2013 Pro Tool Innovation Awards – Corded Tools

PTIA corded tools

With all the excitement surrounding cordless tools, we can’t forget that corded tools not only have a place on the job site or in the shop—they are an indispensable part of what we do.

To give credit where credit is due, we awarded the top spots to over a dozen corded competitors who really showed innovation and advancement in the areas of power, capabilities, features and even value. These tools will cut, saw, plunge, drill and cut better than anything out on the market today.

And some of these corded tools will even do it with style.

Winner: Grinders

Bosch AG40-85PD grinderBosch 4-1/2-Inch Angle Grinder with No-Lock-On (AG40-85PD)

What they say: The Bosch AG40-85PD is a 4-1/2-inch angle grinder that features a no-lock-on switch, which means it turns off automatically when the switch is released. A new motor design features direct motor cooling and more air vents to reduce hand blockage help extend the tool life and provide higher overload capabilities to prevent overheating. Additionally, improved carbon brushes offer more than double the lifetime of predecessor brushes, which means less downtime for maintenance. Featuring an 8.5-amp, 11,500-rpm motor, the AG40-85PD offers more power than the previous generation model.

What we say: Bosch revamped its entire grinder lineup this year. It doesn’t really matter what features you want—they have them. There’s no way to criticize much on a Bosch grinder these days because if you want a larger disc size, more power or a different switch, well, they probably have an app…er, model, for that. This grinder in particular offers a spectacular feature set and performance level for the price and should be a favorite for many contractors.

Winner: Joiners

Festool Domino XL DF 700 joinerFestool Domino XL DF 700 (574447)

What they say: The Domino XL is the latest tool in Festool’s joiner family. Everyone knows how much stationary machines like hollow chisel mortises and slot mortises cost and what it takes to maintain them. The Domino offers a much more elegant solution to the challenge of large scale joinery. Amazingly simple to use, fast, and accurate, the Domino XL has a maximum tenon size of about five and a half inches in length (140 mm)—meaning that no job is too big for the Domino XL.

What we say: We love that Festool decided to make a joiner that can be easily brought to pieces that are simply too big to bring to a stationary machine. They really nailed it with this product, which is innovative, time-saving and immensely practical for the woodworker who needs all the power of a fixed joiner, but the flexibility to take the tool to the workpiece.

Winner: OPE—Blowers, Handheld, Accessories

Worx Leaf ProWorx Leaf Pro Universal Leaf Collection System (WA4054)

What they say: The LeafPro is the first truly universal leaf collection system. The LeafPro turns your blower/vac into a high-capacity leaf collection system—no more emptying bags, send those leaves directly to the can. The LeafPro comes with 5 factory fit adapters engineered to fit all major brands of blower/vacs on the market—gas or electric! It fits brands such as Toro, Black & Decker, Ryobi, Craftsman, WORX…and more! A multi-fit adapter gives you a secure connection, no matter which brand you own.

What we say: Corded and cordless blower/vacs all come with collection bags that typically hold very little content and are a pain to use. Get a rolling trash can near your blown leaf pile and attach the Leaf Pro, however, and you’re off to the races. We just can’t believe it took this long to come up with such a great idea! Frankly, we’re jealous we didn’t think of it first.

Winner: Oscillating Multi-tools

Ridgid JobMax Multi-toolRidgid JobMax Multi-Tool System

What they say: The JobMax has four different power bases: 12V, 18V, 3-Amp AC, and pneumatic. The Ridgid JobMax Multi-tool Starter Kit accepts all popular multi-tool accessories with the included universal adapter, so you can choose the right attachment for every job. In addition to the multi-tool head, the JobMax base also accepts 6 other power tool heads: a ratchet head, a reciprocating saw head, a jig saw head, an auto hammer head, a right angle drill head, and an impact driver head.

What we say: We don’t know of any other tool that is this flexible or expandable. If you’ve never seen the individual JobMax heads, we encourage you to check them out at The Home Depot. They are built like tanks. The fact that you can run these heads on 12V, 18V, AC or air means that when you buy into the JobMax system, you’re getting a tool that grows right alongside you. So which one won the award—12V, 18V, pneumatic or corded…? Yes. Well, technically, we gave it to the incredibly powerful and rugged 3-amp corded model, but who’s counting?

Winner: Rotary Hammers

Bosch RH228VC rotary hammerBosch Bulldog™ Xtreme Max Rotary Hammer (RH228VC)

What they say: With the introduction of the RH228VC Bulldog™ Xtreme Max Rotary Hammer, Bosch Power Tools bested even its own top-of-the-line tools. Bosch’s RH228VC is able to drill holes up to 1-1/8-inch in diameter and delivers 40 percent more speed, 20 percent more power (2.4 ft lbs). It also has up to 30 percent less vibration (12 m/s2) than most of the other hammers in the class.

What we say: Implementing actual counterbalancing on the hammer mechanism makes this one of the most comfortable demo hammers to use. Add to that enough impact energy to quickly drill 1-1/8″ holes and you’ve got a weapon in your hands every time you pull this out. The cherry on top are the convenience features like the metal HammerHook™ which lets you hang the hammer up on a piece of dimensional lumber or pipe when you’re in between drilling.

Winner: Routers, Full Size

Bosch MRC23EVSK router kitBosch Router Series (MRC23EVS)

What they say: Inspired by Bosch’s 1617EVS router series, the MRC23EVS includes a total of 36 new enhancements, including Bosch’s exclusive Trigger Control System; an innovative advancement in routing featuring a low voltage track connection of only 5V between the motor, base and the track system. The power switch, with the lock-on button for extended use, is conveniently located in the right handle in each base.

What we say: Sometimes it’s the little things that make a difference. With the MRC23EVS, things like a trigger switch on the side handle, easy-to-use microfine depth controls, and a cord swivel make a great product even better. And power isn’t an issue either, with 2.3 HP to take you through all but the toughest routing applications. You can even add a plunge base kit for around $70. We do miss the wood handles of the 1617, however!

Winner: Saws—Circular Saws

Skil MAG77LT worm drive sawSkil 7-1/4 in. Magnesium Worm Drive Skilsaw™ (MAG77LT )

What they say: The new MAG77LT 7-1/4 in. Magnesium Worm Drive SKILSAW is 4 lbs. lighter than the industry-known SHD77, making it the lightest worm drive saw on the market. Coming in at a little over 13 lbs., the MAG77LT doesn’t weigh much more than a traditional sidewinder, and you still get the benefits of the worm drive design, features and power.

What we say: We actually sent this tool to Alaska to cut sheet goods for a historic commercial renovation. All the power with less weight is the highest compliment we can pay to this saw. If you haven’t checked it out, you owe it to yourself to lift one up…over your head. You just might toss out your old sidewinder and make this your new go-to circular saw.

Winner: Saws—Circular Saws, Compact

Rockwell Compact Circular Saw rk3441kRockwell Compact Circular Saw (RK3441K)

What they say: Rockwell’s new Compact Circular Saw has a 4-1/2″ blade and is capable of cutting a 2×4 in a single pass. It’s about half the weight and size of a 7-1/4” circular saw and is designed to cut 2″ lumber and replace a DIYer’s or professional’s need for a full-size 7-1/4” circular saw. Comparing it with Rockwell’s own full-size saw, the RK3441K cross-cut a 2×12, in .06 seconds—a tie.

What we say: The primary reason circular saws are so big is cutting capacity. While the Compact Circular Saw won’t fully bevel-cut a 2×4, for cross or rip cuts through dimensional lumber it’s going to give you a lightweight, portable tool that can complete a lot of jobs. They key to the saw’s power is coupling a 5-amp motor with a thin kerf blade. In the world of compact saws, that’s a match made in heaven. We especially like its maneuverability and easy depth and bevel settings.

Winner: Saws—Jig Saws

Festool PS420 EBQ Jig SawFestool Carvex PS 420 EBQ Jigsaw (561593)

What they say: With the new Carvex Jigsaw, there are a lot of things (like the brushless motor) you can’t see that make a difference. 3,800 stokes per minute lets you speed through cuts and electronics protect the tool from overloading or overheating. Four high-intensity LEDs give you great visibility of your cut line, plus the LEDs are stroboscopic, making the blade appear to stand still.

What we say: Festool’s new Carvex Jigsaw line is the best thing to hit jigsaws since…the jigsaw. The LED strobe light option is genius (in addition to the strobe you can do always on, or always off), and the feel of the saw is such that there’s no learning curve. If that weren’t enough, Festool’s accessories are unbelievably helpful, from the angle base and base inserts, to the circle cutter and Systainer storage.

Winner: Saws—Miter Saws, Sliding

Bosch CM10GD Glide Miter SawBosch 10-Inch Dual Bevel Glide™ Miter Saw (CM10GD)

What they say: The Bosch CM10GD 10-Inch Bevel Glide™ Miter Saw features the patented Axial-Glide System. The compact design eliminates rails, saving up to 10 inches of workspace over competitors and allowing users to work against a wall in hallways or workshops. The CM10GD also boasts an expanded cutting capacity: 12-inch horizontal, 5-inch vertical, and 6-inch crown.

What we say: We reviewed the 12-inch version of this miter saw, and weight reduction seemed to be number one request. With the cutting capacity of the 10″ Dual Bevel Axial Glide Miter Saw, Bosch has once again brought this saw back to the limelight. On top of its smooth operation (which won’t deteriorate with time since it’s a “closed” system), the front-mounted bevel and miter controls are game-changers by  eliminating the need to reach behind the saw.

Winner: Saws—Power Cutters

Makita EK7301 Power CutterMakita 14″ MM4™ Power Cutter (EK7651H)

What they say: Makita has created the world’s first 4-stroke power cutter, the 14” MM4™ 76cc Power Cutter (model EK7651H). The new 4-stroke EK7651H delivers several advantages over 2-stroke, including no oil mixing, lower noise (92.7dB(A)), lower fuel consumption, and even reduced exhaust and intake carbon build-up (so your motor lasts longer).

What we say: Bringing a 4-stroke motor to a power cutter is pretty innovative, and Makita did that while making sure the new EK7651H brought the right amount of power (76cc) and speed (9350 RPM) to the table…or concrete. They also made it easier to start, using an automatic engine decompression valve that’s engineered into the cam gear to reduce pull force by up to 40%. Guys who cut a lot of concrete dream about tools like this. Now they can own one.

Winner: Saws—Tile

Ridgid R4040S Tile SawRidgid 8” Wet Tile and Paver Saw (R4040S)

What they say: Ridgid’s R4040S 8″ Tile and Paver Saw has a 12 amp motor that easily moves through natural and man-made tile and pavers. The oversized cut capacity is capable of cutting through 4” wall blocks in just two passes. The die-cast aluminum table features a solid co-molded rubber support and the dual bearing rollers improve table stability at the job site.

What we say: After using the R4040S, we’re not sure why anyone who’s not cutting bricks or thick pavers for a living would ever want to lug around a 10-inch tile saw again. The cut capacity and power of this saw let us rip up to 24-inch tile without breaking a sweat and even tough Level 5 porcelain tile was sliced without any audible bearing down on the 12-amp motor. This is a great tool from the included wheels on the water bin to the easy blade access and plunge-cutting capability.

View all of the 2013 Pro Tool Innovation Award Winners

Related articles