What DIYers Should Know About Bluetooth-Connected Tools
Bluetooth-enabled power tools offer advanced features and function, plus they're super cool! If you like the latest and greatest tools, read on.
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What are Bluetooth-Connected Tools?
Since Milwaukee Tool first introduced its One-Key Bluetooth system in 2015, several tool manufacturers have been exploring multiple creative uses for integrated Bluetooth connectivity in power tools. Many of the features are oriented toward professional applications where many workers or multiple job sites come into play, but there are also some smart solutions for at-home DIY users. Here’s an overview of functional uses for Bluetooth-connected tools on the market.
Dust Collection Auto-Starting
Useful for home DIYers and pros alike, auto-starting and stopping your dust control vacuum with a Bluetooth wireless connection is a creative solution with multiple benefits. It saves time, and it reduces fatigue because your vacuum isn’t running constantly, even when your power tool stops. The wireless option also eliminates the potential hazard of tripping on cords connected to a power source.
The Makita AWS (Auto-Start Wireless System) can handle to 10 AWS-enabled Makita tools, so you could connect a miter saw, rotary hammer, circular saw and angle grinder all at once. Festool offers a clever Bluetooth wireless remote control built into the end of the vacuum hose so you can turn it on and off right where you’re working.
Selective Power Boosting
Ridgid’s Octane system can benefit DIY users as well as professionals, utilizing Bluetooth communication to allow more power throughput when you pair an Octane battery with an Octane tool. This cleverly maintains long-running universal compatibility, where every 18V Ridgid battery works with every 18V tool while upgrading power for new tools designed to handle the added load.
The Ridgid 18V Octane Hammer Drill and Impact Driver benefit from the extra power when you’re drilling through some hard concrete or driving 3-1/2 in. screws. We recommend buying Ridgid tools directly from The Home Depot to qualify for their standout Lifetime Service Agreement (LSA), which includes lifetime replacement of batteries, (as long as you register within 90 days of purchase.)
Tool inventory management systems are geared for larger-scale professional applications where you might be working with many tools across multiple job sites. DeWalt’s comprehensive Tool Connect system includes centralized tracking of tools, equipment and materials via the web portal or mobile app. Accessing all the information in one place can help with tool planning across multiple projects or job sites. System benefits include fewer lost tools and less wasted time searching or waiting for tools. The system is integrated into tools such as the rotary laser, impact driver, and LED area light.
Milwaukee’s One-Key system is another big player with extensive inventory management features.
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Tool Settings Control
Tool settings control could be equally useful for home and pro users. Bosch offers Bluetooth-enabled settings control for its Active Response kickback control and Precision Clutch features via an optional connectivity tool module. Kickback control is a safety feature that can sense if a drill is starting to rotate. It cuts power quickly, potentially saving you from a wrist injury. You can use their Toolbox App to tailor your tool settings for specific project needs, and then save the settings as a reference for future projects. The Bosch GSB18V-755CN 18V Hammer Drill/Driver is one of their “connected-ready” tools that benefit from these features.
Tool Reporting and Diagnostics
These are pro-oriented features that allow for tracking and reporting of data like battery status, operating temperature, duty cycles or crimping statistics. This can help with preventive maintenance scheduling to keep tools in top condition and in service longer. It can also provide data to manufacturers to identify weak points and make design improvements.
Milwaukee’s Force Logic 600 MCM Crimper uses its One-Key system to record crimping pressure and time of crimping. Then the system automatically generates reports to share this data. Reports like these can be useful in utility and commercial trades for job completion records, quality control, and reports that can easily be passed on to inspectors or owner representatives.
Remote Battery Disabling
Bluetooth connectivity can give you the power to use virtual fencing triggers or manually disable a specific battery if it leaves a job site. This clever theft deterrent feature discourages would-be thieves because these batteries are useless if stolen.
Milwaukee’s One-Key system, available on tools like the M18 Fuel Sawzall Reciprocating Saw, implements this feature using its tool lock-out functionality, which also lets you set access codes to share with authorized users. DeWalt’s Tool Connect offers remote disabling built-in to their Bluetooth-enabled tools. They also offer the DCE040 Connector, letting you retrofit older tools with a module that inserts between the tool and battery to add remote disabling and other Tool Connect features.
Measuring Tool Control and Reporting
The Bosch Blaze GLM 50 C Laser Distance Measure is an example of Bosch’s Bluetooth-enabled measuring tool lineup, which leverages connection with a mobile device to save time and reduce errors. This device takes measurements up to 165-ft. within one-sixteenth-inch accuracy, measures angles with a built-in inclinometer, and calculates functions like area and volume. The key functional advantage: You don’t have to stop and transcribe each measurement like you would with a regular tape measure. This saves time and reduces potential transcribing or communication errors.