So, as it turns out, we're not as dumb, drunk, or uneducated as a lot of people like to paint those of us who make our living in construction. You and I have known this all along, but we can finally point to some real research to help turn our image around. According to results from a survey conducted by our parent company, Hanley Wood, publisher not only of Tools, but also of Builder and Remodeling, and many others, we're not that easily pegged. In this "psychographic" study, 451 builders and 602 remodelers answered questions about their lifestyles and personal preferences. Some of the answers may be surprising–at least to those outside the industry.

Rick Schwolsky, Editor-in-Chief

Take beverages, for example. Outsiders might assume all we drink is beer or some caffeine-jacked, sugar-filled "energy" drink, but according to the survey bottled water is the drink of choice for builders and remodelers. And how about education? All those parents out there concerned about their kids considering construction careers would be interested to know that 63 percent of builders and 41 percent of remodelers surveyed earned bachelor's degrees or higher. And for anyone who thinks contractors are all about building without a care for the environment, or anything else for that matter, consider that 72 percent of the survey respondents support smart growth, 59 percent favor green building, and 51 percent are in favor of a national healthcare system.

A few other interesting highlights from the survey:

  • 82 percent of remodelers and 83 percent of builders are married.
  • 93 percent of remodelers and 94 percent of builders own their own homes.
  • 35 percent of respondents like country music while 50 percent are rock-and-rollers.

We recently conducted a survey as well, asking Tools readers about their tool-buying preferences. Most interesting was how experienced you are–with an average 26 years in the construction industry. When it comes to selecting tools, you place the most importance on quality, durability, and precision. Warranties, techno-gadgetry, manufacturers' promotions, and visually appealing design were at the bottom of the list.

Some other details about you:

  • The majority of you (43 percent) spend $1,000 to $2,999 each year on tools.
  • In 2005, 77 percent of you purchased cordless tools; 20 percent purchased lithium-ion cordless tools.
  • The three most important information sources you use for tool purchasing decisions are trade magazines, word of mouth, and consumer magazines.

For those of you who rely on Tools to help you with purchasing decisions, you're going to enjoy this issue even more than usual, as it's packed with tons of products–81, to be exact–including tools tested by our contractor test team, new tools to be unveiled at the STAFDA show, and a range of other products.

Then, starting in January, we're ramping up our field-test program and product coverage to bring you more hands-on reviews and more cool products than you can find anywhere.