As you probably know, General Tools is a sponsor of Tools in Action. However you should know two things. First, we never take on a sponsor if we don’t believe in their product. Number two, we are always objective when we show off sponsor’s products. Before we jump in and learn about the new line of ToolSmart, I just want to quickly get everyone up to date on General Tools in case you are not familiar with them. General Tools has been around since 1922. Back in 1922, they weren’t called General Tools, they went under a different name called General Hardware Manufacturing Co. Now I am not going into the whole General Tools history, but like other companies, they have changed and evolved over the years. Today, general Tools focuses on industry specific tools at affordable prices. So without getting into too much detail, they have a long history in the tool world and they make affordable tools, do you really need to know anymore than that? Well if so, check out General Tools history. Today we are going to talk about their new introduction of ToolSmart.
ToolSmart is a way to connect your tool to your phone. Are they the first to market with this technology? No, not at all. However there are two things I like about the ToolSmart line. First is the ease of use. Connecting your phone and using the app is very easy. While some companies get very technical, ToolSmart keeps it simple. Using the interface is very easy to navigate and use. Is this simplicity for everyone? No. Some people will need more from their interface. However General Tools takes all the really important information and packs it into a very simple interface. The second thing I like about ToolSmart is the price point. The tools are priced extremely well compared to other tools in these categories with Bluetooth technology. Currently General Tools has four products available to the consumer. They have an Inspection Camera, Multimeter, Laser Distance Measure and an Angle Finder. Now if you would rather just watch our video of these tools, just skip below and watch the three videos.
ToolSmart – Inspection Camera
I have to say I was very impressed with this inspection camera. We have had a chance to use and test a lot of cameras over the years and the image quality of this camera is extremely clear. For $129 you can now get into those hard to reach areas with ease. At the end of the 3.3′ probe is an 8mm camera that provides easy to see images. If for some reason you are having a hard time seeing the screen due to conditions, you can always connect to your phone and use your phone as a screen. Here is the cool thing about this camera, you can pretty much document anything you see. You can take video or pictures and even document what you see. This way you can either create a report for a client or go back and double check your activity without having to to the job twice.
- Camera-tipped Probe Type/Diameter/Length: Flexible-obedient/8mm (0.31 in.)/3.3 ft. (1m)
- Probe Water/Oil/Dust Resistance: per IP67 standard
- Camera Field of View: 54 degrees
- Camera Depth of Field: 1.2 in. to 10 ft. (30mm to 3m)
- Camera Resolution: 640 x 480 pixels (VGA)
- Camera Light Source: Four white adjustable-brightness LEDs
- Display Type/Size: Color TFT LCD/2.7 in. (69mm)
- Display Resolution: 960 x 240 pixels
- WiFi Range: 60 ft. (18m), max (unobstructed)
- Power Source: (4) “AA” batteries (included)
- Operating Temperature: 32 to 104 F degrees (0 to 40C) @15 to 85% RH
- Weight of Grip, Console and Probe: 12 oz. (340g)
ToolSmart – Laser Distance Measurer
The next tool in the ToolSmart line up is the LDM or the Laser Distance Measurer. In regards to LDM’s, this one has all the standard features you would expect to see in an LDM. However one thing you would not expect to see is the low price point of $70. So for $70 you get all the features the big boys offer and you also get the benefit of hooking it up to your phone. Here is what’s cool about the app and the phone. You can create “My Projects” which will calculate the precise amount of materials you need for the job such as paint, flooring and more. This will make your trip to your local hardware store a heck of a lot more productive. Again once you hook it up to your phone, it’s a piece of cake walking through and taking measurements. You can store data and retrieve it for later use. Even on the tool itself, the front interface is extremely easy to use.
- Measurement Range (indoor): 8 in. to 100 ft. (200mm to 30m)
- Measurement Accuracy: ±1/16 in. (±1.5mm)
- Resolution: 1mm
- Display Unit Options: feet with decimal fraction (default), feet plus fractional inches, inches, meters
- Response Time: 2 seconds, max
- Laser Type, Wavelength, Power: Class 2, 630 to 660nm, < 1mW
- Operating Modes: Direct Distance Measurement, Distance Addition/Subtraction, Continuous Distance Measurement (Distance Tracking), Indirect Distance Measurement (Triangulation) with 2 or 3 inputs, Auto Height Measurement, Area and Perimeter Measurement, Volume Measurement
- Display: 4-line backlit LCD measuring 1-3/4 in. (45mm) diagonal
- Memory: 20 measurements
- Splash proof and Dustproof: To IP54 standard
- Auto Power Off: After 3 minutes of inactivity
- Auto Laser Off: After 30 seconds of inactivity
- Auto Backlight Off: After 10 seconds of inactivity
- Battery Life: 3000 measurements, typical
- Operating Temperature: 32° to 104°F (0° to 40°C)
- Storage Temperature: 14º to 140ºF (-10º to 60ºC) @ <85% R.H.
- Power Source: 2 “AAA” batteries
- Weight: 4.2 oz. (120g), excluding batteries
- 1 year warranty
ToolSmart – Digital Angle Finder
I have to say this is one of my favorite tools in the ToolSmart line up. I think it’s pretty cool to digitally find an angle. For $49, it’s hard to beat. You get a quality angle finder that integrates with your smartphone. The vials are very easy to read and overall use is easy. The one thing I really like about this digital angle finder is the pivot point. When you move the top rail to a certain angle, it will stay in place and not fall back down again.
- Measurement Range: 0 to 225 degrees
- Measurement Accuracy: ±0.3 degrees
- Resolution: 0.1 degrees
- LCD Screen Size: 1.6 in. diagonal
- 5-minute Auto Power Off
- Operating temperature of 32° to 104°F (0° to 40°C)
- Powered by non-rechargeable CR2032 battery (included)
ToolSmart – Multimeter
I can’t say I am too much into multimeters, but the times I have needed them, they have been huge time savers for me. This multimeter pretty much does everything you would expect a multimeter to do such as read voltage, current, resistance, temperature, and more with turn of the dial. Since it is part of the ToolSmart line, you can hook it up to your phone and use your phone screen as a viewing screen. The multimeter retails for about $43 which is a great price.
- AC Voltage Measurement Ranges: 0 to 4V/40V/400V/600V
- AC Voltage Measurement Accuracy/Resolution: ±(1% of reading + 10 digits)/1mV
- DC Voltage Measurement Ranges: 0 to 400mV/4V/40V/400V/600V
- DC Voltage Measurement Accuracy/Resolution: ±(0.8% of reading + 5 digits) in 600V range; ±(0.5% of reading + 2 digits) in other ranges/0.1mV
- AC/DC Current Measurement Ranges: 0 to 400uA/4mA/40mA/400mA/10A
- AC/DC Current Measurement Accuracy/Resolution: ±(2% of reading + 3 digits) in 10A range; ±(1.2% of reading + 6 digits) or better in other ranges/0.1?A
- Resistance Measurement Ranges: 0 to 400?/4k?/40k?/400?/4M?/40M?
- Resistance Measurement Accuracy/Resolution: ±(0.8% of reading + 3 digits), typical)/0.1?
- Temperature Measurement Range: -4º to 1832ºF (-20º to 1000ºC)
- Temperature Measurement Accuracy: ±(2.0% of reading + 2 digits)
- Measurement Range of Included Thermocouple Probe: -4° to 500°F (-20° to 260°C)
- Measurement Accuracy of Included Thermocouple Probe: ±(2% + 2 digits)
- Continuity Threshold:<50?
- Diode Integrity Range/Resolution: 0 to 2.7V/1mV
- Battery Voltage Measurement Ranges: 0 to 9V, 0 to 1.5V
- Battery Voltage Measurement Accuracy/Resolution: ±(0.8% of reading + 7 digits) in 9V position; ±(3% of reading + 5 digits) in 1.5V position/1mV
- Safety Rating: CAT III 600V
- NCV Detection Voltage & Distance:>110VACRMS@ <1/4 in. (6mm)
- Bluetooth Range: 33 ft. (10m), max (unobstructed)
- Maximum Input Voltage: 600VDC/ACRMS
- Fuse Protection: 400mV/600V fuse for multi-function jack; 10A/600V fuse for 10A jack
- Sampling Time: 3X/sec
- Display: 3-3/4 digits, w/maximum count of 4000
- Low Battery Indication Threshold:<6.7VDC
- Operating Temperature: 32° to 104°F (0° to 40°C) @<80%RH
- Power Source: (1) “9V” battery (included)
- Weight (including battery): 8.2 oz. (232g)
Here is what you have to understand about General Tools and the ToolSmart line. These are designed for specific users. They are not designed to compete against the Bosch and Hilti’s of the world. They are designed to be a quality tool at affordable prices. So with this in mind, I have to say General Tools did a great job by designing an affordable tool, with great functions, that is reliable. The app is extremely easy to use and the price point is hard to beat. Check out ToolSmart to learn more about this series of tools.