2013 Tools in Action Awards


We take our awards pretty serious at Tools in Action.  It is probably the only thing we take serious here.  So when we give an award, it says a lot.  We don’t get paid by companies or have any other incentive to give out an award.  Our awards are picked by Dan, Eric and a select few contractors we work with.  For each category, we might start with five or ten tools and then we have to narrow the selection down. Some were clear winners, while others were very tough to decide and were close.  In fact, we ended up getting in a big fight over a couple of the decisions.  Luckily we are old and out of shape, so the fight only lasted about 10 seconds with both of us missing our only punch thrown.  We were out of breath from that one punch and then we got back to business.  If you would like to check out previous winners, click a link below.  If you would like to skip that and just check out this years winners, just scroll down and have some fun.  Of course we want to hear from all of you on these awards, good or bad.


2013 Tools in Action Awards


AWARDm18Best 18V/20V MAX Line – Milwaukee Tool

Milwaukee has been one step ahead of the game for 2013 with their brushless FUEL line of products.  With a few exceptions, Fuel products have constantly been at the top of their class for run time, ergonomics, performance and value.  Milwaukee will enter 2014 at the top of their game and be a force to be reckoned with. Read Milwaukee M18 Reviews.


awardsbest12VBest 12V Line – Milwaukee Tool

Milwaukee dominates the 12V tool market with over 60 tools. Everything from an innovative stick light to a trade specific Propex tool is represented in their 12V line. Fuel brushless technology also makes the M12 line a top performer. Read Milwaukee M12 Reviews.



awardsbestcompactdrillBest 18V/20V Drill – Dewalt  DCD790

The DCD790 is a powerhouse in a small 3.5 lb ergonomic package. This drill has almost the same power and run time as bigger 18v/20v drills.  We recommend this drill for just about 90% of all drilling tasks. The added 2.0 Ah battery gives this drill extended run time while saving weight with a thin style pack. Read Dewalt DCD790 Review.


awardsbest18VdrillBest Cordless Hammer Drill – DCD985

The DCD985 is a monster drill.  It has a 3 speed gearbox that is suited for almost any task. It has a separate ring selector for drill, hammer and drive modes which the Pros like.  This was our go to drill when no other drill would get the job done.  We ripped though 6×6 lumber with the 1″ auger “Drill Killer” bit on speed 2 with this drill. It may not have the run time of the latest brushless offerings, but for raw power it can’t be beat.  Read Dewalt DCD985 Review.


awardsbestimpactBest Impact Driver – Dewalt DCF886

There are plenty of great impact drivers on the market, so this was a tough one.  But due to overall feel, performance and features, the Dewalt DCF886 won this category.  This impact has a great feel, good power and the three ring LED light actually lights up your work area.  For a contractor driving sheet metal screws into studs or 3″ decking screws, this is a great impact.  Dewalt DCF886 Review.


awardsbestimpactwrenchBest Impact Wrench – Milwaukee 2763

If you’re dealing with any type of heavy fastening, a solid impact wrench is a must.  You need reliability, power and performance, which the Milwaukee 2763 dishes out.  With 1,100 ft lbs of nut busting power, this is a solid performer and takes the top impact wrench. Milwaukee Impact 2763 Review.


awardsbestcordlesscircularBest Cordless Circular Saw – Milwaukee 2730

Milwaukee has owned the cordless circular saw market award for the last two years.  The 2630 has been a solid performer.  Milwaukee could have stood back and rode the coat tails of that model, but they decided to step up their game with the Fuel 2730.  While it mimics the 2630, the 2730 is brushless, has a better shoe, a rafter hook and 4.0 a/h battery.  If you live and die by your circular saw, this is a clear winner for the 18V cordless platform. Read Milwaukee M18 Fuel Circular Saw Review


awardsbestcordedcircularBest Corded Circular Saw – Dewalt DWE575

Yes this was the winner last year, but that is how great this saw performs.  Lightweight, powerful and reliable.  While I still have no idea what UWO means and how it works, I can say this is an awesome saw.  If UWO means awesome, then the Dewalt DWE575 is awesome. Need to cut through thick material day in and day out, but don’t want to mess with the weight of a worm drive, this is your saw. Read Dewalt DWE575 Circular Saw.


AWARDlightingBest Jobsite Lighting – Milwaukee M12/M18

Milwaukee brought lighting to an entirely new level this year with the M12 Stick light and the M18 Flood Light.  Quality LEDS and rugged design make these the ultimate job site lights.  Read Milwaukee M18 Light Review.  Read Milwaukee M12 Light Review.


awardsbestcordlessreciprocatingsawBest Reciprocating Saw – Milwaukee Fuel 2720

Sawzall, people ask for it by name. The new Fuel sawzall is 8.9lbs of streamlined brushless power. Heavy duty features like a swing out rafter hook and huge rubber over molded grip make this the most advanced Sawzall ever.  This is the best reciprocating saw we have ever tested. Read Milwaukee 2720 Fuel Sawzall Review.


awardsbestcordlessmultiBest Cordless Oscillating Tool – Dewalt DCS355

DeWALT reinvented the Multi-tool with this one.  They took their ergonomic 20V grip and incorporated it into a multi-tool making the DCS355 the most versatile oscillating tool on the market.  No other Multi-tool gives you this level of variable control.  They also added the award winning Porter Cable Quick change system to make accessory changes a breeze. Read Dewalt DCS355 Review.


awardsbestcordedmultiBest Corded Oscillating Tool – Bosch MX30EC

You want power, easy and quick blade change, then this is a no brainer.  The Bosch has been a solid performer to take the daily abuse of job sites.  Variable speed, quick blade change system, power and low vibrations makes this a clear winner for best corded oscillating tool. Read Bosch MX30EC Oscillating Review.


awardsbestcordlessgrinderBest Cordless Grinder – Milwaukee 2780

Milwaukee has streamlined the cordless grinder and added brushless fuel power.  Extended run time and almost constant torque no matter how much pressure you lay down make this the best cordless grinder of 2013.



awardsbestmitersawiBest Miter Saw – Dewalt DWS780

The DWS780 won this award last year and it is no surprise that it won again this year.  The Bosch glide saw came close but you just can’t beat the DeWALT for accuracy.  The Shadow LED light XPS system makes perfect cuts every time.  This saw stays true and cuts straight  every time. Read Dewalt DWS780 Review.


awardsbesttablesawBest Table Saw – Dewalt DWE7491

The new DWE7491 beat out its predecessor the DWX744XRS as the top table saw.  DeWALT has lightened the load, made the tool safer and kept the rack and pinion fence system which locks the fence straight every time.  There is no guess work with this saw.  It is designed for job site production.  This saw will save the contractor money in the long run. Read Dewalt DWE7491 Table Saw Review.


awardsbesthandtoolsBest Hand Tools – Milwaukee

Disruptive innovation, that is what Milwaukee is all about. When they introduced their hand tools a few years back we instantly fell in love with the design and quality.  The side cutters are our favorite.  They excel at cutting anything from wire to nails.



awardwinnerbestrouterBest Router – Porter Cable 693 LRPK

Porter Cable has been the router of choice for many wood workers over the years.  We like this kit as you get two bases and a powerful router.  1-3/4″ hp and an rpm of 27,500, it’s a router to do just about any task.  This has been a woodworkers staple which means this router will also fit in almost any router table. Read Porter Cable Router 693 LRPK Review.


awardsbestcompactrouteriBest Compact Router – Bosch PR20EVS

This is an all around great router.  Easy to control, good site and powerful.  With a 5.6 amp motor and a variable speed dial, it makes a great addition to any workshop.  Easy to change bits and adjust base.  How can you not like this compact router? Read Bosch Router PR20EVS.


awardsbestjigsawiBest Jig Saw – Festool Carvex

What can we say about this jig saw?  There are jig saws and then there is Carvex.  While you do need some accessories to get the full use of this jig saw, it’s worth every penny.  This is a whole system and blows the competition out of the water.  Powerful, reliable, easy to use and wide range of cutting, this is a clear winner for best jig saw. Read Festool Carvex Review.


AWARDfranklinBest Scanner – Franklin Pro Sensor

Sometimes to get reliability you have to keep it simple.  The Franklin sensor just works! Easy to use and reliable.  What else do you want in a sensor?





awardsjawhorseBest Work Bench – Rockwell Jawhorse

Every year we give the Jawhorse an award.  It is our most used tool. You can see it in almost every video we shoot.  It is stable, easy to use and grips tighter than most vises.



awardsmakitagoldBest Bits – Makita Impact Gold

Impact drivers are getting more powerful everyday.  With this power comes a drawback.  You need bits that keep up with todays modern impacts and can take the everyday abuse.  That’s where the Makita Impact Golds delivers.  True to it’s name and design, the Makita Gold Impacts are up to the daily task of the abuse of impact tools. Read Makita Gold Impact Review.


 AWARDa36Best Cordless Rotary Hammer (Combihammer) – Hilti TE 30-A36

Has cordless technology taken over corded technology?  Hilti sure made a statement with the TE 30-A36.  Fast, powerful, tough and safety oriented, the TE 30-A36 is a clear winner.  With long run times, high impact energy and Active Torque Control, this is any workers new best friend.  Remember the old saying, “Move over bacon, there is something leaner.” Well now it’s , “Move over corded, there is the TE A30-A36.”  Read Hilti TE30-A36 Review


awardsmm500Best Multimeter – Klein MM500

Simple and tough make the Klein MM500 one of the best basic multimeters on the market.  The 3 buttons and auto ranging make it one of the easiest to use multimeters on the market today.





AWARDTilesawBest Tile Saw – Ridgid R4040S

Cutting tile can be a pain and a mess.  The 8″ Ridgid, sister to the R4090, is our top pick for 2013.  Easy to move around, great water management, easy set up and great cuts, this saw is hard to beat for an 8″.  Read Ridgid Tile R4040S Review


AWARDbeststorageBest Storage System – Dewalt Tstak/Toughboxes

Organization is key to any productive day.  With the Tstak, you have numerous options to organize your world into one small place.  The ability to stack these on top of each other, makes it easy to store and transport.



AWARDtruckboxBest Truck Box – Weather Guard

This is a no brainer.  A solid, practical and reliable truck box, the Weather Guard was an easy pick for 2013.  With top quality locks, a real weather seal, a level holder and easy install, this is the box to have.  Weather Guard Truck Box Review.



AWARDWERNERMTBest Ladder – Werner MT

There are ladders, then there is Werner.  Werner owns the market and they own the market for a reason.  Quality, reliability and reputation.  The MT ladder is easy to operate, move and set up. Enough said.  Read Werner Ladder Review.



AWARDradioBest Radio – Bosch Power Box

Really did you expect something other than the Power box?  No other radio comes close to features, sound and performance. Go Power Box or go home.  Read Bosch Power Box Review.





AWARDboschjacketBest Heated Jacket – Bosch Heated Jacket

The Bosch was the hottest jacket we tested, literally.  The jacket is comfortable and the battery is easy to access.  This jacket is hard to beat.  Even with the zipper on the wrong side, this is still a winning design.  Read Bosch Heated Jacket Review.


awardsbestpaslodeBest Nailer – Cordless

Lots to pick from in this category, but the Paslode took top spot for cordless and air.  Easy to use, powerful and reliable, the Paslode is the nailer to own.  Who doesn’t carry Paslode nails or Fuel?  Our older models are still going strong today with happy customers on every job site. Read Paslode Reviews.


 awardsbestGLL3-80 Best Laser – Bosch GLL3-80

This is the king of lasers.  Easy to use and a full 360 degree range, what can’t this laser do?  Want points, want a horizontal line or vertical line, what about all lines, what about plumb?  This is the laser to own.  This was an easy pick to win the 2013 best laser.  Read Bosch GLL3-80 Review.



AWARDm12impactBest 12V Tool – Milwaukee M12 Fuel Impact

Really, you thought there was a chance something other than Milwaukee might win?  However it was a close call from this and the Milwaukee drill/driver.  If you could own one 12V tool, this has to be it.  Powerful, lightweight, great balance and well I don’t have to explain myself.  This is  the top 12V tool, hands down.  Read Milwaukee Impact Review 


awardsbestautomotiveBest Automotive Power Tools – ACDelco

The automotive pros we work with love ACDelco.  The tools are tough, reliable and designed to last.  We have had these tools out in the field for over 2 years with no issues.



AWARDTEMPLATEMost Innovative Company – Milwaukee

Again, are you really surprised here?  Tell me one company who has come out with so many new tools, new designs and have changed the way we do work?  Right, Milwaukee is the one that comes to mind.  Disruptive innovation, enough said.


AWARDTEMPLATEReaders Choice Power Tools – Milwaukee

For the past few years Milwaukee has been an industry leader with their disruptive innovation technique.  They are on top and the ones to beat.  Just like last year, you guys picked Milwaukee as your favorite power tool brand for 2013.


AWARDKleinReaders Choice Hand Tools – Klein

It is no surprise that you picked Klein for your favorite hand tools. Klein has been around since the late 1800’s producing quality tools and building America.




awardsbestblowerBest Blower – Husqvarna 580BTS

Husqvarna is known for quality.  Professionals ask for it by name and the 580BTS is the most powerful backpack blower we have ever tested.  Easy to maintain and stellar ergonomics make this blower a winner!



awardsbestBOOTSBest Work Boots – Timberland

Most work boots are uncomfortable but Timberlands are one of the most comfortable boots we have ever worn.  They are rugged, well built and keep our feet warm on the coldest of days.  We love these boots.



awardsbestpressurewasheriBest Pressure Washer -PS3228

We reviewed quite a few pressure washers in 2013 and one brand stood out.  Simpson makes some great quality pressure washing units.  The PS3228 is powered by a reliable Honda engine and is designed to provide years of trouble free service.



  1. Milwaukee kicked some butt!!! I agree with everything except the cordless hammer drill, and im sure thats one you fought over, I have have had both the 985 and have now the 2604 and they are very different and similar, they have the same clutch/mode combo switch, which i disagree with dewalt for taking off the the new brushless premium, Milwaukee’s run time is crazy, but the 985 has some brute power, but lets also remember, The Milwaukee Fuel 2604 is 2 years old. I can gurantee everyone here we we see a new premium drill from them this year no doubt about it. Thanks for the awards guys and all the tool companies that make it happen!!!

  2. Really great choices for 2013 Tool winners! Every one is perfect! This is why TIA is the BEST tool review website! Period.

  3. What a great job you guys have. You get to play with all these really spiffy tools and get paid for it, too. The problem for me is now I WANT ALL of THEM for my shop. (“NEED” is way overrated). Keep up the great “work”!!!!

    • Man that is hard. Its like saying which is your favorite kid lol I would say one of the Dewalts or the Sawzall It is so hard to saw. I can tell you my favorite tool at this instant is the DCN690!

  4. Hey guys! I just wanted to say thanks for the hard work you do for us. This site is wicked awesome and is cannot think of a better group of guys I get to talk to on a regular basis, be it the staff here or the guys and gals on the forum.

  5. Good choices for the awards, a little surprised Milwaukee’s Fuel Hammer didn’t take that category but the Dewalt is tough. A lot of Red and Yellow and it’s no surprise, oh and some Blue too 😉 . Keep up the great work, these awards are great and the only “Real” awards around.

  6. Good choices except all of the great tools left out for the local favorite, Milwaukee. So many great tools that were actually innovative that are not represented.

  7. Wow! Big selection of awards going left & right. I like some of them and some I’m scratching my head on. I’m by no means an expert in all trades. But, that’s okay, this is what you guys reviewed. Agreed with 100% is Franklin scanner, got a few weeks ago and we could have not done a remodel job without. Thank you! Glad that I saw this on your channel. Agreed the least (don’t kill me guys) is the Milwaukee hand tools (I own over 10 of them). Better hand tools are Klien and Channellocks and made in the US. I would even go for the DeWalt line over Milwaukee. Yes, most are Stanley tools and that is not bad, simple and they perform. B&D are not going to start making some hand tools here in the US. The good is that we see all kinds of tools here at TIA and we get to form our opinions. Keep up the great work in 2014.

  8. Forgot. I saw your YouTube video on user questions which hand tool or best tool you can’t live without or is your favorite. I want to chime in and want to know if you guys even carry one. Its the multitool, Leatherman is what I carry. To me more specific its the Wave or Surge. I saw Eric mention them in the 12 Days of Christmas series this past season. This is a toolbox in a very small package and lighter. I’ve had several, but the past 5 to 7 years its strictly Leatherman. Can’t beat the quality,simply the best, and Oregan made here in the US of A. Now, it won’t build your house (LOL, wink), but it will get you out of thight spots. Well, the Surge is so heavy duty that it might build a small shed, which I actually did.Until I had a chanceto get my real tools the following day. Sorry, for this long comment. I thought they were a gimmick, but now I carry one everyday, plus a utility knife or a box cutter (what dad called them, the DeWalt folding retractable one). That’s it guys. I’ll try to comment more this year.


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