plumbing electrical awards lg

The plumbing and electrical industries are experiencing the benefits of the current cordless revolution as much as any other sector thanks mainly to the incredible power being harnessed with lithium-ion technology. Cordless tools aren’t the only innovations, though. A couple of hand tools that have been around for decades are seeing innovation to make them stronger than ever before. Here are your winners for the 2016 Pro Tool Innovation Plumbing & Electrical Awards!

Winner – Electrical, Accessories

Southwire CT50 heavy duty cable tieSouthwire Tools & Equipment CT50 Heavy Duty Cable Ties

What they said: Secure wire bundles and harness components quickly on the jobsite with our innovative and versatile Cable Tie. Its patent pending design eliminates the need to carry wire clamps, hose clamps, loop clamps and countless other items needed to get the job done. Southwire Cable Ties, The Tie That Beats All Ties™ are available in both a 50 and 90 lb. load rating.

What we say: The holes positioned all along the Southwire heavy Duty Cable Ties make them easy to secure in any location. Perfect for electrical, plumbing, or just about any use—these cable ties are easy to cinch and adjust. Every Pro would benefit for picking up a few packs and having them had on job sites. They can even save you money over similar metal clamping solutions.

Price: $8.95+ (multi-pack bundles)

For more information, click here.

Winner – Electrical, Wire Strippers

Klein Tools K12055/Heavy Duty Wire StripperKlein Tools K12055Heavy Duty Wire Stripper

What they said: The Klein Tools Heavy-Duty Wire Stripper is a breakthrough in wire stripper technology because of its forged design that makes it four times stronger than traditional Klein stamped wire strippers. The wire stripper is forged from Klein’s proprietary US-steel, the same steel used to manufacture our world class pliers. However, this tool is specifically designed for wire stripping, cutting, and twisting 10-18 AWG solid and 12-20 AWG stranded wire. It also has a thicker, knurled jaw that can twist up to three wires at once.

The Heavy-Duty Wire Stripper has precision ground stripping holes and the cutting knives are induction-hardened for longer life. It also features 6-32 and 8-32 bolt shearing holes. The hot-riveted joint ensures smooth action and no handle wobble. The Klein Kurve handles also provide added comfort while in use.

What we say: Wire strippers are great thanks to the flattened design that makes them lighter weight than most of the pliers we carry. They come with a dirty little secret, however—they like to bend and twist out of alignment over time. This only gets worse with heavy use. Klein has gone after that issue and moved to a heat treated steel over the traditional stamped steel manufacturing method. With four times the strength of previous models, Klein’s Heavy-Duty Wire Stripper should last much, much longer.

Price: $31.80

For more information, click here.

Winner – Electrical, Cordless Wire Crimpers

Milwaukee M18 FORCE LOGIC 600 MCM CrimperMilwaukee M18 FORCE LOGIC 600 MCM Crimper

What they said: Today electricians are using large, clunky, front heavy crimpers to splice or terminate electrical connections. Accuracy of crimp alignment is a key component of crimp integrity. Current crimpers are challenging to align because they’re so front heavy, often requiring two people ensure proper crimp placement. Through a proprietary jaw design, the 600 MCM Crimper easily holds connectors for instant alignment, resulting in accurate and fast initial crimps. The in-line design and easy open jaws improve accuracy and speed of subsequent crimps as they can easily open the jaws with just the press of a thumb, a superior process for a single user.

What we say: While we couldn’t possibly spell out all of the innovative benefits of Milwaukee’s M18 Force Logic 600 MCM Crimper in this space, two things really stand out. First, compatibility with the One-Key system ensures accurate tracking of completed crimps and notification of scheduled maintenance. Second, there’s improvement in the crimping process itself. The hydraulic Predictive Force Monitoring system starts the crimp fast and then backs off to produce the exact amount of force needed. This results in both a fast and accurate user experience. 

Price: $2,600.00

For more information, click here.

Winner – Electrical, Cordless Wire Cutters

Milwaukee FORCE LOGIC M18 Cable Cutter Kit with 750 MCM Cu JawsMilwaukee FORCE LOGIC M18 Cable Cutter Kit with 750 MCM Cu Jaws

What they said: With several variables to consider, our users are constantly faced with the dilemma of which cable cutter to purchase. Smaller cutters are often underpowered for their application, while larger cutters are bulky, awkward and expensive. Milwaukee focused on solving these trade-offs, and has delivered two unique solutions that power through large diameter cable for the fastest cuts in the industry.

One trade off users often experience is that cutters with the power to cut through steel will smash soft wires, while those that provide installation ready cuts are easily broken in steel applications. Our new offering will include one model with 750 MCM Jaws for both utility and commercial applications, and another with 477 ACSR Jaws that are specifically designed for steel-core utility applications and can deliver up to 1,000 cuts per blade.

What we say: With one model ready for steel-core cutting applications and the other ready for soft wire, Milwaukee specifically targeted the balance between size and power with the M18 Force Logic Cable Cutter. Bringing down the size without sacrificing the power needed for tough wire cutting is crucial when working in awkward or confined spaces. Particularly helpful for utility workers, the batteries and hydraulic system will continue to work down to 0 degrees and as high as 122 degrees Fahrenheit. Milwaukee also paid attention to the ergonomics details in how the tool is balanced. Of course, integrating a 350-degree rotating head also helps make this one of the most user-friendly cutters on the market. 

Price: $1859.00

For more information, click here.

Winner – Electrical, Cordless Knockout/Punch Tools

Milwaukee M18 FORCE LOGIC 6T KnockoutMilwaukee M18 FORCE LOGIC 6T Knockout

What they said: When we introduced our Milwaukee Knockout System in 2014 we brought a fresh perspective to hole-making, essentially redefining the entire process to promote better ease of use and productivity. The 10-Ton tool gave a wide-range of commercial and industrial users the speed, hole quality and capacity they needed. But because that range was so wide, it became increasingly important to provide an optimized compact solution for the breadth of applications that service and MRO professionals deal with which require maneuverability. The addition of the 6-Ton solution, which is 40% lighter than our 10-Ton offering, will provide these users with a reliable tool that they can easily navigate within these tight spaces and deliver the capacity to punch up to 4” holes in 14 gauge mild steel.

What we say: While you can use heavy-duty tools for light- and medium-duty applications, there are some cases where light, more compact tools are more desirable. That’s certainly the case with knockout tools. Milwaukee has responded by bringing their M18 Force Logic technology into a more compact 6T tool. This knockout tool shaves off the weight and still gives you up to 4” capacity. It will save your arms and cover the majority of knockout needs for MRO crews and residential electricians.

Price: $999.00

For more information, click here.

Winner – Electrical, Fish Rods/Tape

Southwire FTSP45-75NCT Simpull fish tapeSouthwire Tools & Equipment SIMpull™ Non Conductive Fish Tape

What they said: The new line of fish tapes features a spiral extruded polymer design that reduces the amount of effort required to push or pull the fish tape through EMT and PVC conduit. The flexible material is break and kink resistant reducing the chances of jobsite downtime due to breakage. The non-conductive material and glow-in-the-dark leader allows the tape to easily glide over existing wires without binding at joints or couplings. This line of fish tapes will feature 5 lengths and 2 widths to fit the many different needs of electricians.

What we say: Fish tape may not seem like an exciting new tool, but the spiral shape of the SIMpull fish tape helps it navigate itself over rough obstacles. It also keeps it flexible, which prevents snapping. Our Pros liked the glow-in-the-dark leader, and the sheer number of options for length and width make this a versatile tool for any electrician.

Price: Varies by length

For more information, click here.

Winner – Electrical – Non Contact Voltage Testers

Southwire 40150N NCVSouthwire Tools & Equipment 40150N Advanced Dual Range NCV

What they said: The 40150N Advanced Dual Range NCV is a waterproof NCV designed and built for the elite electrician. It has two ranges which allows the user to check low voltage lighting all the way down to 12V AC as well as higher voltage up to 1000V. It has a silent mode for times when work has to be done in a quiet business environment. It also has a low battery self- test and front – facing as well as rear facing flashlights.

What we say: The idea of a waterproof NCV doesn’t impress us as much as the fact that this tool handles 12V-1000V in a single device. The self-test and silent mode, as well as the integrated flashlight, are also more than a little nice to have on a hand tool like this. Every electrician should grab this tool for their bag.

Price: $25.98

For more information, click here.

Winner – Electrical – Specialty

Southwire Carbide-Tipped Hole Saw KitSouthwire Tools & Equipment ACLHS Adjustable Can Light Hole Saw

What they said: Adjustable hole saw featuring black oxide blades, cleanly and efficiently cuts precise holes in drywall and ceiling tiles. The saw kit features 10 blade adjustment positions ranging from 2-1/2″ to 7″ and black oxide blades that cut cleanly through drywall and ceiling tiles. Hex key adjustment allows for easy blade changes, and the disc-shaped mandrel balances blades for stable and clean cuts.

What we say: There is no shortage of hole saws for putting in larger diameter fixtures, but we like the ease of adjustment that supports can light sup to 7 inches in diameter. The simple blade changes are also nice and they’re easily sharpened. This is a simple tool, but one that may make you put away your jab saw forever when cutting in ceiling fixtures.  

Price: $22.47

For more information, click here.

Winner – Plumbing, Cordless Drain Snakes

Milwaukee M12 Drain SnakeMilwaukee M12 Drain Snake

What they said: Drain snakes are essential tools for plumbers and facility maintenance crews, but current tools on the market are difficult to operate and maneuver due to cords, overall weight, and exposed spinning drums. The simple cordless setup of the M12 Drain Snake frees users from the hassle of wrestling with cords, carrying extension cords, or spending time looking for outlets-allowing them to get back to the job at hand. In addition, this is the only handheld unit with a fixed drum shield to protect the fixture and user from the spinning drum. When we combine these cordless benefits with our new-to-world design, we’re able to truly provide a level of productivity that these users have never experienced before.

What we say: Like most good 12-volt tools, Milwaukee’s M12 Drain Snake can handle 80% or more of the typical call outs for plumbers. Lightweight and compact compared to floor models, the M12 leaves bathroom and kitchen floors much cleaner, reducing clean up time at the end of the job. Milwaukee also fixed a drum shield in place to protect the user from the spinning drum. With a capacity of 25 feet covering drains up to 2-1/2 inches, the M12 Drain Snake is a must-have tool for plumbers to supplement their heavier equipment.

Price: $249.00

For more information, click here.

Winner – Plumbing, Cordless Pipe Beveling

Metabo KFM 18 LTX 3 RF Beveling ToolMetabo KFM 18 LTX 3 RF Beveling Tool

What they said: With a brand new line of beveling tools, Metabo revolutionizes welding surface preparation and for the first time, beveling can be cordless! The new range consists of two small machines, one corded, one cordless, with a capacity of 5/32” at 45deg for edge beveling, deburring or radius cutting (5/64” or 1/8”), particularly useful for the preparation of edges that are to be painted as in the shipyard industry.

The three larger machines, with a capacity up to 5/8” at 45 degrees, offer ultimate freedom by adjusting the angle on the machine from 0 to 90 degrees without changing the cutting head. These tools offer the simplest and most cost effective way to prepare a surface for welding, with time savings up to 70% and a cleaner, smoother surface.

What we say: Cordless pipe and metal beveling, are you kidding? It’s no joke as Metabo is getting more out of their LiHD batteries and motors. They continue to develop their cordless tools into a lineup that’s hard to ignore. With the ability to bevel up to 45 linear feet on one charge, welding prep is going to be much easier with no cords and this lightweight handheld tool at your disposal. 

Price: $949.00

For more information, click here.

Winner – Plumbing, Pipe Cutters

Milwaukee Mini Copper Tubing CuttersMilwaukee Mini Copper Tubing Cutters

What they said: Current mini swing cutters available on the market suffer from two common premature failures: Broken adjustment mechanisms and corrosion. To address these issues, Milwaukee designed its new Mini Copper Tubing Cutters with a proprietary adjustment mechanism that delivers 5X longer life. In addition, the cutters feature chrome rollers for best-in-class rust protection when exposed to water. Both mini tubing cutters also feature an easy-grip knob provide better leverage during adjustment.

What we say: You’d think that a copper tubing cutter would have to be corrosion resistant just by the nature of what it’s designed to do. That hasn’t been the case and Milwaukee has stepped up for plumbers with their Mini Copper Tubing cutter. They use chrome rollers to beat back corrosion, and we also like the more durable adjustment mechanism. For a tool with a relatively low price point, there’s a tangible difference in how much more durable these cutters feel in your hand. 

Price: $22.99

For more information, click here.

Winner – Plumbing, Cordless Press Tools

Milwaukee M18 FORCE LOGIC Press ToolMilwaukee M18 FORCE LOGIC Press Tool

What they said: The FORCE LOGIC system is all about revolutionizing traditional processes so our users can be significantly more productive and profitable. When we introduced the first FORCE LOGIC Press Tool solutions a few short years ago, and led the shift from sweat and solder to press, that is what we achieved for plumbers and mechanical contractors. With the introduction of the new M18 FORCE LOGIC Press Tool we’re committed to enhancing productivity once again. As the industry’s first brushless press tool, the M18 FORCE LOGIC Press Tool offers the longest calibration interval in the industry at 50,000 cycles. This keeps the tool on the jobsite longer, reducing downtime for the user, and increasing productivity over the life of the tool. And now we’ve made it smaller and lighter, which makes navigating around installed pipes easier and delivers maximum productivity in tight spaces. The industry’s best press tool just got even better!

What we say: Ask any plumber if he’d rather sweat and solder 25 pipe connections or press them with a cordless tool, and see how many vote for the solder. Unless he gets paid by the hour and has no deadlines, pressing has a distinct productivity advantage. As the industry gets used to cordless press tools being a reality, Milwaukee brings their brushless motor to the table and gets a huge interval between required calibrations. That has also led to a more compact, lightweight design that makes working around tight spaces much easier and faster. Milwaukee’s M18 Force Logic Press Tool also delivers innovation to ensure quality connections with a pre-press battery check to ensure the battery has enough power for the press and an indicator that lets you know the press was successful.

Price: $3,534.00

For more information, click here.

Winner – Plumbing, Cordless Specialty

Milwaukee M18 FUEL SUPER HAWG 1/2" Right Angle DrillMilwaukee M18 FUEL SUPER HAWG 1/2″ Right Angle Drill

What they said: When we launched the award-winning M18 FUEL Hole Hawg last year that is optimized for Electrical applications, we promised to deliver an innovative solution that is optimized for larger diameter hole drilling in the near future. One year later, we are excited to not only keep that promise, but offer a solution that will completely eliminate the need to use generators and extension cords on the jobsite for Plumbers & HVAC professionals alike.

What we say: Cordless drills can only take you so far, and plumbers often need to bore out some pretty large holes. Milwaukee’s M18 Fuel Super Hawg is specifically designed to handle the task without the risk of burning up your motor. Delivering a monstrous amount of torque, it can handle self-feed bits up to 4-5/8” and hole saws up to 6” in diameter. Beyond the power, internal testing produced more than 75 holes at a 2-9/16” diameter on a single 5.0 amp hour battery. As if you need reminding, the new Milwaukee 9.0 amp hour battery extends runtime even further. 

Price: $349.00

For more information, click here.