Author Archives: Ethan Hagan


Top Tools 2012: Maxxeon WorkStar 220 LED

Maxxeon's pencil-thin pocket flashlight casts a whopping 140 lumens of LED light over an unexpectedly wide area.

Maxxeon WorkStar 220 LED Review

. Photo: Maxxeon

Why You’ll Love It: The Maxxeon Workstar 220 Pocket Floodlight is a super-slim flashlight that puts out an incredible 140 lumens! This light is powered by three AAAA batteries, measures 6″ long, and only weighs 1 ounce.

The Full Scoop: Maxxeon calls the Workstar 220 a “floodlight”, because it projects a wide beam of light—at a distance of 1′ from an object, the beam is about 1′ wide. This water-resistant body and head are composed of a semi-rugged anodized aluminum. Impressively, the flashlight measures only 9/16″ at its widest point. 

Three AAAA batteries are behind the Workstar’s whopping 140 lumens (the similarly sized Mini Maglite LED only puts out 77 lumens, according to Maglite.com). While some manufacturers opt for harder-to-find batteries—for instance, CR123A Lithium photo cells—Maxxeon designed its light around the more widely used AAAA. The Maglite offers “4 selectable [light] modes”, but the WorkStar 220 is all business.

The price for the Maxxeon WorkStar 220 is $31.95, and that’s on par with other LED flashlights.

 

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: Black & Decker 36v Cordless Lawn Mower

Quieter and more convenient than a gas-powered lawn mower, Black & Decker's electric model is an optimal choice for small and medium-size yards.

black and decker cordless mower

Photo: Silive.com

Black & Decker 36v Cordless Lawn MowerWhy You’ll Love It: Leave the gas can behind and forget about annual machine maintenance tasks with the Black & Decker 36v Lawn Mower. This cordless, rechargeable mower can tackle small to medium-sized lawns without sacrificing performance. The instant-start feature means no more yanking on a pull-cord, and at only 75 dB, your ears will thank you.

The Full Scoop: Cordless lawn and garden equipment has come a long way, and Black & Decker is leading the charge with its latest generation of 36v tools. Owning this mower means never having to store gas, oil, or fuel stabilizer again. There’s no need for spare spark plugs or air filters, and neither annual maintenance (except blade maintenance) nor winterization are required.

The benefits of an electric mower don’t stop there. With the safety key in place, the Black & Decker starts up at the touch of a button. Priming the engine? No need. Yanking on a pull-cord? A headache of the past. Perhaps best of all, this mower only emits 75 dB, while a typical lawn mower puts out over 100 dB of noise.

Set aside your fears about an electric mower’s performance. The SPCM1936 can handle up to a third of an acre on a single charge, though much like comparable gas-powered mowers, this electric self-propelled model can get bogged down in wet or very tall grass. With the pull of a lever, cutting height for the 19″ blades can be adjusted on all four wheels simultaneously.

Black & Decker 36v Cordless Lawn Mower

The battery requires 12 hours to reach full charge; it can be charged with the mower or separately. For optimal performance, the battery should be connected to the charger while not in use.

The Black & Decker SPCM1936 36v Lawn Mower costs around $450.00; spare batteries cost $129.

 

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 6-in-1 Combination Pliers

Why carry six tools when you only need one? Save space in your tool belt with Milkwaukee's innovative combination pliers.

Milwaukee Pliers

Photo: Milwaukeetool.com

Milwaukee 6 In 1 Combination PliersWhy You’ll Love It: Save room in your tool belt with 6-in-1 pliers from Milwaukee Tools, which can cut and strip wire, cut bolts, ream pipe and make loops. The patent-pending locking thumb switch is easy to operate, and the spring-loaded open means you’re always ready to work.

The Full Scoop: You might think there isn’t any room for improvement on a pair of pliers, but you’d be mistaken! For proof, check out one of Milwaukee’s latest hand tools, the 6-in-1 Combination Pliers. In one tool, wire strippers (0-18 AWG solid wire), wire cutters, a loop maker and needle nose pliers are all integrated.

The reaming head can be used to smooth edges of metal pipe from one half to one inch in diameter, while the bolt cutters can trim #6 and #8 bolts to length. These pliers are a time-saver; whereas you would once need to grab three or more tools, now all you need are the combo 6-in-1 pliers.

A patent-pending one-handed locking mechanism keeps these pliers secure. And they work just as well for righties as for lefties. Forged in alloy steel, the pliers feature a rust-protection coating.

Find them at The Home Depot, Grainger, Ohio Power Tool and many other retailers. Expect to pay about $30 a pair.

 

Author Bio: Ethan Hagan is the primary editor at One Project Closer; visit to read find 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: Craftsman 145-Piece Mechanic’s Tool Set

Craftsman's comprehensive mechanic's tool set holds the answer for innumerable projects around the house, shop, or garage.

Craftsman 145-Piece Mechanic's Tool Kit Review

Photo: Craftsman

Why You’ll Love It: This Craftsman 154-Piece Mechanic’s Tool Set comes with every socket, wrench, or bit you might need for projects around the house, shop, or garage.

The Full Scoop: This Craftsman set with custom injection-molded case is a must-have for every serious do-it-yourselfer, providing a comprehensive solution for innumerable applications. 6-point and 12-point sockets are included, along with deep well sockets, a dozen wrenches (comprising 24 total end sizes), and small socket drivers for handling hex-head screws.

All Craftsman hand tools are covered by Craftsman’s limited lifetime warranty. If any components of this set happen to break (for example, if the ratchet mechanism stops working, or a socket strips out), Craftsman will replace the tool at no cost. Perhaps the best part about Craftsman’s warranty is that it requires neither registration nor a receipt. Simply bring the tool to your local Sears store and get a replacement.

 

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: Ryobi Tek4 Digital Multimeter

A professional-grade tool at a budget-friendly price, Ryobi's multimeter is a handy digital device with a host of important uses.

Ryobi Tek4 Digital Multimeter Review

Photo: Ryobi

Why You’ll Love It: The Ryobi Tek4 Mulitmeter is a versatile diagnostic tool that can measure voltage, current, resistance, continuity and more. Its capabilities and feature set make this a professional-grade tool that is available at a fraction of the cost. And if you own other Ryobi Tek4 products, incorporating the digital multimeter is a no-brainer.

The Full Scoop: A multimeter is a big step up from a voltmeter and is useful for many electrical applications, such as checking outlets for power, testing speaker wire connections, and investigating fuses. With the Ryobi Tek4 Multimeter, you get all the functionality of a $100+ multimeter for about $80.

The Tek4 Multimeter is built on the Tek4 4v lithium-ion battery line, which provides 100 continuous hours per charge. Protected by a waterproof, dust-proof rugged housing, the Ryobi includes a 2-year limited warranty. The large screen is easy to read, and the blue LED backlight means you can use this multimeter in the dark. Probes are conveniently stored on the backside, where you will also find a hook and kickstand for “hands-free” operation. Like competitors’ models, this multimeter features an auto-off timer to conserve battery life.

 

Author Bio: Ethan Hagan is the primary editor at One Project Closer; visit to browse 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.