In late June, the tool team with the yellow shirts gathered up an assortment of their newest products. They rented an airplane hangar to showcase it (there were a LOT of new products), and invited over 100 members of the tool press to Baltimore to check it all out at the DeWalt Experience. The highlight of the event was the rollout of the DeWalt FlexVolt battery platform, which we covered in a previous post, but the 2016 DeWalt Experience featured a slew of other new products, from Accessories to Zip tools. Here’s a quick peek at a sampling of DeWalt products available now or in the near future, along with a bonus look at what’s new at their affiliated brands – including a brand-NEW brand!
Crank It Down
First up, some treats for those who twist wrenches for a living, or just to keep the home fleet running. The DeWalt Experience had an assortment of mechanic’s tools on display that could tackle anything from a skateboard to a front-end loader. A DeWalt rep said the mechanic’s tool line has over 1,000 distinct SKU’s on offer, including box wrenches, ratchets, sockets, extensions, and much more.
DeWalt launched a beefy line of ratchets and sockets in 2013, and both are getting a makeover this year. Thanks to a slimmer, slightly shorter handle, the ratchets are around 30% lighter. The sockets, which were originally laser etched, will have hard markings for easier identification. For precision attachments, torque wrenches are currently available in both 3/8” and ½” drive sizes. Using a click-stop system, both wrenches are equipped with head protection and very durable cases.
Box It Up
Need a place to store all those sporty tools? Tool cabinets in two sizes and a 75” wood-top rolling cabinet are due out shortly. All feature 100-lb. capacity drawer slides.
Need on-site tool storage? Everyone at the DeWalt Experience gravitated to the new DeWalt ToughBoxes. A yellow steel box 5’ long and 3’ or so high tends to draw the eye, apparently… Due out in August 2016, the ToughBoxes include a soft storage compartment inside the lid, and rails near the top that are sized to accommodate DeWalt’s molded tool cases. Featuring beefy recessed locks and gas struts for soft closing, the boxes will be available in 36”, 42”, 48” and 60” widths.
Handy Hand Tools
Pretty much everyone on the job site carries some kind of pocket knife. The DeWalt Experience had several pocket and utility knives on display, most featuring IP54 protection, and some with push-button blade release.
A Staple Tool For Insulation Installers
Back in my misspent youth, I spent a couple of years working as an insulation installer. Hanging fiberglass batts with a staple hammer all day got the job done, but by the end of the day that hammer was feeling pretty heavy. Starting in October, anyone who wields a staple hammer all day will have a much easier time of it, thanks to DeWalt’s new carbon fiber staple hammer. Swinging the carbon fiber hammer vs. the three competitors’ steel hammers on display was a whole lot easier on the arm.
Need Help In A Pinch?
For those with some heavy lifting to do, DeWalt has two new form lifters coming out. The 60” version of the new pinch bar is impressive enough; the 70” model will give everyone else on the job site a serious case of crowbar envy.
Leveling The Field
Got trim or cabinets to install? Keeping everything level and plumb is key. DeWalt currently offers a 12V MAX 3X360 Green Line laser. Featuring IP65 water and dust resistance, the laser is accurate to within +/- 1/8” at 100’. The laser can project 1, 2 or 3 lines, with battery life of 5, 9 or 15 hours. The tool comes with a case, battery and charger, and the integrated magnetic bracket includes ¼” and 5/8” threads for easy mounting. A 20V MAX model, due out in late 2016, can survive a two-meter drop test. It will feature IP67 protection, a battery and charger, and a real tool box for storage.
Light The Night – Or The Site
Like other toolmakers, DeWalt is taking advantage of the efficiency and durability of LED lights to produce lighting capable of illuminating job sites of any size. The new 20V MAX Area Light can be powered by battery or AC power. It will run for 3.5 hours and crank out a very respectable 3,500 lumens on a 4.0 Ah battery. Plug it in, and the light output doubles to 7,000 lumens. The light features a lockable battery compartment, and several lights can be chained together to REALLY light up the joint.
Fill In The Gaps
Painters and finish carpenters will appreciate the new 20V MAX caulk guns. The guns feature improved LED lights to illuminate those dark, scary crevices, and the front end can be quickly changed out to accommodate different size tubes. To cut down on those embarrassing dribbles, the piston backs off when the trigger is released.
Safety on the jobsite, or for home DIY projects, is important, assuming you like having ten fingers and toes, and the ability to see and hear. DeWalt has a wide assortment of work gloves, protective clothing, hi-vis vests, and eye and ear protection to help keep you safe while you’re using those tools – no matter what color they are.
Who’s Gonna Clean That Up?
Working with power tools can generate a lot of dust and debris. Aside from making a mess, it’s not great to be breathing that in all day. DeWalt has a HEPA filtered vac that can be used as a vacuum cleaner, or connected to the dust port on any DeWalt power tool to serve as a dust extractor. The vac contains two self-cleaning HEPA filters; when one gets clogged up, the vac switches to the other while the dirty one cleans up its act.
Putting The Squeeze On
The DeWalt Experience also provided a look at several high-end pro tools for electricians and plumbers. Two new crimping tools enable electricians to make fast, accurate crimps in cables either with or without dies. Both make use of Crimp Connect reporting technology, to create detailed reports for use by supervisors and inspectors. The system creates a time and date stamp for each crimp, and shows whether or not it was successful.
With the new DeWalt Press Tool, plumbers can make quick connections on copper, Pex, stainless steel, and carbon steel pipe. Generating four tons of pressure, the press tool has a capacity of ½” – 4”, and also makes use of the Crimp Connect technology.
DeWalt continues to expand its line of Impact Ready drivers and accessories. Among the more innovative offerings we saw at the DeWalt Experience: A combination drill bit/thread cutter lets you drill a hole and thread it all in one operation, and a flexible shaft lets you apply torque to fasteners in otherwise inaccessible locations.
Also Coming Soon…
And that concludes our brief intro to the 2016 DeWalt Experience, but there’s a whole lot more where that came from. By the end of 2016, DeWalt plans to release 30 new tools in the 20V MAX line alone. Included in the mix are a more powerful ½” drill driver, and an impact driver with increased IPM and RPM specs and a finish mode. Also on the way is a brushless, XR 20V MAX portable planer that can be micro-adjusted to take off between 1/64 – 5/64”. For the mechanics, brushless 3/8” (150 ft/lbs.) and ½” (700 ft/lbs.) anvil impact wrenches will join the lineup. Throw in a 9.0 Ah battery that will work with most 20V MAX tools, and the new FlexVolt lineup, and there’s gonna be a whole lotta yellow out there vying for your attention. For a look at more of it, check out their web site.
The DeWalt Experience Continues
After spending all of Tuesday checking out all things yellow, on Wednesday we ventured down the road a piece to Stanley Black & Decker University. The DeWalt family now includes several well-established brands; along with Stanley and Black+Decker, Proto and Porter-Cable are part of the clan. And we’ll meet the newest member of the family – DIYZ. Here’s a glimpse at what they’ve been up to.
The average DIYer may be unfamiliar with the Proto brand. The average mechanic likely knows it well. Catering to well-equipped commercial and industrial shops, Proto is known for their high-end, extremely durable tools and storage units. They’re very committed to their customer base – they have over 80 service centers, and they’ve introduced over 2,500 SKUs in the past 18 months. We got to take a look at what they’ve been up to lately.
We started out with the tool storage products. Calling some of these things “toolboxes” would be like calling the Rockies “hills.” The drawers all sport full-extension ball-bearing slides, some of which can support 400 lbs., and most can be modified to change the amount of effort required to open and close them. Two new sizes join the lineup this year: The smaller is 78”, but if you can’t manage to cram your tool collection in, an 88” model with 48,654 cubic inches of storage is available. Still not enough? Add side and top boxes!
Speaking of tools, Proto has a new 90-tooth ratchet coming out soon. For reference, standard ratchets typically have 25 – 50 teeth. The additional teeth mean the ratchet only has to move 4° to engage a tooth and keep that fastener moving, which is great for tight spaces. The ratchets are among many other Proto tools made in Texas, which definitely doesn’t qualify as a tight space.
Anyone who has to work on the ground, or on a less-than-pristine floor, will appreciate the Proto Express Tool Mat. The mat can be laid out flat, but the sides can be folded up to create your own little play-fort-like barrier. Integrated pockets and pouches provide a handy place to stow your tools and part while you work. It’s oil and water-resistant, and when the job is done, just cinch it up into a compact roll and off you go.
The Proto lineup includes pretty much any tool you’d need in a well-equipped shop. Cutting tools, grinders, striking tools, wrenches, hand sockets, impact sockets, air tools, all present and accounted for. They even have a line of tethered tools that attach to your wrist, for those who work on ladders or bucket trucks. If you’re after some heavy-duty commercial or industrial tools, storage and protective gear, check out the Proto web site.
Black + Decker – Not Your Granddaddy’s Drill
The Black + Decker brand originated over 100 years ago in Baltimore, and that area is still their main base of operations. Their focus these days is on providing DIYers and homeowners with an assortment of good quality, functional, reasonably priced tools to maintain their homes and tackle their projects.
The folks at B+D know today’s tool buyers are generally pretty tech-savvy, so to take advantage of that, an app was born. The Black+Decker Mobile App works in conjunction with the new B+D 20V Lithium Ion SmarTech batteries and compatible tools. The batteries have integrated Bluetooth, allowing app users to view a list of their connected batteries, monitor their charge level, enable or disable batteries, and even locate them when they’re inexplicably not put where they belong.
The SmarTech batteries, which are backward-compatible with previous B+D 20V tools, also have a built-in USB port, which can be enabled and used to charge tablets, cell phones, or an MP3 player to provide some soothing music during your projects. The SmarTech system has other useful features as well; here’s a quick overview video from B+D:
The SmarTech 20V MAX drill/driver is currently available, with more power tools to follow shortly. The drill comes with a SmarTech battery and charger, and is very reasonably priced at $79.
Meanwhile, if your yard needs a little attention, the Black+Decker SmarTech Power Command Outdoor Power Equipment (OPE) lineup wants to help. The 22” Powercut hedge trimmer has a pushbutton Power Boost feature, for tough shrubs. It also cycles the blades to free them up if they become jammed.
The B+D EasyFeed String Trimmer features two speeds, and can quickly convert from trimming to edging. The trimmer will deliver 30 minutes of slicing and dicing on high speed, or 40 minutes on low. Need fresh string? No bumping required, just push a button.
When it’s time to clean up the mess from the first two tools, the B+D Powerboost Sweeper will provide a 130-MPH breeze to relocate all that debris to the neighbor’s yard, or wherever else you want it. The sweeper will run up to 25 minutes on a charge, and weighs only 3.7 pounds. Eighty-nine bucks gets you the sweeper, a charger, and a 3.0 Ah Li-Ion battery.
And there’s a whole lot more in the Black Decker lineup. Check it out here.
We also got a chance to check out some of the latest offerings from Porter-Cable, another brand with over a century of tool manufacturing under its tool belt. Joining the Porter-Cable 20V MAX lineup this year are their first-ever brushless tools.
The compact Brushless Edge drill/driver (PCCK607LBLW) boasts longer run time, improved bit retention, and 20% more power than the previous model. Its two-speed gear box features speeds up to 1,800 RPM, is only 7.4” in length, and weighs only 3.3 lbs. with the battery installed.
For more demanding fastening jobs, the new Brushless Edge impact driver (PCCK647LBLW) delivers 1,400 in/lbs. of torque, and variable speeds from 0-2,700 RPM. The Porter-Cable impact driver weighs only 2.9 lbs., and is only 5.8 inches long. Bit changes are fast and easy with the ¼” quick chuck, and like the drill driver, it features an LED work light and an overmold grip. P-C claims the impact driver can drive 1,300 2” screws on a single charge – that’s a lot of screwing! An included bit holder can also hold nut drivers, and the tool comes with a reversible belt hook.
The new tools will be available at Lowe’s and other retailers in November of 2016. Each will come in a $139 MSRP kit that will include the tool, two Li-Ion batteries and a very compact space-saving charger. The tools will be backed by a three-year limited and one-year service warranty, and a 90-day money-back guarantee.
A few months ago, Porter-Cable launched its line of 20V MAX Li-Ion cordless finish nailers. First out were n 18-ga. brad nailer and an 18-ga. narrow crown stapler. Like the drill/driver and impact driver, the nailers operate on any P-C 20V MAX battery.
The brad nailer can accommodate up to 100 fasteners from 5/8” – 2” long, and can fire up to 1,300 nails on a single 4.0 Ah battery, or 450 on a 1.5 Ah battery. Many adjustments are tool-free, including depth adjustment, jam clearing, and stall release. The 5.1 pound nailer sports LED lights to illuminate your work area, and double as low-battery and jam indicators.
The P-C narrow crown stapler accepts 100 fasteners from ½” – 1-½”, and can drive the same number of fasteners as the brad nailer on a single charge. Excluding the tool-free jam release, the crown stapler includes many of the same features found on the brad nailer.
Recently, the Porter-Cable 16-ga. straight finish nailer (PCC792LA) joined the team. Weighing in at 5.7 lbs., the nailer can accommodate fasteners up to 2.5” in length, and can fire up to 200 nails on a charged 1.5 Ah battery. The 20V MAX nailers and stapler come with a three year limited warranty, 90 day money back guarantee, and one year free service contract. Want more info on all the offerings from Porter-Cable? Check their web site.
And on to our final iconic brand – Stanley. They’ve been around for 173 years, but they’re planted squarely in the 21st century as far as product development goes. We saw a lot of hand tools you’d consider typical for Stanley: FatMax hammers, measuring tapes and layout tools, screwdriver sets, hand planes, a new line of electrical tools, spring assist utility knives, and on and on (and ON).
They continue to innovate, though, with tools like their FatMax Demolition Adjustable Wrench. It has a built-in nail puller, a pry bar, and a reinforced strike face so you can whack the $#@^ out of whatever’s in your way. And oh yeah – it’s an adjustable wrench, too.
And speaking of measurement and layout, Stanley has added a dash of tech to the mix. The Stanley Smart Measure Pro combines a laser measuring device that clamps onto your smart phone with a phone app to provide you with fast, accurate measurements of large or difficult-to-access locations.
The app will calculate height, width, and area for an entire structure, or a specific target location. Using the calculations, the program’s built-in estimating function can help you calculate quantities of roofing, siding, paint, drywall, or whatever materials are necessary for your project.
You can use the app to share photos with your measurements and comments via email with your fellow employees or customers. The Stanley Smart Measure Pro has a working range of 6’ – 450’, and is accurate to within +/- 3%.
DIYZ – Do It Yourself, Do It Wise
The final product we’ll take a look at is not only a new product, it’s an entirely new brand – DIYZ. Pronounced “dee-eye-wise,” this product is a free phone app to help DIYers with expert advice and project ideas. Currently available in the Apple store for iPhone, an Android version should be out shortly.
The brand is just rolling out, but has several professionally-done videos available already, on topics such as cutting crown molding, installing a toilet, adding a USB outlet, and installing a French drain. The tutorials that accompany the videos give step-by-step instructions, and an accompanying curated list tells you what tools you’ll need to accomplish the project. Here’s a typical project video, on How to build a fire pit:
The online info is all free, but if you get stuck, help is at hand. DIYZ is assembling a cast of licensed contractors to be on call to provide live video assistance, in case you’re not sure exactly how to reattach all those wires you just disconnected, or your plumbing parts don’t seem to be going together according to plan. Live pro help will be $10 for the first ten minutes, and $1 per minute thereafter, and you’ll get a chance to rate the quality of your pro’s advice.
Projects will be searchable by title or category, and each project lists the difficulty level, approximate time required, and approximate cost of materials. As of early July 2016, there are about 100 projects available, and the DIYZ team plans to add about 50 more by year’s end. As it rolls out, the live pro feature will be available primarily during peak evening and weekend hours. For more information, check out the DIYZ web site.
And that wraps up our “Quick” look at “How I spent my DeWalt Experience 2016.” This was literally just the tip of the yellow and black iceberg; DeWalt and its affiliated brands will be cranking out thousands of products this year. To be among the first to know when we take a more in-depth look at some of them, subscribe to our newsletter. You might even WIN one of those sporty new tools!