Every year Pro Tool Reviews heads to the STAFDA trade show where literally hundreds of tool manufacturers show off their newest tools and technologies to dealers and the media. At this year’s 2015 STAFDA trade show in Phoenix, Arizona, we saw a lot of familiar new tools as well as a couple items that took us by surprise. Considering we just wrapped up announcing the 2015 Pro Tool Innovation Award winners, there was a lot to see, and more than a few manufacturers were showing off their award-winning tools at the event.
Stopping by Diablo Tools
We started out the day at the official 2015 Diablo Tools media event where we got to see some of the company’s newest products, including a brand new 12-inch reciprocating saw blade, new circular saw blade design, and some new metal-cutting saw blades. The new 12-inch recip saw blade cut through an 8-inch piece of galvanized pipe in just 1 minute 38 seconds. You’ll get to see more of the new 2015 Diablo Tools at STAFDA in our official write-up.
They’ve had these blades out for a bit now, but this new length was created in response to tradesmen needing to cut water pipe like this without resorting to a very messy gas power cutter. The difference in cutting a piece of material like this without creating a room full of smoke and debris is something every Pro will want to take a look at.
Next up was the Diablo Tracking Point 24T circular saw blade which uses a center-beveled blade instead of a cleanup for every third tooth. This allows the saw to cut more smoothly and quickly. It should be a boon for new cordless circular and miter saws hitting the market that need as much of an edge (yes, pun intended) as possible to prolong the run-time of the tool. We got to see it tested on a couple Milwaukee Tools 7-1/4″ FUEL circular saws in a sort of drag race.
The new blade also impressed us when it was used in a corded Skilsaw to rip through 2x, plywood, shingles, flashing, and lag bolts without breaking a single tooth!
On the 2015 STAFDA Show Floor
We got to check out the new Bosch GLM 50 C laser distance measure which has Bluetooth connectivity and a color LCD screen with intuitive controls for selecting exactly which type of measurement and calculations you want to perform. Range is 165 feet with an optional target.
The $1200 Bosch Power Tools RL 500 H rotating laser has a removable Li-ion remote control to let you operate it without a helper, and a built-in alarm sounds on both the remote and the laser if it gets “borrowed” from the job site. Bosch also drop-tested the new rotating laser from 2 meters to ensure it can take a spill and keep on going (it has a very simple recalibration feature and will tell you if it needs to be serviced).
These new Bosch Power Tools digital GAM series levels and angle finders hit the market Feb 1st with some updated controls, better visibility, and a backlit LED display.
Next we had our first sighting of the new Skilsaw worm drive table saw aimed squarely at contractors. It includes a brand new Diablo Tools blade that should aid in faster cutting. The new Skilsaw worm drive table saw is due out in March.
This is Skilsaw’s new fiber cement cutting circular saw. It’s priced at $199 (including the hose and a Diablo blade) and will show up in stores starting in April.
Bosch released a brand new GOP40-30 oscillating multi-tool as well as a matching accessory system that solves the problem of hot blade removal and attachment. It works automatically, letting you press the tool down onto the accessory, and use the side release lever to drop it. Here’s a quick video of us trying out the new system:
And here’s a close-up of what it looks like:
We it the Makita booth next which had an enormous amount of new cordless products. The Makita XWT08 1/2” brushless impact wrench has 740 ft-lbs of fastening torque and will be available in February.
If that’s not enough, then the Makita XWT07M 3/4″ impact wrench packs 780 FOOT-pounds of fastening torque and 1250 foot-pounds of breakaway torque! All three tools have the highest torque in their categories and feature 3-speed power selection as well as an electric brake. The third tool is the Makita XWT09T 7/16” hex chuck impact wrench with the same 740 foot-pounds of torque as the 1/2″ model.
Possibly the biggest surprise of the show was Makita showing off a cooling jacket that they are targeting for anyone working in an attic or in an environment that’s hot but which requires outerwear for protection (from the sun, etc). You may look like the Stay Puff Marshmallow Man, but you’ll stay cool on a single LXT Li-ion battery pack for hours! You zip it up, and the airflow is forced up and around you and out the sleeves. As Floridians, we immediately see the value of this new system.
The Makita Tools LW1400 metal chop saw has a new tool-less blade change and spark arrester. It should retail for under $200. The new tool-less blade change is quick and easy, and the system they added to direct all of the sparks into the floor (and away from surrounding materials) should make for a safer and more environment-friendly tool (as well as simplify on-site setup).
Three new cordless Makita reciprocating saws including a brushless 18V model, a brushless 36V X2 model, and an 18V brushed model. All three feature a new vertically-oriented flywheel for better vibration control and faster cutting. The brushless models are very similar in cutting speed and power, but the X2 (36V) model will give you nearly twice the run-time—a big deal for those looking to use reciprocating saws for extended demo work. Another note is that Makita says the new 18V cordless tool cuts faster than its current corded model—and they had a demo to show it off: