Professional Tool Reviews for Pros

STAFDA 2016 Coverage from Atlanta, Georgia


STAFDA 2016 (Specialty Tools and Fasteners Distributor’s Association) was held in Atlanta this year. This is one of the biggest shows we cover, not because of the amount of space it takes (World of Concrete is MUCH larger), but because of the number of tool manufacturers represented.

We got to see plenty of familiar faces and many manufacturers were showing off their 2016 Pro Tool Innovation Awards for potential distributors to see.

Before the show opened up for us, we first got to see the latest innovations from Diablo Tools, including two brand new classes for the brand known for their outstanding saw blades.

First is a Carbide Tipped Pruning Blade for reciprocating saws. I know I’m not the only one that’s ever thought – okay, tried – tree trimming with a wood blade on a recip saw. The tooth count is a bit high for that application and the blade tends to get gummed up. Diablo’s Carbide Tipped Pruning Blade has a more aggressive tooth count and is quite capable of handling even hardwoods.

Diablo also showed off a new Carbide Tipped Hole Saw. Even though carbide isn’t a new concept in hole saws, Diablo’s point of attack is. With higher tooth counts than wood models and lower tooth counts than metal hole saws, Diablo brings a whole new level of materials into play. Nail embedded wood is now on the menu along with thicker metals like cast iron. They are not only effective at hole making in these materials, but are also efficient.

Check out our full coverage of all Diablo’s latest innovations here.

Southwire drew a crowd around their BendStation Pro – a conduit bending machine that also has room for plenty of storage and other installation concerns for electricians.

Southwire is also helping electricians stop making trade-offs between steel and fiberglass fish tapes. The new SimPull Fish take is a braided design that slides easily but is tough to break or crimp.

Senco is gearing up to launch a line of composite fasteners and nail guns that are targeting woodworkers who need a to clamp material while glue dries but don’t want to risk damage from clamps.

One of the coolest new innovations at STAFDA 2016 was Hitachi’s Triple Hammer Impact Driver. Most impact drivers have just 2 anvils for the hammer to strike, but a third anvil means you’ll hit more often for faster driving – and they still packed 1800+ inch pounds of torque in it!

Makita is serious about compact tools! Their new 18V Sub Compact Drill and Impact Driver have the profile of their 12-volt tools (which are pretty dang compact to begin with) and keep you on their 18V LXT platform so there are no new batteries to buy.

Klein Tools has a new lighted Torpedo Level in an easy-to-see orange. Several features are designed to make it easier on electricians like the front nose that slides into your pocket easier without getting caught.

Klein was also showing off their next generation Tape Measure. Still with 1/16-inch increments, every 1/8-inch marking is bold to stand out better no matter what kind of lighting you’re dealing with.

Stepping into automotive waters at STAFDA 2016, SK Hand Tools was generating plenty of buzz around their new X-Frame Ratcheting Wrenches with 1.7-degree arc swing and higher torque generation.

Jenny Air Compressors are made in the USA apart from their engines, most of which are reliable Honda models. The company calls Pennsylvania home and, though a small company, produces a quality compressor.

PTIA 2016 WinnerOx Tools had their Pro Tool Innovation Awards pride on for their new MixM8 Mixing Paddle and 4-Piece Framer’s Rig. This Australian company is starting to make waves in the US and has some exciting products in the works!

Be on the lookout for our review of the MixM8 from our concrete specialists along with their Pro Tape Measure and Bamboo Box Level.

PTIA 2016 WinnerMetabo is pulling away from other cordless competition with their LiHD battery platform. This 36-volt, 9-inch angle grinder is pumping out the equivalent of a 22-amp corded model – no one else comes even close!

They also won for their 18V Cordless 2-in-1 Drill/Tapping Tool that takes some of the work and wear away from tapping threads.

PTIA 2016 WinnerRolair’s Air Keg is another 2016 Pro Tool Innovation Award Winner, giving you an extra 10-gallons of portable compressed air where you need it.

They also took home hardware this year for their JC10Plus Electric Air Comprosessor and 6590HK18 9-Gallon Gas Air Compressor.

What happens when you take CAT quality and design a wheelbarrow around it? You get much more than your standard garden center transport. The oversize wheel won’t go flat on you while you move up to 1,000 pounds!

When it comes to storage, DeWalt’s ToughSystem now has a large capacity friend for security with the new ToughBox!

Take a name like DeWalt and design a smartphone around the Yellow and Black reputation and this is what you get. Retailing between $500 and $550 unlocked, we expect to see these on the jobsite in early 2017.

PTIA 2016 WinnerLackmond caught our attention early on with their Beast Table Saws and is now establishing themselves across all parts of the tile/stone/masonry cutting end of the industry.

Their PTIA winning Beast 5-Inch Tile/Stone Circular Saw covers a host of applications from tile to granite counter tops!

Milwaukee had a large crowd during most of STAFDA 2016 and spent some time leveling with people about the high end of the level market. Even though Empire Level falls under their umbrella, they feel it’s time for some real competition in the upper tier!

One of the innovations Milwaukee is bringing to life with the RedStick Box Levels is the Backbone seen in this cutaway. The Backbone provides extra rigidity in the case of drops and strikes that happen on the jobsite every day.

The QuickDraw Utility Knife is coming soon from the makers of the mechanical SharpDraw Capenter’s Pencil. Able to work as either a stubby design or flipped out to full length, QuickDraw is trying to move away from the idea that utility knives are consumable items.

STAFDA 2016 sure had plenty of products to be excited about and we loved seeing all the Pro Tool Innovation Award Winners showing off their new hardware. There was certainly more to see, including many other winners. Be sure to keep your eyes open for more reviews on many of the products and brands  you see here!

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Luis Soria

Lots of innovation, thanks…

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