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Top 100 Products for 2017: Tools & Equipment

Products from Chief Architect, ITW, Festool, Calculated Industries, Irwin, and ZipWall

August 09, 2017

To see more top 100 products in other categories, click here.

Chief Architect / 3-D Viewer App

With its virtual-reality technology, Chief Architect’s 3D Viewer app makes it easy for remodelers to share full 3-D models with homeowners, who can then interact with the designs and do 3-D walk-throughs using the same visualization tools available with Chief Architect’s desktop software. The free app is available for both Apple and Android phones and tablets and can also be embedded on websites.

chief architect

ITW / Dust Control

The BuildClean System Starter Kit from ITW (Illinois Tool Works) includes one BuildClean HEPA 360° Air Scrubber, one case of five coarse pre--filters, and one structured vent hose
with clamp. To maximize particle collection, the Air Scrubber employs a 360-degree design and reusable two-stage filtration to scrub up to six air changes per hour in a 6,000-cubic-foot room.

SoftPlan / Software

SoftPlan Remodel is a complete design solution specifically for remodeling projects that can create CAD packages which include not only pro-fessional--looking 3-D renderings featuring advanced shadows, reflections, sun studies, indirect lighting, and photo-realistic graphics, but also materials lists and cost estimate reports. When users design a floor plan, SoftPlan can auto-matic-ally create elevations and the materials list.

softplan remodel software

Festool / Saws

The HK/HKC Carpentry Saw from Festool promises miter-saw precision in the size of a sidewinder, making this a handy solution for all wood processing on the jobsite. Coupled with FSK Guide Rails with integrated angle stops, HK saws bring a higher degree of efficiency, repeatability, accuracy, and quality of cut unlike any circular saw before, the company says. Available corded (HK, shown) or cordless (HKC).  

festool saws

Calculated Industries / Inflatable Shim

Designed to help with installation and leveling of windows, doors, cabinets, and appliances, the AirShim from Calculated Industries is a contractor-grade inflatable air wedge that uses a simple squeeze-bulb pump for easy one-handed operation and a precise metal bleeder valve to let users raise and lower items into perfect alignment. The AirShim Pro XL’s SGS Certified 500-pound load rating is twice that of other products on the market, the company says.

calculated industries

Irwin / Multi-Tool

Whether making cuts with the stainless steel fold-out blade, tightening a loose screw with either the ¼ slotted or the Phillips head, or using the all-purpose locking pliers, Irwin’s Vise-Grip Multi-Pliers offer four tools in one. A guarded trigger release allows one-handed opening, and the Multi-Pliers also come in long-nose and curved-jaw models.

Calculated Industries / Take-Off Tool

Calculated Industries’ Scale Master Pro XE Advanced Digital Plan Measure for Blueprint Takeoffs lets users work faster and with greater accuracy, making it easy to do linear, area, and volume take-offs on screen when estimating, bidding, or planning. Dual LCD displays show more information, and a push-button counter lets users count while rolling. The Scale Master can also connect to a PC with an optional interface cable and transfer rolled values directly into commonly used spreadsheets or estim-ating programs. The unit has a total of 91 built-in scales in either feet/inches or metric.


ZipWall / Dust Barrier

ZipWall dust barrier kits include everything needed to quickly set up a dust barrier. The 10 4-Pack dust barrier system includes four 10-foot spring-loaded poles, four grip disks, two standard zippers (enough for a 30-foot-long dust barrier or to build a three-sided barrier, creating a room within a room), and a carry bag (plastic sheeting is sold separately). ZipWall’s 12 4-pack has 12-foot poles. Setup requires no ladders and just one person.

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