We have been seeing lots of new tools all spring, so our Summer 2009 issue will include a report detailing many of the major tool line releases. For now, here's a peek at some of what we will be revealing, so stay tuned. Some prices are included if I have them, but many of these tools still lack final market information.
Ridgid has two totally redesigned tile saws that are replacing its previous model. The new 7– and 10–inch blade models are built onto folding, rolling stands like their table and miter saws have, and they feature a unique water management system that relies on a bucket to hold water instead of the usual flat pan. The models will be priced affordably at $499 and $699. Look for the larger tool in our tile saw test also in the Summer 2009 issue.
A new one–hand trim router is also new for spring with a threaded micro–adjust mechanism, a rubberized body grip, and a variable–speed motor for $99.
Ryobi is introducing five tile–cutting saws for the less–frequent tile cutter market including three 7–inch blade stand or benchtop models from $149 to $299, and corded and cordless handheld circular–saw models for $88 and $199 respectively.
Also new for summer is a line of painting power tools ranging from a $60 heat gun to corded and cordless paint sprayers and roller pumps for up to $329.
A six–port charger that works on all of the brand's 18–volt batteries will be $80. Batteries can be left in the unit indefinitely as its electronics will sense when to leave them alone and when to top off their charge automatically, ensuring that your batteries are always ready to go to work when you need them.
The biggest departure from their core tool market is Ryobi's new Tek 4 system which seeks to eventually replace the disposable alkaline battery market with its compact, rechargeable 4–volt lithium–ion battery pack. Ryobi envisions the creation of a standard size rechargeable battery format that will be included on all brands of consumer electronics someday, and they are releasing a small line of lifestyle products and tools to kick off the concept. From a digital multi–tester to a digital camera, all of the new Tek 4 products fit the same battery. It's an interesting idea. We would never give up our cordless tools, and as we rely on cordless tool batteries to power more everyday gadgets such as flashlights, worklights, small vacuums, and jobsite radios, having reliable rechargeable battery packs available for even more products starts to make sense. The battery format seems too large for some of the items such as the headphones, but this is a start. If this standardized rechargeable format takes over for double–A batteries someday, remember you saw it here first.
Milwaukee has also entered a whole new arena with their introduction of a new business unit dedicated to producing electrical testing and measurement tools. Since their power tools are already favorites among many in the electrical and HVAC trades, Milwaukee decided to capitalize on their popularity with their new line of over a dozen multi–testers, ammeters, temperature sensors, and material and voltage scanners. A new twist to some of these tools is that they can be powered by Milwaukee's M12 cordless power tool batteries.
Other developments in the subcompact M12 line include a two–line laser level, a much–needed 3/8–inch–drive impact wrench, and a power port gadget that provides up to five charges for cell phones, mp3 players, or other little devices from one charge of its M12 battery.
The 18–volt M18 line has some exciting new tools too, including a new compact hammerdrill/driver and three powerful new impact wrenches. The 3/4–inch–drive model has a tremendous 525 foot–pounds of torque, and the 1/2–inch model provides 450 foot–pounds. This is a lot more torque than they were getting out of much larger cordless impact tools just a few years ago. The 7/16–inch–drive tool is actually an impact drill meant for powering large bits through telephone poles and other jobs where a super–powerful cordless tool is needed and where the reaction torque of a normal drill might topple a worker off his precarious perch. Its hexagonal–socket bit holder fits the shanks of many self–feeding bits and long auger bits.As for corded tools, Milwaukee's newest include a 1 3/4–inch SDS–Max rotary hammer and a 14–pound SDS–Max demolition hammer.
Bosch had a major new release recently when they announced their entry into the field of pneumatic fastening with their first–ever nailers and compressors. The line includes round–and clipped–head framers, a roofing nailer, 15–, 16–, and 18–gauge trimmers, and an 18–gauge trim stapler. The series features what Bosch has named Full Force Technology––a design innovation that allow the tools to use all of the air in the piston for the driving stroke instead of holding some air in reserve to push the piston back up like most nailers. A second quick dose of air does the lifting, and according to the company, this design makes the tools 20% smaller and 10% more powerful than comparable nailers, and does not slow the firing rate. The framers are going for $360 to $370 online.
Bosch also added to their laser level line that I reported about months ago, but for details, wait for the next issue of the magazine. In fact, many of the things I saw during my visit with Bosch have to remain a secret for awhile yet, but I'll see what else I can share by the Summer issue's press date.
Porter–Cable is expanding their tradesman line of tools–a more economical series of cordless and common corded tools–separate from their heavy–duty routers and sanders that make up Porter–Cable's traditional tool line. In corded, a new drill and jigsaw have appeared recently, and many more tools were added to their 18–volt cordless series.
Highlights include a cordless rotary cutout tool with an attached dust collection port, a revival of the old Dustbuster–style vac, and impact drivers in both 18– and 12–volt models. A jigsaw, worklight, and detail sander round out the new cordless collection.
Stanley has long been known for their iconic hand plane designs, many of which have been around since the 19th century, but times have changed with the all–new redesigns of some of their most used models. Number 9 1/2 and 60 1/2 block planes and number 4 (shown) and 62 bench planes are the first out and will soon be followed by a number 92 shoulder plane. All of the new block and bench planes have their frog (blade support) and base cast as a single piece of ductile iron, and all feature adjustable mouths and threaded, Norris–type adjusters for their extra thick A2 irons. Stanley even dusted off their old nostalgic Sweetheart logo––first used early in the last century––to commemorate the new designs. The block and bench planes cost $99 and $170 respectively.
Stiletto is introducing a series of six new titanium pry bars. As with all of their 100% titanium tools, they weigh 45–percent less than equivalent steel tools. The curved–end Multifunctional Flat Bars are available in 5 1/4–,7 1/2–, 11 1/2– and 15–inch lengths. The Multifunctional Glazers Bars with straight ends come in 7 1/2– and 11 1/2–inch lengths. The bars are priced from $56 to $160