Every contractor loves getting a brand new tool. After all, you rely on tools to install, repair, and service your customers. Every faucet, pipe, valve, and water heater requires proper tools for installation or repair. If you have been to a trade show recently, some of the favorite gathering centers for plumbing contractors are the tool manufacturer booths showcasing their latest modern tools with grand presentations and hands-on demonstrations.

Here in 2016, we certainly have some of the latest power and hand tools to make a contractor wish they had an unlimited budget to simply buy them all. New technology, materials, and innovation has driven manufacturers to develop tools that make your job easier, faster, and in the end, more profitable. The days of low powered batteries with short life cycles are gone. Advancements are made in power, torque, battery life, speed, durability, and innovation has even come to the pipe wrench.

Plumbing Perspective reached out to several wholesale plumbing supply companies to find out some of the latest trends in tools contractors are purchasing. We spoke with Ally Steinke, Supply Chain Manager of First Supply in the upper Midwest. Their top three new selling tools are Milwaukee’s M18 Super Hawg, M12 Drain Snake, and the M18 Press Tool. Steinke said, “Contractors like the Super Hawg because it has the capacity and long enough run time to get them through the day. They no longer need cords to run their tool and it has a slipping clutch where it won’t grab if it hits a knot in the wood. And the Drain Snake runs off the M12 battery system so contractors can get through an entire day of service calls on one battery charge.” She notes that contractors should be on the lookout for a new M18 battery from Milwaukee. “This will have the longest run time on the market which will be needed for the high capacity tools.” Steinke added.

We also spoke with Jeff Puckette, National Counter Alignment and Implementation Manager for Ferguson for a view on some of their top selling new tools for plumbing contractors. One of their top new sellers is the Ridgid RV 12 Gallon Wet/Dry Vacuum. Puckette states that “Ridgid has re-launched their professional-industrial grade wet/dry vacuum cleaners. The unique feature of this model – originally launched in late 2015 – is the motor is positioned on the bottom, providing stability and easy access for filter maintenance and debris removal.” Milwaukee’s latest tools are hot items with contractors also as Puckette adds, “Milwaukee has launched a significant amount of innovative new products in multiple categories over the past two years. Two prevalent products for our customers are the M12 drain snake and a pipe wrench with an integrated cheater bar. And you cannot have a discussion about new Milwaukee tools without mentioning their One-Key™ Bluetooth technology and app which allows owners to customize, track and manage tool performance and location.” There are some exciting new tools launching soon says Puckette, “DeWalt has many product launches scheduled for the upcoming months, with a lot of excitement building around the release of their new FLEXVOLT battery platform. These batteries can alternate between 20V and 60V, depending upon the tool platform needs. The technology also allows tools that previously required a power source to be able to run cordless. Another item worth mentioning is the new 20V Max* Cordless Thread Rod Cutter which allows for cordless cutting of steel bars in the field.”

As a contractor, tools are your livelihood. They need to perform effectively under the most rugged and stressful conditions. They must be reliable and perform the function they were purchased for effectively every time. In the end, each tool should come with a return on investment. Some allow you to install products for customers that would be difficult or impossible to install without the proper tool. Others simply save you time and efficiency, allowing you to finish a job quickly and move on to the next job to take on additional business. In some cases, this allows you to offer reduced pricing to customers to win a bid over your competition and still provide the same quality with reduced installation and service time. This is especially key for commercial contractors that can couple a product and an installation tool that can offer lower construction cost because of the reduced labor costs on a job. For residential plumbers and contractors, imagine being able to fit another job in every day with tools to help reduce service time.

Plumbing Perspective has reached out to some of the top tool manufacturers in the trades to compile some of the hottest trends in power and hand tools for contractors in the plumbing trade. These names have become staples in the industry such as Milwaukee, Ridgid, DeWalt, Bosch, Rothenberger, and Hilti. In another article, we show you the Top 15 New Tools that have been introduced in 2016 to improve service performance and your bottom line.

Check out the Top 15 NEW Tools for 2016

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