Reviews Tools & Materials

7 Tools That Contractors Swear By

Do-it-yourselfers rely on tools to get the job done. But for contractors, tools are much more than a means to an end—they are nothing short of a livelihood. Contractors can't afford not to be serious about gear. Not only do they stay up to date on the latest advances, but they also put tools to the ultimate test—hours-long usage, day after day. In the process, pros discover which tools really stand out. Thanks to a survey from Remodeling magazine, contractors' on-the-job favorites are no longer a trade secret. Click through now to find out which new building products the pros love most!
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Be Ready

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.

Be Flexible

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.

Be Free

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.

Be Confident

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.

Be Clean

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.

Be Comfortable

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.