Since 2011, Tools in Action has been creating a list of our best power tools for each year. This year we created the list a little different. In the past, we picked tools from each category and found what we believed was the best tool in that category.
This year we wanted to create a list of tools that really stood out to us. It didn’t matter if the list was only two tools or 100 tools. While we saw a record number of power tool releases this year, we did want to keep the list on the short side since it was really the best of the best.
So with that said, let’s jump into the Best Power Tool Awards for 2017.
Best Battery Platform – Dewalt Flexvolt
We have to admit, this was a hard decision for us. Let’s face it Milwaukee, Makita, Bosch, Dewalt and other power tool manufacturers all have a solid line of power tool batteries. We went with Dewalt based on the power and the ability to increase efficiency. You can now truly run high demand tools such as a miter saw, tables saws and more with their 60V, but you also have the backward capability and use the same batteries in the Dewalt 20V tools. Having the 120V option is a huge plus.
Best Homeowner Brand – Ryobi
This was an easy pick. When it comes to the homeowner, no one comes close to Ryobi. Heck, even some professional brands don’t come close to Ryobi. Ryobi has a huge line of tools in their line up. Not only do they have a wide variety of cordless power tools, but they have practical products in their line up such as inflators, vacuums, fans, coolers and more. The best part of Ryobi, quality products for a reasonable price.
Best Hand Tool Brand – Klein
Klein has been making hand tools since 1857. Over the years electricians have become dependent on the quality tools Klein produces. Most of the hand tools are extremely comfortable and built for the job site. An American company making quality American tools with American workers for the American worker, well that’s a win all the way around.
Best Socially Conscious Company – Southwire
When it comes to socially responsible companies, no one comes close to the 12 for Life program by Southwire. One the of the best programs we have seen from any company and that’s all companies, not just in the power tool world.
12 for life is capitalism at it’s finest. Southwire created this program to help teens create a better life for themselves. Southwire gives them a job where they can learn skills, they provide them an education while they are in this program and the teens even get paid for their work. If even 5% of the businesses in America followed this program for their community, how much could be improved in our country? Our hats off to Southwire. Instead of just passing along a check, they stepped up, took the hard road and made a difference.
Keep your eyes on Southwire, they are hitting the market hard with quality hand tools. We will be covering them more in 2018.
Best Storage System – Milwaukee Packout
When it comes to job site storage solutions, Milwaukee has turned this category upside down. Their tool chest and other storage solutions are a leader in the field. This year Milwaukee Tool announced their packout, which is a portable storage solution for the professional. By far, this is the best system we have seen.
Other power tool manufacturers have their versions such as Bosch and Dewalt, but it’s hard to compete against the Milwaukee Packout. The Packout is extremely durable, easy to attach to each other and they offer more options than anyone else. We love how the open bags can easily slide into the hard cases, making transporting extremely easily.
Best Circular Saw – Makita Rear Handle
When it comes to a cordless circular saw, Makita hit a home run with this blue beauty. The Makita rear handle saw is powerful and easy to work with. This is one saw that really allows the user to cut the power cord and go all out cordless.
The saw is powered by 2-18V Makita batteries which make this a 36V circular saw. So, in essence, you get power and longevity, just what every contractor needs in their cordless tools.
Best Grinder – Metabo
This shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone, Metabo owns the Grinder market. Ask anyone who depends on a grinder for their daily use what is their favorite grinder. Time and time again, people will tell you Metabo because they are dependable, safe and have plenty enough power for any tough job. Corded or cordless, Metabo is number one in grinders.
Best Framing Nailer – Hitachi
Hitachi took the nailer to the next level with their introduction of the Hitachi cordless nailer. While other power tool manufacturers have released their cordless framing nailer, those were just a teaser for the Hitachi.
Most cordless framing nailers can be slow, have a ramp-up time before a fire and some will not keep up with your speed. The Hitachi is different, no ramp-up time and the nailer will keep up with your workload.
With a different and unique spring system, the Hitachi gives you a true pneumatic framing nailer, but without the air hose.
Best OPE – EGO Multihead
A while back, Ego took the OPE world by storm with their introduction of a cordless mower, Blower, and string trimmer. They were the first company to truly offer a cordless solution for the homeowner and their OPE needs. The Ego 56V platform has been the leader of the pack. Heck, they even made me a believer and I sold all my gas stuff.
Ego released a Multihead unit that has an edger, string trimmer, and chainsaw. While I am not a fan of multihead tools, Ego again made me a believer. The multihead is powerful, easy to change heads and runs for a long time.
Best Laser – Bosch
Bosch hit a chord with users who demand accuracy, dependability, and toughness in their lasers. Bosch has created time and time again, a quality laser that meets the needs of tradesmen.
They offer a wide range of lasers for a variety of professionals and different jobs. All the lasers we have tried, have been top notch and extremely accurate. When it comes to lasers, Bosch has a solution in their laser line of products.
Best LDM – Hilti
Hilti is a name you know and a name you trust. Anyone working on large construction jobs can look around and get lost in the sea of red tools. Hilti is known for their concrete and fastening tools, plus their chemicals and fasteners.
This year we had a chance to review our favorite LDM, the Hilti PDC. Talk about a product that is head and shoulders above the rest, the PDC is the tool to have. With many more options than other LDMs we have tested and an easy interface to go with it, it’s no wondering it’s the must-have tool. Heck, you can even take a measurement from your desk.
Best Portable Compressor – Dewalt
The Dewalt Flexvolt has been growing with their high demand tools such as table saws and miter saws. The Dewalt Flexvolt compressor is one of those tools that you would love to have a cordless option, but you know it’s a tough tool to bring to market.
Dewalt created a cordless compressor that is tough and has great run time. The compressor is quality and compact which makes it perfect for the punch list items or those smaller jobs where you don’t need to haul the heavy compressor around from place to place.
Best Flashlight – Husky
Husky has come a long way over the last year or two. No longer is Husky the tools you pass by to get to the good stuff. You can tell they have put their best foot forward with creativity and quality. From their tool chest to their new ratchets, Husky has turned for the best.
With their introduction of an unbreakable flashlight that is not only tough but is bright and lasts a long time. While other flashlight manufacturers have been asleep at the wheel, Husky plowed ahead and created an inexpensive flashlight for the homeowner or professional.
Best Cordless Automotive Brand – Ingersoll Rand
Ingersoll Rand has been in the automotive field for years. However, they were a little slow to come out with cordless tools. Once they did, they have found a place in the mechanic’s tool chest. The tools are powerful and dependable.
Over the past two years, we have taken them out to Pat’s body shop and have followed them around. These tools are used and abused but have lasted and proven that they are worthy of a Best Power Tool Award.
Best Tractor – Ventrac
What can we say about the Ventrac? While some might think it’s weird looking, the articulating feature is one reason this tractor is a must have for people looking for strength and power in a compact size.
We have dug up fields, plowed fields, ground stumps and cut grass, to name a few. The Ventrac is American made and built by Americans. The tractor is strong and having the ability to easily change accessories, makes this our top pick for tractors.