2014 Pro Tool Innovation Awards – Cordless Tools
We are living in the Renaissance Period of cordless tools. Having seen battery technology move solidly from nickel cadmium to lithium-ion technology, we are now enjoying the announcement of new cordless tools on almost a weekly basis. Run times are getting longer, power is increasing, and cordless tools are beginning to overtake the performance of corded models. In an age when we are able to get a full day’s work on a single charge, the question is quickly becoming: “Just how far can we go?”
It takes more than just an extra amp hour or another couple of volts to win an innovation award though. As technology is extending the basic features of the cordless tool, some manufacturers are beginning to find they can do more than just the basics. Others have found that they can make tools that have, until now, never been seen without a cord.
Winner: Batteries – 18V
Milwaukee M18 RedLithium XC5.0 Battery Pack 48-11-1850
What they say: The M18™ REDLITHIUM™ XC 5.0 Extended Capacity Battery Pack delivers up to 2.5X more run-time, 20% more power and 2X more life than standard lithium-ion batteries. It features a superior pack construction, electronics, and performance to deliver more work per charge and more work over the life of the pack than any battery on the market.
What we say: Slapping some extra hardware and a 5.0 amp hour sticker on the side isn’t what gave the new Milwaukee battery the award. We got to see the significant innovation in the design considerations at their 2014 New Product Symposium. Everything from the pack design to the chemistry is intentionally chosen in a way that maximizes power, decreases heat build up, and power the Milwaukee Fuel line of tools. These batteries are so advanced, they just might be the end of the road until motor technology can play catch up and break new ground.
Winner: Batteries – Multiple Port Chargers
Milwaukee M18 & M12 Rapid Charge Station 48-59-1807
What they say: Milwaukee Tool continues to deliver productivity-enhancing solutions to the professional tradesman with the introduction of the M18™ & M12™ Rapid Charge Station. With the ability to charge 6 packs 4X faster than previous offerings, the new station charges 3 batteries simultaneously while charging each pack up to 50% faster.
The most productive charging solution on the market today, the M18™ & M12™ Rapid Charge Station will significantly reduce downtime and continue to drive the migration from corded to cordless tools. With a growing customer base using both M18™ and M12™ tools, the new unit has the capacity to hold up to (3) of each type of pack.
What we say: Rapid chargers have been out for a while now, allowing us to charge 4.0 amp hour batteries in about half an hour. What’s innovative about this product isn’t the fast charging times, it’s the fact that you can charge up to three 18V or three 12V battery packs at the same time without reducing the charge time! I’ll challenge you to try and work faster than this charger can keep up with what you’re doing.
Winner: Batteries – Wireless Chargers
Bosch Power Ready Wireless Charging System
What they say: As the world’s first wireless charging system for cordless power tools, Bosch is changing the way pros manage power with a system that powers tools virtually anywhere: in a moving vehicle or between jobs or tasks – with the battery on the tool or off.
What we say: When you’re the first in the world to produce anything, it’s a big deal. Being able to charge your batteries by just setting the tool in the holster without any physical connection to the wiring is a massive step forward in charging technology. It’s also going to be a boon for mobile mechanics and tradespeople who work out of a truck or van. This may just eliminate the potential for tools to come out of the truck without a full charge.
Winner: 12V Cordless Combo Kits
Ridgid R9000K 12V Drill and Impact Driver
What they say: RIDGID introduces the new 12-Volt Drill/Driver and Impact Driver Combo kit. The included impact driver has a value of $79 so it’s like you’re getting it for free. With the included batteries you can get up to 4X the runtime of the competition. The impact driver has best in class 1100 in. lbs of torque and the drill driver has best in class 400 in. lbs. of torque. With free registration, this tool is covered for life. FREE Batteries. FREE Parts. FREE Service. FOR LIFE.
What we say: Ridgid’s upcoming 12V kit is hard to ignore. Getting best in class power and torque in a kit for less than $100 is great for bare tools. The fact that it’s a kit with two batteries and Ridgid’s Lifetime Service Agreement…Well, this might be the best 12V Drill/Impact Driver kit on the market!
Winner: 18V Cordless Combo Kits
Ridgid R9200 Hammer Drill and Impact Driver Kit
What they say: The RIDGID 18-Volt X4 Hyper Lithium-Ion Cordless Hammer Drill and Impact Driver Combo has best- in-class torque, features, battery technology and service. The hammer drill’s 4-pole, open frame motor produces 650 in. lbs. and the impact driver’s 1750 in. lbs. of torque for the most demanding applications. With free registration, this tool is covered for life.
What we say: Best in class torque is always a good way to get our attention. With a pair 4.0 Hyper Lithium-Ion battery packs, you’ll get outstanding performance with all day run time. This is Managing Editor, Kenny Koehler’s go-to kit for general projects.
Winner: Drills/Drivers – Cordless, Collated
Hilti SD-M 1 Collated Drywall Screw Magazine
What they say: The Hilti SD-M 1 Collated Drywall Screw Magazine is the industry’s first collated screw fastening system designed in partnership with many of the drywall industry leaders to meet the specific demands of drywall installers. The system allows novice installers to perform their applications at the speed of tenured installers. Now new installers to the industry no longer have a multi-year ramp up time but can be as productive as individuals who has installed drywall for many years.
What we say: Wow! That’s what we say. A system that allows new installers work near the speed of the seasoned pro right out of the gate is a phenomenal time-saver on the jobsite. Considering that an apprenticeship program lasts for years, being able to see some quick results will likely be very encouraging to the new guy. Hint: Buy this and keep it a secret—then let your supervisors wonder how you got the job done so quickly!
Winner: Drills/Drivers – Cordless 12V
Milwaukee M12 FUEL 1/2” Drill Driver 2403-22
What they say: The M12 FUEL™ 1/2″ Drill/Driver takes 12-volt cordless drill/drivers to the next level of performance and durability. This lightweight, versatile drill/driver provides up to 10X longer motor life, 2X more power and 4X more runtime.
The M12 FUEL Drill/Driver’s onboard fuel gauge helps you monitor the charge precisely, so there’s less downtime on the job, and a built-in LED Light illuminates the work surface. An all-metal ratcheting locking chuck provides maximum grip, bit retention and durability. A new contoured soft grip gives you ultimate comfort during prolonged use.
What we say: The combination of Milwaukee’s brushless PowerState motor, RedLithium batteries, and RedLink communications system has proven to be almost unbeatable in every tool that they make. The 2403-22 is no exception with features and performance that we’re just not used to seeing in compact 12V tools.
Winner: Drills/Drivers – Cordless 12V Hammer
Milwaukee M12 FUEL 1/2″ Hammer Drill/Driver 2404-22
What they say: The M12 FUEL™ 1/2″ Hammer Drill/Driver delivers unmatched runtime, power under load and durability. This lightweight, versatile hammer drill/driver provides up to 10X longer motor life, 2X more power and 4X more runtime.
The M12 FUEL Hammer Drill/Driver’s onboard fuel gauge helps you monitor the charge precisely, so there’s less downtime on the job, and a built-in LED Light illuminates the work surface. An all-metal ratcheting locking chuck provides maximum grip, bit retention and durability. A new contoured soft grip gives you ultimate comfort during prolonged use.
What we say: 5 years ago I don’t know that a 12V Hammer Drill could be something that was functional enough for everyday use. Yet here we are staring at it and realizing just how impressive the 12V Fuel Hammer Drill really is… and how far ahead Milwaukee innovation is with respect to compact high-torque tools.
Winner: Drills/Drivers – Cordless 18V Compact
Porter-Cable PCCK600LB 20V Li-ion Compact Drill/Driver
What they say: The 20V MAX* Lithium Ion ½ Drill/Driver is the cornerstone of the 20V system. The powerful motor, high-speed transmission and 1.5 amp-hour battery deliver up to 330 Unit Watts Out (UWO) to maximize drilling and fastening speeds. The two-speed gear transmission delivers 0-400 RPM in low speed for high-torque applications and 0-1,600 RPM for low-torque applications. The 20V MAX* drill/driver features a 1/2-inch metal ratcheting chuck that provides great bit retention. The battery fuel gauge enables the user to determine the level of remaining charge while on the jobsite. Also features additional accessory storage with two magnetic bit tip holders on the top of the tool. Other standard features include an LED work light, rubber bumpers on the sides of the tool, and a belt clip that can be fastened to fit either right- or left-handed users.
What we say: Porter-Cable brings a lot of features to the table with this compact drill/driver that we’re used to seeing at the next tier up. They’re also starting to incorporate the obscure Unit Watt Outs as the standard power measurement instead of just torque. We’re going to talk more about that in detail later. For now, let’s just say that the PCCK600LB is a solid bet for the 18V Compact Drill/Driver class.
Winner: Drills/Drivers – Cordless 18V Compact Hammer
Porter-Cable PCC620LB 20V Hammer Drill
What they say: The 20V MAX* Hammer Drill is ideal for use on brick, block and concrete materials found in HVAC, plumbing, electrical, and residential building applications. Its powerful motor and high performance transmission deliver up to 330 watts to maximize drilling and fastening applications. The variable two-speed gear transmission delivers 400 RPM for high-torque applications and 1600 RPM for high speed applications while the hammer mechanism powers through material at 27,200 BPM.
What we say: Porter-Cable’s entry in to the world of hammer drills comes at the right time and is full of features for a tool at this price point. At just $79 for the bare tool and $169 for a kit that includes a pair of 2.0 amp hour batteries, this full featured compact hammer drill offers excellent performance for a truly modest price.
Winner: Drills/Drivers – Cordless 18V Heavy Duty
What they say: Bosch designed the DDH181X 18V Brute Tough™ Drill Driver to answer trade demands for greater control, maximum power and durability. Bosch also recognizes the importance of jobsite safety. To reduce the risk of kickback in higher-torque applications, Bosch equipped the DDH181X with its patent-pending Active Response Technology. Currently a key feature of both the DDH181X and HDH181X drill and hammer drivers, Active Response Technology senses tool binding and the potential for the tool to rotate out of the user’s hands and potentially out of control. The ART system shuts the tool down instantly so the user can recover and helps prevent possible injury.
What we say: The DDH181X takes the DDH181 and adds Active Response Technology plus some extra torque speed. Users that need a heavy duty drill/driver for high torque applications will really appreciate the ART innovation that should prevent soreness (and even injury) from the sudden twisting that normally occurs during a bind up.
Winner: Drills/Drivers – Cordless 18V Heavy Duty Hammer
Milwaukee M18 FUEL 1/2″ Hammer Drill/Driver 2604-22
What they say: The M18 FUEL™ Hammer Drill/Driver is the most powerful 18-volt cordless hammer drill/driver in its class. This lightweight, versatile hammer drill/driver offers up to 10X longer motor life, 2X more runtime and 25% more power for maximum performance on the jobsite. The M18 FUEL™ Hammer Drill/Driver’s all-metal ratcheting locking chuck provides maximum grip, bit retention and durability. The hammer drill/driver features 31,450 BPM for fast hammer drilling through masonry. A new contoured soft grip gives you ultimate comfort during prolonged use.
What we say: When you look at multiple categories of tools and realize that last year’s winner is still on top, you begin to appreciate that the innovation that keeps it there is more than just features. It’s the design from the inside out. Milwaukee’s M18 Fuel (brushless) Hammer Drill is still far enough ahead of what the competition came up with since last year to remain king of the hill.
Winner: Drills/Drivers – Cordless 18V Joist and Stud
Milwaukee M18 FUEL HOLE HAWG 2708-22
What they say: Delivering over (150) 7/8” Holes Per Charge, the M18 FUEL™ HOLE HAWG® drills faster than the original corded HOLE HAWG® and is over 30% lighter. Optimized for Electrical applications, the M18 FUEL™ HOLE HAWG® is the first cordless tool of its kind, delivering game-changing productivity for professionals drilling with augers up to 1-1/4” and Self-Feed bits up to 2”.
In addition, the 2708 model features a new-to-world QUIK-LOK™ Chuck to offer keyless, one-handed bit changes for most 7/16” flat or groove shank bits commonly found on augers, self-feed bits, and hole saws.
What we say: Oh my goodness! This is what disruptive innovation looks like, and it is exciting! We got to experience the performance of this M18 Fuel Hole Hawg as it beat out the corded model in a head to head test. As strange as it sounds to say this, get used to Milwaukee announcing M18 Fuel products that outperform corded models… their goal is to produce the highest performing tools in the world regardless of power source.
Winner: Portable Fans – 18V Cordless
Ryobi P3320 18V ONE+ Dual Power Portable Fan
What they say: Never run out of power with the new RYOBI® 18V ONE+™ Hybrid Fan. This portable Hybrid Fan offers the convenient option of using a ONE+™ battery to run the fan or the user can switch over to electric power with an extension cord for extended use. In addition to its Hybrid capabilities, the fan features a compact design that allows for maximized portability for use indoors and outdoors, around the jobsite or in your home. This fan has multiple hanging options for optimum convenience and includes screw mounting holes. It is also fully adjustable to aim air in multiple directions.
What we say: Versatile and innovative, the Ryobi One+ Hybrid Fan features dual power innovation that we really like. Most of the time, there’s an extension cord nearby, but there are times when power isn’t readily available. Now we only need one fan to cover both situations. We got over 6 hours of breeze on low with a 2.0 amp hour battery. Of course, the possible applications are only as limited as your imagination… jobsites, camping, hunting, power outages, that guy that wears too much Old Spice to the office.
Winner: Grinders – Cordless 18V
Milwaukee M18 FUEL 4-1/2”/5″ Grinder, Paddle Switch No-Lock 2780-22
What they say: Milwaukee Tool continues to revolutionize cordless power tools with the introduction of the world’s first cordless grinder to deliver true corded performance without the cord. Delivering up to 10X longer motor life and 2X more run time, the M18 FUEL™ Grinder is the only grinder on the market with the power to grind.
In addition, the new cordless Grinders feature the same metal housing and gearing system responsible for delivering the legendary performance and durability found only in the high performance corded grinders until now. To further maximize durability, a removable Job Site Armor™ screen is in place to prevent debris contamination overtime.
What we say: One of the biggest obstacles to overcome in creating a cordless grinder that is truly a corded replacement is to get the torque and speed high enough while also having run time that doesn’t cripple production. Once again, Milwaukee has accomplished this within the M18 Fuel family and their 4-1/2″ / 5″ grinder.
Winner: Impact Drivers – Cordless 18V
What they say: Bosch introduced a new era of impact drivers with the IDH182 18V Socket-Ready Impact Driver. Designed to answer pros’ demands for versatility and efficiency on the jobsite, the IDH182 impact driver features the Socket Ready all-in-one tool holder, which combines a 1/4-inch hex and 1/2-inch drive into one for ultimate versatility to complete a wider range of applications. By combining these two features, Bosch has eliminated the need for pros to own an individual impact driver and impact wrench and also eliminates the need for fragile socket adapters.
What we say: We haven’t seen a combination of 1/4″ hex and 1/2″ socket drive on the market before. This is pretty exciting innovation that combines the function of an impact driver and impact wrench without additional adapters. For many pros, the ability to purchase just one tool to do what has always taken two will raise eyebrows and open wallets.
Winner: Impact Wrenches – Cordless 18V
AC Delco ARI2064B 18V Impact Wrench w/Digital Clutch
What they say: The idea of tool getting more powerful is to perform the job quicker. If RPM increase, torque (power) can increase at the same time, it would be a perfect situation. However, that is defeating the physical law. As a result, for most tools, RPM is reduced and torque is increased to do the job quicker. When this happens, over torquing and under torquing would exist. By introducing the Electronic Torque Control, the job at hand can be control to eliminate the above function. When control is available, there is no need to design the tool to be more powerful; enough power with control would manage the job more easily and quicker.
What we say: We love it when people talk physics to us! AC Delco has 5 speed/torque presets that max out at 300 foot pounds of fastening torque and 625 foot pounds of breakaway torque. Simply dial in the torque setting that is needed for the job at hand to find that balance of torque and control. Did we mention that it’s also one of the most compact in its class?
Winner: Knockout/Punch Tools – Cordless 18V
Milwaukee M18 FORCELOGIC 10-Ton Knockout Tool 1/2″-4″ Kit 2676-23
What they say: The Milwaukee® Knockout System, designed to make every step in the hole making process both faster and easier. The new Milwaukee EXACT™ Punches and Dies, M18 FORCE LOGIC™ Knockout Tools and Hand Ratchet Set redefine productivity for the user by reducing the tedious steps of hole making and improving the speed of the process.
Featuring the clearest alignment in mild and stainless steel, Milwaukee’s EXACT™ punches and dies feature bold, laser engraved crosshairs and a clear view of the work surface to make alignment fast and easy. They are also set up separate from the tool for extreme ease of use, utilizing a quick connect alignment system that allows the user to snap the tool onto the punches and dies once set up is complete, and pull the tool trigger to punch the hole with ease.
In addition, Milwaukee is the only manufacturer whose standard punch and die sets cover both Mild and Stainless applications up to 4”. This provides unparalleled value as the competition sells stainless steel sets separately at a premium that can cost up to three times more than sets for mild steel. The punches and dies are also designed for optimal slug removal and compatible with competitive Knock Out Tools.
What we say: Did we already mention disruptive innovation? After watching the traditional punch/die knockout system that is currently used by most electricians side by side with a ForceLogic demonstration I realized that I was looking at a game changing system for electricians. I dare say that this will become the new standard that every other knockout system will have to start shooting for.
Winner: Test & Measurement – Laser Levels, Interior
Leica Geosystems Lino L2G+
What they say: The Leica Lino L2G+ uses state-of-the-art green beam laser technology to project brighter and sharper lines up to four times farther than traditional red lasers. Depending on lighting conditions, workers can see the green lines at distances of up to 100 feet indoors. The extended working range means fewer setups and more time saved. The laser’s wide fan angle also makes interior aligning and leveling jobs easier and faster. Additionally, the low energy consumption of the Leica Lino L2G+ makes it possible to work for seven hours with both beams activated.
What we say: Green lasers are not the norm, but they are visible farther than red ones. We love that Leica went outside the box and the generally accepted standard of red lasers to create the Lino L2G+. Since green is visible further, that means less energy is needed to reach the same distance as red.
Winner: Test & Measurement – Laser Levels, Exterior
Leica Geosystems Rugby 610
What they say: The Leica Rugby 610 is designed to handle the tough environment of the typical construction jobsite. Rugged and reliable, the Rugby 610 features one of the highest possible ratings (IP67) for dust and water resistance. Simple one-button operation allows quick leveling and aligning for general construction and interior applications, eliminating costly errors, rework and downtime.
What we say: Jobs don’t wait for perfect conditions, and the Rugby 610 is designed to protect against the harsh conditions the jobsite often produces. We love the one button operation and 40 hour run time of this rechargeable system.
Winner: Measurement – Rotating Laser Levels
Hilti PR 30-HVS Rotating Laser
What they say: From leveling formwork and setting digital slopes outdoors, to aligning and layout work indoors, the Hilti PR 30-HVS does it all while bringing reliability and durability to a new level. This durable tool is designed to be drop-resistant from standard working height due to an internal damping system, shock absorbing casing, and four shock-absorbing handles.
Simple and intuitive to use with best in class leveling time, the PR 30-HVS also has improved keypads and an integrated remote/laser receiver for maximum productivity and simplicity. The optional PRA 90 Automatic Tripod can be controlled with the same remote/laser receiver and makes automatic horizontal alignment a fast and easy one person task.
What we say: High end lasers levels are an investment for any company. We love the way Hilti designed the PR 30-HVS inside and out to help protect that investment against its biggest jobsite threat: falls.
Winner: Nailers – Cordless 18V Finish
Ryobi P325 18V ONE+16GA Straight Finish Nailer
What they say: This 16 gauge finish nailer features AirStrike™ Technology, which eliminates the need for noisy compressors, bulky hoses and expensive gas cartridges. This means faster setup and easier maneuvering on the job site or at home. Common applications for this tool include installing crown and base molding, exterior trim such as fascia boards, decorative transition trim, and garage door trim as well as installing ornate pieces on mantels.
What we say: Ryobi continues to impress us with the quality and innovation of their products at price points that are well within reach. We love the fact that we can take a nailer with us as easily as a cordless drill—no hose, no cartridges… just the nailer with a Ryobi One+ 18V Battery and a box of fasteners is all you need!
Winner: Nailers – Cordless 18V Framing
DeWalt DCN692 Framing Nailer
What they say: DEWALT® delivers outstanding performance with the launch of the world’s first gas-free, dual-speed, cordless framing nailer (DCN692). The new framing nailer joins DEWALT’s line of 20V MAX* cordless power tools with EXTREME RUNTIME (XR) and provides a gas-free option for users, eliminating the need for costly gas canisters. The DCN692 requires minimal maintenance, and works in cold weather where gas cartridges fail.
What we say: DeWalt is on board with the revolution against hoses and gas cartridges. For the majority of punch-list applications, the battery powered, cartridge-free nailer is the future. In addition to convenience of the tool, the DCN692 features a brushless motor and is also a member of DeWalt’s Perform and Protect lineup that reduces vibration to the user.
Winner: Nailers – Cordless Fuel
Paslode CF325Li Li-ion Cordless Framing Nailer
What they say: The CF325 Li-ion Cordless Framing Nailer system from Paslode offers the highest level of efficiency with unrivaled power and precision. Designed to simplify the framing process from start to finish, the system’s innovative Fuel+Nail Combo Pack includes 1,000 nails and a quicklodeTM fuel cell – perfectly matched so users never run out of fuel.
The versatile system is equipped with a rechargeable 7.4V Li-ion battery, which provides 50% longer run time than a NiCd battery and drives up to 6,000 nails per charge. The one-hour Rapid Charger also offers the option for a two-minute quick charge, which allows the battery to drive up to 200 nails.
What we say: Matching the fuel cell and nails in one combo pack so that both are replaced at the same time is a great way to gauge how much fuel you have left with some leeway for 100 – 200 extra shots. We also love that the rapid charger has a 2 minute quick charge option to help get the last few nails in if your battery runs low.
Winner: Nailers – Cordless 18V Staplers
Ryobi P360 18V ONE+18GA Narrow Crown Stapler
What they say: This tool features AirStrike™ Technology, which eliminates the need for noisy compressors, bulky hoses or expensive gas cartridges. This means faster setup and easier maneuvering on the job site or at home. Tackle your projects from start to finish with the capacity to drive up to 1,000 staples per charge using the new and improved P108 4Ah High Capacity LITHIUM+™ battery (sold separately). This tool is ideal for flooring underlayment, upholstery, cabinetry, drawer assemble, furniture, wood working, exterior trim projects, applying cedar shaking, installing exterior door molding, and skinning the back of shelves.
What we say: Not to sound redundant, but the theme for the cordless nailers this year is clearly an intentional secession from the hose and gas cartridges. Ryobi continues their “AirStrike” against tradition with their 18 gauge crown stapler, giving us even more options to leave the compressor at home for inflating tires.
Winner: OPE – Cordless Blowers
EGO Power+ Blower
What they say: The features of the EGO POWER+ Blower include: the best cubic feet of air per minute (CFM) rating when compared to electric and many premium gas blowers on the market today; turbine fan engineering, inspired by advanced aeronautics technology to deliver industry-leading power and a high-efficiency brushless motor that delivers a lightweight, compact design for longer runtime, low vibrations and extended motor life. The EGO Power+ Blower is the first cordless blower to exceed the performance of gas!
What we say: EGO hit the OPE market by storm when they introduced their Power+ lineup and 56V Lithium-Ion Battery. The Power+ Blower is almost unfair if it is compared to other Li-Ion options out there and has performance to match gas models. It leads the Li-Ion class by a significant margin. Even the massive, untapered opening shows that it means business. Clearly, we were, ahem, blown away!
Winner: OPE – Chainsaws
EGO Power+ Chainsaw
What they say: The 14 in. bar and chain combined with a hi-efficiency brushless motor provides a smooth cut. The brushless motor extends the life of the tool and the run time. The EGO Power Chain Saw delivers the performance of gas without the noise, fuss and fumes.
What we say: EGO used Oregon’s bar and chain on this model, and that’s a good thing since Oregon makes really solid OPE gear pointed toward the pro. The 14″ bar and chain along with 6300 RPM motor set this chainsaw apart. As with nearly the entire Power+ 56V lineup, the EGO Chainsaw leads the class in performance and competes on a level with gas models that other manufacturers just have to sit back and admire.
Winner: OPE – Hedge Trimmer
EGO Power+ Hedge Trimmer
What they say: The EGO POWER+ Hedge Trimmer delivers the performance of gas without the noise, fuss and fumes. The features of the EGO POWER+ Hedge Trimmer include: 24” dual action, hardened steel blade, for precise cuts that promote new growth; 3,000 Strokes Per Minute (SPM) allowing for clean, fast cuts to get the job done faster and a large cutting capacity that allows the trimmer to cut branches up to ¾” thick.
What we say: Tired of hearing us say that EGO has an unfair advantage yet? With most Lithium-Ion Hedge Trimmers running 40V batteries, there is nothing average about the way EGO’s Hedge Trimmer cuts with 56V power. This is another gas replacement homeowner yard machine from EGO that will require a lot less maintenance than its gas counterparts and without the hassle of its corded cousins.
Winner: OPE – Lawn Mowers
EGO Power+ Mower
What they say: The features of the EGO POWER+ Mower include: a 20” Deck that reduces the number of passes required to mow your lawn; a true 3-in-1 function that allows for superior performance whether you are mulching, bagging or using the side discharge chute; and LED headlights for anytime mowing, morning or night. The EGO POWER+ Mower emits 20% less noise than a gas powered mower and the compact, foldable design makes storing and cleaning the mower more convenient than ever!
What we say: This was the very first member of the EGO Power+ Family that we put to the test. It inspired the text “You need to get over here and see this thing right now!” It introduced us to the idea that Lithium-Ion power wasn’t something that had to be at a level underneath gas. This is the current high water mark for cordless mower power that others are looking at with a twinge of jealousy.
Winner: OPE – String Trimmers
Greenworks 21362 40V String Trimmer
What they say: GreenWorks 21362 DigiPro G-MAX 40V Li-Ion Cordless String Trimmer delivers powerful torque with a 14-Inch dual line bump feed, dye cast gear box and straight shaft design with attachment capability for tough, problematic weeds. Featuring a brushless motor, the power head shaft accepts most gas powered attachments, see manual for attachment compatibility models.
What we say: This is a no-nonsense straight shaft trimmer that absolutely works and is, notably, a 40V OPE tool that’s taking home this award. The trimmer functions exactly as a trimmer should; it just happens to have a Lithium-Ion motor instead of gas. We love the attachment capability that isn’t limited to Greenworks products.
Winner: Polishers – Cordless 12V
Milwaukee M12 Variable Speed Polisher/Sander 2438-22XC
What they say: Featuring Dual Mode Control and a variable speed trigger, the M12™ Polisher/Sander delivers increased user control, regardless of the application. A tool-free accessory change allows the user to quickly change between polishing and sanding accessories.
Powered by any Milwaukee M12™ LITHIUM-ION battery, the new tool delivers the performance professionals have come to expect from pneumatic polishers without the burden of a hose and compressor. On just one battery charge, the M12™ Polisher/Sander can perform a full pass on exterior trim, which was not possible with cordless units in the past.
What we say: The high speeds required for polishing and sanding make designing a cordless polishing tool more challenging. Milwaukee seems to think that this task was a little too easy and took it one step further by creating a 12V Polisher/Sander. The compact size and high speed make quick work of the more detailed areas around headlights and trim. The runtime is still respectable enough to get a full pass of the car trim completed.
Winner: Radios – Cordless 18V
Porter-Cable PCC771B 20V Radio Bluetooth
What they say: This radio wirelessly streams music from a Bluetooth enabled smart phone. Two high performance speakers on the radio deliver clear, loud sound and reception for the jobsite. The radio features four operation modes, AM/FM tuner, Bluetooth and Auxiliary as well as 12 presets (6 AM/ 6 FM). The radio was designed to be compact and durable, making it easy to carry and use around the jobsite or workshop. The full roll cage helps to protect the radio from drops and falling objects and the handle and hang loops allow for the radio to be easily hung from rafters or a ladder or transported to another jobsite.
What we say: Porter-Cable packed a plethora of features into this compact jobsite radio. Pushing it over the top is the addition of an auxiliary port and Bluetooth capability. With the prevalence of smart phones and MP3 players, radio stations are no longer the only options for entertainment. We like that we can extend new sources of music to the jobsite.
Winner: Radios – Cordless 18V Charging
Milwaukee M18 Jobsite Radio/Charger 2792-20
What they say: The most advanced radio of its kind, the M18™ Jobsite Radio/Charger allows the user to stream rich, full sound wirelessly from over 100 feet away and is the first charging radio to bring the power of Bluetooth® to the jobsite. In addition, the 2792 also serves as a quick and convenient charging station for Milwaukee M18™ Batteries and portable electronic devices.
In addition, the USB port charges most portable electronic devices over 50% faster than any competitors, and is the only device charger on the market that can work off battery power, rather than just AC power.
What we say: Thank you, thank you, thank you for giving us a jobsite radio that has Bluetooth connectivity, USB charging, and 18V battery charging! When we think “Fully Featured”, this is what we have in mind. I can play music from my phone, charge it when it gets a low battery, run the whole thing off of an 18V battery—or charge it while I listen.
Winner: Rotary Hammers – Cordless 12V
Milwaukee M12 FUEL 5/8” SDS Plus Rotary Hammer 2416-22XC
What they say: Providing up to 2X more run-time, up to 75% more speed and the largest SDS Plus bit capacity in its class, the M12 FUEL™ 5/8” SDS Plus Rotary Hammer has combined Milwaukee’s exclusive POWERSTATE™ brushless motor, REDLITHIUM™ battery pack, and REDLINK PLUS™ intelligence to deliver a 12V Rotary Hammer that rivals compact 18V tools on the market today.
The Electro Pneumatic Design allows for drilling of up to 5/8” holes in concrete and masonry. For maximum versatility, regardless of application or orientation, the tool also features 2-Mode Operation, Rotary Hammer and Rotation-only.
What we say: It hardly seems like there should even be a 12V rotary hammer category. Once again, however, the Milwaukee Fuel family proves the need. Performance in a 12V tool that begins to compare with 18V models is a significant achievement. Driving a 5/8″ SDS Plus bit into concrete with a 12V tool? We live in a golden age, my friends.
Winner: Rotary Hammers – Cordless 18V
Milwaukee M18 FUEL 1” and 1-1/8” 2712-22 & 2715-22
What they say: Milwaukee Tool has redefined the cordless SDS Plus rotary hammer market with the addition of two new M18 FUEL™ models that deliver the market’s first and only full SDS Plus solution powered by one battery system. The technology did not exist to use a single battery platform that was small enough for use on compact tools but powerful enough for medium and large tools. The new M18 FUEL™ 1” and 1-1/8” SDS+ Rotary Hammers drill faster than their corded counterparts, are built with corded durability, and can deliver a full day of work on one charge.
What we say: We watched these tools outperform several highly rated, top dog corded models in a timed test with equal down force as a control. What Milwaukee is able to accomplish on a single 18V battery is incredible, and the SDS Plus M18 Fuel Rotary Hammers might just be the most impressive application of what they can do.
Winner: Saws – Cordless 18V Band Saws
Milwaukee M18 FUEL Deep Cut Band Saw 2729-21
What they say: A game-changer for the industry, the M18 FUEL™ Deep Cut Band Saw delivers half to a full days run-time on one charge and provides the same legendary durability that has made Milwaukee Corded Deep Cut Band Saws second to none for decades. This combination of performance, durability, and run-time eliminates the need for a cord in most environments.
To achieve maximum durability, the new Band Saw focuses on a combination of external and internal components. Externally, Job Site Armor™ Technology protects the tool from drops and debris with a proprietary composite material and crush zone barriers to absorb impacts. Internally, an all metal direct drive system provides maximum tool life, and requires less servicing than the chain drive alternative. A gear protecting clutch extends gear and motor life by absorbing high impact forces caused by blade lock-ups, and the completely sealed design of the direct drive protects the internal gears from water and debris contamination over time.
What we say: From performance to design, the M18 Fuel Deep Cut Band Saw oozes innovation. With a large 5″ x 5″ capacity, you’ll be hard pressed to find another portable band saw that can do what the M18 Fuel can’t… cordless or corded.
Winner: Saws – Cordless 18V Circular Saws
Milwaukee M18 FUEL 7-1/4” Circular Saw 2731-22
What they say: Delivering the best of both worlds, the M18 FUEL™ 7-1/4” Circular Saw cuts faster than its corded counterparts while being 40% lighter, offers a 2-1/2” cut capacity and features the same right hand blade design that corded users prefer.
The M18 FUEL™ 7-1/4” Circular Saw features a cast magnesium construction to reduce the weight of the tool without sacrificing durability. At 40% lighter than its corded counterparts, the user experiences dramatically reduced fatigue after extended use.
In addition, the new cordless tool features an integrated LED light, a dust blower, and a rafter hook for easy storage on the job.
What we say: There are a few other 7-1/4″ cordless circular saws on the market… but none of them run on a single 18V battery. In addition, in-house testing at Milwaukee showed that they are getting more cuts on one 18V battery than the competition is getting with 36V.
Winner: Saws – Cordless 18V Jig Saws
Ryobi P523 18V ONE+ Orbital Jig Saw
What they say: Introducing the RYOBI 18V ONE+™ Orbital Jig Saw, featuring a new, more powerful motor that provides cutting performance equivalent to a corded jig saw, but with the portable convenience of a battery operated tool. This new Jig Saw also features the patented BladeSaver™ innovation to get the most use from every jig saw blade. A first-to-market innovation, the BladeSaver™ features a drop base design that allows users to adjust the base to utilize unused teeth, resulting in optimal blade use. This high performance jig saw has a variable speed of 1,100 – 3,000 SPM and allows for true flush cutting all the way to a vertical surface. The SpeedMatch™ feature improves the quality of the cut by allowing you to match the speed and orbital settings for a wide array of materials.
What we say: The Ryobi One+ Orbital Jig Saw is a lot of fun to use. We love the Blade Saver innovation that allows us to use more of the blade before it needs to be replaced. 4 adjustable orbital setting are a big win for a cordless jig saw that comes in under $60. There’s a lot to love about the P523 and it won’t take long for this tool to work its way into shops everywhere.
Winner: Saws – Cordless 12V Reciprocating Saws
Milwaukee M12 FUEL HACKZALL 2520-21XC
What they say: Delivering over 4X more run time, up to 70% faster cutting and 6X longer tool life, the 12V Reciprocating M12 FUEL™ HACKZALL® Saw has a compact, lightweight design for one-handed operation in tight spaces, and features reduced vibration for increased control and accuracy.
The M12 FUEL™ HACKZALL® also lives up to Milwaukee’s legendary durability with an all-metal gear case and dual gear design. With the combination of this mechanism, the POWERSTATE brushless motor and REDLINK PLUS intelligence, the new tool provides up to 6X longer life than competitive units.
What we say: It’s amazing to see Milwaukee do with 12V what other manufacturers need 18V to accomplish. Most people wouldn’t consider a reciprocating saw to be a one handed tool, but the M12 Fuel Hackzall has been designed with enough control to make it a reality. Plumbers and electricians alike will love its versatility and power.
Winner: Saws – Cordless 18V Reciprocating Saws
Milwaukee M18 FUEL SAWZALL Reciprocating Saw 2720-22
What they say: The M18 FUEL™ SAWZALL® is the first cordless reciprocating saw to deliver true corded performance without the cord. Delivering up to 2X more run time, 30% faster cutting and 5X longer tool life, the SAWZALL® reciprocating saw is the most powerful 18V cordless reciprocating saw on the market.
The M18 FUEL™ SAWZALL recip saw also features Milwaukee’s patented gear protecting clutch and mechanism design which is responsible for delivering the legendary performance and durability found only in the corded SAWZALL® until now. With the combination of this mechanism, the POWERSTATE brushless motor and REDLINK PLUS, the new tool provides up to 5X longer life than competitive units.
In addition, the new cordless tool features an adjustable shoe, an integrated LED light, and a hang hook for easy storage on the job
What we say: It’s easy to claim corded performance based on paper specs, but the M18 Fuel Sawzall delivers it. In a head to head test with a half dozen corded reciprocating saws, the M18 Fuel came in second for performance ahead of some very well known brands. Who beat it, you ask? Yeah, that would be Milwaukee’s Super Sawzall.
Winner: Wire Cutter – Cordless 18V
Ridgid RE 6 Electrical Tool
What they say: The RE 6 Electrical Tool, featuring the patent-pending RIDGID QuickChange System™, incorporates a moveable collar that lets contractors quickly and easily switch between three rugged, interchangeable heads with 360° rotation: the SC-60C Scissor Cutter Head; the 4P-6 4PIN™ Dieless Crimp Head and the PH-60B Knockout Punch Head. The RE 6 eliminates the need to carry multiple, dedicated tools to the jobsite or completely switch from one tool to the next, which increases efficiency and maximizes productivity.
What we say: Interchangeable head system can be hit or miss when it comes to making a tool that’s actually functional. Ridgid seems to have nailed it with the RE 6 that allows electricians to cut thick gauge wire, crimp cable connectors, and punch holes in electrical boxes. They also receive bonus points for their James Bond-esque product video.