The 14 Most Innovative Tools of 2014

  • 1. A trouble-free trouble light

    1. A trouble-free trouble light
    At the heart of a Trouble Free light is a poly-carbon-covered bank of LED bulbs that turns out 180 watts of white light. Yet, the bulb consumes just 8 watts, making the Trouble Free bulb practically heat-free. The bulb is rated for 35 times the life of an incandescent bulb and greatly resists breaking. The light retails for $75, which includes a plastic-coated steel bulb cage as well as a 25-foot cord.

  • 2. An adjustable wrench that ratchets

    2. An adjustable wrench that ratchets!
    Sure, Crescent's latest wrench innovation is a take-off of the tried-and-true but tired adjustable wrench. But it has an innovative new twist. The tool offers ratcheting action (using an on-off switch) that allows it to act as a ratcheting wrench or a traditional adjustable wrench. The 8-inch Ratcheting Wrench retails for $20.23.

  • 3. An impact extension set that swivels

    3. An impact extension set that swivels
    The ultimate reach “out and into” tight spaces accessory for impact wrenches is offered in Snap-on’s 3/8-inch Drive Swivel Extension Set. The 2021PFX provides a full 30° swivel action and can be used with any shallow, semi-deep, deep, six-point, 12-point metric or SAE impact socket. The set, which includes a 6- and 9-inch-long extensions, sells for $137.50.

  • 4. High resolution video inspection tool

    4. Video inspection tool
    The first pocket-size video inspection scope on the market offers a 2-foot-long probe tipped off with a 9-millimeter camera. About the size of a smartphone, the PalmScope allows you to zoom to a four-time magnification. The camera offers a depth of field of 1 inch to 10 feet with a 60° field of view. Four LED lights on the camera head produce a video image on a 2.7-inch color LCD screen. The PalmScope sells for $150.

  • 5. Right angle impact driver

    5. Right angle impact driver
    Leave it to Milwaukee Tool to take the impact wrench into hard-to-reach areas. The company’s M18 ½-inch Hex Right Angle Impact Wrench has a head that is under 2 inches to reach into tight engine compartments. The wrench is no lightweight, delivering a whopping maximum 60 foot-pounds of torque in either two speed operating modes. The tool employs Milwaukee Tools 18-volt Redlithium compact battery.

  • 6. Handy dandy gimbal ratchet wrench

    6. Handy dandy gimbal ratchet wrench
    This is the ultimate in tight-access tools. Fitting snug in the palm of your hand, Gear Wrench’s ¼- or 3/8-inch gimbal ratchet employs a 72-tool ratcheting mechanism that provides for just a 5° swing arc to turn sockets in tight spaces. Both ratchets rotate on two planes for easier access. The tool's retail price is $20.53.

  • 7. Ultra-thin flexing files

    7. Ultra-thin flexing files
    Twice as thin as any file on the market, IPA’s Point & Contact Cleaners feature a highly abrasive diamond coating to readily clean electrical contacts as well as tackle general filing in tight spaces. The three files flex to fit into areas inaccessible to other files. The set includes 6-, 9-, and 15-millimeter files with nonslip handles and retails for $34.95.

  • 8. Cordless ratchet for tight spaces

    8. Cordless ratchet for tight spaces
    Perfect for working in an engine cavity, Craftsman’s C3 Max Axess Auto Ratchet provides up to 360 inch-pounds of torque. The 9-inch-long tool works with Craftsman’s Max Axess pass-through socket design, which allows you to work on fasteners or threaded rods. Features include a forward-reverse toggle switch, variable-speed paddle switch, and LED work light. The retail price on the tool alone is $69.99.

  • 9. Reach out, and way in, to grab on

    9. Reach out, and way in, to grab on
    The ultimate part grabber, the 14-inch-long Mantus is perfect for that job not only for its length but also thanks to the tool’s interlocking jaws. And the beauty of those jaws is that they provide a sure grip on a wide variety of surfaces including wires, hoses, gaskets, O-rings, fuses, and more. The 14-inch Mantus sells for $24.95.

  • 10. Traveling vise works off receiver hitch

    10. Traveling vise
    Wilton dubbed its latest innovation an All-Terrain Vise or ATV, as the clamp readily slips into any 2-inch truck receiver hitch. A mounting bracket converts the ATV into a bench vise when attached to a workbench. Once the vise is inserted into the hitch receiver, it is secured by a hitch pin. The ATV offers a clamping force up to 1 ton, and its 6-inch-wide jaws open up 5¾ inches. The retail price is $199.99.

  • 11. A bullet-proof tool and computer back pack

    11. A bullet-proof backpack
    Constructed of 1680D (military-grade) Ballistic Material, Milwaukee Tool’s Jobsite Backpack is perfect for farm use as it not only carries a toolbox full of tools but fits nicely in machinery cabs. The backpack features a padded, breathable harness and a wealth of 35 storage pockets including a nifty laptop computer sleeve! And true to Milwaukee Tool quality, the Jobsite Backpack comes with a lifetime warranty.

  • 12. Extra leverage ratchet wrench

    12. Extra-long ratchet provides great leverage
    The FLL80 3/8-inch ratchet from Snap-on stretches out 17½ inches to readily reach into tight spots. That extra length also provides greater leverage. Combined with the FLL80’s 80-tooth gear ratchet with dual pawls (which engages seven teeth with gears at all times), it delivers a short swing arc to loosen tight fasteners. The FLL80 retails for $139.95.

  • 13. Cold saw slices through metal nearly 5 inches thick

    13. Cold saw slices through metal
    Scotchman took the cold metal saw to a new level with the CPO 350, which features a double clamping and self-centering vise that provides burr-free cuts employing a 14-inch-diameter blade capable of cutting through 47/8-inch-thick metal. Features include 135 degree° mitering ability, a miter-locking device that automatically stops at 45° left, 90º straight, and 45° right (giving it the ability to slot and notch) and three-year warranty.

  • 14. Two-pound wrench with 30 pounds of torque

    14. Two-pound wrench with 30 pounds of torque
    Measuring all of 11 inches long and weighing just over 2 pounds, Ingersoll Rand’s R1130 ratchet wrench offers up to 30 foot-pounds of torque. Features of the model R1130 include a variable-speed paddle trigger, a maximum speed of 260 rpm, and an all-metal gear train.

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