Tool Tests and Reviews

  • Ridgid Gen5X Combo Kit

    This kit includes the essential cordless tools and good batteries for a reasonable price.

  • Festool Rotex RO125 FEQ Sander

    This dual-mode machine can be used for fine sanding but is best suited to heavy stock removal.

  • Irwin Tapcon Installation Drill-Drive Set

    This kit is rated for use in impact drivers but works even better in hammer drills.

  • Bosch PS32 Drill Driver and PS22 Pocket Driver

    These upgraded 12-volt models have brushless motors, belt clips, and bit holders.

  • Corded Impact Driver

    Unlike cordless drivers, it never peters out while driving a screw.

  • Milwaukee 10IN1 Hex Key Driver

    It might be time to retire your folding hex key set, or at least give it a vacation.

  • New Cordless Drills and Drivers from Bosch

    With the introduction of six models in two different voltages the company has jumped into the brushless drill and driver category with both feet.

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    Milwaukee M12 FUEL Drill and Impact Drivers

    These brushless subcompact tools will perform 90% of the tasks a carpenter needs to do.

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    Festool Hybrid Driver

    The Ti 15 brushless impact driver is also a drill/driver.

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    Brushless Impact Driver Teardown

    DeWalt DCF895 Brushless Impact Driver – shown here with compact battery. Let the teardown begin.

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    Tool Test: 18-Volt Drill/Drivers

    Today's cordless drills are significantly better than the ones I used four or five years ago — they have more power and greater runtime, and take less time to charge. Many of them are lighter, too. The most obvious change has been the move from nicad to lithium-ion batteries, with lithium-ion...

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    Tool Test: 18-Volt Lithium-Ion Impact Drivers

    For this article my crew and I tested 18 lithium-ion impact-driver kits. Some companies sell the same tool in two kits – each with different batteries – and in such cases we tested both versions. We used all the drivers for several months, trading them around so that everybody had experience with...

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    Tools Up Close: Makita Compact Drill/Driver

    The Makita drill/driver is short & a mere 7-9/16 inches from chuck to tail. With the battery attached, it weighs 3.3 pounds, which is lighter than the vast majority of 18-volt drill/drivers. Its small size and weight make for easy handling overhead and in tight spaces like cabinets and narrow joist...

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    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...

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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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    Nail Jack Pro Model, Nail Hunter and Staple Jack Pliers

    Nail Jack extraction pliers have an 'anvil' behind the head that you pound on to drive the tips into the wood surrounding a nail.

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    Irwin Vise-Grip 10CR Fast Release Pliers

    Irwin's newest Vise-Grip pliers have a 'self-energizing' jaw design that shifts under load and self-tightens, similar to the action of a pipe wrench.

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    Kunz 5 Plus Jack Plane

    Kunz has a new premium plane line.

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    First Test: Diablo Hand-Held Mixers

    Tile contractors spend a lot of time standing over a 5-gallon bucket mixing various setting materials, and most just use a 1/2-inch drill for the job. That's not an ideal approach, because the tool isn't purpose-built for the application. Always on the lookout for something better, we found the...

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    First Test: DeWalt Right-Angle Drill

    Years ago, when I started out as a young plumbing apprentice, the venerable Milwaukee Hole Hawg was the only right-angle drill used throughout the trades. It was big, heavy, and powerful. I went for more than one ride on that drill, and the countless smashed knuckles I endured were a real lesson in...

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