2013 Pro Tool Innovation Awards – Accessories

PTIA accessories

A tool isn’t worth much if the accessories it uses don’t measure up. This year we looked at a bunch of bits, blades and more and determined who broke the mold in terms of innovation and durability.

We looked at materials quality, blade design and construction quality. Put it all together and we have a pretty good idea of what’s on the market this year that can cut, bit, drive or drill its way through even the hardest construction materials you’re likely to encounter in the course of doing your job.

All that for accessories? Absolutely. Accessories make the tool. Without great accessories your drilling, driving and fastening tools aren’t going to be doing much other than sitting around collecting dust. Battery, Corded or pneumatic—good tools all need great accessories to make them great tools.

Winner: Accessories—Blades, Jig Saw

Ridgid jig saw blades AC14AK10Ridgid 10-piece Specialty Jig Saw Blade Kit

What they say: RIDGID Jig Saw Blades feature a patented Multi-Fit Shank that is compatible with T and U shank jig saws. RIDGID Jig Saw Blades also feature a brand new innovation called “Vented Technology” which aids in the removal of debris, allowing the blade to make faster and more efficient cuts versus non-vented blades.

What we say: We love everything about these blades. They cut clean, they hold an edge and they come in a convenient case that doesn’t take a college degree to open. When cutting outside corners it looked as if we had sanded the outside edge of our test samples with some 120-grit. It’s also nice to have blades that fit just about any jig saw. If you carry around blades, but have to borrow a saw, it’s great to know your blades will fit no matter what. We’ve used these in cordless and corded applications and they fare well in just about any environment.

Winner: Accessories—Blades, Multi-tool Metal

Bosch osc114c multitool bladeBosch Carbide Tipped Oscillating Blade (OSC114C, OSC114C-2)

What they say: In tough applications where blade change is more than just a hassle, the Bosch carbide tip multi-tool blade offers the unbeatable combination of speed, precision and long life. And that’s really long life – 30 times* longer use for the carbide blade versus a conventional bi-metal option in metal; it’s the longest-lasting blade for metal cutting available.

What we say: Even with new tool-less blade changing oscillating multi-tools, blade changes are a hassle. They’re also expensive, and changing out blades every few cuts is not my idea of fun. Bosch has demonstrated a real knack for making excellent multi-tool blades in the past. When they announced and debuted carbide-tipped versions for wood and metal, we almost did a double-take.

Winner: Accessories—Blades, Multi-tool Wood

DeWalt DWA4216 multi-tool bladesDeWalt Universal Fitment™ Accessories

What they say: The UNIVERSAL FITMENT™ design takes the confusion out of purchasing blades. Now one brand of blades fits most major brands of oscillating tools. To meet end user demands for accessory performance and durability during a wide-range of applications such as cutting and sanding, DEWALT developed the Multi-Material blade, four Titanium Coated for Long Life™ blades, and the Quick Wave™ blade.

What we say: If cutting speed and endurance are primary, then next has to come the universal nature of the blade. Competitors have come out with adapters and such, but universal-fit blades simply hold a dear place in our hearts. After all, I own more than one multi-tool, having purchased a cordless model for when I can’t easily find an outlet. What that said, I hate having to lug around two sets of accessories. And, now, I don’t have to.

Winner: Accessories—Blades, Recip Saw, Demo

Milwaukee The Ax recip saw bladeMilwaukee The Ax™ SAWZALL® Blade (48-00-5021)

What they say: The Ax SAWZALL® blades have been engineered to deliver the fastest cuts, longest life, greatest tooth durability and quickest plunge cuts of any wood demolition blade on the market.

What we say: These blades are tried and true. Sometimes the mark of true innovation is that nobody can compete. These blades have been on the market for several years now, but I still have yet to see a competitor beat the Ax in plunge-cutting, cut longevity or speed. These blades are more than just good, they’re an investment.

Winner: Accessories—Blades, Recip Saw, Metal

Milwaukee Double Duty 48-00-5092Milwaukee Double Duty Upgrade™ (48-00-5092)

What they say: Double Duty Upgrade™ is the largest accessory overhaul in Milwaukee Tool’s history with the complete transformation of the Metal SAWZALL® Blade line. Aptly named Double Duty Upgrade™ for delivering over 2X more life than current generation blades, the new blades will be available in both a THIN KERF profile for fast, flexible cuts and a DEMO blade profile, known as The TORCH™, for tough, straight cuts.

What we say: Seeing these blades up close and personal was all it took to convince us that “Double Duty” wasn’t just a marketing slogan. Whether EMT or angle iron, the Double Duty blades put out a remarkable amount of cutting power and long life that makes them an excellent value and more than worthy of this award.

Winner: Accessories—Drill Bits, Masonry Hammer

Hilti Hollow Drill BitsHilti Hollow Drill Bits

What they say: For holes that clean themselves use the new Hilti TE-CD and TE-YD Hollow Drill Bits in conjunction with the Hilti VC 20/40 vacuum. Dust is removed by the Hilti VC 20/40 Vacuum System while drilling is in progress for faster drilling and a virtually dustless working environment. No more cleaning after drilling means higher productivity and less cleaning errors. This new method of installation is only allowed with one adhesive in the market- Hilti HIT-HY 200.

What we say: Um…you have to see this to believe it. We got up close and personal at World of Concrete and the Hollow Drill Bits from Hilti are a true game-changer. While you technically have to use their fasteners, it’s still worth it and this is going to be a system that appeals to a lot of tradesmen looking to comply with dust-free working rules and who simply want to get the job done faster.

Winner: Accessories—Drill Bits, Masonry MIsc

Bosch Blue Granite Turbo bitsBosch Power Tools & Accessories Blue Granite Turbo bits

What they say: From ease of chucking in the tool to fast, precise holes, Bosch BlueGranite™ Turbo masonry bits are built to deliver best-in-class drilling in masonry applications. These bits begin with an aggressive chuck hold achieved with the new PowerGrip™ shank. Steel teeth that extend from the shank are designed to catch between the jaws of standard three-jaw chucks. That means the bit is easy to chuck and won’t slip even in high-torque applications.

What we say: For all sorts of non-serial drilling applications, we still tend to reach for our hammer drills…and these bits. They chuck up easily, tend to stay where you put them (they don’t walk), and drilling is quick and easy. The newly-improved shank is very impressive, and it keeps the bit from slipping even a little. If you fit your hammer drill with these bits, you’re going to drill quickly and securely, and you’re likely to use less bits to get the job done.

Winner: Accessories—Drill Bits, Spade/Paddle

Bosch Daredevil Spade Bits DSB5006Bosch Daredevil Spade Bits

What they say: Daredevil™ spade bits were designed to answer the needs of professional users in terms of speed, ease of use and hole quality. A first for spade bits, the full cone threaded tip provides the speed needed to drill faster and it pulls the bit through the material with less effort and vibration than other spade bits. Drilling through top plates, overhead drilling and drilling between studs has never been easier since these spade bits have come out on the market.

What we say: Having used these blades extensively, the Daredevil bits are a marked improvement that leaves standard paddle bits somewhat obsolete. The threaded tip gives you a quick start and the curved paddle literally pulls the bit through the wood. Since you can buy them in “stubby” 4-inch sizes for tight spaces and 16″ overhead lengths, Bosch seems to have covered all the bases.

Winner: Accessories—Driver Bits, Impact-rated

Makita Impact Gold bitsMakita Impact GOLD™ Ultra-Magnetic Insert Bit Set (B-31893)

What they say: Impact GOLD™ begins with high-quality steel engineered for use with impact drivers and features Xtreme Torsion Technology, which allows the torsion section of the bit to flex under load and take the pressure off of the bit tip. Xtreme Torsion Technology helps the insert bit withstand high-torque fastening applications, retain its shape and “fitment”, and last up to 10-times longer than standard bits (up to 15-times longer when used with an Impact GOLD™ Torsion Insert Bit Holder).

What we say: What we really like about the new Impact Gold impact-rated bits from Makita is that they employ torsion technology on the shaft of the bit holder—allowing for a bit more strength in the bit itself. They also came out the door with a host of accessories to cover a variety of applications, including nut-driving. In our testing, the Makita bits held up quite well and are among the best performing of the impact-rated models on the market.

Winner: Accessories—Driver Bits, Multi-bit

Klein Multi-bit Power Driver 32606

Klein 6-in-1 Multi-Bit Power Driver (32606)

What they say: Klein Tools 6-in-1 (32606) Multi-Bit Power Drivers combines multiple screwdriver and nut driver functions in one power tool adapter. The solid body with 1/4″ hex quick connect easily attaches to any power drill. Everything you need is in the chuck of the drill at all times with these impact rated power tool accessories.

What we say: This bit is like the Swiss Army knife of impact-rated bits. It’s a little like putting all of your Klein screwdrivers at the end of your impact driver so they’re ready to go. Klein really seems to be focusing on accessories that reduce the time on the job and the 6-in-1 Multi-Bit Power Driver isone more tool that struck as as simple but really beneficial to the tradesman.

Winner: Accessories—Nut Driver Bits

Klein Hollow Magnetic Power Nut Drivers’

Klein PND7165 Nut DriverWhat they say: Impact rated, hollow shaft magnetic power nut drivers from Klein Tools are designed for long bolts, studs or threaded rod jobs. The magnetic head holds nuts and bolts to aid in hard to reach installations. The wrench assist end is designed for high torque loosening found in many jobs. Available in a variety of hex sizes and 5″ and 10″ lengths, Klein power nut drivers are great for heavy duty nut running.

What we say: Running nuts up threaded rod is a big job, and several manufacturers are starting to come up with innovative ways to simplify the task of driving a nut all the way up and seating it in place quickly. Klein’s solution is one that should bring a lot of joy. The magnetic head hold the nut in place and the variable length hollow-core drivers allow the threaded rod to protrude into the bit as the nut is driven up into place.

View all of the 2013 Pro Tool Innovation Award Winners

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