We are blessed to live in a time when technology allows us to take tool innovation farther than we could have imagined 10 years ago. At the end of the day, the best tool in the world doesn’t do much good without quality accessories to go with it. Saws need blades, drills need bits, and we need to layout lines before making cuts. After all, it’s not much of a Roman Holiday if Gregory Peck never meets Audrey Hepburn. So without further delay, check out the 2014 Pro Tool Innovation Award Winners for the Accessories category!
Winner: Accessories – Blades, Specialty Circular Saw
Bullet Tools #1510-10-01 10″ CenterFire Foam Blade
What They Say: Bullet Tools’ new, one-of-a-kind dust-free CenterFire circular foam blades are the only circular saw blades that cleanly slice through EPS, XPS, & ISO without making a mess while producing factory-smooth cuts with no kerf
Insulation installers now have a new weapon against foam board dust and debris! These new CenterFire™ blades reduce dust by 95% and improve the lives and the livelihoods of insulation contractors who battle static dust as well as time-consuming cut corrections.
What We Say: Anyone that has had the unfortunate experience of having to cut through foam using a circular saw knows that eye protection and masks are a must to keep all of that lightweight dust out of your eyes and lungs. Bullet Tools’ CenterFire Blade certainly got our attention with the ability to reduce that dust by up to 95%. This is innovation that improves safety and makes the job more convenient.
Winner: Accessories – Blades, Hacksaw
Lenox DUPLA Double-Sided Hacksaw Blades
What They Say: The LENOX DUPLA Double-Sided Hacksaw Blades are the first blades on the market with dual high-speed steel cutting edges. The two-in-one blade design provides twice the blade life of a single saw blade. The spring-steel backing material provides tradesmen with the ideal flexibility needed in a hand tool, and the patented arrow blade design ensures proper blade orientation when mounting on the frame, allowing for accurate and fast assembly.
What We Say: Blades were made with two sides, yet we typically only put teeth on one of them. We realize that not every blade design can function well with teeth on both sides, but for those that can, we like saving money by extending the useful life!
Winner: Accessories – Blades, Jig Saw
Spyder Products 300011 Double-Sided Jig Saw Blade
What They Say: Spdyer’s Double-Sided Jig Saw Blade is made of durable, steel construction and allows for more extreme, clean cuts on a variety of surfaces.
Spyder brings fresh life to the jig saw category with the new blade. The innovative double-sided product, which is produced in Germany, features cross-ground teeth that create a slimmer design, providing cleaner and more extreme cutting capabilities. Its unique shaft form permits tight radius cuts and 90 degree turns. The blade, made from chrome vanadium steel, is tough, durable and resistant to wear.
What We Say: Spyder’s Double-Sided Jig Saw Blade isn’t about the ability to cut in a reverse direction. It’s about making cuts that weren’t possible or were at best, difficult. As you pivot a jig saw, the back of the blade usually can only follow the cut. Spyder’s blade ensure that the back is working to complement the front as both sides are removing material. You get tighter angles and cleaner edges as a result.
Winner: Accessories – Blades, Multi-tool Wood
Imperial Blades Storm Series T330 Universal Blade
What They Say: The new T330. Titanium coated, Bi-Metal 32mm blade. This blade will change the way you use your oscillating tool! With 18 teeth per inch and a Titanium coated blade you can cut almost anything, from wood to decking screws.
What We Say: It’s tough to be a manufacturer of third party accessories. Although you may indeed make the best blades available, the bigger challenge can often be he plethora of fittings that vary from tool to tool. Imperial Blades has overcome that obstacle while also producing a high quality blade for your oscillating multi-tool. These new blades fit 95% of the tools on the market.
Winner: Accessories – Blades, Reciprocating Saw
Lenox Gold Power Arc Curved Blades
What They Say: Continuing to redefine the reciprocating saw blade category, LENOX has announced the first curved reciprocating saw blades available in North America. A curved design, T2™ Technology and precision applied titanium coating come together in the new Gold Power Arc Curved Blades to deliver up to two times the cutting life of standard LENOX straight blades. The LENOX Gold Power Arc Curved blades are designed for wood and metal cutting, as well as demolition and extreme heavy metal cutting applications. The Power Arc’s curved design optimizes the blades’ angle of attack allowing more teeth to penetrate the cutting material at a single time and creates more efficient and effective cuts.
What We Say: We can certainly appreciate curves, but how does this actually help the cutting process? The slight upward curve in the blade allows for more teeth to be engaged in the cutting action. More engaged teeth results in faster cuts.
Winner: Accessories – Drill Bits, Auger
Eagle Tool US Flexible Dirt Auger
What They Say: Our new dirt auger system requires only a minimal starting and ending hole on either side of the structure. Due to its flexible spring steel shank this bit can be curved and aimed in the direction needed and drills only a large enough hole to pull wire or pipe back through. No need for a costly hydraulic system or a sledge hammer, a standard power drill does all the work. This bit has interchangeable shank lengths and can be extended using standard cable bit extensions
What We Say: Looking at the possibility of a water jet or hydraulic hammering system compared to simply bringing the Flexible Dirt Auger along with the drill I’m already carrying is a no-brainer. Add in the fact the the bit is interchangeable with other shafts from Eagle Tool US or can reach further with a standard cable bit extension, and you’ve got one heck of an innovative accessory for installing cable under concrete!
Winner: Accessories – Drill Bits, Self-Feeding
Irwin WeldTec Self-Feed Bits
What They Say: Manufactured for the professional tradesmen requiring long-lasting, high-performance wood drilling tools, the WeldTec™ Self-Feed Bits feature an innovative cutting edge that offers improved performance and two times the life of standard self-feed bits. The new welded edge is designed for superior cutting in tough materials, including nail embedded wood. The replaceable screw tip is larger and more durable than regular self-feed screw tips, allowing it to pull bits faster and cleaner for true round holes. The bit has a 7/16″ quick-change hex shank, which reduces slipping in standard chucks and is compatible with all 7/16″ impact drills.
What We Say: What’s not to love about the new WeldTec Self-Feed Bits? In addition to Irwin’s traditionally outstanding performance, the screw tip is replaceable and it’s been designed to work in impact drivers. We love the industry trend towards creating accessories that allow us to use the impact driver in simpler drilling/driving applications.
Winner: Accessories – Drill Bits, Step
Milwaukee Step Bits 48-89-9209
What They Say: Until now, users have been forced to choose between step bits that provide control at the cost of speed, or step bits that deliver fast cuts, but sacrifice control and hole quality. The competition’s bits were specifically designed for corded drills with low RPM and high torque, and therefore perform poorly in cordless tools with high RPM and lower torque. Seeing this on the jobsite, it was imperative that we deliver a solution for cordless drills in high speed – the preferred method and reality for most professionals in the field today.
What We Say: We love that Milwaukee dealt with a common failure point on step bits: the tip. The Rapid Stryke Tip is designed for fast starts that don’t walk or generate as much heat all without sacrificing the control offered by low speed/high torque step bits.
Winner: Accessories – Drill Bits, Wood
Eagle Tool US Switch Bit
What They Say: An economical and versatile twist on the standard cable installer bit. The Switch Bit System offers interchangeable head styles and shank lengths for customizing to meet the needs of your application. Heads are easily removable for sharpening.
What We Say: It takes all of about 30 seconds to switch out the bits in the Switch Bit System. A simple hex wrench is all that it takes. By purchasing the heads you need along with just one shank of each length to complement them can save you up to $230 versus buying a full set of standard cable installation bits.
Winner: Accessories – Driver Bits, Extraction
Irwin SCREW-GRIP Impact Performance Series Extractors
What They Say: IRWIN SCREW-GRIP Impact Performance Series™ Extractors feature DoubleLok Technology, ensuring that both ends lock into impact drivers and quick-change chucks. A single bit drills and extracts to easily remove stripped or damaged screws and small bolts in three steps: drill, flip bit, and extract. They are manufactured with M2 high speed steel and are extra-hardened for maximum durability and long life with impact tools. The tip of the drill end is designed to start fast, with minimal walking and the tip of the extractor end is serrated for increased torque to easily remove even the toughest bolts and screws.
What We Say: Since the invention of the screw fastener, we’ve needed to figure out how to remove it when we strip the head. Irwin’s Screw-Grip Extractors take care of the entire process on a double ended bit… and it’s designed for use in a drill or impact driver.
Winner: Accessories – Driver Bits, Impact Rated
Irwin Impact Performance Series Double-Ended Power Bits
What They Say: IRWIN Impact Performance Series double-ended power bits feature DoubleLok Technology so that both ends of the bit lock securely into impact drivers and quick-change chucks. These bits combine two bit tips in a durable one piece design for added convenience and extended life, and each end of the bit has a 1/4″ quick-change shank that fits directly into an impact driver – a feature only available with IRWIN bits. The bits are designed with precision tip geometry so that they fit fasteners more precisely, which reduces stripping and cam-out. They also have a unique Power Groove design for use with the exclusive IRWIN Magnetic Screw-Hold Attachment, which prevents fasteners from slipping and wobbling.
What We Say: Manufacturers haven’t been quick to come out with double ended impact rated bits. The quick change shank on both ends lends itself to a pair of potentially weaker areas for breakage. Irwin overcomes this hurdle with confidence using a central flex zone for shock absorption.
Winner: Accessories – Driver Bits, Multi-Bit
Eagle Tool US All in One Drill and Drive Tools
What They Say: Current tools for drilling and driving sheet metal screws and concrete screws have two or three separate pieces that are prone to getting lost or falling on workers below. Problem solved, these one piece installation tools have a drill bit that is conveniently slid and locked out of the way of the socket. No need to remove from driver, creating a much safer environment for workers below.
What We Say: We love the idea of being able to drill a pilot hole and install a fastener without having to switch out accessories. You know at the end of a hot summer day when there’s just a few fasteners left to install, your sweaty hands are going to lose the grip as you try to switch from drill bit to nut driver. You’ll save yourself some frustration with the All in One Drill and Drive Tool.
Winner: Accessories – Driver Bits, Set
Irwin Impact Performance Series Tapcon Installation 9pc Pro Set
What They Say: IRWIN Impact Performance Series™ Tapcon Installation System combines a drill bit and drill/drive sleeve to make Tapcon installation faster and easier. The bits have a built-in hex collar stop feature for drilling the perfect hole depth for Tapcon screws, as well as other concrete screws. Engineered with a pressed carbide tip, with aggressive cutting angles, these durable bits drill fast. They have a one-piece construction that withstands higher torque loads than standard quick-change bits that are built with a two-piece design. It accepts standard or impact ¼” hex shank fastener drive bits for driving screws and completing the job. The drive sleeve is dually compatible with all IRWIN Tapcon bits, as well as standard SDS hex drive bits
What We Say: We love that Irwin is taking so many accessories to the next level by designing them for use with impact drivers. This is the first Tapcon installation system in North America that has been rated for impact driver use.
Winner: Accessories – Fasteners, Decking
Starborn Deckfast Fascia Fastening System
What they say: The Deckfast Fascia System is designed to accommodate the large amount of expansion and contraction that can occur with deck fascia boards due to changes in temperature and moisture. The Deckfast Fascia System consists of two components: the Fascia Tool, a pre-drilling and countersinking tool (based on Starborn’s Smart-Bit® technology), and Fascia Screws, color matched screws that are available in Headcote® stainless steel or epoxy-coated carbon steel.
What we say: Most people like to build a deck by simply driving deck screws into the surface. Professional results demand a better system, particularly when dealing with fascia boards. Starborn’s Deckfast Fascia Fastening System allows for expansion and contraction without having to deal with the time and money crushing call backs.
Winner: Accessories – Hole Saws, Wood
Spyder Products Rapid Core Ejection Hole Saws
What They Say: With Spyder’s Rapid Core Ejection feature, users simply press a button and slide the blade back to remove the plug. Spyder hole saws are also engineered to make cutting at an angle easy. By clicking and pulling the hole saw back, the pilot bit is extended enough to cut at an angle. In addition, Spyder’s system allows users to enlarge holes that were drilled too small by using the smaller hole saw as a guide while a larger diameter saw makes the right cut.
What We Say: While the entire system is a winner, it’s the arbor in Spyder Rapid Core Ejection System that is innovative. By simply pushing a button and pulling back the hole saw, you expose the core. You can then grab hold and just pull it off the end without the hassle of digging it out with a knife or screwdriver. This really is one of the simplest hole saw systems we’ve ever seen.
Winner: Accessories – Hole Saws, Adjustable
Milwaukee Adjustable Hole Cutter
What They Say: Recessed lighting is a continually growing market segment within new construction and remodeling. With the increasing popularity of LED lights and different types of fixtures, common hole sizes can range from 3” to 6” and everything in between. To install these lights, holes of many different sizes need to be created. Instead of carrying around multiple different size hole saws, users are looking for a one-size-fits all solution. By simply releasing the Quik-Lok™ arbor and removing the pilot bit, users can adjust this new Hole Cutter from 2” to 7” in ¼” increments.
What We Say: What we really love about the Adjustable Hole Cutter is the fact that it’s a one-size-fits-all accessory that really works. No matter what size recessed fixture you’re installing, you only need one tool to cut through the drywall or ceiling tile. Our only gripe is that it maxes out at 7″.
Winner: Accessories – Hole Saws, Bi-Metal
Milwaukee Hole Dozer – 56 diameters
What They Say: Inspired by its namesake the bulldozer, the Hole Dozer™ is the workhorse that provides unstoppable durability needed to get the job done right. The Hole Dozer™ features Rip Guard™, the strongest tooth form in the industry, backed by a Rip Guard™ limited lifetime tooth break warranty.
Each tooth is built with more steel behind the cutting edge for added strength to keep the teeth on the saw. This added tooth strength along with 8% cobalt give added life to the teeth. For enhanced productivity, the Milwaukee® Hole Dozer™ design includes the Plug Jack™, an all-access slot design that allows for full access during plug removal. The Plug Jack™ allows access lower into the cup for thick material as well as higher towards the teeth for thin material.
What We Say: A hole saw with a lifetime warranty of tooth breakage??? Clearly Milwaukee has a lot of confidence in the design of the Hole Dozer. After seeing it in action at their New Product Symposium, so do we!
Winner: Accessories – Plug System, PVC
Starborn Industries Pro Plug System for PVC Decking and Trim
What They Say: The Pro Plug System for PVC features plugs are made of the actual brand-name PVC deck or trim material, so the color and grain match perfectly. The System is being launched with plugs for Azek® and TUFboard® decking, in a full range of colors. Decking and trim material from other manufacturers will be available in the coming months.
Additionally, the Pro Plug System for PVC features a specially designed PVC Tool that consistently drives fasteners to the correct depth below the board surface. The PVC Tool features a No Cam-Out Auto-Stop™ mechanism that prevents the screw recess from stripping and a free-spinning stop collar that protects the board surface.
What We Say: Professional looking plugged results in PVC decking can be hit or miss. By using the same manufacturers’ boards to create the plugs, the color match is perfect. The real innovation is the the PVC tool that eliminates over-driving the screws while protecting the deck surface.
Winner: Accessories – Socket Extraction
Irwin BOLT-GRIP Impact Performance Series Extractors
What They Say: IRWIN® BOLT-GRIP® Impact Performance Series™ Extractors feature reverse spiral flutes engineered to provide maximum gripping power to easily remove the most stubborn of broken, damaged or rusted nuts, bolts and screws. While they are built for maximum durability and long life with impact tools, they also work perfectly with rotary drills and drivers. They are manufactured with high carbon steel, ensuring longer life and greater durability and the universal lobular design fits all types of fasteners.
What We Say: The Bolt-Grip Extractor has been around for a while, but only for use with hand tools. Irwin continues to improve their high performing accessories by making them available and durable enough for use with impact drivers.
Winner: Accessories – Straight Edge
Affinity Tool Works Bora Tools 50″ WTX Modular Clamp Edge w/50″ Extension
What They Say: This tool is an improvement on existing clamp edge saw guides on the market place. We have removed the internal channel rod which allows for greater durability and the ability to add extension increasing the cutting capacity up to 100″. The product is self clamping and is designed to work with any circular saw. It can also be used as a guide for routers and jig saws.
What We Say: For cutting in places where we can’t take a table saw, this removable fence/guide is a fantastic accessory for keeping those circular saw cuts straight. The 50″ will get you through all of those cross cuts in sheet material, but sometimes you need more and we’re grateful for the ability to extend the WTX out to 100″.
Winner: Accessories – Tie Down, Ratcheting
Works Better Products GearArmour Side Loading Ratcheting Tie-Down
What They Say: Ratchets have been with us for decades, and until now they are all loaded the same way by pulling the entire strap through the ratchet. This can be confusing, time consuming and frustrating, especially when the strap ends get frayed.
Reduce the hassles and time it takes to use tie down ratchets with our PCT Patents Pending side loading feature. Unlike conventional ratchets, the GearArmour Side Loading Ratchet is designed with a side opening gate, which allows the strap to be quickly and easily loaded into the middle of the spool at the exact length you need. There’s no need to pull the entire strap through the ratchet. It’s easy to use and gets the job done 2X faster!
What We Say: This is the best ratcheting strap we’ve ever tested. The side loading and unloading is easy and really does seem to be twice as fast and they include a variety of hook styles. If they decide to make these in 1/4″ and 1″ sizes, you’ll be saying goodbye to all your old straps!
Winner – Electrical Accessories
Klein Foam Wire Pulling Lubricant
What they say: Klein Tools’ exclusive Foam Wire Pulling Lubricant is a no mess, no hassle alternative to traditional gel and wax lubricants. This foam formula stays where you apply it, even in vertical conduit. It also wipes away clean from hands, clothing and carpets. It works differently than gels and waxes. Instead of spreading it on the wires, Foam Wire Pulling Lubricant is applied directly into the conduit. It then fills the conduit and coats the wires as they are pulled through.
What we say: Klein’s Foam Wire Pulling Lubricant is a game changer for electricians. Although the can is about the same size as a can of spray paint, the foam expands significantly and will replace about a gallon of gel.