Tool Tests and Reviews

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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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    Cut Out Saws

    One of the biggest challenges of my plumbing and heating practice has nothing to do with pipe, water, or fittings. Instead, one of the most problematic–and recurring–issues is making the cuts required to install those things in all the materials we encounter in both new construction and service...

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    Hoseless Nailers

    As a builder in the Washington, D.C., area, I spend a lot of time with a nailer in my hand and, of course, a lot of time dragging an air hose around the jobsite. It was an eye-opening experience for me to try out the current generation of hoseless (a.k.a. cordless) nail guns, both framing and...

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