By now you have probably already seen my teaser of Dewalt’s new tools, although it’s buried under a lot of tool news and deals in that post, and my very lengthy sneak peek of Dewalt’s new cordless tools for 2015. If not, definitely check those posts out too.
Here, I’ll be discussing all of the noteworthy mechanics tools and hand tools that will be coming out. The only one missing is the new carbon fiber level, as I never even saw it. It wasn’t until I was at the airport chatting it up with Tools in Action and Workshop Addict that I even found out there was a carbon fiber level!
I’m going to ask the same question at the end of this post as in the new cordless tool post: which of these new tools are you most excited about? If you can’t think of an answer, think about which tools you would like to see Dewalt come out with next.
Ball Bearing Tool Storage Combo
If there is one thing I am desperately in need of, it’s more efficient tool storage solution. Right now I don’t have the space for wide units, but once we move in coming months, I plan to have a place for every single tool I own. Right now, I’m short on tool drawers and there’s way too much overflow.
It’s difficult to evaluate a tool box that isn’t loaded, but on the surface I think that Dewalt’s new box has a strong design.
For one, it’s not yellow like Dewalt’s 2014 ball bearing release. I don’t mind the mostly-yellow look of last year’s combo, but it’s too loud for a lot of users.
Small details hinted at a thorough attention to detail.
From beefy air pistons for holding up the lid.
To a contoured top compartment lid that’s easy to grab and open.
The drawers open smoothly and close with a snap. Once the drawers are loaded, the self-closing drawers should dampen out.
Plastic caps on the drawer pulls are a nice touch I wish Craftsman would consider. The small aluminum pulls of my Craftsman 16-inch deep chest have been marking my arms up lately.
And ooh… stylized casters. I’m not one for flashy-looking caster wheels, but I can at least tell you that the box glided on the cement floor.
Expanded Open Stock Wrenches, Sockets, and Mechanics Tool Stacking Sets
That’s right, Dewalt will be offering open stock selection of their wrenches and sockets.
I tried to do my usual 11/32″ test, where I check to see how complete a wrench or socket arrangement is, and saw mixed answers. The Dewalt rep said that this wasn’t the full offering, and so maybe there will be 11/32″ wrench and socket sizes.
I use 11/32″ tools on #8 machine nuts and some other hardware. Most mechanics tool sets don’t include that size, except maybe as a 1/4″ drive socket, but brands with more complete wrench and socket offerings often sell it separately. If a brand doesn’t make 11/32″ tools, then there’s a chance I will later on come across another size of wrench or socket that they don’t offer.
I was told that the wrenches and sockets were redesigned, but I didn’t really see any difference between the new tools and the older ones I’ve tested and used.
The sockets looked to be decent samples.
Good chrome on the outside, and the inside, rounded corners, crisp broaching.
I’ll be taking a closer look at these new tools, but I think they’re recommendable. If you’re the type that gripes about how Dewalt wrenches and sockets aren’t made in the USA, keep in mind that you can always upgrade to Stanley Black & Decker’s Proto and Mac tool brands. If Dewalt’s mechanics tools were made in the USA, they would command much higher prices and overlap too much with SBD’s highest hand tool tiers.
One more thing – the mechanics tools are all kitted in stacking boxes that lock together for easy carrying. There aren’t any handles, as John from Workshop Addict pointed out while we were chatting at the airport, and so “easy carrying” could be made easier. They are also sized for easy storage in a tool cart or drawer.
Say hello to the new line of Dewalt MaxFit screwdrivers.
All of the new Dewalt MaxFit screwdrivers are designed with tips similar to the ones on their FlexTorq impact-rated bits and MaxFit screwdriving bits, and they even sport hex shanks as well. And yes, there will be magnetic accessories as with the FlexTorq system that hold screws to the driver tips for easier installation.
Dewalt MaxFit screwdrivers have quad-lobed handles that are over-molded with a rubber grip. No, these screwdrivers are not based on the Proto Duratek screwdriver design, and yes I asked. They look mighty similar to me, but I guess that’s probably just wishful thinking.
To be honest, I was a little ho-hum about the screwdrivers. They seemed nice and all, but weren’t spectacular, if you know what I mean. Are the handle materials Santoprene? No, they’re whatever Stanley and Dewalt use on their bimaterial tool grips. Hex? Torx? Robertson? I only saw Phillips and slotted.
Oh, but what’s this? Hollow ground slotted screwdrivers? Nice. And even the corners are eased a little to help prevent fastener damage of any kind. Nice.
Once these hit the market I’ll be sure to take a closer look.
Adjustable pliers? Booooring. I hate to sound like a jerk, but what’s so special about a product that Dewalt already offered when they first got into the hand tool market. So many other brands are way ahead in this category. C’mon, where are the compound leverage pliers that Stanley came out with overseas?
Hmm… one-handed adjustment, you say? I’m listening.
And they open wider than the competition? Okay, I’ll give them a second look-over once they hit the market.
The Dewalt rep was showing off how the smaller size opened greater than the Irwin Vise Grips larger size. But if I recall correctly and an unpublished photo shows, the jaws are shorter. And the shorter handle size also means less leverage.
If you buy these, it should probably be fore the easier one-handed adjustments.
One-piece hammers? Sweet!
I liked the 16 ounce the best, but there was one thing I was unhappy about – it only comes with a ripping claw.
Seriously? C’mon, where’s the curved nail claw option?
That niggle about the claw aside, these hammers are nice. They have thinner handle shafts that help to create a higher velocity swing, similar to the pricier Dewalt MIG-welded hammers that kicked-off a fierce competition for market share.
The hammers swung nicely and had a nice balance, They also had large nail-starting notches that worked, and a side-puller for removing nails.
These hammers suck at pulling up nails. I tried to remove a ~16d nail that I mangled, and I couldn’t. The side puller worked a little, but the rip claw couldn’t get that nail out easily. I got the nail out eventually, and wouldn’t pack these hammers in a bag without a separate nail puller.
These aren’t new licensed offerings, but I hadn’t seem them before. My typical ear plugs don’t have that flat mushroom shape at the end – I wonder if these work better. I’ll definitely keep in mind to try them later on.
Random NASCAR Decal Work Photo
These guys were re-skinning the NASCAR car FAST. I don’t know why they were applying the new Built in the USA decal in the factory, but it was impressive to watch them work. If that was me, I would have been slow and sweaty, worried that I’d be the one to screw up with a bubble, wrinkle, or miscut.
I’ve seen the new Dewalt iPad case ($27 via Amazon) a couple of times, but were reluctant to post about it. How many of you would be interested in something like this?
Still, looked like a solid case for those who want to sport a Dewalt-themed iPad case at jobsites. Smartphones and tablets are becoming increasingly common in the workplace, and so it makes sense for Dewalt and their licensing partners to look to address such needs.
LED Lighted Tool Bag
The LED still seems a little silly, but after seeing it in person, it makes more sense.
Overall, I like what I saw. I wasn’t shocked to see any of these developments, at least nothing like my utter surprise upon seeing the ToughSystem Bluetooth radio system, but I was happy to find that Dewalt’s not sitting still. There’s more work to be done if they have any hope of capturing sizable market share, but from what I can tell they’re moving in the right direction.
Actually, there was one big surprise – the hollow ground slotted screwdrivers. That’s a level of precision I didn’t expect Dewalt to be concerned about.
A lot of these tools are ones that I would actually buy if given the need. I can’t always say this about some of their previous offerings. For example, finally offering open stock sockets and wrenches is going to win over a lot more users. Previously, the only option was to buy full sets.
I also think that designing mechanics tool sets around a common case size could lead to some potential user-unfriendliness, and the many options might complicate purchasing decisions, although I like that they’re durable and how they stack together.
POLL: WHICH TOOL ARE YOU MOST EXCITED ABOUT?
Hopefully this question is easier to answer than trying to determine which new Dewalt cordless tool you might be drooling over. So how about it – Which of Dewalt’s new mechanics tools and hand tools are you most excited about?
Don’t have a favorite? What kind of tool would you want to see Dewalt come out with next?
For me, I think I am most excited about the ball bearing tool box combo. If there was just one related tool I could wish for, it would be a modular Dewalt workstation, similar to what Lista offers. Maybe an extra-long ball bearing storage box as the base, and some cordless tool docking attachments for the top.
My second pick would be those screwdrivers. I really like quad-lobed screwdrivers, and hope that Dewalt expands the line to include more than just Phillips and slotted tip sizes and styles.
As a reminder, go check out the new Dewalt cordless tools sneak peek as well!