Go-To Gear All Pros Should Have At the Ready
Read on if you need to replace a trusty tool that's seen better days, are trying to become more efficient on the job, or just like to check out innovative products and equipment.
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’s Clamping Worklight has a 2-inch clamp that can be mounted anywhere that you need hands-free illumination and a 360-degree rotating head, making this a flexible and versatile lighting solution. On top of all that, the light has a run time of eight hours while putting out 250 Lumens of constant light, so you could run it for an entire workday on one charge. Plus: Check out nine genius tool hacks you’ll wish you were using already.
Bosch’s 2-in-1 Hex and Square Drive Socket-Ready Impact Driver can handle both standard hex bits and sockets. The square drive simply has a hole in it that accepts the hex bits, so there are no parts or attachments to swap out and keep track of. This is the perfect tool for building decks or any project that requires switching from screws to bolts/lags.
When it’s hot out having cold beverages on the jobsite isn’t just a luxury—it’s a safety concern. Heat stroke is no joke. DEWALT’s ToughSystem Cooler will keep your beverages cold throughout the work day. It’s IP65 rated to keep unwanted water and dust from getting in and boasts five days of ice retention to keep the cold from getting out. The 27-quart storage space stacks on top of any other ToughSystem module and has a lid with two cup holders and a bottle opener.
Channellock’s line of Insulated Pliers are built for you electrical pros who needs high-quality, precise pliers that are also OSHA-compliant. They feature laser-treated cutting edges that will last for a LONG time and are made from high carbon U.S. steel with a rust-preventative coating. The insulation is impact resistant and flame retardant, and the entire product line complies with IEC 60900-2012, ASTM F1505-16 and NFPA 70E standards. The line includes an 8-in. Long Nose Plier, 7 and 8-in. Diagonal Cutters, and an 8-in. Combination Plier.
Here’s one for all you speed-demons out there: Hitachi Power Tools’ Ultra-Fast RIPMAX 7-1/4” Pro Circular Saw. The C7UR uses a 15-Amp motor to cut at an impressive 6,800 RPMs. That’s more than enough to rip through the toughest LVL out there. One intuitive detail that Hitachi has added is a cord hook so you can tuck the cord securely out of the way while making a cut. The C7UR, along withHitachi’s dust collector set, can connect to dust collection systems that complies with OSHA regulations, perfect when cutting fiber cement.
Fiskars has been creating cutting tools since 1649, so it’s no surprise that they have the knowhow to produce a quality product. Their line of utility knives promise a few cool features. The knives have an improved locking system that prevents accidental blade release, a smarter button placement, and maybe best of all, the guts of the knives won’t fall on the ground when changing a blade. The knife line includes a Folding Utility Knife, a Fixed Utility Knife, a Retractable Utility Knife, Snap-off Utility Knives, Drywaller’s Utility Knives, and Painter’s Utility Knives.
Cementex is a company built around providing industrial professionals with safety hand tools. Their Basic Electrician’s 9-piece Service Tool Kit contains:
- 9” Linesman’s Pliers
- 7 ½” Diagonal Cutting Pliers
- 7” Needle Nose Pliers
- 9” Combination Stripper and Crimper
- #1 x 3” Phillips Screwdriver, Cushion Group
- #2 x 4” Phillips Screwdriver, Cushion Grip
- ¼” x 6” Slotted Screwdriver, Cushion Grip
- 3/16” x 4-1/2” Slotted Screwdriver, Cushion Grip
- 3/16” x 6” Slotted Screwdriver, Cushion Grip
Each tool is double-insulated, a Cementex signature, and complies with the IEC 900 and ASTM F1505 standards. This helps make sure that you are meeting all of your OSHA and NFPA requirements. Cementex double-insulated tools are tested to 10,000 VAC and rated for 1,000 VAC when working on live parts. Next, check out some time-saving pro tips you’ll be so glad to know.
Measuring distances on the jobsite over 100 feet used to be tricky. Distance measuring lasers changed that. Now all it takes to measure a long distance is the click of a button. Extech’s DT100M series of laser distance measurers take convenience and safety to the next level. They are rugged, pocket-sized and only require one hand to operate, with an easy to read backlit display that measures up to 330 feet. They can be used to obtain min/max readings and indirect height measurements using Pythagorean calculations, all while storing up to 20 successive readings and easily adding and subtracting multiple measurements. Extech is a FLIR company, so you know the technology is cutting edge. So, if you need a quick and accurate measurement on the jobsite, this is a tool you should take a look at.
Klein Tools’ Telescoping Magnetic LED Pickup Tool is the kind of tool that you don’t think you need until you do. The magnetic end is attached to a telescoping arm with an attached LED light so that you can easily see whatever small object you’re trying to snag. The telescoping arm extends up to 22 inches and has a gooseneck for added maneuverability. Plus, the whole tool has a ten-foot drop rating and is water and dust resistant.
You may have noticed that everything on the jobsite is going cordless. One unfortunate side effect of this is that air-compressors are slowly becoming a rare sight, so if you get a flat tire you may just find yourself in a bind. That’s where Milwaukee Tool’s Compact Inflator comes in. According to Milwaukee this cordless inflator is capable of filling a light truck tire from 0 to full in under 1 minute. One great feature is the “TrueFill Auto Shutoff Technology” which will shut off the inflator as soon as your tire reaches the desired pressure.
Drilling through concrete is tough work and a little bit of help can go a long way. Bosch designed their SpeedXtreme SDS-max Rotary Hammer Bits with that in mind. These bits are designed to punch through concrete, with a full carbide head with a four-cutter design. The four-cutter design gives you a 180-degree cutting diameter and 100 percent power transfer while drilling; basically, no energy is being wasted. The max bits come in sizes up to one inch in diameter, double the size of most other rotary hammer bits.
If your trusty sledge is getting a little to worn out, or even if it’s not, now is a good time to upgrade. DEWALT’s line of ExoCore Sledge Hammers and Axes are designed to last. The sledges have a carbon fiber overlay to prevent handle damage. One side of the sledge is smooth but the other has a “concentrated strike face,” which is a funky waffle pattern that really packs a punch, especially when whacking a flat surface like a concrete slab.
A winch is one thing that you definitely don’t want to have fail while you are using it. Polaris went back and took a look at the winch on their Ranger, examining how they could improve. What they came up with is the Rapid Rope Recovery PRO HD Winch Technology. This winch is a redesigned model with the ability to re-spool rope five times faster than their previous winch’s lower gear. They also added a wireless remote so that you can guide the rope from the end as it re-spools, and an AutoStop so the winch stops when the rope is fully returned. On top of all that, the winch’s receiver box has been enhanced so that it will always work, even through water and mud.
Klein Tool’s Hybrid Pliers with Crimper frees up space in your tool belt by giving five functions in one multi-purpose tool. These pliers can be used to strip wire, twist wire, shear bolts, crimp non-insulated connectors and cut through hard wire using their full length induction-hardened cutting knives.
Liquid spills can quickly go from annoying to expensive. So if your shop handles any liquids, check out SpillFix 2-in-1. It’s an All-Purpose Absorbent and Sweeping Compound that makes any spill clean up easier. The stuff is actually made from coconut fiber, so it’s safe to handle with your bare hands and can be disposed of just like any other garbage (assuming the spill was non-toxic of course).
There’s nothing quite like the feeling of having a power tool slip from your grasp and watching as if in slow motion as it plummets towards the ground. Milwaukee’s Tool Lanyards help prevent these wince-worthy moments by attaching a direct line to tools between 20-35 lbs., keeping your expensive equipment from being dashed against the floor. They feature locking carabiners, best-in-class shock absorption and serial numbered ID tags for easy tracking through Milwaukee’s ever-growing One-Key platform.
DEWALT has continued expanding their FLEXVOLT System with the dual-voltage 20v/60v Max, which features a monster 12.0 Ah Battery. DEWALT’s four-port fast charger can simultaneously charge four FLEXVOLT batteries to a full charge in 120 minutes. This pretty clearly shows that DEWALT is committed to giving the users of their battery platform as much power as possible.
Shop vacs are great for sucking up dirt and debris, but not so great when it comes to lugging around and storing. Bosch’s Cordless Hand-held Vacuum offers a lightweight alternative to the traditional jobsite vacuum. The whole device weighs only 2.9 lbs without a battery and can hold up to 61 cubic inches of debris. Plus the dust cup is transparent so you can always check how full you’re getting and avoid bogging down.
GEARWRENCH’s Slugging/Striking Wrenches are built for those times where elbow grease just isn’t quite enough to loosen (or fully tighten) those reluctant fasteners. They provide a large “striking surface” to whack at so that you get as much force as possible behind your efforts. These slugging/striking wrenches are designed with compact handles so they can be used in tight spaces. They are made in three styles (6 Point Slugging, 12 Point Slugging, and 12 Point 45 degree Offset Striking), each with a variety of size ranges.
BOSS Drag Pro Back Blade Plow
BOSS Snowplow has a super-wide snowplow that should be enough to tame even the harshest of winter storms. The Boss Drag Pro is a rear-mounted snowplow that uses a hydraulic wing system to cover an area up to 16 feet. That wide of a wingspan greatly reduces the number of passes needed to clear a dive or lot. If 16 feet. seems a bit much, the plow also comes in more manageable fixed wing and 8-12-ft. hydraulic wing sizes.
For a while now Festool’s Domino Joiner system has been a favorite among cabinetmakers and carpenters. And the Domino connectors work with their DF 500 Domino Joiner. The mechanical Domino connectors can be used to create tight, seamless connections between flat or corner joints with just a hex wrench. They eliminate the need for gluing and clamping without giving up any connection strength. Whether you are making cabinets in a workshop, working on site as a carpenter or just trying your hand at furniture making, Festool’s Connectors are a great way to make strong and fast joint connections.
Bobcat Rear Camera Kit
The Bobcat Company has introduced a Rear Camera Kit for their skid-steers and compact track loaders. This camera’s 118-degree horizontal viewing angle and 89-degree vertical viewing angle make it easy to see what’s going on behind the machine, which will definitely help prevent collisions. The camera feed is sent to a 4.3 inch LCD color monitor that can be mounted anywhere in the cab of your compact loader. And of course, the camera and its hardware are built to withstand the rugged conditions of the jobsite. The Rear Camera Kit camera is compatible with any M-Series or newer Bobcat loader.
The idea of a connected and automated “smart home” may be intimidating to some, but it’s definitely a trend that construction pros need to be aware of. Hubitat is looking to make the whole concept a little simpler with their Home Automation Hub, a one-stop device that can control an “eco-system” of smart home devices. Hubitat’s smart home technology allows you control thermostats, security systems, lighting controls, surround sound speaker system and more all from the same device. This in turn can save you money on energy costs and give you an added layer of security. Go here to find more information on the Eaton Home Automation Hub.
HOVER 3D Modeling Software
Gone are the days of climbing around the exterior of a home trying to get measurements for window, roofing and siding projects. Using HOVER, a 3D modeling system, contractors can turn eight photos into full, accurate 3D renderings of home exteriors. But don’t worry about being a techno-wizard. All you have to do is snap the photos; the team at HOVER does the rest. They will send you a 3D rendering along with measurements for which ever surface you plan on installing, including roofing, trim, siding, windows, and more. You can also use the 3D model to help your clients visualize which materials and colors will work best on their project.
Bosch’s 12V Max Palm Edge Router just looks…different. That’s because it is. Bosch built a compact grip that resembles a jigsaw more than a router. It feels more natural unlike other palm routers that can feel like trying to cut with a jar of pickles. Also, this cordless router weighs just 2.2 lbs., which is almost half as much as comparable models.
Rockler’s Ceiling Track System is a great way to get cords and hoses out of the way when working in a garage or shop. The track system provides ring and hook attachments that move along the ceiling mounted track. Just position the hook above your workspace and hang up the cord or hose. Now they’re out of the way but still easy to move around, and thanks to adjustable stops in the track they’ll only travel as far as you want them to. Each section of track, sold in 4-ft.-segments, is rated to hold up to 60 pounds.
For those of us who live in places that get battered by harsh winters, Milwaukee has us covered—or our hands covered at least. Milwaukee Tool’s USB Rechargeable Gloves will keep your hands nice and toasty during those long winter months with three heat settings and up to six hours of run time. These gloves are powered by the same technology that Milwaukee uses in their rechargeable flashlights, REDLITHIUM USB, and can reach full heat in just 2.5 minutes. Made of GRIDIRON Ripstop Polyester, Milwaukee’s USB Rechargeable Gloves will be a great way to keep those digits heated even in the tough conditions of the winter jobsite.
For a lot of pros, dealing with exposure to UV rays and excessive light is just part of the job. Extech’s Pocket UV-AB Light Meter (UV505) is designed to monitor sunlight levels, letting you know if you are getting too much sun exposure over the course of the day. Anything over a “seven” on the UV Index Scale is potentially dangerous, so keeping on eye on UV levels is an essential and necessary part of jobsite safety.
Extech’s Pocket Light Meter (LT505) tests light levels during a new lighting installation. This tool is a great way to find out if the lights being installed are performing as advertised. And you may impress the GC, architect, and or customer with your professionalism and technological savvy.
DEWALT finally branched into the stud finder game with two models. One has a depth-detection of 3/4-in., and the other can detect studs that are buried 1-1/2 inches deep. Both of these stud finders feature DEWALT’s one-step Center Find Technology, which finds the center of the stud instead of just the edges. Kind of a no-brainer, eh? Also, both models do not need to be calibrated all the time, which definitely speeds up the process.
Bosch’s Outdoor Connected Laser Measure with Viewfinder (GLM400C) and the Outdoor Connected Laser Measure with Camera (GLM400CL) use a 5.0-megapixel camera with adjustable zoom to find the distance to anything targeted within 400 ft. They work in bright conditions, large indoor spaces and even against busy backdrops. The best part about these levels is the easy-to-read, full color display, showing real-time, accurate measurements (+/-1/16-in.) that adjust automatically if you move around. Plus, any measurement recorded on these lasers can be sent directly to Bosch’s MeasureOn smartphone app, which organizes and documents them for later use.
Milwaukee’s PACKOUT Organizing system is already a great way to keep all of your tools in order, and they’ve added even more organization options with the Low-Profile Organizers and Tool Bags. The Low-Profile Organizers are half the height of Milwaukee’s previous model but still have the same durable, impact resistant body. Each Organizer comes with removable bin dividers and bin seals that keep everything from sliding around. They are also IP65 rated to keep water and debris from getting in and potentially harming whatever is inside.
The Tool Bags come in 15-in. and 20-in. sizes. They have cushioned shoulder straps, top and side handles, and a large open space for your tools to lay in. Each tool bag is made from tear-resistant ballistic material and have a durable polymer base that will protect tools from water, abrasion, and impact.
Both the Tool Bags and the Organizers work just like any other part of the PACKOUT system, attaching and detaching from the PACKOUT module easily and efficiently.
Powerful, Battery-Powered Mowers
Greenworks Commercial’s Lithium Z Zero Turn Mowers are the first lithium-ion battery powered commercial grade mowers to be UL-certified for safety. The Lithium Z line is made up of a 48-in. stand-on mower and a 60-in. ride-on mower. Both feature zero-turn radius maneuverability, zero gas, and zero emissions. The ride-on model is able to cut for up to five hours on a single charge and the stand-on model lasts for six hours. The Lithium Z Zero Turn mowers are available through the Carswell, Carswell OEI, Conniff, Edney, and Pace and Steven Willand independent dealer networks.
An impact wrench that can fit into all sorts of nooks and crannies? Sign us up! Milwaukee Tool’s M12 Fuel Stubby Impact Wrenches are an industry first. They combine the power of the M12 platform with a small, compact design so they can fit into tight spots you may have not been able to reach with a bulkier tool. But the compacted design doesn’t mean that you are going to sacrifice power—these impact wrenches still boast 250 ft.-lb. of breakaway torque. That should be more than enough to remove even the stickiest bolts and fasteners.
Canvas Bags from Klein
Make it clear which tools on the jobsite are yours with Klein Tool’s Signature Series Canvas Tool Bags, with custom labeling. The custom labels look great, embroidered on the front of the bag in big, bold font that stands out. You can use up to 15 characters to spell out whatever suits your fancy, whether it’s your name, your company’s name, your favorite team, or a meaningful catch phrase. The bags themselves are the same high quality that you would expect from Klein Tools, with stitched and riveted leather handles, tough canvas sides and a moisture-resistant bottom. Klein Tool’s Signature Series Canvas Tool Bags come in four sizes (12-in., 14-in., 16-in., and 18-in.) and are available only at the Klein website.
Bosch’s Cordless Wet/Dry Vacuum Cleaner is great for pros who recognize the value of cleaning their jobsite at the end of the day but are tired of lugging around a cumbersome corded monster of a vacuum. This vac from Bosch is completely cordless and only weighs 10.2 pounds. Combine that with high-powered suction and a washable HEPA filter and you’ve got a powerful but maneuverable cleaning tool. The vacuum also has plenty of space, with a 2.6 gallon tank giving you more than enough room for all of the debris you’ll suck up over the vacuum’s 24 minute runtime (runtime based on high-power vacuuming using Bosch’s 18V 6.0 Ah battery).
OLFA’s fully-automatic Safety Knife with Blade Guard puts an emphasis on safety. These knives are designed to make cutting through cardboard, shrink wrap and other packaging much safer with a simple blade retraction system. If a thumb is on the blade slide during a cut, nothing happens. But if the thumb is removed from the slide the blade will retract as soon as it loses contact with the cutting surface. That way the blade is only out in the open when it is actually needed, lowering the potential for accidents. Safety features aside, the OLFA Safety Knife is also just a quality knife, with a compact and comfortable grip that fits both right and left-handed users and is a bright, hard to miss yellow color.
“Put on a jacket” is not a typical solution to escaping a hot day. At least it wasn’t until Makita unveiled their Lithium-Ion Cordless UV Resistant Fan Jacket. The jacket is made from a light, titanium-coated polyester that protects against the sun’s rays. What really makes it special, though, is a power source that accepts Makita batteries and powers two fan units in the left and right side of the jacket. These fans provide 15 hours of air circulation inside the jacket, keeping you cool and fresh-feeling over the course of a work day. For maximum cooling Makita has also built-in two ice pack storage compartments on the back of the jacket. As an added bonus the jacket has an on-board USB power port for convenient, in-pocket device charging.
Greenworks Solar Truck
Thanks to a partnership between Greenworks Commercial and Super Lawn Technologies, solar power is now portable. The “Solar Lawn Truck” is a vehicle lined with solar panels. The idea is that professional landscapers would use this truck just like any other to haul around all of their equipment. The truck would then act as a portable charging station on the job, using the power of the sun to provide every-day energy to landscaping tools. Being able to charge equipment while in the field without worrying about outlets or gas cans is a huge advantage.
Klein Tools are not just for electricians anymore. The 150+-year-old company has a complete line of duct and sheet metal tools that includes a Duct Cutter with Wire Cutter, HVAC Hand Notcher, Tins Snips, and a Hole Cutter. Like all Klein Tools these duct and sheet metal tools are durable and well-crafted, with all-steel construction and nickel-chrome plated hardware. Each tool also features a contoured grip and a convenient self-opening latch for easy, one-handed operation.
Each of these grinders comes with DEWALT’s E-Clutch System and Kickback Brake technology. The E-Clutch System shuts down the motor of the grinder automatically as soon as any wheel pinch is detected, and works with the Kickback Brake to shut the tool down if a pinch or stall is detected. In addition to the E-Clutch System and the Kickback Brake, these grinders are all part of DEWALT’s PERFORM AND PROTECT line of tools. Every tool in the PERFORM AND PROTECT line is designed to provide more control, dust containment or low vibration (or a combination of these three things).
DWE43265N: 5”/ 6” Brushless Small Angle Grinder
DWE43840CN: 7” Brushless Small Angle Grinde