Essential Tools and Gear for Pros Across the Trades
Fill up your tool belts and boxes with these game-changing tools for pros across all industries.
Every editorial product is independently selected, though we may be compensated or receive an affiliate commission if you buy something through our links. Ratings and prices are accurate and items are in stock as of time of publication.
Klein Tool’s now has a handy Velcro wristband with built-in rare earth magnets. The magnets allow small metal parts, screws, and nails to be kept nearby at all times, saving time and effort. The wristband is made from breathable mesh so that it won’t be uncomfortable when worn on a wrist and has adjustable hook and loop closures. It’s also designed to attach to tool bags or belts.
If you make furniture, cabinets, or even if you just dabble in woodworking, check these cool stickers made by TOAST. They allow you to inform folks know who made that classy heirloom styling up their living room. You can have them custom made with your name, logo, or whatever design you can dream up. In addition to making stickers, TOAST also makes wood phone covers and other cool products. For more information and to order your own custom wooden stickers, click here.
Okay, we know that a rebar tying tool may not have broad appeal, but ya gotta admit, it’s pretty cool. Makita’s new LXT Lithium-Ion Brushless Cordless Rebar Tying Tool has a tying capacity of up to 5,300 ties (of #3 by #3 diameter rebar) on just one charge of Makita’s 5.0Ah battery. That’s a lot of ties. This tool also works with #4 and #5 diameter rebar, and Makita claims that it can tie multiple bars in under one second. The tying strength can also be digitally adjusted if different tension strengths are required. Plus, the wire reel is easy to reload and delivers up to 120 ties of #3 by #3 rebar per reel.
The new Wet/Dry Dust Extractor from Bosch is the latest in a line of products designed to help construction pros comply with OSHA’s new dust regulations. The extractor provides industrial grade power, filtering fine dust, coarse dirt, and liquids. There’s not a lot that’s going to slow this beast down, with a 17-gallon capacity and a 17.5-amp motor. This power and the extractor’s 300 CFM (cubic feet per minute) capacity make it ideal for concrete pros looking to control dust when grinding or cutting through concrete.
If you live or build in an area that is frequently hit by dangerously powerful storms, consider ImpactGard windows from JELD-WEN. ImpactGard windows are made from laminated glass that JELD-WEN says can withstand a strike from a 9-lb. piece of lumber flying at speeds up to 34 mph. The glass may crack after a heavy impact, but the chards will adhere to a special interlayer that hold it all together within the frame. This is both a safety and security feature. Glass shards won’t get everywhere if the window breaks, and potential thieves won’t be able to climb in through a busted window. On top of all of that, ImpactGard windows are designed to block out more sound and up to 95% of harmful UV rays.
The M12 ROCKET Dual Power Tower Light is the first stand light to be part of Milwaukee Tool’s M12 system. Built specifically with construction pros in mind, the ROCKET light is light-weight and portable so it can be set up in tight spaces. To make up for its light weight, this tower light has a low center of gravity and an impact resistant base so that it doesn’t topple over easily. The light can either be plugged into an extension cord, or it can run for up to 10 hours on a single charge of the M12 Redlithium XC6.0 battery.
It’s a race to fill out the product lineups of cordless alternatives to gas-powered landscaping equipment, and Makita remains among the leaders. Their latest competitor is a fully-cordless top handle chainsaw with a brushless motor and a 10-in. blade. Top handle saws (also called arborist saws) are much more maneuverable. They work great for trimming trees and are a must for those arborists dancing amongst the tree tops. The chainsaw’s features include:
- Weighs 7.2 lbs.
- Torque boost mode for cutting through dense material
- Variable speed trigger
- Adjustable, automatic chain lubrication
Sure, most clothing brands have an apparel line that caters to athletes. But Hanes has a new collection of high performance clothing for folks who work every day, not just for play. The collection includes a tank top, tights, sleeves, and socks designed to control odor, protect from the sun, block moisture, and provide compression. All of these features work together to keep pros comfortable and cool on the jobsite. The price of each item is in the chart below.
Klein Tool’s recently released three USB Meters and Testers that are designed to measure and monitor the power delivered by their USB ports. These testers are used not only to trouble shoot the output on USB ports, but they can also detect faulty cords. There are three different models (ET900, ET910, and ET920); each is built with durable cables and an industrial design, so they can survive the harshest jobsite conditions. The ET900 and ET910 are designed to work with the traditional USB-A ports, and ET920 works with the newer USB-C ports. See more details for the ET900, the ET910 and the ET920.
For pros who work in dark and cold condition, staying warm and visible are top priorities. Makita’s latest Heated Jacket is a solution for both problems. The jacket has a bright, fluorescent color and silver reflective accents that provide maximum visibility, and a power source that heats the jacket in five “core heat zones”: left chest, right chest, back and both pockets. The jacket is made with a polyester shell for water and wind resistance and five pockets for storing tools, gear and maybe even a snack or two. Don’t worry about things getting too hot, either; the jacket’s heat source has three heat settings (high, medium and low) so temperatures can be quickly adjusted based on the work environment or personal preference.
RIDGID is heating things up this winter with the release of their new Butane 18V Heat Gun, which combines the benefits of natural gas with the convenience of a cordless tool. It’s built for the most demanding jobs, able to hold a temperature over 1200-deg. for up to 25 minutes. Plus it has a completely adjustable temperature output, as well as a cool-down mode that prevents wear on the motor and allows for the tool to be put away and stored quicker.
The idea for the Big Ass Light Bar was born when a Big Ass employee, a former auto-mechanic tired of work lights that just didn’t get the job done, wanted to create something better. From the frustration, the Big Ass Light Bar was born. With six brightness levels and a 5,000 lumen maximum light output, the Big Ass Light Bar is the brightest battery-powered LED work light ever made. On a full charge, the rechargeable battery provides up to 48 hours of runtime and is housed in a shock-absorbing construction. Clearly, this was a tool built by pros, for pros.
Jobsite security is always a concern- no one wants their tools stolen. Tapplock has created a high-tech solution in the form of a smart padlock, the Tapplcok one+. The Tapplock one+ fingerprint lock can hold up to 500 unique employee fingerprints- all they have to do is scan a fingerprint to unlock equipment. The lock comes with a management platform that allows employers to remotely grant and revoke access, set specific days and time when locks can be accessed, and track who is accessing which tools
SENCO’s new construction staplers feature technology that they claim will virtually eliminate misfires and jams. The SENCO NS20XP and NS20BXP N-Wire Construction Staplers are 15 and 20 percent more powerful than competitive models, respectively. Both staplers feature an EZ-Clear latch that has an aggressive locking feature to eliminate skipping, jams or misfires. They are also both fairly light, weighing in at 5.1 and 5.8 pounds. These staplers drive both 16 and 17 gauge 7/16″ crown staples and can be converted to vinyl siding staplers.
It’s safe to say that the construction industry has never been the home of high fashion. But that doesn’t mean that pros can’t wear things that keep them protected, safe, and productive while also looking good. Reebok’s new Astroride Work shoe line combines a sleek, stylish silhouette with features built in for pros working in the field. Ghillie laces and a special heal design allow the shoe to be taken on and off easily, and the sole is made from slip-resistant rubber to help keep pros on their feet. Shoes in the Astroride Work line are lightweight, have MemoryTech insoles that adapt to feet, and are made with protective steel toes that meet or exceed industry safety standards.
DEWALT’s new In-Line Stud and Joist Drill is a high-torque right angle drill capable of powerful drilling and a long runtime. The drill has two unique features:
- DEWALT’s E-Clutch System, which uses sensors to monitor tool motion and will cut the motor of binding is detected.
- DEWALT’s 2-speed Quick Shift, which lets users switch between two set speeds automatically without having to feather the trigger.
The In-Line Stud and Joist Drill also includes an LED light, a two-position handle, and a shallow nose so it can reach into tight spaces.
With a 2-1/4” cutting depth and a powerful brushless motor, the new 18V Cordless 5-7/8” Metal Cutting Saw from Makita is built to slice through a variety of metals, including:
- Thread Rod
Makita’s Automatic Speed Change technology changes cutting speed and torque mid-cut for optimized performance. This saw has a chip collector box that collects metal debris created during the cutting process. One cool design aspect of this tool is that the collector box is transparent so that users can easily monitor how full it is and when it needs to be emptied.The 18V LXT Cordless 5-7/8” Metal Cutting Saw (XSC04Z) is available online.
The M18 FUEL 3-in-1 Backpack Vacuum is an ideal tool for quickly cleaning up the jobsite after a long day’s work. It’s light, just over 15-lbs., quiet, and according to Milwaukee provides up to two times the suction power of traditional jobsite vacuums. It’s also completely cordless, running off of Milwaukee’s M18 battery platform. The debris collector can hold up to 1-gallon of dirt and debris and the flexible hose and telescoping extension wand make it much easier to clean hard-to-reach areas. This vacuum doesn’t have to be worn, either; the harness is fully removable so it can be stood up just like a regular shop vac*.
*Note: this is a dry vacuum only, not a wet/dry vac
3D printing is being used to create small machine parts, complex prototypes, and even bridges and housing. Dremel is releasing the affordable 3D40 Flex 3D printer in order to get this quickly evolving and dynamic technology into the hands of more builders and makers. The 3D40 Flex is designed to make 3D printing simpler and more accessible. In draft mode, it prints at speeds 30 percent faster than previous models. The 3D40 Flex also includes a flexible build plate that makes removing parts after printing much easier and more efficient. Plus, its higher resolution means that the printed pieces can be even more intricate than before, with features like arches, engravings, and other small details. More information can be found on the Dremel Website.
For those looking to upgrade or replace their trusty cold-weather gear, check out Milwaukee Tool’s new line of heavy-duty construction clothing and outerwear. The line is built to keep pros layered and comfortable, including sweat-wicking performance shirts, reinforced overalls, and coats and jackets designed specifically for the trades. The overalls and jackets are made with Milwaukee’s NO DAYS OFF Weather Protection, which provides wind and water resistance along with a warm, insulated interior.
Building a box is often a woodworker’s first project, and most learn right away that holding all the pieces in place square and true while fastening them together can be a challenge. Miter clamps work great, except when making large boxes. Clamping just one side of the assembly is not enough to hold things steady. But now Rockler has solved that problem. Their new Clamp-it Clips are designed to keep the non-clamped side of the parts in place and at perfect right angles. They could also be used by themselves on smaller boxes. Clamp-It Clips come in two sizes, ½-in. and ¾-in.
Bosch’s X-Lock Interface for angle grinders makes switching out grinder wheels much more efficient. The X-Lock system makes it possible to change grinder accessories without a special tool. Wheels can be ejected with just the pull of a lever and connected just as easily. Bosch claims that this system is up to 3x faster than using a spanner wrench, and that’s assuming you can find the darn wrench in the first place. Eliminating the need for a spanner wrench to remove grinder accessories is a game changer. We can’t wait to try out the X-Lock Interface, which will soon be available on new Bosch grinders.
MPOWER Tools has been making products for woodworkers for a long time. One of their most popular tools is the easy-to-use FASTTRACK chisel and plane blade sharpener, which incorporates a unique diamond stone system. Now MPOWER Tools has created a kitchen knife sharpener using the same technology. What makes this knife sharpener shine over others is the larger guide-surface designed to keep the blade at a consistent angle to the abrasive stone. So, when both sides are ground, the edge is perfectly centered down the whole length of the blade. Also, the back of the sharpener is fitted with a leather honing strop which works great at removing any tiny burrs or wires that were left behind.
Milwaukee’s latest chalk reels are made for pros who are serious about their layouts. These Extra Bold Large Capacity Chalk Reels come in lengths of 100 and 150 ft. While that’s definitely a lot of line, these chalk reel’s three-gear system and retraction ratio of 4:1 make retracting the whole length fast and easy. The 100 and 150 ft. models can hold up to 18 and 24oz. of chalk at a time, respectively, meaning fewer messy refills.
Dull drill bits can be a major pain. They make your work harder and your jobs last longer. The Drill Doctor 750x is designed to save pros from this headache, not to mention wasting time on trips to the home center or hardware store. This top-of-the-line Drill Doctor sharpens a wide variety of drill bit sizes, from 3/32” to 3/4”. It can also set point angles anywhere from 115 to 140 degrees. For pros who prefer sharp drill bits and working smarter, not harder, the Drill Doctor 750x is definitely worth a close look.