Test and measurement is a huge category, and it’s only fitting that we take a good hard look at what’s going on in that segment to see what’s new and innovative in the industry. The span is wide as well. From fluorescent lighting testers to multimeters to thermal imagers, good and innovative Test & Measurement tools have the potential of making the lives of tradesmen in those fields much easier and more efficient.
We kept our eyes open and here is the list of innovative tools that we feel will be a real net gain for your operations. Who knows, some of these tools might just land you a promotion.
Winner: Test and Measurement—Inspection
Milwaukee Tools Fluorescent Lighting Tester Kit (2210)
What they say: With the ability to test fluorescent gas, check pin connections and test ballasts, the new-to-world Milwaukee® Fluorescent Lighting Tester will allow professional Electricians and Building Maintenance Technicians to troubleshoot an entire building in half the time. Complete with a 2-1/2 foot, fully retractable antenna, users can easily reach all lighting fixtures and only change the lamps and ballasts that need replacing. Additional features include a removable antenna adaptor to increase “flicker” response, audible and visual indicators for easy readings, a built in LED work light to illuminate dark work spaces.
What we say: Milwaukee literally invented this tool. As the first all-in-one fluorescent lighting tester, the 2210 is extremely innovative. When you add up all of the potential time and money savings for the maintenance in a multi-story office building, this tool has the potential to save companies literally tens of thousands of dollars per year or more.
Winner: Test and Measurement—Inspection, Video
General Tools iBorescope (DCiS1)
What they say: As the first and only inspection system of its kind available in North America, the iBorescope (DCiS1) from General Tools literally stands alone in the marketplace. Using the instrument’s Wi-Fi hotspot capability and a free app, professionals and DIYers can instantly and wirelessly view and save high-definition inspection video and images on any iPhone®, iPad® or Android™ smartphone or tablet. This is a major stride in the innovation and evolution of video inspection, eliminating the need for an integral monitor or a wired connection to an external monitor.
What we say: Considering most inspection cameras treat the recording and storage of photos and video as a “bonus” feature, the DCiS1’s ability to integrate perfectly with an existing tablet or smart phone is nothing short of a stroke of genius. For one, the displays on most inspection cameras is absolutely sub-par, often not even making the most out of the camera’s highest resolution potential. This is the kind of innovation we love.
Winner: Test and Measurement—Line Laser Levels, Interior
Bosch 360° 3-Plane Leveling and Alignment Line Laser (GLL3-80)
What they say: The GLL3-80 features Bosch Cone Mirror Technology rather than rotating diodes to project bright laser “chalk lines” in 360 degrees. By reducing the number of moving parts, Bosch is able to produce a laser layout tool that is more compact, lighter, easier to calibrate and simpler to use than a traditional rotary laser. The GLL3-80 has the potential to replace up to four lasers: a 6-point, tile, cross-line and rotary laser (depending on distance required). By providing six cross reference points and self-leveling lines in 360 degrees, the GLL3-80 makes level, align, square and plumb applications a breeze.
What we say: If you have this tool you may never need another laser ever again for indoor or short-distance plumb and alignment needs. The GLL3-80 is an innovative product in that it has far less moving parts than traditional 360˚ spinning models and throws an equally bright, if not brighter, line.
Winner: Test and Measurement—Line Laser Levels, Surface
Bosch Surface Laser (GSL 2)
What they say: The new Bosch GSL 2 Surface Laser is the world’s first surface laser that continuously checks floor levels and eliminates the need for spot-checking floor surfaces. The GSL 2 scans the surface area within minutes, never missing an uneven spot. A target plate and RC 2 remote control with a working range of 60 feet allow users to remain close to the uneven spots for marking and examination, rather than having to stay near the tool to operate. With accuracy of 1/8 inch at 30 feet, the GSL 2 offers line visibility of 30 feet, increasing to 60 feet when used with the target plate. The tool also self-levels in five seconds within a leveling range of ± 4 degrees.
What we say: This is another category we had to invent because no one before Bosch—at least not to our knowledge—had ever released a surface laser. This product is way ahead of its time and is going to make life a lot simpler for screed professionals, tilers and flooring inspectors. As if the tool itself weren’t innovative enough, Bosch even make it work on either AA batteries or their 12V Li-ion battery packs.
Winner: Test and Measurement—Multimeters
Klein Tools Auto Ranging Multimeter (MM500)
What they say: Klein Tools’ MM500 Auto Ranging Multimeter (MM500) is a durable, quick and simple‐to‐use meter for verifying or troubleshooting electrical circuits safely and reliably. It saves time and handles the toughest of job site environments with 10 ft. drop protection. The meter is IP67 dust and waterproof compliant and has a CAT IV 600V safety rating—all for under $60.
What we say: Anyone who uses the words “10-foot drop protection” and “multimeter” in the same sentence is doing something right. We love the durability of this new multimeter as well as the price (under $60). If that weren’t enough, it’s also IP67-rated against water and dust. Tis is one tough meter.
Winner: Test and Measurement—Temperature Meters
General Tools 4:1 IR Thermometer with NCV & Flashlight (VR40)
What they say: The 4:1 IR Thermometer with NCV & Flashlight (VR40) embodies innovation in several ways that benefit electricians, technicians and contractors. As an instrument with multiple functions—Infrared Thermometer (IRT), Non-Contact Voltage (NCV) detector and flashlight—the VR40 offers more versatility and utility than other products on the market. In addition, the unique adjustable sensitivity feature enables accurate detection of voltage on 12VAC to 480VAC branch circuits and makes individual “hot” wires in bundles easier to isolate. And because its tip can fit in the slots of 110VAC receptacles, as it checks for voltage, the VR40 also indicates whether the receptacle is wired correctly or in reverse.
What we say: We’re big fans of multi-purpose tools. When you combine duties you have to take less with you to accomplish the job at hand. General Tools’ VR40 is the perfect example of this and it’s a tool that’s destined to save serious time and money for MRO, electrical and even HVAC applications.
Winner: Test and Measurement—Thermal Imaging
Milwaukee Tools M12™ 160 X 120 Thermal Imager Kit (2260)
What they say: Milwaukee Tool Corporation’s new M12 Thermal Imager features 160×120 high resolution thermal images, a visual camera for standard pictures, and the broadest temperature range in its class (-10° to 350°C/ 14° to 662°F). The 160×120 Thermal Imager kit also includes the simple and powerful Thermal Imager Report Software that makes analyzing images and generating reports quick and easy. Users can easily download images from the Thermal Imager with the included 2GB SD card or USB connection port. By simply switching SD cards, users can even take the tool back into the field while someone else generates the report to minimize downtime.
What we say: There are higher resolution and more feature-rich thermal imagers on the market—but not at this price. Milwaukee’s set the bar for rechargeable thermal imagers with the 2260 and it has features typically only found in much more expensive solutions.