Professional Tool Reviews for Pros


Level Reviews, Measuring & Squares

The following reviews of measuring tools includes tape measures, box levels, squares, and laser measuring devices. That last category is becoming more and more extravagant. Advanced laser measures can be used for both distance as well as calculating volume and area from multiple measurements. For level reviews, new measuring tools include laser systems that can generate horizontal, vertical, and plumb lines simultaneously. Level Reviews, Squares & Measuring Tools on the Jobsite Aside from the tools mentioned above, we also review new smart tools with Bluetooth functionality so tradesmen can understand what works—and what’s gimmicky. There’s also the new Bosch digital levels, Milwaukee InkZall liquid paint markersEmpire Level laser etched squares, and the Fluke VT02 Visual Infrared IR thermometer. As technology improves, our reviews continue to analyze and compare modern tools against the trade and true performers. In this way we can see if new advances improve or just make more complex the tools we use. The last thing we want is to slow down the process of layout and measuring.

simple man products box finder

Simple Man Products Box Finder

Say dry wall and most guys will tell you they hate working with it. Sure there are the few drywall contractors that seem to love working with the stuff, like the sub contractor we once hired that was able to hang 5/8 inch thick, twelve foot long sheets on a 10 foot ceiling by himself! We are always on the look out for tools that can make drywall work easier for the rest of us.

Swanson TL041M and TL043M Savage Levels Preview

Swanson Savage Levels TL041M and TL043M

This week we got to do some hands on with the new Swanson Savage Torpedo levels. These new levels are made of solid billet aluminum and feature new “Brightview” vials which almost seem to light up from within. The way they are designed they really tend to suck in light to make the level easier to read, even in dimmer areas. The Savage series of levels (including the Lil Savage) have 4 really strong rare earth magnets which, in the demo we tried, allowed us to pick up a 12 pound block of steel without losing grip. If you’re doing commercial work with steel studs this could really come in handy.

Swanson T04424 Wood Magnet Preview

Swanson Wood Magnet T04424

At this year’s 2009 International Builder’s Show (IBS) in Las Vegas we got our hands on the new “Wood Magnet” from Swanson Tool Co. It’s a unique leveling device that fits onto any 2X material and instantly gives you accurate level, whether vertical or horizontal. It also has an integrated rubber band which allows it to be strapped onto 4X4 lumber to level up posts and foundation supports. What makes it truly unique, though is its adaptability. Instead of bringing along a 5- or 6-foot level, for example, you can simply strap the Swanson Wood Magnet onto a straight piece of 2X4 (up to 8 feet long) and instantly convert it into a long level.

Irwin Strait Line chalk reels

Irwin Strait Line Chalk Reels

The recently updated Irwin Strait-line series of chalk reels all feature redesigned bodies, steel handles and larger center clutches to give better performance. The Mach6″, Speed-Line Pro”, Speed-Line” and the Aluminum chalk reels were all specifically engineering to make them more innovative, faster and tougher.

Black & Decker BDSL30 Accu-Mark Level

Black & Decker BDSL30 24-Inch 3-in-1 Gecko Grip Level Preview

The Black & Decker BDSL30 24-inch level is really three tools in one. The 24-inch level is great on its own, offering large easy-view bubbles for making sure your pictures and shelves are perfectly level. Not stopping there, Black & Decker added a 9-inch torpedo level that pulls out from the right side of the BDSL30 and can be used simultaneously alongside its 24-inch host. But wait, there’s more… The 9-inch torpedo level comes complete with an integrated stud finder to sweeten the deal. A stud finder integrated into a level? That’s absolutely the most absurd…ly perfect combination we can think of. In fact, why aren’t all torpedo levels made this way?

Black & Decker Gecko Grip Level

Black & Decker Gecko Grip Level with Accu Mark BDSL10

For anyone who has ever attempted to hang a larger shelf or picture without the help of an assistant, the new 36-inch Gecko Grip Level from Black & Decker might not change your life, but it could make it easier. It combines “Gecko Grip” pads that help keep the level in place with one hand, while the innovative Accu Mark targets let you pinpoint exactly where on the wall you need to drill to mount your picture or shelf system.