Tool Tests and Reviews

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    2010 Editor's Choice: Hitachi WH14DBL Compact Cordless Impact Driver

    We love the way this category has continued to evolve, especially in terms of performance features previously seen only in industrial assembly tools.

     
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    Bessey TSC4.516 Staircase Clamp

    Bessey is known for its strong industrial and shop clamps.

     
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    2009 Editors' Choice: Milwaukee Subcompact Specialty Tools

    Subcompact cordless tools are a fast-growing trend and no brand has taken them further than Milwaukee's M12 line.

     
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    Tool Test: Compact & Subcompact Drill/Drivers

    Cordless drill/drivers have come a long way since the first one I purchased more than 20 years ago. It's interesting, though, that some have come full circle and ended up about the same size as those small, early tools, but with much better performance.

     
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    Tool Test: Portable Jobsite Table Saws

    Jobsite table saws have changed a lot since I started working for my dad in 1972. Back then, we did almost all the millwork on-site using a huge, 12-inch contractor's saw that might have stayed set up for months. I started my own company in 1981, and as the business grew, table saws shrunk. I took...

     
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    Tool Test: Cordless Recip Saws

    More than 10 years ago, I bought one of the first cordless recip saws, hoping it would perform like my corded model. I had shelved most of my corded drills in favor of their cordless cousins, and I had high hopes for recips–too high, as it turned out, for the first generation.

     
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    First Test: Milwaukee Cordless Vacuums

    At first glance, the two Milwaukee cordless hand-held vacuum models look like tool boxes: they're about 18 inches long, 11 inches tall, 8 inches wide, and have folding handles on top. They are basically identical units but in 18- and 28-volt versions.

     
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    Cordless Impact Drivers

    We set out to test the latest 18-volt lithium-ion impact drivers, but we made a few exceptions to round out the field. All but the Bosch are LI-powered, but a few different voltages and tool configurations are in the mix.

     
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    2009 Editors' Choice: Makita Compact Hammer Drill/Driver

    Cordless drill/drivers seem to be shrinking; everywhere you look, brands are coming out with smaller and lighter versions

     
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    2009 Editors' Choice: 10C Technologies Universal Battery Charger

    We're thrilled to award 10C Technologies' Crew Charge universal battery charger system, which can recharge different brands, voltages, and types of batteries simultaneously, including NiMH, nicad, and lithium-ion.

     
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    First Test: Cordless Brad Nailer, New LI Battery

    If you do much work that requires nailing, you know the importance of pneumatic technology. I cannot imagine going back to the days of nailing up crown or other running trim with a hammer. Changing with the times and tools can increase your productivity and the quality of your work, so it is wise...

     
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    Cordless Rotary Hammers

    As a self-employed contractor in New England for nearly 30 years, I've relied on rotary hammers for as long as I've been in business. As a concrete foundation contractor, I've used them to drill holes for placing rebar into existing foundations to tie into a new pour, and occasionally on new...

     
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    Portable Planers

    When I was working as a wooden boat builder, there were times that I couldn't tell where my hand ended and my portable planer began; no tool got used more. Since I've used these tools so much, I'm sensitive to their features and performance, and I take poor design and false promises about them...

     
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    Right-Angle Drills

    A big part of a plumber's or electrician's job is making holes. Through studs, plates, floors, joists, and even roofs, before you can start to run any pipe or pull any wire, you need countless large holes, and you want them fast and with as little effort as possible. So when you're looking to pick...

     
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    Lithium-Ion Hands On

    It would be hard to find any tool category in the history of this industry since the advent of the electric motor that has grown as fast as cordless lithium-ion (LI) tools. Since Milwaukee's official launch of the category two years ago, we've seen every major brand quickly enter the market with...

     
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    Cordless Drill/Drivers

    With so many of these tools including a hammerdrill function, which we use all the time on our trim and cabinet installations, we took the models into the field and focused on this feature. Most of these hammerdrill models switch functions by dialing in the hammer symbol on the clutch setting ring...

     
  • Cordless Impact Drivers

    Manufacturers make big power and speed claims for these little tools so I had to check them out.

     
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    Cordless Impact Drivers

    My college rugby coach used to encourage the small guys on our squad (me) by saying, 'It doesn't matter how much dog is in the fight. It only matters how much fight is in the dog.' While Coach Ortale's phrase fired me up in my rugby days, it's also an apt description of cordless impact drivers...

     
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    Ridgid R84040

    When the Ridgid R84040 18-volt adhesive/caulk gun arrived at the office, my crew and I shared the same thought: Just because you can make something doesn't always mean you should. But while that adage applies to many things, our test proved the R84040 isn't one of them. It quickly earned our...

     
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    Bosch PS20-2 Pocket Driver

    Pick up Bosch's new Litheon PS20-2 10.8-volt lithium-ion Pocket Driver and you'll immediately start looking for ways to use it–or should I say, excuses. From the way this compact driver form-fits into your hand to the soft-grip handle and its perfect balance, this tool will quickly earn its way...

     
 
 
 
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