Category Archives: Electrician Tools
A couple years ago RIDGID launched their all in one RE6 solution for electrical trades to cut, crimp and knockout all from one tool. RIDGID of course has been the name brand for professional plumber tools but less well known to electricians for professional electrical tools, who might associate the RIDGID name with the home owner focused tools at Home Depot (a confusing distinction of a separate division, made by a different company).
Looking past the slow start for the Ridgid RE6 Tool Lineup, from the feedback we have received from professional electricians now using this RE6 tool on a daily basis is that they love it. Simplifying these 3 jobs into 1 very portable package means the right tool is close at hand. Now they are updating the package and offering a pretty attractive promo through end of June 2016.
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Thermal Imaging Camera have come a long way from the $20,000+ units the military used in the 1980’s to this new 7,854 Pixel (102×77) camera 2258-21 for under $500. Thermal imaging cameras can really change the way we do so many job in plumbing, electrical, HVAC, remodeling, engine repair, roofing and so many more. Up until now the cost of a camera has just been so far out of reach (even $2-5K just a few years ago) that is was very hard to justify. Drop that down to a price you don’t need to take a loan out for and it’ll easily pay for itself in time and problem savings within the first few months.
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Each year Milwaukee Tool brings in a large group of media folks from various magazines and tool focused blog sites. They really gear their following 9 months of product launches around this annual event so they invest the time and energy into making the event a big deal. This year was again bigger than ever before and the Red team really showed us some impressive leaps forward in cordless tools as well as expanding their trade focus for hand tools and accessories.
For our “predictions” post we missed the mark completely still no M18 FUEL Hackzall or M18 10’ Mitersaw or Remote Controlled Cooler… at least not for the rest of 2015. Great news is our hope for events several years from now cometh early with the launch of the 9.0Ah High Demand battery. We thought that might be 2017 or 2018 before we would see cordless tools with demands of higher outputs and run-times. The 9.0Ah battery makes possible the first ever cordless 1-9/16” SDS-Max Rotary Hammer Drill which can chip non-stop for 20 minutes on a single battery. This thing uses the same front end as their corded model and hits just as hard, incredibly impressive!
On M18 FUEL 7-1/4″ circluar saw or M18 FUEL Sawzall this battery will go all day long. Charge time with the new M12/M18 RAPIDCHARGE charger can fill these huge fuel tanks in about 90-100 minutes which is certainly reasonable. (more…)
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Klein Tools recently did an online survey of professional electricians, 201 responded 40% union, 60% non-union. All with varying years of experience and were asked questions about skill levels they perceive in the work force and levels of training. It would appear for the majority the feeling is there is a need for more training and higher skill levels on the job-site.
One comment that caught our eye and we would agree with “Electricians are at a renaissance as new technology constantly replaces old standards and practices,” said Mark Klein co-president of Klein Tools. With rapid changes to tools, processes and building technology it’ll be more important than ever before to get proper training before these changes are made. The responsibility should fall in part on the manufacturers of the new tools and/or building products to ensure training on use and installation is readily available as well as effective.
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Milwaukee has made a commitment to expand their Storage Solutions and these tackle box style tool organizers are the next logical step. These are not going to be options for tool storage like the Bosch L-Boxx system but are very handy for storing a variety of nuts, bolts, fasteners, connectors, other odds and ends. You have probably seen similar Stanley or Dewalt boxes which are popular at the home centers for $20-$30. Looking to be more than just a “me too” product the Milwaukee Tool Organizer 48-22-8030 ($29) has made some compelling improvements they hope will make you go with the red ones over the yellow.
Starting with the outside the Milwaukee boxes have reinforced ribbing for extra durability. A weather strip seal keeps moisture out of the box protecting the contents from rust and corrosion. One of the biggest problem with these style of organizers is getting to the goodies in the bottom boxes which can be a hassle. With the Milwaukee’s you can open the bottom boxes even when stacked multiple units. The boxes themselves are also 20% larger which makes the bins much more functional which was one of the largest complaints with other options on the market.
Inside, the individual bins are pretty cleverly designed, they can be taken out and can hang on an edge or by screw slots. Each organizer includes 8 smaller 4”x4” bins and 2 larger 8”x4” bins which can be arranged in various ways. The lid forms a seal around each bin so there in no bin spillage when transporting even if flipped upside-down. Entire Rows of bins can also be removed to free up larger space for small hand tools or longer items but still keeps all the remaining bins from moving around. Very versatile design.
These new Milwaukee Tool storage solutions should be in-stores by the end of June and we fully expect to see more Milwaukee storage options to keep coming.
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For years electricians made large diameter holes in electrical boxes with knockout sets that were either manually cranked by a ratchet or hydraulically powered with a hand pump, hose and a lot of fussing. In recent years battery powered Knockouts have become much more popular because they are way more productive but a good GreenLee or Milwaukee tool set (even without any punch or dies) will put you back around $1300.
No questions these are the fastest, best option for high volume production but are a bit pricy for some to justify. We’ve seen the Mechanical Knockout tools growing in popularity in the last few years because they offer good performance, close to the cordless/hydraulic tools at a much lower cost. The Current Mechanical Knockout 163 ($549) is at a pretty attractive price point and with the full 1/2″-2” set Mechanical Knockout 162PM is only $779.
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Last September Ridgid launched the innovative RE 6 Tool System for Electricians which can cut cable up to 750 MCM (Cu/Al), crimp without needing dies and punch holes into electrical boxes up to 3.5”. While Ridgid has made a name for themselves with innovative products in the plumbing and mechanical trades they have always had a much smaller offering for professional electricians. While the Ridgid RE 6 had great response and a lot of interest, the price has been user’s main objection.
Many people looking for a new tool simply didn’t need to replace all 3 tool at once so there was not an immediate saving vs buying just a new less expensive single function tool which might need replaced, like a GreenLee Die-Less Crimp ($3699), GreenLee Cable Cutter ($1349) or Milwaukee M18 Knockout Set ($1549). For the time being, at least until end of June, the new RE 6 kits drop in price, $800 drop for the 3 Head kit, $600 on 2 Head Kits and $400 for single head kits.
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For those that aren’t familiar with the Current Tool brand they are a relatively new manufacturer (little over 15 years) focused on tools for professional electricians. Several reasons we’ve found many pros like the brand; first almost everything they make is built in USA Greenville, SC. Second they are very responsive with customer service and rarely ever back orders. Third even though they make the product in the USA they are very competitively priced vs Greenlee or Gardner Bender. Fourth many of their parts/components such as shoes, punch, dies, etc are interchangeable with other brands. Finally the quality has been very good.
Recently Current Tool launched their new Omni Bender 747 ($6299) and while this production isn’t going to win them any Oscars (please at least turn the camera horizontal) the video does do a nice job of showing the benefits and features.
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The latest Ridgid Spring Fling Promotion is now available. These are all Mail-In Rebate offers for additional free product with the purchase of specific products or the most common combinations of product. The Ridgid brand while known for excellent quality products for professional plumbers, electricians and other trades they are not known for much discounting or sales so this annual promo really has become the most popular time of the year to purchase Ridgid Tools. (more…)
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