Editor’s note: This post was written by Rick LaFaver. You can find him on YouTube, Instagram and on the web as WoodWorkLIFE. He attended The Home Depot’s annual event for industry and influencers, PROspective. The following post reflects his experience at the event! – David Lyell
This week, The Home Depot (THD) launched their annual PROspective. Those in attendance received an early look at what is coming from your favorite tool brands at THD. I found a bunch of awesome woodworking innovations for the power tool enthusiast. Not only did we get a chance to work hands-on with some awesome prototype tools, but we also got a heads up to whats coming up in 2018.
This year the focus was on battery power – like Tim-the-tool-man-Taylor kind of power. Ridgid debuted their 9.0Ah smart battery with the Ridgid Octane battery and Octane tools. This 18v battery features Bluetooth connectivity to disable the battery if it wanders out of range from a paired phone to dissuade job site thieves. It also features smart technology to scale the power delivery based on feedback from the Octane tool it is connected to. This combo maintains compatibility with Ridgid’s entire 18v tool system.
DeWalt also debuted 3.0Ah and 60v 9.0Ah FLEXVOLT batteries featuring the latest in lithium-ion cell technology, while reducing the size of the actual battery case. Amazingly, using these new lithium cells, DeWalt’s 60v 9.0Ah battery is the same size as Ridgid’s 18v variety. The FLEXVOLT system also maintains backward compatibility with 18v tools.
Most companies are boosting the power of their battery powered tools while shrinking the size of their 18v tools. I also noticed a drive towards more powerful and capable 12v tools from companies like Makita and Milwaukee.
Makita showcased their slimmed-down line of LXT sub-compact 18v tools. These new tools are light and ergonomic and will likely supplant the 12v tools in some tradesperson’s tool belts. they even showcased a brushless 18V sub-compact rotary hammer that weighs only 4lbs without sacrificing any of the OSHA dust collection standards for the masonry work.
Milwaukee showcased some great looking 12v tools and some interesting innovations in cordless powered riveting machines. They also demonstrated a brand new cordless random orbital sander that I am really excited to get my hands on. Finally, they unveiled a complete line of cordless lighting – with every LED light fixture you could imagine.
Some of the tools that excited me the most at the event were an 18v airless pin-nailer from Ryobi’s One+ line that really fits a need for me. I have never found myself in a position where I needed to fire pins so fast that I would be willing to give up the benefit of a battery powered nailer, and with an integrated alignment gauge, you can easily and neatly place nails in the same spot one after another.
Another tool I was pretty excited about was the 60v worm drive style saw from DeWalt. It is great to see another worm drive style saw to compete with Makita and their 36v monster. The nice thing about this one is the inboard placement of the battery and the increased power that it delivers with a single battery. I have always been a fan of the classic Skilsaw Wormdrive circular saw, and DeWalt claims that their model spins even faster and with more power than the Skilsaw. If they can get the balance and ergonomics right, this will be a game changer for carpenters especially, but woodworkers too.
I was also super excited about Ridgid’s powerful MegaMax system. This is the ultimate multi-tool with a super powerful right angle drill attachment, SDS attachment and a reciprocating saw attachment. The nice thing about this tool is that the heads can be attached in 4 different orientations relative to the handle and it is extraordinarily powerful – I couldn’t bog down the right angle drill with a 2 ½” auger bit with my whole body weight.
Other products to note from the event were Dremel’s debut to the Laser printer market to accompany their CNC machine. Ridgid’s refresh of their nail gun line up, including a few innovations that I really need to put through their paces. Diablo’s new line of mesh sanding pads that improve dust collection. Bosch and Makita showcased their lines of OSHA compliant rotary hammers with fantastic dust collection. Makita showed off their backpack vacuum rig to accompany their sub-compact rotary hammer and their Bluetooth linked vacuum to accompany their cordless professional tools…thus the entirely necessary DustBuster’s pic. Bosch’s tools focus on specialty bits to collect dust while Makita’s focus on a dust shroud for existing bits.
In measurement and layout news, Bosch showcased some of their new Blaze laser measurement products. These tools are clearly getting smarter and now pair with a smartphone app to not only store measurements, but also build a model of the room you are measuring to bring onto a computer for further manipulation. Their laser rangefinder also features a display so you can pinpoint what you are actually referencing, boasting accuracy of within 1/16th of an inch over 100 ft. They also debuted a full 360-degree self-leveling laser array so you can make an entire room plumb, level, and square with just one device.
On a personal note, Ridgid finally revamped their job site radio to feature USB charging. I just wanted an excuse to share @Danrcary hilarious Instagram post and to be fair, although they finally included a charger, they did not add the requisite tape deck I would need to play my copy of Michael Jackson’s thriller.
I toured Husky’s booth with an auto mechanic who has tool boxes full of Snap-On products and didn’t hear one sour word about their new line of rachets. I thought they were pretty nice for what it’s worth, then again, what do I know about ratchet sets? But here’s the payoff…they also brought some of the ORIGINAL ratchets designed by Husky’s founder Sigmund Mandl in 1924.
Anyways, thanks to The Home Depot for having us out. Back to fly-over country for me, to get back to work!