Tools are getting smarter, and I’m not just talking about so-called “smart” tools that feature built-in Bluetooth connectivity and smartphone-based app integration.
The new Milwaukee M18 Fuel cordless hammer drill has AutoStop, a built-in anti-kickback feature that safely shuts power to the motor when it senses counter-rotational forces.
At their recent Pipeline event, Milwaukee Tool product managers described how their AutoStop feature benefits from AI and machine learning as it interprets different application factors and conditions. The goal is to provide the “industry’s best reacting anti-bind technology.”
The AutoStop feature was designed to deliver the “least tool travel in bind up events, for enhanced safety.”
See Also: Hottest New Milwaukee Power Tools from Pipeline 2022
There are also smart tools, such as the Dremel 8260, a new brushless rotary tool. There’s also the Dremel 8250 brushless rotary tool, which lacks Bluetooth connectivity but shares the 8260’s on-board LED indicators for tool overload and excessive temperature conditions.
New Olight high-performance LED flashlights, like the Warrior 3S, have proximity sensors that dim the light and starts an auto-shutoff timer. This helps to avoid the burn hazard that can result from a high powered flashlight inadvertently activating in your pocket.
Higher powered equipment, such as larger rotary hammers, sometimes have safety systems as well, such as electronic clutches that help to provide improved control in bind-up situations.
Some tools feature improved anti-vibration technologies, thanks to some brands’ increased attention to ergonomics and kinesiology.
If you were to look inside older generations of cordless power tools, such as the 18V NiCd tools from 10+ years ago, there was very little to them – simple battery packs, DC motors, analog trigger switches, and straightforward mechanical components.
Now? We have sophisticated Li-ion battery packs with safety sensors and digital handshakes, electronic brushless motor controllers, advanced thermal management, and more.
Some brands’ cordless drills allow for LED worklight controls. Impact drivers have electronic modes.
A slowly increasing number of tools feature reporting capabilities, such as to document crimp completion strength.
The industry seems to have moved away from “connected” tools which offer user-customized settings. Honestly, this seemed like a great idea on paper, but it’s not as practical for handheld tools as it is for benchtop or floor equipment.
But, there are still features that could benefit users, and brands are finding ways to integrate that into their non-customizable tools.
There are challenges here. Whereas Milwaukee’s last-generation One-Key M18 Fuel hammer drill offered adjustable anti-kickback, their latest M18 Fuel hammer drill is not customizable.
I don’t know if Milwaukee leveraged any One-Key-related tool data, but their next-gen M18 Fuel hammer drill announcements certainly suggested that a fair amount of measurement data was used to craft their new AutoStop functionality.
At several past NPS events, Milwaukee had their ergonomics specialist on-site to explain in detail all of the work they’ve been putting into user comfort and safety.
I’m sure other brands are putting in the work too, but they haven’t say much about it.
My point being, tools are getting smarter. They’re no longer a bunch of simple parts, they’re complex and sophisticated devices that also have to endure rough and tough jobsite conditions.
The main evolutionary focus has been about more power, more power, MORE POWER. With batteries, the industry was focused on higher charger capacities, then more power, higher capacity and longer runtime again, and now we’re going towards more power again, with pouch-style battery technologies among others.
But under all that, tools have been getting smarter.
There’s increased focus on providing a more refined user experience, and I’m all for it.
I have been finding myself wondering – what’s next?
A cordless drill with anti-kickback mechanism isn’t impressive. Smartphones have had accelerometer and gyroscopic sensors for how long now? The prices of sensors have dropped over the years, and their sophistication has increased.
So why don’t more drills have built-in anti-kickback safety features? Working off Milwaukee’s AutoStop claims, maybe it is because it’s hard to program it just right, to be fast without being early, and slow enough without being late.
If users don’t want Bluetooth connectivity and smartphone app integration, well, brands are going to have to account for a broad range of user needs and preferences, to suit them all as perfectly as possible.
To do this, tool companies – at least cordless power tool companies – cannot simply be cordless tool companies anymore, they have to evolve into engineering companies with software teams and more.
Hand tools are getting smarter too, although in different ways. Consider modern premium hammers, with advanced materials and manufacturing techniques, “high velocity” profiles, and new vibration-dampening handle materials.
Pliers haven’t changed a lot, aside from high-leverage designs with smaller forward-located pivots.
Screwdrivers… there’s not much going on there. Well, maybe there’s not a lot that could make most hand tools any smarter.
A few years ago, Festool came out with new dust extractor vacuum hoses. While the new braided exteriors were the main selling point, the hoses are also tapered to maximize airflow.
Each product advancement is small by itself, but looking at the industry as a whole, there’s a lot going on.
Not every innovation or feature is going to lead the industry, but everything moves the tool world forward.
Black & Decker and Dewalt’s gyroscopic screwdrivers, for instance, work great, but the technology has not yet become ubiquitous.
In contrast, Flir’s MSX software methods for combining thermal (IR) and visual images have pushed the entire thermal imaging industry towards contrast-enhanced visualizations, with some brands making better progress than others.
Everything contributes to the whole.
There’s a lot going on in the tool industry right now. When I started working on this post, I wanted to share my opinion that tools were about to get smarter. And while I still hold that stance, I realized that they have already been getting smarter.
This brings me back to my question. What’s missing? What could brands be doing better? What is coming next?
For my preferences, there’s a sweet spot for hot “smart” you want tools to be. There’s a fine line between digitalized features being appreciably more useful and just being a nuisance. For the former, tool protecting that intervene prematurely, for the latter, Milwaukees new trigger controls they showcased. Anything that makes the tool performance more predictable I consider a plus. Some ventures go both ways however, Milwaukee’s OneKey being one. On certain tools I’ve found it virtually useless, on others it’s a welcome addition. I love it on the high torque impact wrench. You set each setting the way you want (torque, soft-start, cutoff, etc) and basically never touch it ever again unless you feel the need to reconfigure it. In any case, I love taking advantage of advancing technology, I just like it when brands think it through before committing to implementing it. I love good ideas – not so keen on gimmicky ones.
Predictability is the key. Electronic clutches are the thing that have stood out of the most to me. They sound good in theory. But I’ve never come across one that wasn’t awful in practice. They’ll drive one bolt well, the next one it won’t turn past finger tight, and the next it doesn’t kick in at all and tries to snap your wrist.
Due to litigation & regulatory concerns, one of the next big pushes will be AI driven safety in tools, with all the buzz words, AI, Machine learning, neutral network, etc. In roughly a decade I bet you will see this on some of the most dangerous tools: angle grinders, circ saws, routers, items that need even more predictive shut off than sawstop’s conductivity technology provides to table saws. The AI will have a library of dangerous behavioral/use patterns that lead to an accident, learn your behavior, mesh the two and shut off or otherwise protect you. Sounds too far fetch? Japan invests the most per capital in robotics and senior related tech. They have smart house technology that for one example, is embedded in carpet. It analyzes the movements of seniors across that carpet and can predict if they are showing signs of a disorder to alert family and care givers, or if in immediate danger of falling, send the emergency robot (standing by next to the iRobot carpet cleaner) to intervene, or if it didn’t get there in time call for help and send diagnostic data the carpet senses from the movements and heart beat and breathing and temperature to the rushing medical team. I don’t remember if it was said to be cost practical for the middle class yet, but the tech pattern is the cost will drop. Similar developments in clothing, but clothing may not always be put on and carpet is always there.
“I’m sorry Dave. I can’t allow that cutting off of the end of the board without support. I am locking you out of the jigsaw till the board is stabilized.”
what next? will powertools play commercials while charging? /s
Eddie, I had not thought of the verbalization, but that is exactly one of the scenarios. Stuart says no politics, so I’ll try just functional points. There are places that regulated soda to protect you from your taste buds. There are attempts, I don’t think they have passed, to outlaw smoking in your own home. So I think the nanny state aspect of AI tool safety is a very strong possibility. A current industrial example of the financial incentive. I consulted at a very large industrial operation for a while. They were unionized with health benefits. Now the company could not make non-smoking a condition of employment. But what they did is prohibit smoking anywhere on the property, including the wide open lands at the edges. If you wanted to smoke on your 15 minute break allowed by the contract, you had to drive off the property. Well, with the distance, restrictive speed limits and the time getting back in through security, in practicality this meant you couldn’t do it in 15 minutes. So smokers quit, or were miserable for a good part of the day. Company’s insurance bill dropped considerably over time. Remember, insurance companies employ a lot of the mathematicians that graduate. So if the tech I mention is available, I think a lot of construction type firms would see high ROI. I see Hilti moving aggressively to be a supplier of AI tools. They have a huge presence in Europe, and Europe is further into the nanny state, so Hilti by EU regulation will already have the tools ready to go, say in a decade or so. Not saying I love this, but to me trends are going this way.
Anti-kickback is great.
I have noticed that European -centric brands take safety tech such as anti-kickback a lot more seriously than American-centric brands.
Angle grinders come to mind. Metabo disconnects the driveshaft in case of wheel bind. Bosch also has anti-kickback and even brakes the grinder if it senses that it’s dropped. Hilti with their “3D” anti kickback technology.
American brands seem to be more content leaving out anti kickback on their grinders, DeWalt excepted.
I do find it interesting how some items are deemed “safe” in the EU and NOT safe in the US, and vise versa. One example that springs to mind is the combination table and miter-saw that you can get all over Europe but cannot find in the US at all.
It’s strange how that works both ways. I’ve learned that the various “shredder” blades and attachments for Stihl brushcutters are easily found in Europe but every US Stihl dealer I’ve talked to tells me those are banned in the US and they can’t sell them.
If anyone needs the safety tech it’s the Americans.
Americans are far, far, far more likely than the average European to go to the store and pick up some serious power tools for recreational and weekend use.
Kickback on an angle grinder can be a life-changing or life ending event.
Anti-kickback on grinders in the US would likely benefit all the amateurs thinking they’ll pick up a grinder from Home Depot to tackle some weekend projects like sharpening lawn mower blades, cutting chain link fence, etc.
In Europe, there’s a smaller DIY segment, so it’s more pros using the tools not average homeowners with inflated hubrises. In a pro’s hands, kickback can generally be better managed.
My guess in the case of the brush cutter stuff is that it’s generally pros buying it overseas and therefore the potential liability is likely less than in the US, where you might have some 65 year old retiree and lawn enthusiast accidentally amputate his foot with a brush cutter attachment.
I have an Amazon brush cutter attachment on my Ego string trimmer and that thing scares me. It doesn’t slow down quickly at all after letting go of the trigger. I found myself instinctually burying the blade in dirt every time I want to halt it. I can only imagine what would happen if the blade came loose and headed in my direction.
The particular shredder blade I was mentioning seems to be a much lower risk to your feet than a traditional brushcutter blade. It’s very short and the ends are designed to cut down rather than sideways. My guess is that it is some other reason than a cut-your-foot-off hazard, because Stihl will happily sell a US buyer a 350mm 3-bladed knife for a brushcutter but the 270mm shredder is a no-go, despite the 350mm being a far more dangerous attachment. I’m thinking it’s either some legalese technicality regarding how the guard must work (the shredder attachment uses a rather odd guard), or it’s a flying object hazard for people working near the operator.
I agree about brushcutters demanding respect though, mine is a mid-size commercial gas model and it will take down a 2″ diameter sapling in less than a second, you bet that commands respect, and I make sure to wear steel-toed boots every time I use it. One of the things I’ve noticed about the commercial models is that they never “approve” a model to mount a brushcutting blade unless it both has a very long shaft and a harness. I suspect that this is also a safety measure, if you’re clipped to the tool and it is long enough it’s very difficult to touch your own feet with it. But if it’s just a handheld trimmer that’s pretty short now it is very possible to have your feet in the way. Amazon (et. al. ) will happily sell you a brush blade for nearly any trimmer, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s safe to use them.
Unfortunately, that has been the case.
A few years ago… Why does the European version circular saw come with a dust collection attachment, but the US version doesn’t?
“US tool users don’t want this feature.”
Used to work for a world leading aerial work platform manufacturer here in the US. The “CE” units have limit switches that would cut the power at the end of each travels, resulting in smooth soft stops. The domestic units have none of that and just bottom out violently.
The switches cost a few bucks, but yes, it is the same bs that the US users don’t want that.
I would love the soft stops. I don’t really care much about the bottom. But topping one out is always a scary feeling.
My Bosch drills have had an auto stop feature for several years now. It was a little frustrating at first as you have to control your tool a little more to prevent false stops. But has since saved my sore wrists and pinched knuckles many times
My Bosch impactors have had a button to change impact strength for the last 4 years as well.
All have served me well through rigorous demands.
Yes, I have the Bosch DDS-183 18V drill from ~2013 that has the anti-kickback feature. It’s not the most sophisticated system but it gets the job done. It’s definitely saved my wrist a few times!
I genuinely believe that the Bluetooth connections will make their way back around, when they’ve acquired more built-in features to the tools and batteries. Not every user will need a report of what the tool did on one project, versus another, but other cases may well be that the report we get connected to our devices are key to diagnosing any incoming trouble with tools and batteries.
Not to say we won’t get the tracking and theft protection systems back with the connections to Bluetooth, but what we will likely have are reports back from the tools and batteries, in how they work together. If you have 10 different 5Ah batteries (example) and each battery you try in either the TrackSaw, or a Chainsaw, and then put the same battery into an SDS drill or even Compact Hammerdrill/Driver, looking up that battery’s tool history will show how it performs before, and after, it has been used in each tool. If you consistently see an efficiency drop in multiple batteries that go from the same two tools between tasks, even if charged in between, then it may be a sign that there is something wrong with the first tool, that will tell you to start with either larger batteries, or have it checked out for defects, as it is killing batteries. Likewise for the Compact Hammerdrill/Driver in this instance. The reporting can tell you the trends that occur with your tool use.
To veer off topic is necessary here, because what is going into these tools comes from things outside the tool industry. This kind of reporting I just talked about? I already have that in my Blood Glucosometer used to check my blood sugar, as a diabetic. Trend reporting and high/low diagnostics show up on tiny little LCD screens already, and once paired with your phone, it shows you charts, numbers, and stats, that you can share with your doctor or pharmacist to better deal with your symptoms. Apply this to a Bluetooth circuit inside a tool, take out the blood test factor, and measure time of use, max speed and torque, and average across trigger pulls for each tool, and you have all the data a tool generally needs to report its efficiency on a graph. Since we’re talking tools, this is obviously going to be reported to any mobile device it’s connected to. Your phone, the foreman’s tablet, whatever it is. When the tool passes by these devices at the end of the day, all this data will sync up, and someone in the chain will read those charts, and make a decision about what needs to be done.
Do we go into OneKey style settings and tweak a certain tool to not operate some feature at full power, hoping to eliminate the efficiency problem? Or do we flat out lock down the battery from being used, because it has been deemed “Bad” somehow? Do we send someone to the nearest repair shop to get it diagnosed, charts and all? Do we hook it up to our own computer and check all our tools for the pattern? It’s an ability we’ll likely have when we’ve integrated more of the foreign industry self-testing electronics into the tools to come. Yeah, Cell Phones have had Gyroscopes and GPS for years now… What better anti-theft than having a dedicated locator in the tools and batteries? Blood Glucosometers are so smart, they can detect when your blood sugar is going to crash, and warn you. Now apply that predictive algorithm to current passing through tools in hot or cold weather. An SOS style signal could force you to stop using the tool, and check the report on your phone to see if something is up.
I see the future of Tools as a far more integrated one. We have more devices that are ergonomically designed now, we’ve learned a ton about keeping people safe, and we’ve created some immensely helpful security devices in the mean time. As Stuart said, the 18V NiCD days were remarkably simplistic. Now that we have so much more sophisticated electronics interacting with our Lithium based batteries (Lithium-Ion and Lithium-Polymer alike.) we do have the freedom to integrate more diagnostics, and more integration of sensors, into the connection between tools and batteries. And with that comes a whole lot more data we can use to optimize our tool use, and prolong our tool life in general.
Or… That’s the future I see… I don’t think we’ve heard the last of Bluetooth on the worksite. We got a taste of the most basic version of Bluetooth communication and tracking control in our tools. The next generation of that will help us with Ergonomics, Tool Care, and increasing Efficiency while using our tools. Even if that means it reports on when users abuse the tool, or use it improperly. “Dave” will be told he can’t do X anymore, because the reports say his methods are costing more than he’s worth. But other reports say he’s the best of the best on the crew at doing Y. So they assign “Dave” there, and efficiency goes up, costs go down, and the tools last longer. Why? Cellular Phones donated their Gyroscopes and GPS tech, Blood Glucosometers donated their Diagnostic Algorithms, and hey, maybe Smart Watches donated their individual user recognition systems to identify who is using the tools? We know how to make these simple circuits. The future is putting them inside all our equipment using a simple arduino-type circuit board, made by the manufacturer of course, then tapping back into that simple Bluetooth connection we already know and love every day. That’s a future I can get behind, and a future I expect we can all really enjoy saving us a lot of pain and money.
This could be used with circular saws or bandsaws to determine when a blade needs changing. Possibly a core drill the same way.
Well, I imagine, because that’s all I can do right now with this kind of thing, that every tool will have some tool-specific reports that pertain to exactly that. How fast the blade or bit gets changed, with a sensor in the body that tracks when certain conditions are true. The weight changed an exact amount, indicating a blade, bit, or other consumable, has been replaced. It notes the time and length of service for that band, and logs it for the next download.
I also imagine that everything from the smoothness of a tracksaw on its tracks, down to how many screws an impact driver can get through in a day, before it starts to overheat, all get their own unique little circuit to a memory chip, dedicated to that exact tool. When the Bluetooth chip activates and starts transmitting, those chips all transmit their contents to the signal, and carry on.
I am not sure the first round of Bluetooth functions in the industry were quite sophisticated enough to warrant the Bluetooth standard. Someone, somewhere, had to look at how Bluetooth was used in other industries, I’ve mentioned a few, and you’ve applied a few more, and that’s the point I’m trying to make. When the Bluetooth signal does more than just track, or tweak, the tools, then Bluetooth will come back. When it connects with full diagnostics reporting for every tool, with signals, lights, and other info telling you important warnings about the tools in your hands, we’ll get the most out of Bluetooth. Help us with Blade Changes, Bit Changes, Battery Changes, and hopefully some day a full PC interaction, so that a manager or foreman can pull out a laptop, and check which, exact, tools get to go to the right people. Saves down time on the job, and increases the efficient use of the tools. That’s a lot of money saved by working at the maximum efficiency possible all the time. More money saved, means higher earnings. It may even mean better insurance plans, because the use of safety-monitoring in the tools will help prove the risks are mitigated, and get better premiums on their insurance payments. Less money out of everyone’s pocket, better coverage, means workers go home with better salaries and family plans. Everyone wins when you can prove, conclusively, that you’ve saved money by being at your optimal efficiency. That gets passed on to the workers first, and eventually the clients too.
From there, you just go down the line of how the future unfolds. Better bids, better contracts, better quoting, more accurate details, and in legal situations, tons of supporting data, saving time, money, and energy on frivolous annoyances that accompany industrial work today. Smart Tools means Smarter Workplaces!
Dewalt’s Perform&Protect line of professional tools have this feature built in as well. Also antivibration shocks. Technology keeps advancing, hopefully creating a safer environment
In my opinion most technology follows something of a curve. At first the technology is primitive, but innovation soon improves it. New features and functions which are honestly useful get added. But then at some point the drive for “new” has run out of good ideas, but as “progress” has no patience once the good ideas run out the bad ideas start getting implemented and now the tech is on the downward side of the curve.
In my opinion we are very close to the peak when it comes to added functionality to power tools. Things like bind-up protection, anti-kickback, overload protection, smart chargers, etc are great ideas that honestly improve the user experience. But I fear what happens once the obvious improvements are all made. What will the endless quest for “new” bring us then? Maybe a new angle grinder will use RFID technology to verify the brand of the disc attached and refuses to run at full speed if the user has installed a 3rd party brand? Of course this will all be done in the name of “safety”.
I’m not that old but old enough that I don’t want a bunch of smart tools. A few features here and there are fine, but what’s next? Manufacturer’s including features via paid subscription ala BMW?
Then what: Human sacrifice, dogs and cats living together…?! MASS HYSTERIA!
I dunno… I wouldn’t mind if DeWALT brought out rugged Earbuds/Headphones if they were made by Sennheiser Germany. Maybe spec’d to double as hearing protection and Comms on-site? Audio warnings about battery or tool heat, and battery drain.
But, I can’t really see much in the way of sponsorships with other companies in the vein you mean. Certainly co-developed projects by high-end engineering folks… but not another company slapping a label on the products.
You have a good point though! I wouldn’t want a DeWALT drill “Sponsored by Volkswagon” or something to that effect!
I was thinking recently that an audible, vibratory or similar alarm when a battery is low could be helpful. Maybe like a smoke alarm. This could help with battery lifespan too.
I totally agree! Never thought of that m’self, and it sounds exactly like something I’d come up with! Kudos on getting there first, good sir!
Yes. If Cell Phones can have a tiny off-center orbital rotation weight, certainly one can slip into the back of the battery checker on most larger batteries! When the battery is down to its last vapors, so to speak, it shakes like our cell phones do! That gives you clear warning to check the battery power to swap it out!
Then… Smoke detectors… Or, what would be more useful to us Tool Users… a Thermal Overload circuit with a buzzer! Hear the buzz… stop for a while to cool it down! Maybe grab a second/backup tool for the job, and work on that one until the other cools!
I like those ideas! I wish I worked for some safety regulation board so I could propose a mandate (Probably in your name, to be fair.) that tool companies that want to operate in this region of the world, must have these safety features, or face sanctions! Being already inside the safety organization (CSA up North here, FSB? down South?) would make that kind of thing so much cleaner, and bereft of melodrama like we witnessed with SawStop and that whole Michigas. Probably the single most insulting thing a person has ever done in the name of safety… try to force the government to pay him for his patents as a mandate, then suing until he went bankrupt and got bought out anyways… Hence why I will Never, Ever, buy a SawStop. Don’t care who owns it now, I don’t want that original inventor to get paid any of my money for what he did. Way more civilized ways to do what he did, for the sake of safety.
But I digress. Your ideas are brilliant Jeremiah Ducate! Keep it up! Maybe you can get a design in to some company to give them an edge, and make you some serious cash! Legitimate no less!
I’ve always thought of myself as smarter then my tools. Still do
Not sure how you feel about receiving comments about grammatical errors, but you seem to be one who takes a lot of pride in your work.
Here are some I found in today’s article.
…The priced of sensors
…hard to programmed
…they have to engineering companies
…make most hand any tools
Please let me know if this annoys you and I will cease sending them to you.
Straightforward = “uncomplicated and easy to do or understand” – I don’t see the problem. This perhaps wasn’t the best word choice, but it seemed accurate and I didn’t want to get hung up on it.
The others, wow. Some are typos (whoops), and for the others resulted from mental branching or proofreading blindness. Things like “make most hand any tools smarter” reads to me as intended – “make most hand tools any smarter” no matter how many times I proofread.
I also noticed an unusually high number of errors in this article. But deadlines and the fog of battle produce mistakes that can be difficult for the author to catch. Thus the beauty of other proofreaders and editors.
My two cents.
– working of (or should it be “off”) Milwaukee’s AutoStop claims.
– can’t be (or “just be”) cordless tool companies
Not that it’s a good excuse, but I’ve been sick for two weeks, and it’s been hard to concentrate at times. This has been a ridiculous summer where I have a cold or something or other every other week.
I thought I did a good job proofreading, but apparently not.
The second one now reads “cannot simply be.”
I think we’ve generally got you covered for any extra corrections. Just… Call us your Correction Gremlins, or something equally fun and comical.
We got you, Stuart. Don’t worry. We’re all Human last I checked. Errors and Typos are inevitable, and no one can expect you’ll be perfect 100% of the time. As long as you’re okay with us pointing out what you missed, we’re okay with you taking care of yourself before the article. Articles we wouldn’t have without you anyways, so, get better soon okay? Has nothing to do with Typos, but you’re still worthy of us caring about your well-being.
Oh goodie more useless features I don’t want or need. Here’s an idea, build a reliable tool!
Sometimes “smarter” means cheaper. Making an electronic clutch instead of a mechanical one saves who knows how many pieces and assembly effort. Plus you can use same components for multiple features.
Like eliminating all buttons everywhere with touchscreens and then getting rid of those as well and having you use you phone’s. Plus they sell it as safety or convenience or whatever. Really, how much more convenient is it to control your washing machine from you bedroom?
What I’m waiting for are air bags that deploy when you drop a tool from above.
Wouldn’t a parachute work better than airbags? Or rockets?
I think airbags are easier to implement with sensors already in use in the tools and way more versatile.
They can also work as flotation devices if you drop it in water. Start working on a small one for cellphones.
I think vibration reduction will be a big thing going forward in tools.
Continuous exposure to vibration can lead to some pretty gnarly chronic conditions. I don’t need to describe them here.
Now that most handheld power tools have met and exceeded the power of corded tools, I think the focus will gradually shift toward refinement.
Milwaukee’s focus on low oscillating tool vibration is a good example. Oscillating tools are extremely useful, but prolonged use and exposure to the vibration is not good.
The Flex 1/2″ impact wrench with the wobble head is also very interesting. Not only does vibration damage nerves, but vibration also damages battery connections. Just look at any well-used M18 1/2″ impact wrench and you’ll see people using zip ties and duct tape to secure the battery to the tool, due to prolonged vibrations damaging the tool/battery interface. Rubber battery/tool isolators are used in some models, too.
Recip saws can also benefit from vibration reduction. I used an old corded Ridgid recip a few months back and couldn’t feel my hands the next morning. Never had that issue with any of my cordless recip saws, which are more modern and built with ergonomics more in mind.
I’d also like to see noise reduction being focused on in the next generation of power tools. Ryobi is on the right track with their Whisper series of OPE, which is quieter than even lots of other cordless electric OPE.
For me improving the shape/design of a hammer, and utilizing new and different materials is advancement but does not make the tool “smart”. For me, when I hear a tool has “smart” features it means one thing some computer aided function, feature or process is imbedded into the tool. Innovation in hammer head design and handle material is great but not a “smart” feature.
James (a different one)
Not the right post here, but want to request some coverage of Ryobi’s new One+ (18V) tools. I’m Home Depot yesterday I saw they have a 7 1/4” sliding miter saw, they also had a poster for 8 1/4” table saw and a Track Saw (didn’t note size). I realize Ryobi isn’t a pro brand and won’t have the same Red vs Yellow passionate fans, but many of the pros may even have Ryobi as their second batter platform for one-off tools so it could be good info for them. Meanwhile DIY types like me might have Ryobi as our primary battery platform and find it as welcome news. Doesn’t have to be a hands on post, but maybe you could pull the specs and compare / contrast with the other major option out there or even a very brief post for awareness and get the comments flowing. Thanks.
I covered the launch announcements here – https://toolguyd.com/ryobi-cordless-track-saw-table-saw-miter-saw-2022/ .
I might not be able to fit these into my review schedule for a while, but can add them to my request list or budget if there’s enough reader interest or demand.
James (a different one)
Thank you. I missed the March article.