9 New Tools That We Love
The annual International Builders' Show offers a glimpse of new tools, products, and gizmos that will soon be in stores. See the tools grabbed our attention at this year's show
Even in these tough economic times, tool manufacturers are turning out innovative, highly functional machines for use in home projects. These nine workhorses are This Old House editors' favorite picks from the 2009 International Builders' Show. They'll save you time and energy, and they'll help you get the job done properly.
The knock on hidden fasteners has always been that installing them is time-consuming. Tiger Claw has changed that with a semiautomatic pneumatic gun that shoots a screw as if it were a nail. You'll be able to install decking 50 percent faster than screwing it down with a drill/driver. Available in April 2009.
About $200, Tiger Claw
The Blade Runner halves the time spent cutting drywall. Magnets hold the tool's two parts together so that it scores both sides at the same time. The cutting heads can cut almost 4,000 linear feet before dulling.
About $80; Goldblatt
The 24-volt cordless PullzAll lifts or pulls up to 1,000 pounds with a squeeze of its variable-speed trigger. Since it weighs only 18 pounds, it can replace just about anything you'd do manually with a come-along.
About $480; Warn
The one-touch start on this gas-powered backpack blower relieves the burden of having to start the engine and then wrestle the rumbling pack onto your back. While delivering 180 mph of blowing velocity from the business end, the blower charges the 12-volt battery used to start the engine.
About $200; Ryobi
Neither gas-powered blowers nor compressors with long hoses are ideal for cleaning up debris in the shop or garage. Ditch both for Craftsman's 6½-pound cordless blower/vac. Its variable-speed trigger controls up to 100 mph of blowing velocity. In vacuum mode, the C3 captures dust and debris in a fabric filter bag. The unit comes with 6- and 18-inch blower nozzles, a brush, and a crevice tool.
About $40; Craftsman
Shorter and lighter than traditional worm-drive saws, this magnesium-bodied saw has a beefy 15-amp motor that delivers 4,500 almost-unstoppable rpm. The saw's key feature is hypoid gears made of heat-treated steel, which lasts longer than the bronze alloys usually used in most worm-drive saws.
About $199; Makita
Hanging drywall like a pro means consistently driving screws to the right depth: just a hair beneath the paper's surface. Ridgid's 18-volt cordless collated screwgun does just that with its depth-of-drive adjustment dial. The 3,500-rpm motor drives screws up to 3 inches long to fasten decks or plywood subfloors.
About $100; Ridgid
A lot of homeowners use their garage doors as the main entrance to the house, so a power outage can be a major inconvenience. LiftMaster's opener is the first to come with its own standby battery backup; if you lose your electricity, the door will open and close up to 40 times. Once the power comes back on, the battery recharges itself.
About $350; LiftMaster
Ryobi's saw incorporates an overhead 7-inch blade for plunge cuts in tile and a laser to help line up your cuts. The built-in mobile stand makes it easy to carry around. Available in June 2009.
About $300; Ryobi