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April 18, 2021

Professional Tool Reviews for Pros


2013 Pro Tool Innovation Awards – Pneumatic Tools

PTIA pneumatic tools

Pneumatic tools are more than just impact wrenches and ratchets that you see in auto mechanic shops across the country. They also include framing nailers, finish nailers and crow staplers.


Pneumatic tools can be used in roofing, or project work. They are so prevalent, we keep waiting for a line of electrician’s pneumatic tools to pop on the scene…Then again, if they needed that sort of functionality, it may be better to hand loose and wait for cordless.

For the rest of us, however, innovative pneumatic tools stand to save a lot of time and energy. Here’s our list of 2013’s greatest, most innovative, pneumatic tools.

Winner: Air Compressors, Accessories

Guardair Palm Switch Lazer Safety Air Gun Kit (LZR6007KIT)

GuardAir Palm Switch LZR600What they say: The Palm Switch Lazer® Safety Air Gun features a revolutionary, contoured grip paired with a unique soft over-molded comfort trigger. Designed to maximize operator comfort and reduce hand fatigue, the patented ergonomic safety air gun also affords extreme versatility, quick accessibility, and pinpoint accuracy when it comes to performance. The air gun uses compressed air to deliver superior cleaning power for DIY, automotive, and industrial cleaning applications. The Palm Switch Lazer Safety Air Gun features a rugged all metal construction, brass venturi nozzle, and convenient hanging hook that doubles as a finger guard.

What we say: We didn’t realize you could innovate an air gun, but we were wrong. For longer uses (blowing out the shop or cleaning up around a work site, the ergonomics of the Palm Switch are a marked improvement over the “thumb-only” designs of a more traditional products. Any tool that can reduce hand fatigue is good in our book.

Winner: Air Compressors, Portable Electric

Ridgid Tri-Stack™ 5 Gallon Air Compressor (OF50150TS)

Ridgid Tri-Stack CompressorWhat they say: The new RIDGID® Tri-Stack™ 5 Gallon Air Compressor is the most innovative 5 in 1 compressor on the market, it is also easy to use and comfortable to carry. The Tri-Stack™ has an innovative removable compressor design that can be use in five different configurations: Tanks separate for easy carrying, Tanks can be used together for maximum tank capacity, Tanks separated – Main/carry tank for any small jobs, Tanks Separated – Compressor with compact tank for a complete regulated system and Tanks Separated and connected with hose for the best regulated surge tank experience that ensures consistent pressure when using long hoses. 

What we say: We reviewed the Tri-Stack earlier this year and found it to be absolutely valuable for jobs where you want to locate the compressor (and thus, the NOISE) outside of the work area. This is going to be great on job sites that share space with an operating business, or even hospitals where you can’t risk plugging in locally.

Winner: Nailers—Brad, Pneumatic

Ridgid 18-Gauge 2-1/8″ Brad Nailer (R213BNE)

Ridgid R213BNE Brad NailerWhat they say: RIDGID’s 18-Gauge 2-1/8” Brad Nailer comes standard with all the great Fasten Edge Technology features that has made RIDGID nailers stand out in the past, but now also includes new features to give the user an extra edge on any job site. The Brad Nailer now boasts new Hex Grip™ over molding, oil-less motor, ACCU-Drive tip design, No-Mar Pads, and a tool-less jam release. The loading magazine makes reloading easy and fast. All of these amazing features are backed by RIDGID’s industry leading Lifetime Service Agreement.

What we say: Ridgid got our attention this year when they released new pneumatic tools that featured a lifetime service agreement and didn’t require oil. We’re not sure how they did it, but it’s certainly innovative and, when combined with the other new features, makes this one of the most exciting pneumatic tools to hit the market this year.

Winner: Nailers—Construction Stapler, Pneumatic

Senco 7/16” Crown Construction Stapler (SNS200XP-BST)

Senco SNS200XP-BST StaplerWhat they say: The Senco® SNS200XP-BST 7/16” Crown Construction Stapler is capable of driving 16 and 17 gauge 7/16” crown staples 1” to 2” long. This stapler has increased durability and power for everyday use in a variety of construction applications. The SNS200XP-BST weighs just 5.9 pounds and delivers 35 percent more driving power than other professional construction staplers in its class because of the high efficiency motor design without adding much weight or cost.

What we say: This tool doesn’t look innovative until you move in close. What we liked about the SNS200XP was how Senco adjusted the magazine’s innovative removal mechanism to provide a clean sightline so you can place the staple exactly where you want it—every time. The dual action trigger also lets you bump fire if desired at a rate of up to 10 staples per second. We just hope you have good aim!

Winner: Nailers—Finish, Pneumatic

Ridgid 15-gauge Angled Finish Nailer (R250AFE)

Ridgid R250AFE Angled Finish NailerWhat they say: RIDGID’s 15-Gauge 2-1/2” Angled Finish Nailer comes standard with all the great Fasten Edge Technology features that has made RIDGID nailers stand out in the past, but now also includes new features to give the user an extra edge on any job site. The Angled Finish Nailer now boasts new Hex Grip™ over molding, oil-less motor, ACCU-Drive tip design, No-Mar Pads, and a tool-less jam release. All of these amazing features are backed by RIDGID’s industry leading Lifetime Service Agreement.

What we say: We couldn’t award Ridgid’s Brad Nailer without also awarding the Angled Finish Nailer for the same reasons. These tools feel good in the hand and they look like they will be excellent nailers for medium to delicate finish work. We love the oil-less maintenance and the tool-free jam release.

Winner: Nailers—Framing, Pneumatic

Senco FramePRO® 3¼” Pneumatic Framing Nailer (FP325XP)

Senco FramePro 325XP NailerWhat they say: Senco’s FramePRO®325XP 3-1/4” paper tape pneumatic framing nailer delivers 780-inch pounds of impact energy at 100 PSI. The FramePRO is built with an efficient motor design that uses less air to drive ring, screw, and smooth-shank paper taped strip nails into any substrate, including engineered lumber. Measuring less than 12” tall, it easily fits between wall studs and floor joists. Its lightweight design (7.9 pounds), combined with an over-molded grip, reduces vibration and minimizes fatigue during prolonged use.

What we say: It may seem hard to innovate in the area of framing nailers, but what we like about Senco was the retractable rafter hook and tool-free depth of drive. It also has dry-fire lockout, a feature that is surprisingly absent from many current framing nailers on the market.

Winner: Nailers—Metal Connector, Pneumatic

Senco JoistPro™ 150 and JoistPro 250 Metal Connector Nailer

Senco JoistPro 150 Metal Hardware NailerWhat they say: The JoistPro 150 fires a single strip of 1-1/2″, 34˚ paper tape collated nails ranging from .131″ to .148″ in diameter through holes in metal hardware with pinpoint accuracy and speed. The tool nose exposes each nail tip before it fires for exact placement into the pre-punched holes. A dry-fire lockout prevents blank driving and signals the user when it’s time to reload fasteners. At 10.4” tall and weighing 4.6 pounds, the JoistPro 150 is smaller and lighter than competitor models.

What we say: This positive placement metal hardware nailer is lighter than most we’ve used. Senco is really on top of the market in this area and we love how they’ve managed to maintain their lead even though this tool is nearing two years on the market. Sometimes the hardest thing with innovation is waiting for someone to topple it from the market.

Winner: Nailers—Pin

Senco Micropinner (FIP 23 LXP)

Senco FIP 23 LXP Pin NailerWhat they say: Ideal for intricate finish and trim work the FinishPRO®23LXP incorporates several performance enhancing upgrades suggested by woodworking and carpentry professionals. These include an expanded fastener range from ½” up to 2” long, quick and easy loading with the addition of a self-adjusting magazine, and a more powerful motor. Complete drives into hard woods like oak and red maple are no problem for the FinishPRO’s industrial strength motor which delivers 70 – 120 PSI of force.


What we say: Making a good product even better is part of what we look for in our innovation awards. Senco seems to have done that by listening to the needs of professionals and responding with an updating pin nailer.

Winner: Nailers—Stapler, Pneumatic

Senco 18-Gauge 1/4″ Crown Stapler (SLS150Mg)

Senco SLS150Mg StaplerWhat they say: The main body of the Senco SLS150Mg stapler is constructed from magnesium to cut down on weight while being incredibly durable. At only 2.6 pounds, it is well-balanced and lightweight. The over-molded grip reduces fatigue, while preventing slippage and both lead to increased productivity. The SLS150Mg accepts ½- to 1-9/16-inch 18-gauge, ¼-inch crown staples making it the ideal tool for internal and external trim, furniture, cabinet work, crafts and other finishes applications.

What we say: This magnesium-body stapler is light, and the oil-free design is something we’re starting to see (and appreciate) more and more. Is that innovative? For a 1/4-inch crown stapler? Absolutely.

Winner: Roofing Cutter

Ridgid Roofing Cutter (R040SCA)

Ridgid R040SCA Roofing CutterWhat they say: RIDGID’s new Roofing Cutter is the future of cutting roofing materials effortlessly. Its 9,600 SPMs provide superior cutting in cold weather and seamless cutting of rake edges. It’s lightweight at only 1.2 lbs. and has Hex Grip™ providing maximum user comfort and less user fatigue. The tool-free adjustable exhaust allows you to direct the exhaust where you want it and the swivel quick connect air fitting prevents hose tangles. The included blades cut roofing materials up to 6 times faster than a utility knife. 

What we say: You know a tool is innovative when there isn’t even a category for it…If you’re a roofer, this tool will change your life for the better. RUN and get it. It makes trimming shingles off the drip edge an absolute breeze and it does it effortlessly. With this tool you will shave hours off your job and you’ll pay for the tool in the first 15 minutes of using it. This tool should be the poster child for our 2013 Pro Tool Innovation Awards.

View all of the 2013 Pro Tool Innovation Award Winners

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[…] “Guardair concentrates on innovative product development to address comfort, worker safety and performance, and our Lazer Palm Switch is a direct result of this focus,” states Eric Mills, Vice President of Sales at Guardair. The Pro Tool Innovation Award judges agree. “We didn’t realize you could innovate an air gun, but we were wrong…the ergonomics of the Palm Switch are a marked improvement over the ‘thumb-only’ designs of more traditional products. Any tool that can reduce hand fatigue is good in our book.” To read more, visit: https://www.protoolreviews.com/buying-guides/2013-innovation-awards-pneumatic-tools/8317 […]

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