to investigate other recip saw designs. We really like Milwaukee's Hatchet and just the other day we stumbled onto Rockwell's sleek looking 18 Volt Cordless Recip Saw.
Continue reading: "Rockwell ProGrade 18V Cordless Reciprocating Saw"
March 25, 2008
It looks like this has been out for a while, but it looks pretty interesting so we thought we'd mention it anyway. The Black & Decker Dragster is a 6 amp belt sander with a unique design, which makes the nose of the tool more versatile than your average belt sander.
Because the front wheel of the sander is so small, the Dragster is capable of sanding much closer (3x closer, according to B&D) to the edge of an adjoining surface. Also, the guard that covers the nose of the sander flips up, making it easier to sand in and around things.
Continue reading: "Black & Decker DS321 Dragster Belt Sander"
March 21, 2008
A rotary hammer, much like your voice after a few drinks, is not meant for the indoors. It's just too noisy and dirty for polite company. But now Bosch has cleverly taken care of at least half of the problem (the dirty part) with their 11250VSRD, the latest in their great line of Bulldog hammers.
The tool itself looks like any other high-quality Bosch rotary hammer, but what sets this one apart from the rest of the pack is the unique dust extraction system. The removable attachment clicks on the tool near the chuck and extends alongside the drill bit and then around the end of it, enclosing the area with a translucent cap. This allows for full visibility with maximum dust protection. Bosch also has a vacuum port for the tool that's sold separately.
In all other respects it looks to be on par with the rest of the Bulldog hammers. We use an older model all the time and it's a real workhorse. It's small enough for quick, little jobs, but strong enough for some of the bigger tasks. It's actually one of our favorite tools to use.
This tool will be available this summer so at least you have an excuse to put off that drilling work you have to do in the living room
When its available, the 11250VSRD will retail for about $260.
March 12, 2008
We've been hearing about The Ridgid SeeSnake Micro for a while now and in the last month or so, we've seen it start to show up at job sites in a lot of different hands. First it was electricians, then it was plumbers, and now it's everyone else from carpenters to HVAC guys. We wanted to find out what the big deal is all about so we got our hands on one and gave it a whirl.
Continue reading: "Ridgid SeeSnake Micro - Review"
March 10, 2008
Skil has joined Bosch and Milwaukee (and now Hitachi) by getting into the compact driver market. Late last year they released a little 7.2V Pocket Driver, and we were pretty thrilled when they offered to let us try one out.
It's a very little driver that fits easily in the hands. It's got a 1/4" hex chuck for quick bit changing, a forward/reverse indicator, an 11 position clutch, and a little light to tell you when the battery is getting low.
Continue reading: "Skil 7.2V Lithium Ion Power Driver - Review"