It doesn't matter what sort of project you're doing—at one point or another, you're going to need a utility knife. With the Irwin Folding Utility Knife, you can always be ready. Besides the patented BladeLock technology that prevents mishaps, what contractors love most is that, integrated within the handle, there's a holder for backup blades. When one blade inevitably goes dull, you can speedily swap in the next and continue working. Available on Amazon; $11.63.
Sawing, sanding, paint scraping, trim cutting, grout removal—with its generous suite of specialized attachments, the Fein Multimaster does it all, impeccably. But versatility isn't what contractors appreciate most about the oscillating tool. Rather, they love that the ergonomic, three-pound Multimaster remains easy to operate even in the tight, narrow spots where a larger, single-purpose tool would be, not an asset, but a liability. Available on Amazon; $375.
Be In Control
A sawhorse and vise in one, the Rockwell Jawhorse proves clutch in countless scenarios. As a sawhorse, the all-steel construction securely holds up to 600 pounds. As a vise, the unit offers one ton of clamping force, and with jaws that open up to 37 inches wide, it accommodates everything from a full-size door to a six-inch board. Best of all, the Jawhorse folds down to a compact size, making it easy to carry away and store. Available on Amazon; $189.99.
There are plenty of traditionalists who may never switch over to cordless power tools. But among contractors who appreciate the freedom afforded by cordless design, the Bosch Bare-Tool 18-Volt Jigsaw has quickly become a favorite for making curving, tight, or intricately patterned cuts. That's largely because, besides being solidly built and reliable, the brawny Bosch packs enough power to rival any standard corded model. Available on Amazon; $149.
Carpenters, drywall installers, and HVAC technicians are only some of the tradesmen who need to set plumb, level, and square reference lines quickly and accurately. For many such pros, there's no replacing the PLS 5 from Pacific Laser Systems. By projecting five self-leveling lasers, the tool makes it easy to trace the layout points you need to proceed with confidence, whether you're an industry veteran or a weekend warrior. Available on Amazon; $469.70.
In any reasonably large project, there's dust, and lots of it. To combat it, more builders are opting to use a dust-control system. Their favorite? BuildClean. In a 6,000-cubic-foot space, the filter-based BuildClean "scrubs" the air six times in an hour, removing as much as 90 percent of the airborne dust. That means a healthier, more pleasant work environment throughout the day, and less time spent on cleanup come quitting time. Available at BuildClean; price on request.
Contractors don't stay home when the mercury drops; they adapt to the conditions. That's why many determined pros are outfitting themselves with a new breed of winter workwear. Take, for instance, the Milkwaukee Heated Jacket. It doesn't just block out wind and rain. Powered by a rechargeable lithium battery, the jacket actively warms the body for up to six hours. It even has a USB port, so you can charge your phone on the go! Available at The Home Depot; $199.
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