Author Archives: Ethan Hagan


Top Tools 2012: Husky Pro Tool Bag

Replete with pockets, pouches, and sleeves, Husky's tote organizes frequently used tools in one portable package.

Husky Pro Tool Bag Review

Why You’ll Love It: With pouches, pockets, bays and elastic bands, the Husky tool tote provides easy-to-carry storage for the small and medium-size tools you use the most. 

The Full Scoop: Husky’s 20″ Pro Tool Bag features a series of internal pockets with elastic bands to secure tools like screwdrivers, chisels, and pliers. In addition, there are a number of exterior pouches designed for things like pencils, chalk line, and utility knife. Meanwhile, storage bays can hold bit sets, flashlights, and even small power tools.

At 20″, the Husky bag can accommodate a framing square, pry bars, and more. A convenient 16″ side pocket is perfect for a handsaw or hammer. One end of the bag features a tape measure clip and tape loop, while twin velcro straps are great for storing a 2′ level.

Constructed of high-density, water-resistant fabric, the bag’s steel handle with PVC grip pivots to either side, and Husky includes an optional padded shoulder strap.

This tote can store a lot of tools, and it only costs $40 at your local The Home Depot.

 

Author Bio: Ethan Hagan is the primary editor at One Project Closer; visit to read additional tool reviews, expert project guides, and more. OPC is unique in that just about every how-to article features the work of an experienced professional contractor.


Top Tools 2012: Irwin GrooveLock Pliers

Improving a tool's design is often a tough task, but Irwin has managed the feat with its GrooveLock Pliers.

Irwin GrooveLock Pliers Review

Photo: One Project Closer

Why You’ll Love It: Innovation hasn’t exactly shaken up the world of groove joint pliers over the last few decades. But Irwin has finally made a significant breakthrough, resulting in GrooveLock Pliers that are much easier to use.

Irwin GrooveLock PliersThe Full Scoop: Irwin’s groove lock pliers have a simple push-button size-setting mechanism at the joint of the tool. While other models require opening the tool fully to set its jaw size, the Irwin enables the jaws to be sized whether the pliers are open or shut (and the selected jaw size is retained until it is purposefully reset). This simple innovation eliminates the trial-and-error frustration that normally accompanies setting the size of groove joint pliers.

Irwin also claims its precision ratcheting system offers twice the number of settings than similar models. Irwin GrooveLock Pliers are available with straight, smooth, and V-shaped jaws, and all are backed by Irwin’s VISE-GRIP lifetime guarantee.

 

Author Bio: Ethan Hagan is the primary editor at One Project Closer; visit to read additional tool reviews, expert project guides, and more. OPC is unique in that just about every how-to article features the work of an experienced professional contractor.


Top Tools 2012: Milwaukee M12 Heated Jacket

Stay extra warm and charge your mobile device with Milkwaukee's USB-equipped heated jacket.

Why You’ll Love It:  Milwaukee M12 Heated Jacket ReviewThe lightweight M12 Heated Jacket provides heavy-duty warmth and comfort for up to six hours. Even techies can get on board, because there’s a powered USB port for charging portable electronics.

The Full Scoop: If you haven’t heard, Milwaukee has a clothing line that takes advantage of lithium-ion M12 batteries’ small form factor. 

Earlier this year Milwaukee expanded its lineup of heated jackets to include additional styles, the much-requested all-black among them. But if black isn’t your favorite color, Milwaukee still offers a classic red and camouflage pattern.

Each jacket features carbon fiber heating elements throughout the chest and upper back, plus a separately controlled heating element within the pockets. 

The battery is conveniently stored in a hidden back pouch and can be expanded to hold an XC battery with twice the runtime. 

Three different heat settings are controlled by a button located on the lapel. At the lowest setting, you can enjoy continuous heat for about six hours! 

The jacket shell is water- and wind-resistant, and Milwaukee layered the inside with a fleece liner. The upgraded battery adapter features a battery fuel gauge and a powered USB port for charging electronics. You can snake the USB cord to the chest pocket or lower left pocket with the sewn-in velcro channels.

The Milwaukee M12 Heated Jacket costs $199 and includes one M12 RedLithium battery and 30-minute battery charger.

 

Author Bio: Ethan Hagan is the primary editor at One Project Closer; visit to read additional tool reviews, expert project guides, and more. OPC is unique in that just about every how-to article features the work of an experienced professional contractor.


Top Tools 2012: DeWalt 12v Pivot Reciprocating Saw

With its pivoting blade, DeWalt's compact and cordless reciprocating saw is easy to use in tight spaces.

DeWalt 12v MAX Pivot Reciprocating Saw Review

Photo: DeWalt

Why You’ll Love It: The DeWalt 12v MAX Pivot Reciprocating Saw is the cordless little brother to the bigger, more-powerful reciprocating saw we’re all used to. DeWalt’s tool is powerful enough to cut a variety of materials, yet it’s compact enough to be useful in small spaces.

The Full Scoop: Although DeWalt wasn’t the first manufacturer to introduce this type of tool, the company proved good things are worth the wait upon introducing the MAX Pivot in February. 

De Walt 12 V Pivot Reciprocating Saw Blade Detail Opc Pic3 1Weighing only 3.1 lbs., the Pivot is one of the lightest saws of its kind. Its handle can be positioned at 90º, 45°, and in-line, making it the saw of choice for maneuvering in tight spaces. The integrated LED work light is another welcome feature.

Don’t be fooled by the saw’s size; it can pack a punch. It’s perfect for cutting PVC, copper pipe, metal conduit and more, and the pivoting shoe makes plunge cuts a breeze.

A variable speed trigger ranges from 0 to 2,700 strokes per minute, and Dewalt lists the stroke length at 9/16″. Blade changes are easy and can be accomplished just by lifting a lever.

DeWalt’s Pivot Reciprocating Saw is built on the 12v MAX line of cordless tools. If you already own the drill/driver from that collection, this saw is a natural companion. Expect to pay $149.99 for the full kit, which includes the saw, 12v MAX battery, battery charger, two reciprocating saw blades and storage bag.

 

Author Bio: Ethan Hagan is the primary editor at One Project Closer; visit to read additional tool reviews, expert project guides, and more. OPC is unique in that just about every how-to article features the work of an experienced professional contractor.


Top Tools 2012: Rockwell Sonicrafter X2 Oscillating Multi-Tool

Rockwell's no-nonsense oscillating multi-tool gets along famously with other toolmaker's accessories.

Rockwell Sonicrafter X2 Oscillating Multi-Tool Review

. Photo: One Project Closer

Why You’ll Love It: The Hyperlock clamp delivers 1 ton of clamping force, while its Universal Accessory system let’s you mix-and-match competitor’s accessories. These features and a 3.0 amp motor make the Rockwell Sonicrafter X2 one of the best oscillating multi-tools available.

Rosckell Sonicrafter X2 Toolkit Opc Dsc 0031The Full Scoop: Just about every manufacturer has jumped on the oscillating multi-tool (OMT) bandwagon. However, only a handful of these tools distinguish themselves from the pack, the Rockwell Sonicrafter X2 included. 

Rockwell released three new OMTs a few months ago; the X2 is the premier model. What sets it apart is the tool’s combination of a powerful 3.0 amp motor, unique Hyperlock clamping design, and Universal Fit accessory system.

Few OMTs can boast a powerful 3.0 amp motor, a welcome upgrade from the previous generation’s 2.3 amp rendition. The Hyperlock SDS clamp delivers a full 2,000 lbs. of clamping force to prevent accessories from coming loose, which can happen when cutting through dense materials. To change accessories, the user simply flips and rotates a lever to (un)lock the clamp—no fumbling around with easy-to-lose Allen keys.

Rockwell Sonicrafter Locking Clamp Detail Opc Dsc 00292  RevPerhaps the most notable and user-centered feature of the X2 is its Universal Fit accessory system. That means Rockwell’s tool will accept other brands’ accessories. With so many OMTs on the market, many of us have already stockpiled an assortment of accessories, and the X2 can accommodate them all.

To top it off, Rockwell includes a rugged case that is compact and waterproof, and which features two easy-access accessories storage areas on top.

The price tag on the Rockwell X2 is competitive at $149.99. The kit includes the tool, case, and nine accessories.

 

Author Bio: Ethan Hagan is the primary editor at One Project Closer; visit to read additional tool reviews, expert project guides, and more. OPC is unique in that just about every how-to article features the work of an experienced professional contractor.


Top Tools 2012: Johnson 9500 Magnetic Aluminum Box Level

Thanks to its magnetic edges, which provide an extra pair of hands, Johnson's box level stands apart.

Johnson 9500 Magnetic Aluminum Box Level Review

Photo: One Project Closer

Why You’ll Love It: Levels don’t carry many bells and whistles, but they are important tools for every project, from building a shed to hanging a picture frame. The Johnson 9500 Magnetic Aluminum Box Level features powerful rare-earth magnets that lock onto any magnetic surface, and the precision milled edges are great for scribing straight lines, unlike the beveled edge found on some competitors’ models. The 9500 has replaceable end caps for protection, and it’s proven job-site tough.

Johnson 9500 Magnetic Aluminum Box LevelThe Full Scoop: Even the novice do-it-yourselfer needs a high-quality level to ensure objects are level and plumb, and a good level can double as a straight-edge and even a screed board. 

Johnson has been producing measuring and layout tools since 1947, and many of their products are made in the US. The 9500 is accurate up to 0.5mm, and the accuracy is guaranteed for life!

Available in 24″, 48″, and 78″ models, the level features extremely powerful rare-earth magnets that hold to ferrous metal surfaces and can act as an extra pair of hands.

The anti-slip and anti-shock removable end caps can be replaced, and they protect the frame from drops and rough use. Furthermore, the solid block acrylic vials won’t leak, break, or fog over. The 9500 features rubberized hand grips securely screwed to the aluminum frame.

The 24″ level is a great addition to any tool tote, and you can expect it to cost approximately $40 depending on the retailer.

 

Author Bio: Ethan Hagan is the primary editor at One Project Closer; visit to read additional tool reviews, expert project guides, and more. OPC is unique in that just about every how-to article features the work of an experienced professional contractor.


Top Tools 2012: Bosch 13-Piece DareDevil Spade Bit Set

Bosch has revolutionized spade bits with the company's Daredevil line.

Why You’ll Love It: Bosch’s DareDevil Spade Bits drill large holes through wood studs with revolutionary self-starting, self-drilling heads that literally pull the bit through the wood.

Bosch 13-Piece DareDevil Spade Bit Set ReviewThe Full Scoop: Bosch’s line of DareDevil spade bits innovates with self-starting and self-drilling heads, not to mention aggressive hooked edges on the wingtips of the bit to help power through wood and composite materials. 

These bits drive through material up to twice as fast as standard spade bits while providing less overall resistance to the user. That means cleaner, faster holes with less stress on your hand muscles. The one caveat is that you’ll need to make sure your driver is ready for the task.

The innovations in Bosch’s DareDevil spade bit set make it a must-have for tradesmen, who frequently drill through standard-dimension lumber in order to run wires and cables. You can find DareDevil spade bits in lots of bit sets, and the basic 6-piece pouch will cost approximately $30.

 

Author BioEthan Hagan is the primary editor at One Project Closer; visit to read additional tool reviews, expert project guides, and more. OPC is unique in that just about every how-to article features the work of an experienced professional contractor.


Top Tools 2012: Ridgid 18v Compact Drill Driver and Impact Driver

Backed by the product category's best warranty, Ridgid's drill/driver is a workhorse that will last.

Ridgid 18v Compact Drill Driver and Impact Driver Review

. Photo: Ridgid

Why You’ll Love It: The Ridgid 18v Compact Drill Driver and Impact Driver delivers outstanding performance, solid battery life, a comfortable grip, and a lifetime repair and replacement warranty that also covers batteries.

Ridgid 18v Compact Drill Driver and Impact Driver ReviewThe Full Scoop: This drill driver/impact driver twofer is the latest in a long line of Ridgid “prosumer” and contractor-grade tools of this kind. The latest models’ compact design makes working in tight spaces much easier (their size closely approximates that of previous generations of 12v tools).

Boasting a 1/2″ chuck, 535 in. lbs. of torque, and a two-speed gear box delivering up to 1,650 RPMs, Ridgid’s drill driver will handle a broad range of applications, making it worthy of consideration by serious do-it-yourselfers, general contractors, and tradesmen.

The impact driver’s impressive 1,750 in. lbs. of torque, with virtually no force-feedback to the user, means the toughest driving jobs can be completed with relative ease. A standard quick-release hex chuck allows easy and quick bit swaps that hasten job completion.

Ridgid’s lifetime warranty on power tools is unparalleled in the industry. After free product registration within 90 days of purchase, Ridgid will warrant this combo kit for the life of its original owner. The warranty also covers replacement of the tool’s 18v batteries once they wear out. In this highly competitive space, the product warranty really puts Ridgid over the top.

The Ridgid Compact 18v kit is usually priced from $169 to $189 at Home Depot, but combo kits like this one are a popular “deal” item, especially around the holidays. Watch The Home Depot’s online coupons list for opportunities to purchase at reduced cost.

 

Author Bio: Ethan Hagan is the primary editor at One Project Closer; visit to read additional tool reviews, expert project guides, and more. OPC is unique in that just about every how-to article features the work of an experienced professional contractor.


Top Tools 2012: Milwaukee Cordless 18v Cut-Off/Grinder

Comfortable to use and easy to control, Milwaukee's powerful 18-volt grinder is near perfect.

Milkwaukee Cordless Grinder Tool Review

Photo: northerntool.com

Why You’ll Love It: This cordless grinder combines a 9,000 rpm motor, convenient paddle-switch, and tool-less accessories changes. It’s powerful enough to cut through bolts, rebar, pipes, threaded rod and to grind through brick mortar. The guard can be adjusted or removed in seconds, and the side handle can be set in three different positions for optimal control.

The Full Scoop: Last year Milwaukee released a new 4-1/2″ Cordless Cut-Off/Grinder, one of many tools built on the company’s 18v Red Lithium battery line. The convenient paddle-switch design is growing in popularity, and Milwaukee was one of the first manufacturers to incorporate it into a cut-off/grinder like this. Paddle-switches are preferable, because they are comfortable to operate, enable a user to better control the tool, and provide a safer alternative to lock-on switches.

Swapping accessories only takes a few seconds, and there’s no need for an Allen key or spanner wrench. The guard rotates through a handful of positions with the press of a lever; when you align the arrows, the guard slides off.

Milwaukee equipped the 2680-22 Cut-Off/Grinder with a powerful 9,000 rpm, 4-pole motor, and the air intake baffles feature an L-shape to prevent debris from entering and damaging the internals.

Milwaukee sells the grinder as a kit ($349), which includes a pair of XC high-capacity batteries, 1-hour charger, side handle, contractor bag and accessories.

 

Author Bio: Ethan Hagan is the primary editor at One Project Closer; visit to read additional tool reviews, expert project guides, and more. OPC is unique in that just about every how-to article features the work of an experienced professional contractor.


Top Tools 2012: ChannelLock 13 ‘N 1 Ratcheting Screwdriver

ChannelLock's tough and thoughtfully designed combination screwdriver outperforms similar tools.

ChannelLock 13 'N 1 Ratcheting Screwdriver Review

Photo: ChannelLock

Why You’ll Love It: The ChannelLock 13 ‘N 1 combines the efficiency of a ratcheting screwdriver with the versatility of a multi-bit driver, and you’ll feel the difference from the very first turn. The smooth-action ratcheting mechanism excels, and the tool’s innovative bit storage is a refreshing change from the jumble found on many competitors’ products.

The Full Scoop:
ChannelLock brings a rich history of high-quality tools made in America, and in 2011 the company introduced a pair of screwdrivers, including the all-new 13 ‘N 1 Code Blue. A 28 fine-tooth ratchet positively zips through each position as you work. Delivering 225 in. lbs. of torque, the Code Blue surpasses the popular Kobalt Double-Drive, which produces only 178 in. lbs. Conveniently, the direction setting can be adjusted one-handed, and the driver can ratchet left, right, or be locked in place.

Channellock 13 'N 1 Ratcheting Screwdriver Review

ChannelLock implemented slide-out bit storage that secures each individual bit—a thoughtful touch compared to the unorganized, loose storage most DIYers find on combination screwdrivers. The shaft is a 1/4″ nut driver, and within the handle you’ll find double-ended 0, 1, 2, 3 Phillips bits; 4, 6 slotted bits; 10, 15, 20, 25 Torx bits; and 1, 2 square bits.

The ChannelLock 13 ‘N 1 is priced from $30 to $35. Find it online and at your local home improvement center.

 

Author Bio: Ethan Hagan is the primary editor at One Project Closer; visit to read additional tool reviews, expert project guides, and more. OPC is unique in that just about every how-to article features the work of an experienced professional contractor.