Utility knives can be used for everything from opening a box of door hardware to cutting drywall and trimming insulation. Olfa, the company that invented the snap-off blade, has just released a new knife designed with the contractor in mind. The LA-X has an automatic blade lock, a rubberized fiberglass handle, and a metal fin at the rear end that can be used to open a can of paint or as a quick and dirty screwdriver. The knife uses 18mm heavy-duty snap-off blades.
¦ Price: $7. 800-962-6532. www.olfa.com.
Milwaukee cordless right angle drill/driver
Right-angle drills are great for working in stud bays and other spots where maneuverability is limited – and for those applications, it's an advantage to be able to work without a cord. Milwaukee's latest cordless drill/driver has a head length of 3-3/4 inches, so it's small enough for use in very tight quarters. It comes with the new M18 XC Red Lithium battery, which the maker says offers 40 percent more runtime and 50 percent more charges than other lithium products. The tool's features include an 11-position clutch and a built-in LED light.
¦ Price: Kits start at $200. 800-729-3878. www.milwaukeetool.com.
A magnetized level is perfect for use with metal studs because it lets you work with both hands free. Thanks to Bostitch's new 4-foot aluminum Clamping Level, the same idea can now be applied to wood studs. Clamps fold out from either side of the tool and grab onto the edge of 2-by lumber; when not in use, they fold out of the way.
¦ Price: $80 ($60 for the 2-foot model). 800-556-6696. www.bostitch.com.
DeWalt Wet/Dry Tile Cutter
Sometimes it's impractical to set up a full-sized tile saw: The space is too small, there are only a few tiles to cut, or you need to travel very light. For these situations, DeWalt offers its new 4-3/8-inch Wet/Dry Tile Cutter. This 10.8-amp saw has a cutting capacity of 1-3/8 inches and can cut on a bevel of up to 45 degrees. A water line can be attached to the rear of the saw for wet cutting; because the tool works with water, it comes equipped with a GFCI plug for added safety.
¦ Price: $170. 800-433-9258. www.dewalt.com.
Malco TurboShear Slate Cutter
Malco's new TurboShear Slate Cutter attachment makes it possible to cut roofing slate with a corded or cordless drill. The attachment can make straight, curved, and angled cuts in 4mm to 8mm material. It can be operated one-handed and leaves edges that look hand-cut; a padded footplate protects surfaces from marring. The only requirement is that the drill be at least 1,400 rpm.
¦ Price: $175. 320-274-8246. www.malcoproducts.com.