More stories about Features

  • Launch Time 2011: Milwaukee 18-Volt Rotary Hammer

    Milwaukee's M18 Cordless 7/8-inch SDS Plus Rotary Hammer should find its strongest market among mechanical contractors who work on commercial jobs, but it will be of interest to any tradesperson who drills a lot of small holes in concrete.

  • Launch Time 2011

    Throughout the year, the Tools of the Trade staff sees and tests hundreds of tools. We're especially busy now, because it's the season when many companies introduce new tools and unveil them at the Specialty Tools & Fasteners Distributors Association show held every November. On the following pages...

  • Buying a Portable Generator

    In a perfect world there would be temporary power where and when you needed it, but in reality, many contractors must rely on portable generators some or all of the time. As a framing contractor, I've had to use them myself, so I understand how important it is to get a dependable machine that can...

  • Tool Test: Subcompact Drill/Drivers and Impact Drivers

    Subcompact tools are the fastest growing segment of the cordless market. The number of available models has grown from a mere handful four years ago to more than 100 today. The tools in this category are defined by their small size, light weight, and 10.8-volt lithium-ion battery packs (which for...

  • Tool Test: Combination Lasers

    My first encounter with construction lasers was 20-plus years ago on a commercial job site, where a subcontractor was using a rotary laser to level the track for a suspended ceiling. The tool obviously saved a lot of time, and even though it could only shoot level, I was jealous that my company...

  • Tool Test: Inline Circular Saws

    Fifteen years ago, when I started out as a framer, Skil was the only real choice for carpenters looking for an inline saw. Since then, a lot more companies have started making these tools and now there are quite a few to choose from.

  • Tool Test: Framing Nailers

    As a framing contractor, I rely on nail guns more than almost any other tool. When I buy a framing gun I look for a model that is comfortable to handle, able to toenail well, and powerful enough to drive nails flush every time.

  • Buyer's Guide to HEPA Vacuums for RRP Work

    With the enactment last spring of the EPA's Renovation, Repair, and Painting (RRP) rule, contractors are facing a number of new requirements, one of which is to use a HEPA vacuum for cleanup whenever lead-based paint is disturbed. The rule also says that HEPA vacs need to be used with tools that...

  • Tool Test: Airless Paint Sprayers

    We gathered nine pumps, ranging from midlevel budget models to a few suited for everyday use on smaller jobs – they just had to be able to handle the pros' requisite .019-inch tip. Our painter of 25 years used them with interior and exterior latex paints to determine their worth from a full-time...

  • Launch Time 2010

    As tool makers prepare to roll out their newest products at the annual STAFDA (Specialty Tools & Fasteners Distributors Association) Show, Tools of the Trade is right there with them – and, in some cases, a step ahead, with an advance look at what will be unveiled in the coming year. Here's just a...