10 Hand Tool Upgrades You Need to Get Your Hands On
It turns out even basic hand tools that have been around for a hundred years can be improved. Check out these well-thought-out updates and redesigns.
Every editorial product is independently selected, though we may be compensated or receive an affiliate commission if you buy something through our links. Ratings and prices are accurate and items are in stock as of time of publication.
Fun Size Pocket Level
The Die Cast Pocket Level from Milwaukee has everything that you might look for in a pocket level. It uses Milwaukee’s Amplified Rare Earth Magnet Technology, which redirects and focuses the level’s magnetic field to create the best magnet hold in the business. Another great feature of this tool is its 360-degree vial locking mechanism, which gives it the functionality of a protractor. The adjustable vial locks in place so you can identify and then replicate any angle.
Dark Name, Bright Numbers
Lufkin has created a tape measure with a black background and high-contrasting bright green markings. And if this isn’t cool enough, the Black Widow has markings on both sides.
The Toughest New Wire Stripper
Klein’s Heavy-Duty Wire Stripper is four times stronger than Klein’s traditional wire strippers. It’s perfect for stripping 10 AWG solid and 12-20 AWG stranded wire all day long. Its thick jaw can twist up to three wires at once. With precision-ground stripping holes and cutting knives that are induction-hardened to last longer, this pouch-sized tool makes a great addition to any electrician’s belt.
Best Screwdriver Handle Ever?
The best way to make a good tool is to listen to the folks that use them. Milwaukee conducted research into common problems workers were having with their screwdrivers on the job, resulting in revamped drivers with handles that effortlessly slide in and out of a tool-belt pouch. The handles also have lanyard holes, strike caps that can take a beating, and identifying marks on the top of the handle so you don’t have to guess what kind of driver you’re pulling from your pouch.
Make Old Tools Feel New
Are some of your tools starting to feel old and worn down? Sometimes, the actual tool itself is still in great shape — it’s just the grip that needs changing. That’s where Re-Grip comes in. Re-Grip is an easy-to-use product to add or replace a grip easily and efficiently. The Re-Grip doesn’t even need glue or heating for application. All you do is slip the grip onto the tool handle and pull the plastic zip to tighten it on. Re-Grip comes in three sizes to fit tools like as wheelbarrows, shovels and hammers.
Less Drivers = Lighter Pouch?
Klein Tools has a two-in-one hex head, eliminating clutter from your tool belt. The driver doubles as a 1/4-in. and 5/16-in. hex driver using Klein Tools’ patented tip. The tip slides back and forth easily between settings. It also has a tip lock so you don’t accidentally slip to a different size.
Bosch Custom Case System
Bosch talked to frustrated workers tired of wasting time and came up with a custom case to make finding bits a lot easier. The Bosch Custom Case is made up of removable bit clips, so you can just take out sections of bits at a time.
Festool Inspection Light
The Festool STL 450 Inspection Light lets you shine a light up close to your work so you can spot any potential flaws before your customers do. The STL 450 evenly distributes the 1,500 lumens of light, giving you an ideal amount of visibility for painting, wall finishes and hanging drywall. It can be mounted on a tripod or hand-held, and it comes with rugged full-body protection so it can survive anything the jobsite throws at it. And like most Festool tools, it features industry-leading dust and water protection.
Milwaukee Jobsite Backpack
Haven’t used a backpack since high school? Well, that might be about to change. This rugged and durable pack features enough pockets to store a toolbox full of equipment. These pockets are designed to fit tools, with slots for screwdrivers and pouches for pliers. The Ultimate Jobsite Backpack is perfect for jobs where you need to move around a lot and can’t lug your fifty-pound tool chest.
Milwaukee Personal Lighting Products
Charging small tools with micro USB cords is definitely a growing trend in the construction industry. It makes sense. Most people have USB chargers on hand, and the micro USB cable is the most common charging cable for small electronics.
This line of personal lighting products from Milwaukee features the 700L Flashlight, Hard Hat Headlamp and Pocket Flood Light, all easily rechargeable via micro USB. Milwaukee claims that these rechargeable batteries will last all day.
The 700L Flashlight looks especially impressive, with 16 hours of charge time and an impact and chemical resistant aluminum body. It can even be submerged in up to one meter of water.