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Milwaukee continues its hand tool releases with the pliers you see above, which they call “6-in-1 combination and long nose pliers.” That’s a mouthful of words, yeah? According to the press release, Milwaukee says these will replace three separate tools: a metal de-burring tool, a wire stripper, and needle nose pliers — a combination of tools familiar to anyone doing electrical work.

So let’s see if we can identify all those components. The needle nose pliers are pretty clear, and they look pretty sturdy with lots of detail machining. The wire strippers are embedded into the pliers’ jaws, and you’ll get slightly different capabilities in each of Milwaukee’s two models: the “combination” pliers (pictured, I think) handle 10-18 gauge solid and 12-20 gauge stranded wire with #6-32 and #8-32 bolt cutters. The “long nose pliers” model handles 10-14 gauge solid and 12-16 gauge stranded.

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Ah, the inspection camera. It’s like an unwritten law; you can put this tool in a room with 30 guys and every one of them has the same thought at the same time: “Let’s put this camera somewhere it’s not supposed to go.” At the Milwaukee event they actually had a toilet there for us to snake so we didn’t have to bother dragging it to one. Fun and games aside, the 2313-21 inspection camera is a serious bit of gear — and it’s now armed with a 360 degree rotating screen.

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There is a certain comfort bred of familiarity. For instance, I know when I reach for my brad nailer or Skilsaw exactly how it feels in my hands from every angle. I don’t have to look — I know. It’s something that’s been trained into me for the past six years, and it frees me up to think about how the cut is going to line up or where the brad’s going to go. It sounds funny to some, but tools like that become extensions of your will rather than clunky objects. It’s this kind of familiarity Milwaukee is now working against in the snip market. Klein and Wiss are, for all intents and purposes, the standard in snips and have been for decades. However, Milwaukee thinks there’s room for improvement.

The new snips have features like a switch lock on the top handle and forged cutting heads. They conform to the standard system of yellow for straight, green for right cut, and red for the left curving cuts — so a pro can still look down into a pouch and grab the right tool the first time without thinking. The lock along the top and inset a shade won’t bump loose in a belt or toolbox. All these traits are dead-on for the tradesman that would need to have one at the ready, day in and day out.

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Milwaukee tells us that the single biggest problem they discovered among handheld PEX cutter users was handle strength: eventually end-users would squeeze hard enough on the cutters to snap the handles. After seeing lots of jobsite guys modifying the handles themselves to make them stronger, Milwaukee came out with the all-metal cutters you see above, which they claim are “virtually indestructible.”

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With DeWalt jumping into the hand tool business with both feet, it’s not surprising that we’d see Milwaukee’s interest in expanding their current power tool range increase as well. But a press release this week suggests that their hand tool efforts will mirror their power tool line’s laser-narrow focus on the needs of specific tradesmen — specifically electricians, HVAC folks, and plumbers. This year’s planned expansion will include “quick adjust reaming pliers, tongue-in-groove pliers, aviation snips, and a non-powered PEX/tubing cutter.”

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Yesterday a buddy and I caught this sweet vid of Kanye and Jay-Z tearing the crap out of a Maybach on Charles and Hudson. What interested both of us was what kind of tools they were grabbing to mod their ride.

Charles and Hudson caught the beauty shot of the Milwaukee Sawzall, but we also got a glimpse of the Tillman welding gloves, Metabo grinder and a portable chop saw.

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When I first saw the flashlight component of DeWalt’s 12V MAX line, I thought, “Wow, that sure is odd-looking. It’s square. It’s gonna be uncomfortable to hold. And what’s with that gimmicky swivel head?” Then I picked it up. Surprise! It’s actually quite comfortable in your hand. It’s bright, too, and the swivel head makes it easy to direct light where you need it. In short: I’m a fan. It’s one of the most popular flashlights around the TM shop now, and at home as well. So read on for the details about an accessory that most reviewers will toss to the side to get at the drill driver — DeWalt’s new flashlight.

The Light

Like most modern flashlights, the DeWalt incorporates a bright-white LED which, combined with a small reflector, creates a wide dispersion pattern and a pretty intense white spot in the middle. A significant departure from Milwaukee’s carefully-engineered no-bright-spot design, this design decision was intentional: DeWalt says they want to provide you the ability to direct bright light on whatever you’re looking at, or to aim it off to the side to provide more of a dim wash. See the results for yourself:

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Last year at the Milwaukee event when the M12 powered heated jacket was unveiled, everyone was very excited about everything but the color. Our friend Hal from Extreme How-To.com was the first to ask if it came in any color other than red, like camo. They promptly said no: Red is good, that’s what you get.

Hal and others pressed on, with statements similar to “…but what you’ve designed here is a perfect hunting coat; why not just go all the way with it?” Fast forward about a year and enough testing and user feedback flows under the bridge, and Milwaukee did just that. The Milwaukee M12 powered heated jacket now comes in Realtree branded camo pattern. Milwaukee’s press release gives us the skinny:

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It’s got to be a difficult deal when sitting down to do the year’s rollout plan on some of these tools like the rotary hammer. Milwaukee and other toolmakers are constantly trying to keep customers who want more choices and their preference of simple production runs, even when fewer SKUs might be better for a balanced budget. Either way, customers still need to drill big-ass holes in tough materials.

The newest 5/8″ SDS Rotary hammer is 10.9″ long and 4.6 lbs. heavy — smaller and lighter than it’s ever been. It packs 1.5 ft-lbs. of impact energy, turns at 0-3,700 RPM, and features the latest in anti-vibration tech. All this power on hand, and the first question out of everyone’s mouth is always “When are you going to do a cordless version with the same power?” If they do produce a cordless version of some tools, will there still be wailing and gnashing of teeth when the corded version is shelved for a while or not upgraded as often?

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There are certain truths that cannot be ignored. 1. Grown men getting knocked in the nads is funny, 2. Small, fluffy things can sell almost anything, and 3. If you make a temperature finder that looks like a gun and has a laser on it you can entertain a group of middle-aged men for quite some time. Once again, damn you, Milwaukee engineers!

The 2265-20 Laser Temp-Gun is powered by 3 AA batteries and is rated for a temp range of –22F to 662F with a distance-to-spot ratio of 10 to 1. Just point and pull the trigger and the temp gun will tell you the surface temperature of anything you’re likely to find around the house or jobsite unless you’re a fireman or something really extreme. Plus, it’s uber-addicting.

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