Irwin has been steadily expanding their line of Pro-focused hand tools, and sent over a selection for me to check out.
I came across a couple of others I thought were especially interesting – with one being a must-have – and so it made sense to put together a gift guide.
Irwin is a ToolGuyd sponsor – more on this below.
Irwin Max Strike High-Velocity Hammers
Almost three years ago now, I spoke with an Irwin product engineer, and they gave me a glimpse into their research and development process.
It was a memorable conversation, and quite frankly I was thrilled to see how much energy was going into Irwin’s next generation of hammers.
What stood out to me most was how focused the engineer was on the user experience.
The Irwin Max-Strike hammers are out now, and they do not disappoint.
There are two sizes – a 19oz (IWHT51019) that was “designed to strike like a 28oz hammer” and a 15oz (IWHT51015) that was “designed to strike like a 20oz hammer.”
The Irwin Max-Strike hammers feature a streamlined design for “efficiency and lightweight feel.” They are also built for reduced vibration, with a one-piece steel handle and multi-shot handle grip with finger rest zone.
It’s a comfortable hammer with a high-velocity design that’s designed to swing like a heavier – and more fatiguing – hammer.
This is hammer you need to pick up and swing to get a feel for.
Both sizes feature a straight rip claw, side nail puller, and magnetic nail starter.
Also Consider: Irwin 20oz Smooth-Face Hammer
Irwin also has a new 20oz hammer (IWHT51220) with a more traditional design and lower price point.
Irwin Vise-Grip Electrical Tools
Irwin has new Vise-Grip electrical tools, and you might have seen that I have already posted about these separately.
Here are the 3 new tools and their main benefits:
7-in-1 Electrical Tool (IWHT84002) – do more with just one tool – it cuts, strips, and loops wire, reams conduit, cuts machine screws, crimps terminals, and you have multi-zone pliers jaws.
Diagonal Cutters (IWHT84001) – high-leverage curved PowerSlot design provides 30% reduced cutting effort, on average, when cutting 12/2 thermoplastic-sheathed cable vs Irwin’s traditional pliers design (model 2078308).
Lineman’s Pliers (IWHT84000) – high-leverage curved PowerSlot design provides 50% reduced cutting effort, on average, when cutting 12/2 thermoplastic-sheathed cable vs Irwin’s traditional pliers design (model 2078209).
All 3 tools feature bi-material 3-shot grips for user comfort.
Irwin Vise-Grip Groove-Lock Pliers
I came across the latest Irwin Vise-Grip GrooveLock adjustable pliers in a 2-piece set, and I’m sold on the new style of handle grips.
Irwin GrooveLock pliers have been hands-down the best pliers I’ve ever used at anywhere close to their price point. This has been my sentiment for well over 10 years now.
I don’t need more adjustable pliers in my kit, but I liked the feel of these so much that I’m looking for an excuse to buy a set. The sub-$25 price makes these an incredible value.
Look for these the next time you’re at a retailer that carries Irwin hand tools, and let me know what you think.
Update: Apparently the latest versions of Irwin GrooveLock pliers have been on the market since 2019. I’ve been missing out!
Irwin Steel Utility Bar
YES! The FUBAR is back – AND it’s better! Sorry for shouting – I got a bit excited when I first saw this and felt it appropriate to channel it here.
The Irwin 18″ steel utility bar is a board-twisting, gap-widening, and nail-removing multi-functional demolition tool, and it also has a sturdy striking face.
Compared to older designs, this new model gives your hand up to 3 inches of hand clearance when gripping studs.
Also Consider: Irwin Contoured Pry Bar
Irwin also has new steel contoured pry bars, in 15″ and 21″ lengths.
It features a large strikable surface, and perhaps more importantly, an abundance of hand clearance that helps to protect your hands when prying down.
Irwin Folding Chisel
Irwin’s folding chisel, IWHT16701, is exactly what it looks like. It features a 1″ blade and steel striking cap.
I love the concept and look forward to giving this one a try.
Brought to You By: Irwin Strait-Line Chalk Reels
Irwin – a ToolGuyd sponsor – has introduced an updated SPEEDLINE PRO chalk reels.
Irwin sent over a selection of their Strait-Line chalk reels. While I have long understood Strait-Line to be the industry benchmark for chalk line reels, I don’t have extensive enough experience with chalk reels to have formed a well-developed opinion yet.
I asked Irwin to “lay it out” for me:
Irwin Strait-Line chalk reels, chalk, and reel/chalk combo packs let you get straight to the point. A variety of reels are available with traditional or quick rewind, aluminum or ABS housings, large or extra-large chalk capacities, extra-wide prong hooks, and anti-jam spools.
The latest and perhaps most innovative feature in the lineup is the nested hook dock, which keeps the hook in place when not being used to prevent any snagging as well as easy hook-and-go access to get the job done faster.
Here’s the new model and what’s special about it:
Strait-Line SPEEDLINE PRO Chalk Reel w/ Blue Chalk (IWHT48443BC) – 100ft hi-tensile line, 6:1 planetary gear ratio, rewinds 6X faster than traditional chalk line reels, overmold grip, 1/4 turn cap with quick chalk fill and increased visibility, wide prong hook with hook dock.
For context, here’s a review of Irwin’s other models:
Strait-Line MACH6 Chalk Reel (IWHT48445) – 100ft hi-tensile line, 6:1 planetary gear ratio, rewinds 6X faster than traditional chalk reels, 1/4 turn cap with quick chalk fill and increased visibility, durable aluminum housing for impact resistance, open access back door for tool-free chalk line replacement.
Strait-Line SPEEDLINE Chalk Reel (IWHT48442) – 100ft abrasion-resistant poly line, provides multiple strikes per pull, 3:1 gear ratio, slim design for improved grip.
Strait-Line CLASSIC Chalk Reel (IWHT48441) – 100ft abrasion-resistant poly line, provides multiple strikes per pull, 1:1 gear ratio, durable aluminum housing for impact resistance, upgraded hook dock, all with the classic design users enjoy.
Strait-Line COMPACT Chalk Reel (IWHT48440) – 30ft twisted polyester line, compact size for easy storage and portability, 3:1 gear ratio for quick retraction.
Strait-Line LAYOUT PRO Chalk Reel (IWHT48446) – 100ft heavy braided line, resists fraying and breaking over long distances, 2:1 gear ratio, large sliding door for easy filling, molded rubber hand grip for comfort.