Professional Tool Reviews for Pros


Top 5 Tools at the 2011 International Builders Show

First of all, we’re sorry. We know there is a part of you that hates journalists like us that get to go to tradeshows and play with the new tools long before they are released to the public. It’s not fair and we acknowledge that. But let us make it up to you. First, keep your eyes glued to our front page for the next few weeks. You’re going to see everything we saw and learn all about the stuff you’ll be adding to your Christmas list. Until we can get it all posted (hey, we have to sleep too), here are the top 5 products that really impressed us from the 2011 IBS show in Orlando.

Top 5 Tools at the 2011 IBS in Orlando - Stiletto

First of all, we’re sorry. We know there is a part of you that hates journalists like us that get to go to tradeshows and play with the new tools long before they are released to the public. It’s not fair and we acknowledge that. But let us make it up to you. First, keep your eyes glued to our front page for the next few weeks. You’re going to see everything we saw and learn all about the stuff you’ll be adding to your Christmas list. Until we can get it all posted (hey, we have to sleep too), here are the top 5 2011 International Builders Show tools that really impressed. This is the best that the 2011 International Builder’s Show (IBS) show in Orlando had to offer (in our opinion).


1) Polished Solid Stainless Steel Pry Bars From Stiletto

Stiletto is the company known for bringing us solid titanium hammers and titanium flat bars. The trouble with titanium is that it is a little on the costly side, so to help some more budget-conscious customers, the engineers at Stiletto are working on an entire new line of polished stainless steel pry bars. While we reviewed the titanium versions of these new bars, we’re looking forward to consumers being able to experience them for less. You can expect to see these available later this spring.

2) Stinger CN100 Pneumatic Cap Nailer

Installing button caps for roof felt, underlayment, and vapor barriers has always been a largely manual process. Sure, there are some products that have been out there that use staples and plastic buttons, but these are not always code approved. With the Stinger CN100 coming to the market you now have a (more or less – sorry, Dade County) fully code compliant pneumatic cap nailer that uses short ring shank nails. The system is simple and effective and incredibility lightweight – it’s a new approach that we really like. With near perfect balance and plenty of power, we suspect both roofers and siding pros to quickly add this to their arsenal of tools. If you are content with using a stapled on button cap and your local code allows it, they also have a staple version of this same tool. Expect to see these shipping first quarter this year.

Stinger CN100 Pneumatic Cap Nailer

3) DeWalt Drill Clutch

With the invention of cordless impact drivers, drilling and screwing have been changed forever. One small issue with this wonderful impact driver technology is that when you are driving screws into hard materials there can be a problem of breaking off the tips of driver bits – like all the time. For example, when machine screws are threaded into a steel plate, once the screw head comes into contact with the base material, incredible amounts of stress are put on the screw bit. Many times if extra care and caution is not taken, it is very easy to snap the head right off, or break the tip off the bit. To remedy this, DeWalt developed a special clutch that allows the impact driver to do its magic in sending the fastener home, but once the fastener is set, the clutch kicks in, saving the bit tip from damage. We demoed it and it works great. You should start to see the DeWalt drill clutch on shelves any time now.

DeWalt Drill Clutch


4) Viribright LED Light Bulbs

A new company called Viribright is coming out with a line of LED light bulbs that might prove to be a bright idea in a world already overflowing with incandescent and fluorescent bulbs. These new bulbs meet Energy Star requirements (but have yet to be certified due to an elaborate and lengthy approval process) and use considerably less energy than CFL’s. One of their marketing people told us that not only do they save energy but they offer extremely long life (~20,000 hours) at about half the price of almost any other LED light bulb out there for household use ($10 is the target price per bulb). The other interesting thing that we saw from Viribright is that they are offering these bulbs in various levels of brightness as measured in kelvins (or light temperature) Think incandescent lights as being yellowish in color with the range going up to nearly a blue-white hue that is super bright. The Viribright LED light bulbs also use a pryamid-shaped throw scheme to get the LED light to spread out like an incandescent light. One small bummer is that these bulbs are not dimmable, but they are working on that too. Expect to see these in specialty lighting show rooms and catalogs in the very near future.

Viribright LED Light Bulbs

Viribright LED Light Bulbs -details

5) Sommer Overhead Garage Door Opener

Sommer, a German manufacture of garage door openers, was showing off their take on a overhead garage door opener. While not a new company in Europe, they are only starting to retail their products in North America for the last few years. What caught our eye with their garage door opener is that, for one, it was essentially silent and probably the most compact that we have ever seen. Rather than locating a motor on the end of the drive rail and using a belt or chain system, their system locates a 24V DC motor right at the top of the garage door. This belt-, chain- and screw-free drive system eliminates the biggest part that is prone to wear, lubrication issues and breakage. Instead, with a single gear that meshes with the drive rail, the motor directly pulls or pushes the door open or closed. Power is directed to the motor via hidden contacts in the rail and the system is capable of handling doors that weigh up to 500 pounds! There is no waiting around for this to come to market either, since it is now available on both the Lowes and Home Depot websites and there is hope that they will be coming to a store near you in the very near future.

Sommer Overhead Garage Door Opener

Conclusion

There were a ton of great products at the 2011 IBS show in Orlando and, believe us, we’re going to bringing you all of them. The five above are only the tip of the iceberg. Stay tuned to Pro Tool Reviews for much more to come from this and other tradeshows plus all the breaking tool news as it happens.

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