The 2023 Pro Tool Innovation Award winners and finalists have been announced! With 233 across 15 distinct categories, they represent the best new tools coming over the next year (some are already available). Head over to the PTIA website to see the entire list for yourself, or click on the headings below to look at the individual category pages.
As for us, we’ve selected some of the most intriguing new tools—one from each category. There are so many more than just the ones listed here, though, so be sure to check out the pages to see the most innovative products on the docket for the next year!
Best New Tools: Accessories and Fasteners
CMT Orange Tools ITK Extreme Demolition 007 “License to Cut” Circular Saw Blade
Take one look at CMT Orange Tools’ 007 demo blade, and it’s immediately clear this blade is different. Large cutouts around the blade reduce overall mass, leading to faster acceleration and less overall energy use, helping you manage the battery on cordless saws. They also help reduce heat buildup during cutting.
A closer look reveals a tooth design that handles nail strikes more effectively by avoiding a full-on nail hit against a single tooth and brazing deeper into the plate. At the same time, a 5° ATB configuration offers stable, fast cuts in clean and nail-embedded wood.
Best New Tools: Automotive and Metalworking
Milwaukee M12 Fuel Insider Extended Reach Box Ratchet
While you’re applying Neosporin to your busted knuckles, Milwaukee’s automotive team has been working on a way to keep hem from getting that way in the first place. By inserting the socket into the ratchet head instead of onto it, the M12 Fuel Insider drops another 3/4 of an inch and significantly improves your ability to access tight areas. That by itself is enough to make it a winner in our eyes, but Milwaukee’s product team took it further. The ratchet is compatible with all three standard drive sizes, 1/4″ hex bits, is pass-through capable up to 15mm, has an extended reach, and a high speed drive of 350 RPM. We’re guessing it’s going to be a while before anyone can top that!
Best New Tools: Concrete and Masonry
If your work involves setting adhesive anchors, you’re going to love Hilti’s Kwik-X Dual Action Anchor System. To put it simply, the Kwik-X system can be stated as “drill, drop, drive, done.” No joke.
Just like you would with any other anchor, you start by drilling the appropriate-sized hole for it. But instead of reaching for your vac or hole blower, you skip the cleanout step completely. The way you get around it is by using Hilti’s SafeSet procedure, which includes using a hollow bit and vac to remove dust while you’re drilling.
Next, you take the adhesive packet and drop the entire thing into the hole, package and all. You don’t need to squeeze it out, and you don’t need to use an applicator.
Finally, use your impact wrench to drive the fastener in place. As it turns, it breaks the packet open and displaces the adhesive to fill the gaps. That’s it, you’re done. It’s a huge time-saver and makes getting new crew members up to speed easier while reducing the risk of errors along the way.
Best New Tools: Cordless Tools
Flex 4-Port Simultaneous Rapid Charger
You’d think battery chargers would be a fairly boring category, but this year’s vote was tight thanks to several outstanding options. Flex came away with the win for their 4-Port Simultaneous Charger. Each of the four ports can charge at a rate of 280 watts, and can run at that pace simultaneously. That’s better than any 4-port charger we’ve seen so far, and keeping your power tools operating without interruption for charging is the number one concern our team has for its charging needs.
Best New Tools: Hand Tools
Malco Adjustable Siding Gauge
We’ve seen some impressive ways to made siding installation easier over the years, but Malco’s Adjustable Siding Gauge is the best. By setting the pair to the same detent and clamping them onto the already installed siding, it’s your second and third set of hands to hold pieces up to 16 feet in length and exactly the right height, leaving you with both hands to fasten them properly. Best of all, it makes a 2 – 3-man job one that you can do by yourself, and it’ll cost you less than you’d pay your helper for the day.
Best New Tools: Mechanical, Electrical, and Plumbing
Ridgid RP 115 Mini Press Tool
For common 1/2-inch and 3/4-inch press fittings, you’ve got to see what Ridgid’s team has come up with. The RP 115 in less than 15 inches long and is 2.5 inches wide, giving you easier access into tight connection spaces better than other models. It’s also just 5.5 pounds, including the battery press jaws, making it the lightest cordless option you have available as well. This lightweight, compact press tool is a fatigue-busting solution for press connections from a name you can trust.
Best New Tools: Networking and Technology
Visualizing what the final results will be is a challenge for every home contractor and client relationship. HOVER can help bridge that gap with its design functions, and give your clients more confidence that they’re getting the home of their dream before the groundwork even starts. When it’s time to crunch numbers, HOVER can help you build your estimates more quickly and even order materials once the contract is signed. There are even applications for homeowners, such as help with insurance claims and brainstorming future upgrades. When it comes to exterior design, HOVER is a high-tech solution in a high-tech world.
Price: $25 – $199 per design (membership program also available)
Best New Tools: Outdoor Power Equipment
2023 marks the year log splitters make the jump to battery power from mainstream brands. Ryobi’s 40V HP Brushless Log Splitter uses a kinetic drive to split logs with 12 tons of splitting force. With a capacity for logs up to 10 inches in diameter and 20 inches long, it’s capable of splitting up to 150 times on a 4.0Ah battery and has a cycle time of just 2 seconds. With a frame designed for easy transport to and from your log pile, getting ready for fireplace season has never been easier or more convenient.
Best New Tools: Pneumatic and Nailers
SST MegaFlow 3-Stage Air Filter and Regulator
The SST MegaFlow 3 Stage Air Filter and Regulator is a classic example of “see a problem, solve a problem” engineering. If you’ve used compressors or air tools for any length of time, you know that contaminants cause problems eventually. By incorporating a 3-stage filter on the intake end, the SST MegaFlow ensures you’re getting more time between maintenance and longer service life. Plus, the visible cartridges make it easy to see when filter changes are due, and the high-quality construction ensures it will be around for a long time. It’s a fantastic solution to a common problem.
Best New Tools: Test and Measurement
Fluke Advanced Pro Wire Tracer
Fluke’s 2062 Advanced Pro Wire Tracer gives you a big advantage when you’re tracing wires. With the ability to trace energized or de-energized wires, you can avoid disrupting other work that’s going on in an occupied space. Multiple modes allow you to work in residential, commercial, and industrial structures without having to switch tools. Plus, the 2062 has a 3.5″ color screen that helps you visualize where the wire is running and avoids losing track of the run. It has everything you need to trace wires, find breaks, detect shorts, and identify breakers, all with the protection of a CAT IV 600V rating.
Best New Tools: Tool Bags and Storage
Craftsman V-Series Rolling Tool Cabinet
Craftsman is stepping up its storage game in a big way with the Pro-focused V-Series. It’s all about the build. I-Frame construction and heavier gauge steel set it apart from less expensive homeowner models. That gives it a much higher 3000-pound total capacity, and it has suspension-loaded casters to ensure it’s able to handle the load and still roll effectively. Best of all, these professional tool boxes are still well under the price you’ll pay from the tool truck guys while maintaining the quality Pros demand.
Best New Tools: Wall and Flooring
Graco Ultra QuickShot Cordless Paint Sprayer
Graco is continuing to expand its line of impressive cordless paint sprayer, this time with a solution designed to make small jobs quicker and easier. The Ultra QuickShot features an easy filling 32-ounce cup and connects to 6-foot hose that only contains an ounce of paint when loaded. In a brilliant move, the pump sits on a holster you wear, leaving only the weight of the gun in your hands, giving you outstanding control in tight or awkward or spaces and making it ladder-friendly when you have to climb. Rather than manufacturing a proprietary battery, Graco goes with the popular DeWalt 20V Max battery as a power source, making spare and replacement batteries easy to get hold of.
Best New Tools: Woodworking and Carpentry
Ridgid 18V SubCompact Barrel Grip Jigsaw
Ridgid combines the control of a barrel grip style, the ease of a compact design, and the convenience of a cordless power source with the 18V SubCompact R86346. It’s packed with just about every feature you’d hope to find on a jigsaw: adjustable speed, orbital action, lever action blade release, a dust port, dust blower, and tool-free bevel adjustments. Combined with a brushless motor and fast 3200 SPM stroke rate, it’s a fantastically well-rounded jigsaw.
Best New Tools: Workwear and Safety
If you’re a fan of the T1 WerkPant (who isn’t?), then you’ll love the Truewerk XP WerkPant for those days that your knees are in contact with the ground or against equipment you’re working on. With built-in knee pads that retain the movement and flexibility Truewerk is known for, it’s an excellent upgrade to keep the T1’s primary characteristics while saying goodbye and good riddance to your strap-on knee pads.
Bonus Category: Household Products
Greenworks Commuter E-Bike
E-commuting is becoming more popular and today’s brushless motor and battery technology is making it a legitimate option for many people. Greenworks is entering the space with a commuter E-bike that has an excellent 20 MPH top speed and competitive 25-mile range. Considering it only takes 40 minutes to charge, you can make longer commutes to work without a problem. What really caught our attention was the price. Just under $1900, Greenworks is offering a quality, full-features E-commuter for about half of what you’d pay from name brands like Trek.