Whether you're looking to outfit your truck, beef up your toolbox, or simply upgrade to a new model drill, there's plenty to choose from this summer. Manufacturers are unveiling an array of new product picks packed with features and specs to satisfy every toolhound. Working this summer may be pretty hot, so here are the tools, equipment, and hardware that just might be the coolest things you see until winter.
Cooper Hand Tools
Lufkin Pro Series measuring tapes feature the Dura-Life five-rivet end hook, which positions rivets away from the center of the tape, providing more durability. The 1-inch-wide blade lasts five times longer than other heavy-duty blades, the maker says, and has a Ny-Clad nylon powder coating for extra durability. The line includes 12-, 16-, 25-, 30-, and 35-foot tapes. Cost: $9 to $20. 919-362-1670. www.cooperhandtools.com.
Manufactured by RoboToolz and sold under both Porter-Cable and RoboToolz brands, the Optics line of layout instruments includes an automatic level, a manual level, a level transit, and a hand sight level. The automatic level comes with 22x or 26x magnification, self-levels within plus or minus 1/4 degree, and has a range of 300 feet and an accuracy of plus or minus 1/16 inch at 200 feet. An automatic precision compensator automatically adjusts to keep the line of site level, the maker says. Cost (automatic level): $299 to $399. 800-984-0404. www.robotoolz.com.
Ideal for foundation, drywall, and framing layout tasks, the Ink-Rite ink-based snap-line marking tool creates a thin, bold permanent ink line that is scuff- and smudge-resistant. The tool includes a 3.5-ounce bottle of red Quick-Dry ink, a sure-grip end hook, and 65 feet of thin line that auto rewinds for tasks up to 25 feet and manually rewinds for longer tasks. A range of ink colors and Wet Weather ink are available. Cost: $22. 888-482-5462. www.tajimatool.com.
The DH40MR SDS-max shank rotary hammer features Internal Double Insulation (IDI), a body technology that combines the light weight and dual insulation of today's plastic-housing tools with the durability of the metal-bodied tools of the past. The three-function tool includes electronic feedback to maintain consistent torque, electronic variable speed control, and a non-slip handle. It weighs 14.3 pounds. Cost: $449. 800-829-4752. www.hitachi.com/hpt.
The 5616-21 BodyGrip EVS router features an above-the-table linear height adjustment system that allows for fast, precise coarse adjustments to within 1/8 inch and microfine adjustments to within 1/64 inch. The unit has a 13-amp, 2-1/4 Max HP motor and electronic variable speed control from 10,000 to 24,000 rpm. The tool's tactile palm grip body and handles allow for comfort and control. Cost: $180 to $189 with case. 877-729-3878. www.mil-electric-tool.com.
The company now offers FastenMaster TrapEase screws in collated clips for use with Quik Drive AutoFeed Driving Systems. Designed specifically for use with composite decking, TrapEase screws feature a thread and head design that allows them to drive easily, hold securely, and prevent mushrooming, the maker says. The screws have Xtreme-Coat coating for corrosion protection. Three colors are offered for blending with composite materials. Cost: $115 per thousand. 888-487-7845. www.quikdrive.com.
Diablo Steel Demon saw blades for ferrous metal cutting cut most steel less than 1/4 inch thick, including studs, pipe, and sheets. The blades' Super MicroGrain Carbide Blend teeth withstand impact, reduce wear, and last longer than standard carbides, the maker says. Other features include a Triple Chip Metal Cutting Grind tooth design that maximizes speed and durability and anti-vibration slots. Four blades are available; the three larger-diameter blades should only be used with dedicated low-rpm metal-cutting saws. Cost: $39 to $124. 800-334-4107. www.freudtools.com.
The Maxus line of heavy-duty, pro-oriented power equipment includes a full line of compressors, pressure washers, and a welder/generator. Two compressors are available: the EX8000 is a 3.25-peak-hp, 4-gallon twin-stack unit that delivers 6.2 scfm at 90 psi; the EX8003 is a 5.5-hp, 8-gallon wheelbarrow compressor that delivers 10.3 scfm at 90 psi. It includes a Honda GX Series engine and a cast iron, twin-cylinder, oil-lubricated pump. Cost: $300 (EX8000) and $800 (EX8003). 888-247-6937. www.chpower.com.
The MK-212 Dynamic Wet Cutting Stone/Tile Saw features a 1-1/2-hp direct-drive motor and a 10-inch blade capacity that allows for a 2-1/2-inch depth of cut and 1-3/4-inch depth of cut on 45-degree miter cuts. According to the company, the tool can rip-cut 36-inch material and diagonally cut 24-inch material. It includes plunge-cutting capabilities, an efficient water delivery system, removable water manifold, adjustable spring-loaded cutting head, pivoting blade guard, and built-in stand. Cost: $1,749. 800-421-5830. www.mkdiamond.com.
These 9.6-, 12-, and 14.4-volt cordless impact drivers and impact wrenches deliver around three times more torque than traditional cordless drills, weigh up to 20 percent less, are 35 percent shorter, provide more control, and drive larger fasteners without kickback, according to the company. The impact drivers have 1/4-inch hex quick-release chucks; the impact wrenches have a 3/8-inch square drive anvil with hog ring retention or a 1/2-inch square drive anvil with detent pin retention. Cost: $179 to $229. 800-433-9258. www.dewalt.com.
One of four new products in the Delta Industrial line of commercial and professional tools, the 31-396 oscillating edge sander is ideal for edge sanding of irregular shapes. The unit comes with a spindle sanding kit with three sizes of drums and collars for contour sanding and features a 3-hp, 220-volt single-phase motor, a 4-inch dust chute with hood, and quick-release belt tensioning. The tool's tilting head has stops at 0, 45, and 90 degrees. Cost: $1,849. 800-438-2486. www.deltawoodworking.com.
New to the ProSite line of professional tools, the Hidden Edge utility knife features a blade that remains tucked away but is released quickly by releasing a safety lock and squeezing a lever. The knife features a thumb wheel for cutting-depth adjustment, quick-release blade change, and onboard blade storage. A belt holster is available. Cost: $24. 978-249-5330. www.starrett.com
The Shingle Shear rooftop shingle cutter is now available in the smaller and lighter Model 2003. The new unit has a pullout extension with an inlaid tape of 40 inches, allowing the main table to be smaller. It features a longer 20-inch cutting blade for hip and valley cuts up to and beyond 45 degrees, a redesigned guard that allows shingles to be cut and slid through for cuts longer than 20 inches, and an adjustable rip fence. Cost: $269. 607-775-2200.
Triple Tooth bi-metal hack saw blades feature three different tooth pitches: a 32-tpi leading edge that requires less thrust for quick starts, a 24-tpi middle section that increases cutting efficiency, and an 18-tpi section, which cuts fast and aggressively. The 8 percent cobalt makeup of the teeth offers improved performance in a variety of materials, the maker says. Cost: Unavailable. 800-733-3377. www.mkmorse.com.
One of the first in the company's growing line of pro-oriented cutting tools, the WSR 900-PE reciprocating saw features a smart sensor that monitors the work and ensures consistent speed. The tool's 7.1-pound weight is evenly distributed. It has a six-speed adjustment control for optimal stroke speed, a seven-position shoe with an open-face design for better visibility, and a 15-foot power cord recessed into the base. The tool's handle design allows you to change hand positions to maximize cutting efficiency. Cost: $239. 800-879-8000. www.us.hilti.com.
The RN46 roofing nailer weighs 4.9 pounds while delivering 410 inch-pounds of energy, the lightest weight and highest power-to-weight ratio of any roofing nailer, the maker says. The magnesium-framed tool includes a lock-out feature that prevents it from cycling when out of fasteners. Other features include a positive-stop depth adjustment, tool-less shingle guide, single-action side canister for one-handed loading, frame protectors, and a rubber grip. The tool drives coil roofing nails from 1 to 1-3/4 inches by .120. Cost: $299 to $319. 800-556-6696. www.bostitch.com.
The Spectra Precision HD150 handheld laser distance measuring tool can be used indoors or outdoors to measure distance, area, and volume in less than one second. It has an accuracy of less than 1/8 inch over 500 feet, according to the company. Designed for one-person operation, the tool features an easy-to-see red laser beam and sighting grooves. Cost: Unavailable. 408-481-8000. www.trimble.com.
The TG-550H compressor is mounted directly to the engine flange, allowing it to be compact and lightweight. At 96 pounds with an air delivery of 12 CFM at 100 psi, the unit is the lightest and highest output 5.5-hp unit on the market, the company says. It features a 7-gallon wheelbarrow-style tank, automatic idle down, ASME safety valve, high-flow 17-cfm regulator, and low-oil shutdown. Cost: $850 to $899. 920-457-4891. www.thomasind.com.
Designed for drilling, impact drilling, tapping, and driving screws, the ME-9119 SBT 15.6-volt Plus cordless hammerdrill/driver features the company's Plus system for higher torque and increased motor power. The tool's intermittent Impuls action prevents the bit from walking and allows you to loosen and remove tight or damaged screws and drive to correct depth. It features an adjustable torque clutch, a no-load speed of 0 to 450 and 0 to 1,600 rpm, and a 1/2-inch keyless chuck. Cost: $306. 800-638-2264. www.metabousa.com.
The Natural 48-inch level is made with renewable hardwoods selected for their durability. The level features solid brass edging and beveled end caps for shock protection. The six curved glass vials are hand-calibrated. Cost: $30 with case. 800-558-0722. www.empirelevel.com.
The DS300-24V cordless collated screwdriver has a built-in extension for decking, subflooring, and general wood assembly applications. The tool includes two 24-volt slide batteries and a one-hour charger, built-in adjustable height extension, a trigger lock, and reverse mode to back out screws. Cost: $349 to $379. 800-543-4596. www.senco.com.
Type 196 box frame levels feature clear vials that are readable from any direction with no change in accuracy, the maker says. The levels feature removable, mark-free rubber end caps, rubber hand holes, and a metal hanger hole. Seven levels, from 16 to 96 inches, are available. Cost: $66 to $237. 800-869-7460. www.stabila.com.
Vaughan and Bushnell
Three models of Mini-Bear pull-stroke saws include a PVC pipe saw for PVC and ABS pipe and plastic sheets; the Woodworking Mini-Saw, designed for general and fine woodworking, plywood, hardwood, and particleboard; and the Bear pruning saw, which features a 17-teeth-per-inch blade for pruning tree branches up to 2 inches thick. The saws have triple-edged 7-inch blades and color-coded handles. Cost: $16 each. 800-435-6000. www.vaughanmfg.com.
Available in October, the 1199VSRK 1/2-inch dual-torque hammerdrill features an 8.5-amp motor, dual-mode selector to convert easily from drilling to hammerdrilling, a two-speed gear box for high-speed or high-torque applications, an integral slip clutch, a keyed chuck, and a rotating brush plate that provides equal power in reverse and doubles brush life. The tool includes a variable-speed reversing trigger, an ambidextrous lock-on button, a 360-degree auxiliary handle, and a 12-foot cord. Cost: $159. 877-267-2499. www.boschtools.com.
The HR2455 1-inch rotary hammer features a 7-amp motor, a no-load speed of 0 to 1,100 rpm, and a 360-degree adjustable chuck with 40 positions for optimum chisel positioning. The tool, which weighs 6.2 pounds, includes a three-mode switch for rotation, hammering with rotation, and hammering only. Other features include a rubberized D-handle, a positive stop mode selector, built-in torque limiter, one-touch sliding SDS chuck, and recessed lock-on button. Cost: Unavailable. 800-462-5482. www.makitatools.com.
Kraft Tool Co.
EZ-Grip stainless steel mud pans have a non-slip textured surface for a firmer grip and less hand fatigue. The surface also creates more insulation between the user's hand and the mud pan, allowing the mud to stay moist, the maker says. The pans have tapered ends and sides and are durable and rust-resistant. Three sizes are available. Cost: $18 to $20. 913-422-4848. www.krafttool.com.
The LoadsRite ladder rack places the ladder in a diagonal position at a comfortable working height that doesn't block side- or rear-door access. A low rear bed platform allows you to load and unload one end at a time rather than lifting the ladder up and hooking it into place, the company says. The unit is available for full-size GM, Ford, or Dodge vans. Cost: Varies. 800-677-2726. www.adriansteel.com.
Spec out Tools on ebuild, the Professional's Guide to Building Products(TM).