It was actually pretty hard to narrow it down to just 10 as we saw a lot of innovations this year from many many manufacturers. We are sticking with tools that actually hit the shelves and were used by professionals in 2017, not launched at a trade show but won’t be here until 2018 or later. We are just going to do a quick rundown of each as well as talk a little at the end for hopes for this year’s (2018) tool innovations.
10. Milwaukee PACKOUT Storage System – While storage solutions are nothing new for professional tool brands we do think the PACKOUT system has really changed the game and set the bar much higher for these systems. Much more tough and rugged than other popular systems from Dewalt, Ridgid and even Festool Systainer. The demand has been crazy with back orders possibly out until February. How is this a “Power Tool” innovation? We have seen some M12 FUEL Tools packed into the small PACKOUT already, M18 FUEL will be coming in Larger PACKOUTS very soon at aggressive pricing. Will it change the way we buy and store Power Tools? We have just 1 request for Milwaukee, please make an addition to the lineup with a Roller Cooler. Coptool Post on PACKOUT
9. Dewalt Flexvolt 16” Chain Saw DCCS670X1 – Announced in 2016 it really hit the streets this year, the first battery powered 16” chainsaw which works on a true power tool platform. While we wish it was slightly more powerful (equal to their 40V dedicated OPE unit) this saw can handle some serious wood clearing. Really takes us one step closer to the end of the small gas motor for anyone outside of true forestry work. Tough call between this and Makita 14” 18Vx2 Chain Saw XCU03 also a great option. More Info on FlexVolt Chain Saw
8. Makita 18Vx2 Track Saw XPS01PTJ – At the 1st ever Makita Media event this summer we saw a couple awesome innovations from Makita for their 18Vx2 platform including this track saw, new OPE, 10” Miter saw XSL06PT and much more. This unit really stood out from a practicality point of view, the track saw has not been a common tool for many in USA but 2017 got a lot of attention with this year as well as Flexvolt Track Saw DCS520ST1 also recently launched. This saw is nearly identical to their corded SP6000J with what feels like even more power. Working with all the existing Makita 18V batteries makes this a winner for us. Coptool Post on Makita Track Saw
7. Milwaukee Red Lithium USB Lighting – You may be wondering why we would add flashlights to the innovation list but in addition to being really nice high output lights what we like the most is this new battery system. The name “Red Lithium USB” is very descriptive but sort of gets lost, we were surprised it wasn’t something more trademarkable like RedCell or RedPack. This is basically a new battery platform for Milwaukee which provides a platform to go very compact. While these lights have been awesome and very popular we are excited to see where this new compact power source will take them. Coptool Post on Red Lithium USB
6. Diamond Products C14 Core Cut 14” Concrete Saw with Dust Extraction 48975KIT – 2017 was a big year for Silica Dust related tools, many tool attachments and vacs were in the market already but as we move into 2018 and beyond we think there will be a big shift away from attachments and towards tools with integrated dust collection. The C14 in not just about a vacuum port, for years electric saws have been under powered the C14 found a was to squeeze more juice out of 15 Amp service. It’s a very nice concrete cutting option for indoor use. More info on C14 Electric Saw
5. Milwaukee M18 Heat Gun 2866-21 – This tool is pretty straightforward advancement and makes you think, wait why did we not have this 5 years ago? A heat gun is a very common tool for professional trades and this battery solution is definitely the biggest innovation to happen to the heat gun category probably ever. Coptool Post on Milwaukee Heat Gun
4. Metabo 18V x2 9” Right Angle Grinder WPB 36-18 LTX BL230 – Just a few years ago we could not find a decent cordless 4.5″ grinder that could actually grind anything. Metabo really stepped up their game for 2017 with this new grinder that can handle a full 9″wheel. The option powered by two 18V batteries is a much more practically choice for those with other 18V tools. More Info on Metabo 9″ Cordless Grinders
3. Makita 18V trim Router XTR01 – Again another cordless power tool that seems so obvious you wonder why it wasn’t here years ago. This cordless tool has plenty of runtime for most small router applications. Works with all the existing accessories and plunge base, a very handy tool on the job or in the shop. More from the Makita Media Event
2. Milwaukee Switch Pack Drain Cleaner 2775-211 – Truly a ground up innovation to not only the first time we have seen a cordless drain cleaner of this size but also a total rethinking of how machines of this size should work. Bridging a drum machine and sectional and allowing for much more customization for choice in cable and length. We think this unit will be a bit of a sleeper as it may take some time to convert folks away from a traditional drum machine. Early feedback has been very positive, by the end of 2018 you will likely see a lot more of these units out there. Coptool Post on Milwaukee M18 Drain Cleaning
1. Dewalt Flexvolt 2.5 Gallon Air Compressor DCC2560T1 – Our most innovative tool of 2017 has got to go to this air compressor. There are millions of air nailers out there and cordless nailers are still pretty pricy as well as a little heavier than air finish nailers. This bridges the gap from air tools to cordless in a compact portable unit that provides solid air pressure and great runtime. The need for compressed air isn’t going away anytime soon and often needed away from the outlet. For professionals and home owners alike this unit will likely continue to grow in popularity, Dewalt is also rightly using it as a way to get their 20V Dewalt users into the Flexvolt battery platform. More on Flexvolt Air Compressor
**** Tool Innovations We are Looking Forward to In 2018 ****
Makita 18Vx2 SDS-MAX Rotary Hammer XRH07 with AVT & AWS – This Rotary Hammer is not the first cordless SDS-MAX but it is the first with over 8 ft. lbs force, first to have real anti-vibration technology and the first to wirelessly connect to dust collection. Thanks to the new Makita AWS Bluetooth system, another very interesting technology we will keep a close eye on for 2018 adding grinders, miter saw and track saw version.
Metabo Cordless 10” Table Saw & Cordless Vac – Earlier this year we were honored to take a trip to Germany to visit the Metabo factory. We got to see and use a working cordless 10” table saw, the US version would likely be an 18Vx2, only question we have is when we can get it. The other really cool innovation was on their cordless vac which can run off two 18V batteries or 36v batteries. Hitting 125 CFM for sure, potentially 150 CFM so it would meet Table 1 requirements for many silica tools. Where the big innovation is with the on/off vibration sensor which would work with any brand cordless tool to turn on/off with the tool saving a lot of battery life.
Bosch 12V 3-Plane Green Line Lasers – While we did see some exciting new products from Bosch in 2017 with their Brushless Recip and a handful of other launches much of it was to catch up to the competition. Looking at 2018 it seems like they are ready to lead the way again in several categories one of which is lasers. Launching both a red and green beam 3-axis line lasers that work off the 12V Max battery system at pricing that should be some of the most aggressive in the market.
Dewalt FlexVolt 9” Concrete Saw DCS690 – We had a look at the prototype of this unit at STAFDA but no concrete cutting inside the convention center. They promised to give us a crack at it during World of Concrete and that it would be hitting shelves soon after that. Also just saw a Cordless Wet Tile saw from Porter Cable we’d love to see a FlexVolt version of that one as well!
Milwaukee Answer to FlexVolt and 18Vx2 battery Systems – In 2017 as we saw Milwaukee went wide on tool innovations hitting lots of categories but not deep on their core power tool innovations. What has made Milwaukee a dominant brand today was their commitment back 10 years ago in 2008 at their first Media Event to really be the innovation leaders for the core trade tools. The FUEL brushless technology made them leaders in cordless Circular Saws, Sawzalls, Rotary Drills and more for several years they went somewhat unanswered. Today FlexVolt, LiHD cells and two battery platforms are now outperforming them in those areas, in 2017 we did not get an answer will 2018 be the year? Will Steve Richman and Elon Musk be announcing a joint partnership on a new battery technology at #NPS2018?