What is your favorite tool of the year? Is it a hand tool? Power Tool? Maybe a dust extractor or vacuum? Or could it be a multi-tool, pocket knife, or other everyday carry-type of item?
For me, I think it would be the Milwaukee M18 Fuel compact 7-1/4″ sliding miter saw. I’ve used this thing a lot, for personal projects as well as ToolGuyd ones, and it has been great.
The only hint of a complaint I can muster is about the rubber feet inserts, which sometimes stick to the floor and pull out.
It’s not that this tool is all that enjoyable to use, but that it’s an extension of my will, and has been perfectly trouble-free.
I’ll eventually have to donate or give away the saw, as it was a review sample, but maybe when that happens I’ll buy one to replace it with. I’m still planning on installing an indoors “miter saw station,” but it’s been great to be able to pull the saw outside for bigger, messier, or more convenient cuts.
I’m sure I’ll be able to think of other 2018 favorites, but for now, let’s here more about what tools you’re happy to have had at your disposal this year.
MY fav tool is the ryobi quiet strike impact driver. It takes some getting used to but man is it a relief.
I loved mine. Traded it to my buddy when I started upgrading from green to red. Got the Surge now, which is awesome. Similar performance but smaller. I’m all for quiet impacts.
I do a bit of woodcarving on and off. With all the machinery in my shop I never got around to buying a wood lathe – so hand carving a bowl can be a chore. In may – I bough a gizmo from Arbortech (the Australian power carving folks) – that I find I really like. Took a bit of practice – but pretty easy once you get the hang of it:
It comes with a kind of cute and clever 5mm hex wrench that has a design that limits applied torque.
I’ve always wanted to try some of the arbortech stuff.
I went the cheap route with a harbor freight carbide disc and a circular saw style carving blade. Later I got a lathe but I still haven’t turned a bowl on it sincerely it’s more fun to make weirder shapes than just round bowls.
My fav tool I bought this year: Bosch 12V Max Flexi-Click — it can get to places that no other power tool I own can.
I’d also add shout-outs to all my Bosch 12V tools (like the smaller size and weight, yet capable enough for almost anything I do), Ryobi hybrid lights, and Makita LXT track saw.
BTW, Ryobi is doing an online-only get 2 free tools when you buy a 5-tool brushless combo for $299/$349 (note some of the possible tool combinations already aren’t available) https://www.homedepot.com/s/p1980n
Yeah, the Flexi-click is great! Not my fav, but in the top tier.
Their recent brushless 3 tool combo with 2 bonus tools for 229 was a close or better deal imo. For $70 more this set adds a junk light and a nice grinder, but gives two of the old style battery instead of one hp battery which is a pretty bad trade especially when the brushless are designed to work with the HP batteries.
I believe that 3 tool plus 2 free tool deal is still available
M12 Fuel Stubby 3/8″ Impact Wrench. 250 ft lbs of torque with a small profile.
There is no way I can pick just one.
Even though I have not used it much. It has a lot of potential. It’s small and it’s only 160 in Canada. Its 12v. Its limited to 1/2 . Rotates above 3000 rpm. Has 2 amazing guards for the blades. It’s so versatile and small. Has forward and reverse. It’s the Milwaukee 3 in m12 cut off tool. Second place m18 3/4 impact gun… I use it all the time … a work horse… was number one. But cut off tool is just so cool. 3rd place. M12 1/2 stubby. Biggest let down of year… dewalt purchase of craftsman… hopefully we will see a dewalt blitz soon like Milwaukee had this year.
I’m going to have to go with my new V20 Brushless Craftsman drill. I’ve only had it a couple of weeks so my use time is obviously limited but it feels good in the hand, is fairly lightweight and has plenty of power. I only have my older brushed Bosch and DeWalt drills to compare it to for cordless drills but I’m thrilled with the new USA brushless. My bit holder from my DeWalt drill bolted right up to this so that was nice since this doesn’t come with one. Both the drill and impact driver (which I haven’t used extensively yet) will get a work out after the holidays here on a complete house remodel. It’s the first Craftsman cordless drill I’ve ever even considered purchasing. They had the larger brushless C3 a few years ago that was a powerhouse but it was too large for what I needed. The rest of their drills were just ok at best. Now however, I can actually say I bought a new Craftsman drill and am proud of it…
Now where’s the rest of the USA brushless line?
My 125mm Knipex pliers wrench – hands down. I’ve had it in my pocket every day since I purchased it.
It’s amazingly useful for it’s size and has saved many trips to my toolbox.
I was worried it would be too small. I have a similar-sized 4” pair of Channellock pliers that are nifty and cost 1/4 as much, but just a little too tiny and sloppy to actually get any serious work done. The Knipex pliers can actually turn some decent sized bolts and have all the extra utility of my bigger pair (e.g. straightening, grabbing, crushing/crimping…).
I bought one in 2014. I had the 125 mm Cobra pliers since 2010 and found them useful – but thought I was pretty well covered with my 150mm plier wrenches at the small end. Since having the 86 03 125 – I find I carry it around more that I would have expected when doing a “maintenance patrol” or opening/closing up one of our places. The little Channellocks (mine are #424) – I’ve had since the days tuning up my old Oldsmobiles and Buicks – cars with distributors and ignition points – but they got relegated to a second house – when I got the small Cobra.
My favorite hand tool purchase of 2018! The 125 is the perfect EDC carry. (I first read about these Knipex plier wrenches here of course.)
Plus 1 on the wee Knipex. By far the most useful hand tool I bought last year.
My Milwaukee cordless table saw. Very accurate, great power, pretty lightweight. Love it!
Hands down it’s the Bosch 12-Volt Max Brushless drill. I held off so long getting this smaller 12v drill because I was using my 18v for everything and didn’t want to add another drill to my arsenal if the one I had worked. The issue was that many of my projects didn’t require the power of my larger drill. It was heavy and the size of it sometimes impeded my ability to work in confined spots. The Bosch 12-Volt was a revelation. It has the power I need for most projects and the small profile to help me work in areas where my 18v was to large. It’s my go to drill now. Plus, it’s a great drill for my son to use on his projects.
+1 vote for this drill. I bought it last week. I previously owned the brushed version but this one is much better.
I have all of the 12V brushless tools from Bosch… and the PS32 is my favorite *drill*, but 90% of the time, I end up using my PS22 driver as a drill instead, with Milwaukee Shockwave impact drill bits. Even though I keep both my PS32 and PS22 in the same LBOXX, I find that bit changes with the PS22 are so quick, I rarely pick the PS32. The only time I pull out the PS32 is when I’m going back and forth between two bits (which means I’ll have both drivers out), or if I’m using a specialty bit (like a cross-hole countersink).
Investing in Dewalt Flexvolt lineup. Amazing power and run time. Use the batteries to power everything from my dewalt 7 1/4” sliding miter saw to my OPE. Going to finish off with sawzall, circ saw, and grinder here soon.
The circular saw and the Grinder are in a class of their own. I have been a little disappointed in the Sawzall though, it lacks basic features Dewalt includes on the Base 20v like the 4 position blade clamp and adjustable shoe. And it’s a heavy beast.
It is a beast though in the power department.
I think the reason the flexvolt model leaves that out is due to the higher power of the saw or rather the higher blade force. It’s marketed to cutting larger thicker things than the 20V model – so it sort of stands to reason.
I do repair work in homes. My favorite tool is the Dewalt oscillating tool. The uses of this tool is endless. The carbide tipped tool has increased the use of it 100 fold.
I bought into both the Hitachi 18V line and Bosch 18V line in 2018. Its hard to pick between my Triple hammer impact and Bosch DDS183. Both awesome, equal 1st.
I also got the Bosch 12V PS32 brushless drill, so I’d give that 2nd place.
Mine would be my Ryobi cordless hot glue gun – cheap and very useful.
My son is looking forward to using mine to glue his science fair project together. I have a pack of Gorilla Glue sticks ready
I love mine! I was never a glue gun person, but use it a lot more since I got this.
Bought this (Ryobi) last year for my wife – she really like it – got her to set all her corded glue guns aside. Its cant flow the amount of glue we got out of our 3M guns that we used fro templating – but even with batteries and charger it was a fraction of the cost.
The new(ish) 3M guns are still a class act – but they cost a young fortune:
I should get a comission from Ryobi – that glue gun is my favorite tool of theirs, and I’ve had a number of folks getting one after seeing my posts with it in it – it’s a really handy tool.
I had a Milwaukee 12v fuel hammer drill for the size. The trigger was bad. Literally couldn’t drill 10 seconds in plate steel. The battery indicator started flashing and the drill would stop. Had it repaired under warranty to no avail. After reading your review for Bosch Flexiclik, I got rid of the Milwaukee trash and went with the Flexiclik.
The Bosch Flexiclik is my best of ’18. Went to Lowes and picked it up for $199. A week later the price dropped to $169 so I went back for the price adjustment along with the veterans 10% off and saved some bucks. So far I’m very pleased with it. There is a local Lowes store closing with up to 30 to 60%. Last time I checked, there were still 2 on the shelf with a price of $101 and change. I did grab a couple of extra Bosch 12v batteries. I’m headed back tomorrow to see if there’s anything else that I can’t live without.
Bosch Flexiclik is my favorite for 2018.
It’s my Makita cordless track saw kit. I’ve had the Festool corded for quite a while and just wanted the freedom of cordless plus Makita is my top tier 18v and I got a great deal. I already had Festool track, so no need to buy that. It has plenty of zip and the battery life is decent. I like it better than the Festool and will probably sell the Festool if I find I’m not using it enough. I’ve nearly always used Makita corded circular saws and their blades are really good, not your usual oem blades. Plus replacement blades cost less than Festool blades.
I feel like everyone will knock me for this one but I love the Milwaukee 6-in-1 electrician pliers. It is the one that has wire strippers in a needle nose plier and also serves as pretty good cutters. I really enjoy having to carry less tools on simple tasks like changing out outlets or lighting fixtures.
I’m liking that one a lot. I somehow found it at HD for $8 on clearance and grabbed a couple of them. Gave one to my friend and use the other for all my electrical work, which isn’t very often.
I also love these, had them for over a year. Prefer them over Klein curves i got not too long before.
I’m a bit jealous at $8, although I got mine plus a bunch of other stuff when there was a milwaukee hand tool BOGO sale at one of the tool websites.
As an electrician, I rarely actually need needlenose pliers so I don’t see much point in those. I do like the similar Klein Hybrid Pliers with the wire strippers and the linemans plier end on them though.
DWIGHT L SHELTON
I’ve always used theregular impacts, great for higher torque screws. I recently purchased a Ridgid stealth impact. It’s amazingly quite. It’s great when talking to clients while working.
Best new tool is the fuel band saw,I love cutting chain link tubing ,up to 4inch ss40 like butter.
2 is x2 blower for clean up on jobsite.
3 is a tie between the m12 bandsaw and the x2 chainsaw,blade frequently comes off the chainsaw,and the little bandsaw only cuts 2inchs.
4 is my Rohm chucks on my fuel drills.
The bit doesn’t come loose at anytime,like they did.
My most used is the m12 fuel impact.
And my absolute favorite is the pliers wrench!
I got a used m18 fuel deepcut bandsaw within the last year and love it. Only used a corded portaband rarely before. At work(facilities maintenance) I’ve repaired a lot of 3×4 downspouts and it’s awesome. Looking forward to the next time I have to cut cast iron or galv waste pipes(with access).
The DeWalt 20 volt compact drill with a half inch metal Chuck has been my number one drill all year.
I’ve had this drill for a couple years and love it.
I bought this too and what a great drill. Hefty but so damn powerful
I got the m18 surge impact not too long ago, and it’s the smoothest damn driver I’ve ever used. Perfect for delicate cabinet work and a lot of the other jobs I perform on RV’s all day. I really sound like a milwaukee cheerleader lately talking about that impact, but the difference in performance really impressed me
I still am not making the most of it but I’m starting to get my head around a completely different way of working. Fortunately I work in the software industry so it’s somewhat familiar.
Oh, I *so* want a CNC. I got a 3D printer, which is fun, but I want to do CNC woodworking.
I got a Shapeoko as well! Building a cart for it now.
OOOOH BOY. let’s see.
Milwaukee 15 piece SAE wrench set,
Snap on 3/8” drive going flex head ratchet,
Snap on long reach 35° needle nose pliers,
and every tool I got in the snap on kit for school
Oh and a shout out to the US General S2 26” tool chest.
This is like picking your favorite child or pet.
None of these came out in 2018, but they all got purchased, set up, or used for the first time at my house this year. Three way tie between:
Maslow CNC router. Changed my world.
DeWalt portable power station. Changed my world too. Makes every 120v tool cordless.
Bosch 12v FlexiClick (converted to brushless). I am so angry with myself for not buying this the moment it was released. I would have paid $500 for this when working on cabinets and building drawers.
Whaaaaaaaat?!?!?!?! You converted your FlexiClick to brushless!?!?!?!
Google… google… google…
OMG, I’m gonna do the 10-minute body swap with my PS32 right after I finish typing this.
Today’s Toolguyd post is turning out to be my favorite set of comments for 2018 — especially between Tim E.’s list of “weird tools” to Eric’s mention of his brushless FlexiClick.
I love my FlexiClick too… but I’m going to love it even more after the conversion!
The only thing I wish it had was a fitted LBOXX tray for all of the accessories.
The “conversion” is super easy and you end up with a brushed version of the donor tool.
I have the PS22, the brushless flexi-click, the resulting PS31 which I will rarely use but keep around, and the OMT (which is small and light and I will use once in awhile, I have the DeWalt and corded Porter Cable ones that will do most of the work).
I had none of them until this fall when I saw the stackable promos mentioned here. I paid a little over $200 for four tools, six batteries, and 3 carbide OMT blades. I could not believe it.
That’s really cool! I’ve been a m12 user for several years but if I were to do it again Bosch would be very tempting.
Milwaukee does make a flexiclick style drill, but only in Europe. I’ve been waiting on it to be in stock, shippable to the US, and not at gouge prices to pull the trigger. I really want a flexiclick, but most of my Bosch 12V is in a travel set, whereas I want the flexiclick for projects at home, which makes me want it on the M12 platform more.
I have the M12 4-in-1, found a European distributor that would ship it to the states fairly reasonably. The right angle and offset attachments have come in handy, but the 1/4″ hex portion is not magnetic and therefore has no way of holding a bit, allowing it to fall out or be pulled out unintentionally over and over, making it borderline useless. The mechanism for changing the heads is clunky. While I’m sure the Fuel version with hammer drill head is an improvement, the Bosch FlexiClick is a much better design, has a locking bit holder attachment, and I’m tempted to acquire it also. Because who doesn’t need an 8th battery platform? (M18, M12, RIDGID 18V and 12V, Ryobi 18V, EGO 56V, Bosch 12V, and soon Makita 18V) The AEG version of the M12 4-in-1 has proven harder to find at less than double the price to ship, otherwise I would have it also to better utilize all of the 12V batteries I have.
Wow. I’m gonna do the conversion now too. Since you have some experience with the Bosch 12V and I’m sure lots of others have experience as well, I’m going to see if someone can help me.
I bought a Bosch EasyCut 12 from Amazon.de. I bought it without battery or charger because I already have Bosch 12V stuff. As it turns out, the batteries from my US Bosch 12V stuff doesn’t fit. Does anyone have a workaround? Can I just buy the right battery for the EasyCut 12 and use my US charger for my US Bosch 12V stuff? Any help would be appreciated. Thanks!
The green Bosch stuff in Europe that uses the 12V and 18V “Power for ALL” batteries are different and distinct from the 12V and 18V blue tools we have here. I didn’t have any luck finding an easy modification for the 12V tool to make the regular US Bosch 12V batteries cross compatible, I wound up just using a plug adapter and plugging the 220V charger into a 220V outlet. Not the best, but it works.
Thanks for the reply. So I guess our 12v chargers won’t recharge the green 12v for all batteries and I also need their charger?
The US charger will charge the Euro, Power for ALL batteries! Fun fact: the batteries are interchangeable, but only if you extensively modify their casing (a lot of plastic cutting, which ain’t my bag). I just bought a battery for my EasyCut and charge it with my regular 12V charger.
RD, thank you so much for letting me know. Now all I need to do is buy a few of the 12V Power for All batteries.
Not really a fair question for me, I’m sorry. I’ve only made 2 tool purchases this year as a whole, and they only arrived in the past week or so.
The Klein 1019 Curve Wire Stripper/Crimper that was reviewed on ToolGuyd a while back, and a DeWALT DWASHIR Shears attachment for my Impact Driver. I’m waiting until the new year to try ordering from my Electrical component supplier again, so the 1019 is just a much wanted upgrade for me. And, although I have plans to use the Shears soon, I’m in the middle of a bunch of other stuff right now, and haven’t got around to it.
Both were bought with a small inheritance money after my Grandmother died in November. So, between feeling guilty for buying myself more underwear with the amount as well, and dealing with all sorts of issues surrounding her passing, I haven’t had the chance to really give the new tools a good workout.
The Klein Curve was a step up from my basic Canadian Tire junk stripper/crimper I’ve had for years, and it’s as much a surprise to me as anyone else, that I used the money to make this upgrade. It’s totally impulse buy, but it is an investment in a truly quality tool. On the other hand… Spending $75 on a Shears attachment so I don’t have to buy a $120 pair of powered Shears… I think it’s just to save some space. So, which one is my favourite? Honestly, I can’t make that decision. Give me until this time next year, maybe I’ll have an answer for you.
My Kubota BX25D tractor. I abuse it and it keeps ticking.
Knipex pliers…bought some on sale…completely impressed.
Makita’s 6″ inch electric chainsaw. Makes one handed tree limbing and the other hand tossing the branch into the chipper possible.
My hands and wrists…which as I get older are starting to ache. Same with my knees.
Thanks for the awesome eviews and heads up on deals! Happy holidays everyone!
I finally got a Stanley Bailey #2. I cleaned it up and got a Hock plane iron and chip breaker. WOW is it sweet
Milwaukee Surge. Man I love that thing. I’m been really impressed by the settings. The lowest is so tame that I hardly use it except for very delicate work. The self tap mode really works, even on 3/4” ply. I didn’t believe it would actually deliver and low and behold it does. I’ve also noticed the sustained torque to be beneficial as well, it’s like the sweet spot between a normal impact and a regular drill-driver.
2018 was a year of weird tool purchases, alongside my normal ones, it’s defintely the weird things that stand out. I guess most of them came from Europe somehow… maybe we need better options in the US.
Bosch Gluey pen from Europe. Miniature glue gun, runs off rechargeable AA batteries. I have to keep a supply of chopped up glue sticks around, but since I only use it for regular glue anyway and not artsy glue, the must-use-entire-tiny-stick isn’t a problem. I just get a whole pack of sticks and chop them all up at the same time, make a whole bag worth of glue bits for it, works a treat. It’s small, light, and extremely convenient.
Bosch glassvac, also from europe. I’d seen these things but never tried one, my microfiber cloths tend to leave a lot of fibers behind on mirrors and windows (they aren’t the best quality and my washer tears them up). but even using a squeegee after scrubbing the cat paw prints off, it would leave behind fibers. This thing seems to do much better, and as a benefit doesn’t leave sitting glass cleaner in the door track or windowsill or counter below the mirror.
M12 circular saw European version with dust port. I finally bit the bullet and got one. Why oh why won’t they make dust ports a thing in the US. Offer both as separate SKUs if nothing else. I love my M12 saw, but it’s dust handling was the worst. The European one with the port, even without using a vac on it, does 100x better in not getting dust completely everywhere, now just everywhere behind the saw.
NWS cable tie pliers. We do hundreds of zip ties every robotics competition I work, and many a diagonal cutter has been sacrificed from cutting 120lb ties. I got some Knipex plastic cutters that are holding up better, but this all in one thing of tightening and cutting is amazing. Somebody else had an off brand one from amazon a few years ago, and it was cool and semi decent, but not enough for me to get one. So far on the 2-300 ties I’ve done with it, I like the NWS one much better. Hopefully it holds up.
Dymo Rhino. Finally got tired of the regular $20 label maker making labels that didn’t stick, and always wanted to be able to print heat shrink labels. Now I can, although my wallet is not thanking my fun of labelling a bunch of cords as soon as I got it, went through I think 3 cartridges of material. But oh it’s soo much better, the permanent tapes are permanent, and the heat shrink is super neat.
Wera Koloss. I’ve wanted one for years, finally got it. Assembling a robotics field is mostly 2 sizes of bolts, and a lot of whacking stuff to get them to fit the sometimes bent or poorly machines holes. Now I have it all in one, I don’t need the torque of the size (7/16 bolts usually), but I can put the centering pin in the bottom and it helps line up tricky holes, tap things into place or hammer bolts through, wrench them down, and throw it back in its holster and move on. It’s a hammer, ratchet, and something like a taper punch all in one!
Last thing I got a lot of use out of this year was also the Milwaukee 7.25” miter. It’s light, accurate, simple, I’ve taken to using it more often than my 12” flexvolt, since it handles most of my cuts easily. It’s almost a toss up between that and the table saw which I’m also really liking, but the miter saw had been used and abused more, and really impressed me with its ability to stay accurate even after being bounced around.
Another interesting question, what tools do you want to see in 2019? My biggest wishlist items are a decent cordless pressure washer in the US (still can’t find someone to sell me the ryobi 36/40V one from overseas), some Milwaukee expansions – packout (table surface, the dolly, vacuum that attaches), more tools on the usb platform, a cordless router, cordless compressor, DeWalt to revise their framing nailer or maybe make a flexvolt version that’s just slightly more powerful, and I’m strangely excited about the makita 12V cleaner lc09z coming up, supposedly in spring. All the 12V vacs I’ve tried are somewhat lackluster in various ways, and the 18V versions are all bigger than I want. If the vac is around the size of a Dustbuster or smaller like it looks like, it uses a hose instead of straight connections, and if it has a half decent level of suction and non-annoying noise, it’s exactly what I want. And based solely on the pictures and makita’s reputation, I’m hoping it exactly fits that bill.
Kärcher and others make power squeegee vacuum cleaners similar to your Bosch. We have one (a WV50) of theirs down in our place in Florida – where glass and mirrors seem to abound. I think that its only moderately effective.
A lot of the ones I’ve seen over the years have been the karcher one I believe. They always looked like they had squeegee issues that left streaks and the glass not completely clean, which is why I never got one. I stumbled across the bosch while I was looking for the gluey, and dunno why I figured it might be better, but I like it so far.
The glass cleaner you use may play into it as well. Bosch has their own glass cleaning solution they suggest which I didn’t get. My go-to cleaner for indoors is the Method glass and surface cleaner, It did decent but did leave just a tiny bit of a film with the cleaner. I tried the invisible glass I use on the car, and it did better in my opinion, came off clean and easy and actually maybe cut through some of the grime a bit easier. Maybe try a different cleaner if it’s film/streaks type issues you have with yours…
Uggghhh. My tool-want list has just grown. I didn’t know about the Bosch Gluey (I’ve seen the fat, top-lever “pens” from Bosch Japan, but hadn’t seen the skinnier Gluey). I also didn’t know that you could get shrink-wrap tape for the Dymo Rhino. And the Wera Koloss looks like a great combo-tool.
BTW, have you tried the Panduit GTS-E cable tie gun? I have NWS cable pliers, as well as Eclipse knockoffs (exact same design… possibly made in the same factory), and they PALE in comparison to the GTS-E. The GTS-E is much more accurate in tension, and its flush-cutter does a perfect job every single time. Plus, it’s easy on the hands, and it has very little kickback, so if you’re doing 100s of high-tension ties in a single session, your hands and wrists will thank you. Even tension-adjustment is quicker and easier to do. Seriously, the GTS-E has to be the best cable tie tool ever.
I didn’t know about the GTS-E, so thank you for suggesting it! I added it to the list to get my hands on before competition season this year, maybe the NWS one will stay with the team if this one performs as well as the reviews.
The Panduit gun is something to put on your Zoro wish list.
$156.13 is their everyday price – but it drops to $117.10 when they have a 25% off sale.
Bang, Just ordered a Bosch Gluey from amazon.de. $30 USD shipped.
I belabored the decision to buy an M12 cure saw and the first thing I thought when using it was I can’t believe there isn’t dust collection! How could I over look that! Ugg. I wonder if it can be easily covered or if I should just pony up for the EU version.
Great list, I ended up googling everything on it.
I remember a thread from a while ago about converting the M12 circular. It wound up being a lot more parts than just the shroud, and a lot of trouble, plus finding someone overseas to send you the parts, knowing warranty and liability concerns. Conclusion was it was likely not much cheaper just from a dollars perspective to do the conversion, so worth just getting the tool from Europe. I got mine from amazon.de, think I paid $140-50 for it, so not too bad versus here, but still a bit more.
The M18 Miter is also close to the top of my list but I have to go with the Ego Cordless Snowblower. It is amazing and my wife likes to use it so that is an extra benefit! The Klein electricians multi tool was also a fantastic time saver for my landscape lighting project.
DeWalt 40 volt mower.
I can mow at 6am before the heat gets up and not bother my neighbors.
DeWalt 20v Oscillating Saw.
SOOO much more power than my old MultiMaster.
Quick blade change and cordless too.
100% agree with the Dewalt oscillating saw. I’ve used almost all of them and own quite a few different from Fein to Makita. The Dewalt is the most practical for anything I need an oscillating tool for. Being able to adjust the OPM by trigger modulation puts it above all the others. It stops instantly, so as soon as you’re done you can set it down. The blade change is by far the best system out there.. Dewalt just did everything right with this thing, and I am by no means a fan boy (90% of my cordless tools are Makita but their OMT is pretty bad.)
Regardless of how you feel about anything else, starlock is easily the best “bllade change” method. I’ve also seen about 4 of the DeWalt spring latches wear out within 1ish year of medium+ use..
It’s been a big tool year overall, and for me too.
Festool cyclone separator- will save cash on bags… Eventually….and hopefully less wear on The machine.
Milwaukee chainsaw – not a lot of use for it but what a machine.
Or the fuel backpack vac- a battery hog but so darn useful. I run around with the festool DTC li-on to get all my inside corners when sanding drywall. Filter clogs up quickly with the dust but I just vac it off with a festool ct36.
And of course all the new lighting solutions from Milwaukee
The USB headlight and rover are awesome for using my cordless sanding rig.
The m12 rocket light- finally one that is compact enough to set up in a smaller room with you and not fight it for room.
And the smallest Radius light flood combo- great to have a smaller better priced unit.
My Ridgid 18v Brad Nailer is probably the favorite tool I bought in 2018… a close second would probably be my Craftsman 18v Brushless hammer drill or the Ridgid 18v Brushless 1/2 impact.
Replaced a 30 yr old Homelite chainsaw for a Echo 400 and have nothing but good to say about it. My second would be the Dewalt 7480 table saw which is all good except a little loud.
New to me in 2018:
Makita 10″ sliding miter saw this saw is brilliant and cordless, I have a Bosch 12″ glide and the Makita is smoother. A truly superior tool, I have used dozens in my life the Hitachi 10′ slide from the 90’s was very smooth too.
Bosch Flexiclick: wow this is a superb tool, in is execution and the way it performs. (saw many nods to this, I agree.)
Kreg Precision Router Table Setup Bars : use these for the table saw so fast and easy, much more uses I have yet to think of.
New tools after looking at this post, Bosch Gluey, and Dymo Rhino. These will possibly be purchased before 2019…
I’ve bought quite a few tools this year, but I think I’ll go with several others and say the Milwaukee Surge.
By far the best impact driver I’ve used. Really quiet, and plenty of power for what I use it for.
My garage is my shop and so I am limited to space, which is home to 2x table saws, 1 bench top table saw, 1 lathe (I need another larger one), 1 floor drill press, 3x bench grinders, 1x belt/disc sander, 2x router tables ( 1 bench ,1 floor), 1x air compressor (need a larger one currently not able to keep up), and a plethora of power tools. YES I LOVE TOOLS! Not to mention 4x tool box.
So I would have to say my favorite tool is my 2001 F150 truck that gets me around town to buy lumber and yes more tools.
Wishing all toolguyz a Merry Tool Christmas!
Shaper router for me. It’s actually en route, but I know this will top the list. Once I get over the digital learning curve this will open up some new possibilities.
There are a few that I have bought this year but the standouts would have to be the Makita CXT rotary hammer and the Makita CXT brushless 1/4 hex drill driver. Both so much nicer to use than my previous red ones.
An interesting note for anybody on the CXT line, take a look at getting them from amazon.de. A lot do them ship to the US fine, and prices with shipping and conversion can sometimes be similar to or better than non-sale prices here. So why get them from Europe? 4Ah batteries. And a nicer hard case usually. Most or all the US CXT kits I know of come with 2x 2Ah batteries. The European kits are mostly 2x 4Ah batteries. If you already have some chargers from US tools (since the European chargers won’t work here), getting those 4Ah packs instead of the 2Ah ones can be a huge value. Particularly considering that kind of the only way to get those larger packs here are to buy them separately. I found that over Black Friday, and a few weeks ago got the CXT brushless drill from amazon.de. A sale price here might have been cheaper, but total ordering from overseas was within a few dollars of Acme’s regular price. It arrived fine, I put the useless charger in an opportune location to confound people, and have used the 4Ah batteries on their small trim circular saw, which was a fantastic improvement over the 2Ah packs. I think they’ll also be useful with the CXT inflator and new cleaners coming out soon.
Best tool in 2018? My 1995 F-250 Powerstroke diesel truck. Best tool ever! Best tool purchased in 2018? Upgraded my 1970-something Shopsmith with a 2018 Shopsmith powerhead.
My M12 PVC shears. So much fun chopping hands off with it.
Just seeing if anyone reads this.
But seriously, my DeWalt XR 20v blower. I have a work shop worth of tools in my trailer so organization and cleanliness is super important. My blower cleans off the sawdust, dirt and leaves that get tracked into my trailer which helps me, at the end of a long work day, to de-stress.
I’m just now getting some Milwaukee tools and could see a 7 1/4″ miter saw being especially helpful for laminate flooring installations as the blades get eaten up by the aluminum oxide coating, so it would be cheaper to replace blades and then you just transition right to trim work on the same tool.
Doubt you’ll see this Stuart but if you do, Merry Christmas!
If you’re doing laminate flooring, I’d highly recommend one of these over a miter saw: https://www.amazon.com/Roberts-10-94-Multi-Floor-Cutter-13-inch/dp/B07DXBJH3R/
no dust, no noise, and you can make your cuts right where you’re working. Significantly faster. Downside is, it’s not as versatile as a miter saw.
A good tool – but way too expensive ($368) on Amazon.
$249 at Tools-4-Flooring (we bought lots from them – with good results)
I’ve used one of those shears before and because I typically try to get clients to buy 12mm laminate, I prefer to use a saw.
We did laminate flooring mostly in basements and places where stability and price were more important than quality and looks. I personally like laminate floors about as well as I like vinyl siding – not at all for both. But we always were respectful of customer’s budget and wishes and would not upsell them if they did not want. With some customers we’d be doing a $100k or more kitchen – they’d ask for laminate – then change their minds when we’d get them to a showroom to take a look at it compared to “engineered wood” , tile, terracotta or terrazzo. Some clients wanted natural hardwood floors extended throughout the house. While we’d suggest that kitchen conditions (water spills etc.) were not good with solid wood – we’d accept client wishes – especially when told that a $250k kitchen was never really going to be used for cooking.
Oh, you screwed this for me! My wife read it and won’t approve me buying it anymore.
Haha, every time I use the shears, I can’t help but think of it’s “other” uses.
They make a plumbing job fun and you could probably film them cutting 2″ pvc, post it on youtube as a “satisfying video”, and get a million views.
Make sure you use a laminate blade too, just in case you’re not, which is a cheaper investment at 7.25” I suppose as well. They last a huge amount longer than your regular demo or finish blades in my experience. Most of the usual hardware store and online carry them. Sometimes they carry blades labeled for non-ferrous metal rather than the laminate labeled one, but for Diablo at least, they mark the non-ferrous blade as being for laminate. It might actually be a newer revision of the blade with a revised marking, since I have seen the laminate labeled blades disappear more and more, and the non-ferrous labeled ones crop up in their place.
Why would you doubt my seeing this? I don’t always respond to comments in a timely manner, but I read everything.
Merry Christmas to you too!
YOU READ ALL OF THE COMMENTS?
(Takes hat off)
You, sir, are dedicated.
Thanks for all of the deal finding, reviews and suggestions! This has been my number one place to find out what’s happening in the tool world.
I’d have to say that my favorite tool this year is the M18 Fuel metal cutting circular saw. I know it came out last year. I received a sample then, but it just sat around because I didn’t know what to do with it.
Then I got into welding this fall and discovered what a joy the little saw is to use. It’s fast and light. It blows my mind that I can cut 1/4″ steel like I’m cutting through a board with a regular circular saw.
I’ve been wondering about that metal saw… I just can’t justify $200+ for a saw that shields me a little better than my standard circular saw…
What’s the difference to you between a standard 6.5″ saw with a metal cutting blade in it, vs. the m18 fuel metal saw?
I’ve used with good success cutting metal siding with my bosch 18v cordless circle saw. https://www.amazon.com/Oshlun-SBNF-065060-Diamond-Knockout-Aluminum/dp/B003XREDXC/ref=sr_1_1?s=hi&ie=UTF8&qid=1545617506&sr=1-1&keywords=Oshlun+SBNF-065060
Last fathers day, my son bought me Milwaukee M12 drill and driver set… and I got unleashed. Got hacksaw (was most practical with removal of branches, but also all kind of odd jobs, including sawing off stubborn kitchen faucet,) stapler, and 1/4 in ratchet wrench, all of which I could not be happier with.
Most useful M12 tool was the new rocket tower light – which is how I discovered this site. USB headlamp came in useful too, I do a fair bit of work around the garden in the dark.
No, I take it back, most useful was the M12 inflator; besides its direct purpose, got me reputation of a kind uncle from neighborhood kids who needed their bike tires inflated. Also came in handy with RO filter water tank, so much better than repeatedly switching bicycle pump and pressure meter.
Very glad with Milwaukee tool belt with suspenders, lets me balance on a ladder with both screwdriver and a drill. Milwaukee clips (except the bigger one on stapler) were very practical, pouches that came with the belt accommodate the small M12 tools much better, leaving a few pockets for screws and bolts and hand tools. Oh, and Magnagrip wristband to keep a few screws handy. Got a pair of Firm Grip fingerless gloves (only thumb, index, and middle are fingerless), spared me from a lot of bruises and splinters while allowing handling of screws and other delicate pieces.
Starrett angles measurer satisfies my needs, unlike the battery operated one (Husky?) which I lost. This site convinced me to buy Milwaukee Stud tape, which I did not really need (too bulky for my me), but at $10 promo I could not resist.
Got Milwaukee utility knife (48-22-1903, with storage,) which changed my idea of what this tool should be; will probably need to get one for my wife so she stops swiping in.
M12 Fuel Stubby 1/2″ Impact Wrench. 250 ft lbs of torque. The M12 Compact Tire Inflator comes in at a close second. Man are these handy tools.
It’s hard to pick just one, but for me it would be this https://m.ebay.com/itm/Blackhawk-By-Proto-24-Piece-Rachet-Set-BWD-1324CS-Used-/283296569480?ul_ref=http://rover.ebay.com/rover/1/711-53200-19255-0/1?icep_ff3=2&pub=5574735181&toolid=10001&campid=5336086427&icep_item=283296569480&ipn=psmain&icep_vectorid=229466&kwid=902099&mtid=824&kw=lg&srcrot=711-53200-19255-0&rvr_id=1792995434978&rvr_ts=db7bcf341670ab6104f28e83ffbd0312&_mwBanner=1&_rdt=1&ul_noapp=true&pageci=fdd73a11-a2e0-483b-87ad-de48b64c543c. I’ve no idea why people wouldn’t buy these, but the only way to get these now is eBay and the like. It took me a while to find the whole set, but I love this set. It’s light, yet heavy duty, can get just about anywhere and of course replaces a lot of tools (sockets, deep sockets, drivers, etc.)
The best tool I purchased this year which made the most difference in completing my work safely, quickly, and with the greatest variety of settings has been the Milwaukee Super Sawzall M18 with the 12.0 Amp battery. I am a plumber near Houston, Texas and a lot of my repair calls are for old galvanized water pipes that have begun to leak. My previous reciprocating saw was a Ridgid Gen 4 that would S-L-O-W-L-Y cut through pipes and stop halfway through. The Milwaukee Super Sawzall absolutely rips through galvanized piping, allowing me to cut it swiftly with one pull of the trigger. The variable speed wheel allows me to control the intensity depending on what I happen to be cutting.
In a distant second place, I purchased a two pack of Makita 5.0 Amp batteries that happen to fit my Copper Press Tool and Sewer Inspection Monitor. Coming from the stock batteries, the 5.0 give a tremendous upgrade to battery life. It’s awesome that I no longer have to charge the same four batteries on every job, and that these two batteries typically last me about 2-3 weeks now.
Last tool that’s been a game changer for me has been the Milwaukee M12 copper cutters. I never realized how much time is lost by having to cut copper manually by hand. These copper cutters can’t get into some of the tight spaces I need to, but they work great for cutting off pieces of 10′ length pipe off my truck and bringing into the house.
Interesting. I bought some of the 2471-20 M12 tubing cutters about 3years before I retired – probably 2009. Some of the guys did not like them – and the others that did told me that they stopped working – even with fresh batteries.
Maybe Milwaukee has improved it.
Reminds me of the pack of LENOX Gold 960G – 9′ 10TPI Titanium Edge Demolition Reciprocating Blades I bought for my Dewalt 20V Sawzall. Cut up a 250 gallon heating oil tank into six pieces safely. Saved me a fortune doing it myself.
We cut up hundreds of home oil storage tanks over the years. We used Kett nibblers. They worked fast and well but created something like a million little metal discs that needed to be cleaned up.
Not sure if you’ll get this as the post was from a while ago, but if you’re cutting galvanized pipe, nothing is better than the M12 Bandsaw.
I was working in Houston this past year on all the flooded homes and had to cut out 100s of feet of that old galvanized pipe to replace it with Pex.
My M12 Bandsaw became my favorite cutter. More accurate than a reciprocating saw, and no heat and debris like a grinder. Nice clean, and fairly quick. You would never heft a Bandsaw into an attic before to cut a pipe but the M12 Bandsaw can go places a Bandsaw never could before. It’s almost therapeutic as you cut with it…
I bought it years ago, but my favorite tool this year by far is my Harbor Freight ratcheting crimping tool. I did a lot of low voltage electrical work and this tool did a fantastic job crimping those cheap terminals that Menards sells.
Favorite tool for the year has to be the 3inch 12v cutoff tool from Milwaukee. I have found so many uses for the thing. It doesn’t eat cutting wheels as fast as I thought it would. The only complaint I have about it is that it didn’t come out sooner.
I was looking at that too, but I would only be using it for tile cutting. Have you used it for that, and if so, do you find it’s a big improvement from a grinder with a diamond blade?
I was considering it because my grinder has power, but it can chip and crack the tile due to vibrations. I thought the little m12 tool might be able to make those long sliver cuts better.
Have you looked at the Makita 12V wet saw – bare tool now $84 with the Makita $25 off deal at Home Depot
I knew guys who used the older 9.6V version and liked it.
SR 6-A22. The thing is the smoothest and gentlest demo tool I’ve ever used. Can run it for hours destroying things and then still have my hands useable afterwards for building things ? something that you can’t easily put a price on, honestly.
New to me tool that I’ve enjoyed the most? Probably the M18 rocket light or Bosch 470 barrel grip jigsaw.
New tool deal I’m most excited about? Craftsman made in the USA 52″ 10 drawer tool chest, which between Lowe’s price matching Sears’ Craftsman 52″ cabinet, 15% off for finding a few scratches on the floor model, and 10% off for Lowe’s cardmember, was $265 out the door.
bought this year I think my favorite is now my Bosch ROS20V – 5 inch random orbit sander. It was cheaper than the other I was looking at – connects to the shop vac out of the box – amazing dust collection using that method – and smooth with speed control. WHich I didn’t think I’d use that much but I do.
Second is probably the Empire Level – straight edge cutting guide. Odd I know but it was on sale and by the time I bought the wood to make my own guide system – I could buy this and it comes apart and it’s ridgid and I don’t have to worry about the other plywood one warping. so far- so good.
Probably a second tie is my new shopvac I got on sale with the lowes black friday thing. SS body 12gallon. so much stronger than my previous one that I can run though a cyclone bucket (yes bucket the 6 dollar DIY cyclone) and I use the dust bag and filter.
But reading this I now need to get a bosch flexi-clik or however it’s speeelt. And on my wish list
Milwaukee Surge. Hands down. I’m an admitted DIY guy with no pro aspirations or experience, but that thing can do everything I ask it to, quietly, with little effort, and without destroying screws. That alone is worth it. It’s also had the side benefit of getting me into the Milwaukee M18 bare tools, which usually are much higher quality than the Ryobi/Skil/Kobalt stuff I used to buy, and often at similar prices if I wait around long enough.
I got the thing by accident in a shipping mistake. I was going to return it but started to look into what it was and it sounded great, so I just bought the thing. I had destroyed the heads on more fasteners than I could count using my old drill around the house this summer, and this thing is a godsend. The speed control to use the same tool for everything from delicate furniture applications to driving lags into studs for wall-mounting is amazing. I had looked at impacts before but never got one because I figured my drill could cover 90% of the tasks an impact could, and would be much quieter for around the house stuff. I would occasionally overdrive a screw or would really need to bear down to get it through with the limited torque on the budget drill, but I just chalked it up as the cost of doing business. But this thing is awesome, quiet, and just so smooth.
Long story short, the drill pretty much sits on my bench now unless I’m doing a job using two different types of fasteners, or I need to drill wider diameter holes.
Honorable mention to the Kobalt 80V string trimmer. Tons of power, well balanced, and quiet. Quiet is my 2018 tool theme.
Wiha precision screwdriver set. Not new to me, but highly appreciated this year with an 11-month old. They’ve been awesome with all of the tiny, junky screws that come with kids’ toys.
My favorite new tool of 2018 is the Milwaukee M12 soldering iron. It’s the first battery powered iron I’ve used that’s worth the space it takes in my box (and I’ve tried a lot of them!) It has saved a ton of time at work.
An overall better quality of life purchase this year though was finally investing in an air compressor for my garage at home. Normally when I’ve absolutely needed a compressor I go use the one at work, but finally made the leap a couple months ago and now I don’t know how I lived without one at home all these years. I got the NorthStar 2HP 20 gallon vertical compressor from Northern Tool.
My favorite tool of 2018 has been my Milwaukee M18 Fuel Table saw. I installed a 40T Diablo blade and I just love this beauty! Frankly I took a bit of a risk since I don’t NEED a cordless unit but felt it would be another feature to simplify my work site and it has been a very useful feature . It cuts smooth, fast and accurately. The battery lasts and lasts!
A close second is my Hitachi 18V Cordless Brushless Plastic Strip 3-1/2″ Framing Nailer (NR1890DR) this Nailer has performed flawlessly. With over 4K nails pushed through it I have yet to have a misfire.
Blue Spruce Tool Works Ultimate Coping Saw
Wonderfully light, incredibly high tension, just gorgeous and lovely to use.
It’s markedly larger in proportion (esp. the handle) than the typical coping saw, but still feels quick and nimble when cutting.
It’s the most recent of my “Buy it for life” tool replacements, and makes me want a full set of tools from them.
Look both gorgeous an functional
Another nice choice are the saws from Knew Concepts:
Yeah, I really regret not getting the previous version of the Knew Concepts Coping Saw — before the birdcage version there was one made of 1/8″ titanium sheet — that regret was a big part of how I could justify what I spent on the Blue Spruce saw (it doesn’t hurt that Dave Jeske got started making tools for Bridge City Toolworks — the Jointmaker Pro is on my list of tools to buy before retirement, and I’ve really been enjoying my BR-6 Zero-Glare Bench Rule)
I see that Lee Valley is now carrying in-stock Bridge-City USA Made tools. With Bridge City now owned by a Chinese company – and them producing a line of “Bridge City” tools in China – we may all wonder how long USA production will last.
Stuart has opined about this in a few prior posts.
I’m not seeing much discussion of Bridge City Tool Works tools here — one link to John Economaki’s blog (discussing calipers), but no real mention of the tools, which is a shame.
Hopefully there will be more mention of them now that they’ll be more accessible due to the lower prices offshoring should facilitate.
The offshoring thing is a separate discussion, which I’m really tired of. Folks should be willing to pay what tools are worth, and what it costs to produce them where they want them made.
In John’s latest blog post (link here, he says:
It just occurred to me today that the last Bridge City tools made in the United States are the Universal Gages.
I don’t feel very good about that.
William, there are several reasons for that. First, they are (were?) very premium-priced tools, mainly aimed at seasoned professionals or hobbyists with deeper pockets. I did buy some small items for review and discussion, but haven’t gotten to it yet. Posts about premium-priced tools tend to draw very strong comments about pricing, and so they often get prioritized a little. Their limited availability is also an issue since you often have to wait very long times for production runs.
I bought a center drilling jig, and will likely have to wait years for the multi-functional jaws since they weren’t available when I purchased the jig a few years ago.
I have always tried to by the tools that best fit my purpose or needs (when I was running businesses) – tried to do a cost benefit analysis around capital (we defined this as over $500 on a single item) purchases and tried to be rational about items costing less. I was more interested in feedback from the crews and what we learned about things like tool performance and longevity, than I was about COO. I think that we were early adopters of Makita tools- back in the 1960’s and 1970’s – not so much based on price – but on performance versus price. In the plumbing business we tried out and bought Knipex plier wrenches almost 20 years ago – not because they were German-made but because the guys thought they outperformed other alternatives.
Bridge City tools were a bit different – interesting designs – looking to be nicely made and finished. But I could not ever seem to pull the trigger on most of their items for either my home shop or businesses. I did buy one of their Kerfmaker measure-transfer tools and use it on and off – liking it well enough. But their planes always seemed in the price range of some of those antiques (Norris et. al.) that I’ve collected over the years rather than priced like those I more often use (Lie-Nielsen and Veritas).
The JointMaker Pro – looks interesting – but I’m slowing down on my furniture making and over $2200 for a full setup is a big investment – despite its good reviews. Maybe if I had a big batch of dollhouses to build …
Got a 10” Old Ryobi power planer for $40 at a flee market. Man this thing is useful.