Once again, the editors of ProSales have sifted through thousands of products in search of the latest Editors' Choice Award winners–those products introduced during the past year that stand out for their innovation, problem-solving abilities, and all-around coolness. What also defines these products is their ability to make you think about their potential in your yard and about the overall range of products and services you offer. As you read about the 15 Editors' Choice winners this year, ask yourself not only how they can fit into your business now, but also how they can help your business and your customers' businesses grow.
Wondering how to increase security and counteract theft in your tool and equipment rental services? Consider DeWalt's MobileLock GPS Locator and Anti-Theft Alarm. Are some of your customers using steel frame construction? Surely they'd prefer to install supportive wood backers in less time; point them toward our Group Award winners. Interested in expanding your installed sales services? Perhaps you should broaden your horizons and take a look at central vacuum systems.
Year after year, the diversity of our Editors' Choice winners continues to reflect the many ways in which the pro supply industry changes and evolves. We hope many of these products will strike your fancy and reveal themselves to you as valuable tools–not just more items to sell–as you progress through 2007.
Bosch Power Tools
Bosch Power Tools. The 36V Litheon Flexible Power System offers two different task-specific 36-volt lithium-ion battery packs for the 36-volt Litheon line of tools. The 36V Litheon SlimPack is ideal for one-handed applications or overhead work because it weighs less than a 14.4-volt nicad battery while providing twice the voltage and up to 15% more runtime than many 18-volt nicad battery packs. For heavy-duty or extended applications, the 36V Litheon Standard Pack delivers twice the voltage and runtime of an 18-volt nicad battery at nearly the same weight. 877.267.2499. www.boschtools.com.
CST/berger. The LaserMark iLMXT indoor/outdoor self-leveling laser cross level offers level and plumb functionality, as well as laser cross and manual mode. Ideal for a range of layout tasks, including finish carpentry, cabinets, drop ceilings, masonry, and lighting, the tool is accurate within +/- 3/32 inch at 30 feet, has a range of 100 feet, and has a detector range of more than 100 feet. Features include outdoor pulsing mode for use with a detector, a heavy-duty gimbal magnetically dampened compensator for quick self-leveling, out-of-level range sensor with auto shut-off, and a rugged overmolded housing. 800.435.1859. www.cstsurvey.com.
Milwaukee. There are three new rotary hammers for the 1-inch SDS category: the V28 Cordless Compact (0756-22), the 1-inch Compact (5363-21), and the 1-inch D-handle (5369-21) models. All three feature three modes of operation for maximum versatility; a keyless SDS chuck for fast, tool-free bit changes; and a variable-speed trigger and reverse switch that allows for accurate drill bit starting and easy bit/fastener removal. An industry-exclusive Anti-Vibration System (AVS), previously only available on larger hammers, is featured on the compact and D-handle corded models. 800.729.3878. www.milwaukeetool.com.
Porter-Cable. The 371K compact belt sander weighs 5 pounds, measures 2-1/2 inches by 14 inches, and features a flush side to enable users to sand next to perpendicular surfaces and in tight areas. Designed for a balanced feel at various angles and orientations, the 371K also has a low rear housing to minimize material gouges. The tool has a 5-amp, 500 maximum wattage output motor, and a belt speed of 1,100 surface-feet per minute. 888.848.5175. www.porter-cable.com.
LoggerHead Tools. Now available in 6- and 10-inch versions, the Bionic Wrench combines the versatility of an adjustable wrench with the simplicity of pliers. When the cushioned, ergonomic handle is squeezed, the Bionic Wrench's six steel jaws automatically size and grip various sizes of nuts and bolts, distributing force equally on all sides of the fastener. The 6-inch model fits 14 fastener sizes, while the 10-inch model fits 18 sizes. The Bionic Wrench will not slip or round off nuts or bolts, says the maker, and can be used with either hand in nearly any orientation. 888.564.4374. www.loggerheadtools.com.
PrimeSource. The Grip-Rite GRTAN250 15-gauge angle brad nailer has a lightweight, compact design that makes it usable in tight, confined spaces and is ideal for casing, finish, molding, trim, and cabinet applications. The nailer has a 360-degree tool-free air exhaust and a 100-nail capacity. It is lightweight and compact. 972.417.3701. www.grip-rite.com.
Trimble. Part of the Spectra Precision line of laser tools, the LG20 self-leveling crossbeam generator is a five-in-one tool that can replace a level, square, plumb bob, chalk, and optical instrument for a variety of indoor and outdoor applications, including building walls, installing acoustical ceilings, laying out cabinets, and building decks. The unit can survive a 3-foot drop onto concrete. The laser beam can be seen for up to 100 feet or 250 feet with the HR250 receiver (also shown). The HR250 receiver has highly visible simultaneous front LEDs with green on-grade indicator. 800.827.8000. www.trimble.com.
DeWalt. The DW745 10-inch compact table saw is small and lightweight but has the ability to complete a range of tasks, including cutting hardwood flooring, composite decking, and pressure treated lumber, says the company. The saw has a 15-amp motor and a telescoping fence with capacity to rip 16 inches right and 12 inches left. 800.433.9258. www.dewalt.com.
Makita. The LXT BTP140 lithium-ion "hybrid tool" combines a hammerdrill/driver with an impact driver for four functions–impact driving, hammerdrilling, driving with a clutch, and two-speed drilling–in one tool. The lithium-ion battery allows for a compact size and a weight that, at 3.9 pounds, is 40% less than comparable tools, the maker says. 800.462.5482. www.makita.com.
Channellock. The 369CRFT lineman's plier features a 12 AWG wire stripper and a 12 AWG recess to create wire loops quickly, a crimper/crusher for insulated and non-insulated wires, laser heat-treated knife/anvil cutters, and a joint path that guides fish tape without kinking or breaking, the company says. Other details include a non-binding neck joint and an electro-coated finish to prevent rusting. 800.724.3018. www.channellock.com.
Metabo. Now available with a lithium-ion battery, the ASE 18 cordless reciprocating saw delivers 0?2,700 spm and weighs 7.7 pounds. Because the battery chemistry boasts 40% higher performance than nicad or NiMH batteries, the ASE 18 will run longer and will have a service life of up to 1,500 charges, the manufacturer says. Other features include a tool-free blade-changing system and tool-free adjustable depth stop. 800.638.2264. www.metabousa.com.
Leica Geosystems. The Disto A6 handheld laser distance meter features integrated Bluetooth technology to wirelessly transfer measurement data from the tool to a pocket PC or laptop. The unit takes measurements within 1/16 inch at ranges of up to 650 feet. It includes an integrated 2x viewfinder for long-range measurements in bright sunlight, a multifunctional end piece with built-in sensor, and a soft grip. 770.326.9500. www.disto.com.
Paslode. The T250A-F16 is the first 16-gauge angled finish nailer on the market, says the maker. The tool combines power and light weight with an angle that allows users to get into tight spaces. It features Quick Clear jam clearing, tool-free depth-of-drive, and a two-step follower for fast loading. 800.682.3428. www.paslode.com.
Simpson Strong-Tie. The PTP-27ASMAGR .27-caliber powder-actuated tool features a 10-fastener magazine that rotates for tight spaces, adjustable power, and a cushioned grip. The tool has reduced recoil and a sound-dampening muffler for quieter operation, says the firm. Simple disassembly allows for easy cleaning and maintenance. 800.999.5099. www.strongtie.com.
Irwin. The company has extended its line of GrooveLock pliers to include 16- and 20-inch models in addition to the 8-, 10-, and 12-inch sizes already available. The pliers feature a Press-n-Slide button that allows for 50% faster adjustment than traditional groove joint pliers, the maker says, and doubles the available groove positions. The all-purpose jaws grip flat, round, hex, and square surfaces. 800.464.7946. www.irwin.com.
Empire Level. Featuring a solid-block acrylic vial that provides enhanced readability and accuracy, the True Blue heavy-duty magnetic em71 jamb set level is designed to make squaring door jambs easy, fast, and accurate. The em71 jamb set includes a 78-inch and a 32-inch level. Neodymium rare earth magnets stabilize the levels on metal studs, door frames, or any other metal surface for hands-free use. 800.558.0722. www.empirelevel.com.
Bostitch. The HFN1 oil-free flooring cleat nailer kit features a tool-free, adjustable, steel-reinforced handle with rubber grip, a tool-free adjustable shoe that easily sets the flooring thickness between 1/2 inch and 3/4 inch, and a pre-finished adapter to protect flooring during installation. The tool's compact design allows it to fit closer to the wall to lay an additional course. The tool, which weighs 11.5 pounds, accommodates 16-gauge flooring cleats from 1-1/2 inches to 2 inches. 800.556.6696. www.bostitch.com.
RoboToolz. The Dual Technology RoboTape indoor/outdoor Laser Measure combines a red laser-pointing beam with an infrared measurement beam to take readings from dark targets and in bright sunlight. The tool is accurate within 1/8 inch and takes measurements up to 600 feet. Its Time of Flight pulse technology allows for easier reading at long distances. Other details include Measure on Level for taking level measurements; Pythagoras, Area, and Cube functionality; and Min/Max to automatically record wall measurements. 650.903.4944. www.robotoolz.com.
Ridgid. According to the manufacturer, the Fuego 6-1/2-inch compact framing saw is the fastest and lightest corded framing saw on the market and offers the performance of a 7-1/2-inch saw. The tool weighs 8 pounds and has a 12-amp motor that provides 6,100 rpm. Other features include magnesium upper and lower blade guards; a strong, ultra-light composite shoe; ratcheting lock levers; and an integrated dust blower. 800.474.3443. www.ridgid.com.
Hitachi Power Tools
Hitachi Power Tools. The company's new diamond grit drill bits work with tile, marble, porcelain, granite, slate, and glass. Available in five sizes, the bits are designed to produce holes faster and at a lower cost per hole than competitive bits, the company says. 800.829.4752. www.hitachipowertools.com.
Senco. The battery-powered Cordless Finish product line includes the Cordless Finish 25 18-gauge brad nailer and the Cordless Finish 41 15-gauge angled finish nailer. Both feature a switchable drive system to enable both precision nail placement with sequential operation and rapid nail placement with contact actuation operation. 800.543.4596. www.senco.com.
Werner. The Electrician's JobStation ladder has customized slots, caddies, and holders designed with electricians in mind. The ladder features slots for the most-used electrical tools, along with a measurement scale, a hacksaw hook, and a parallel groove that holds up to 1-inch conduit pipe. Brackets make organizing and pulling wire easy, and fold-out hooks clamp and hold conduit for cutting. 888.229.7727. www.wernerladder.com.
Max USA. The 400-psi PowerLight HN65J joist hanger nailer is 40% more compact than conventional tools, the company says, and weighs only 4.4 pounds. The tool features a durable locator for finding hanger holes, a slim nose for getting into tight spots, a 100-nail magazine, dial-adjustable depth control, a contact-trip trigger, a trigger lockout switch, a tangle-free swivel fitting, a reduced exhaust air system with built-in silencer, and a maintenance-free end cap filter. The nailer shoots flat plastic sheet collated nails from 11/2 inches by .131 inch to 2-1/2 inches by .162 inch. 800.223.4293. www.maxusacorp.com.
Stabila. The Tech Type 196E level features a digital readout on the front and on top as well as an audible indicator of level. It provides a digital readout in five ways: degrees, percent, millimeters per meter, inches per foot decimally, and inches per foot fractionally. The tool is easy to calibrate, the company says, and it features a rugged frame and removable rubber end caps. The level comes in 14-, 24-, 48-, 59-, and 78-inch lengths. 800.869.7460. www.stabila.com.