Bolstering your home improvement arsenal.

Position:Electric tools - What's New?

When if comes time to do some home improvements or other projects around the house, reliable tools are essential. For those of us do-it-yourselfers and others with less experience than, say, a general contractor, it's great to have products that can help us get the job done with limited knowledge. The SmartSelect Technology line from Black & Decker, Towson, Md., uses icons on the tools to match to the job we're doing to select the correct settings automatically for the task at hand.

The one tool we always seem to pull out is the 18V High Performance Cordless Drill/Driver ($84.99). Usually, we have no idea of what torque setting to use--surprisingly, more power is not always the way to go. Using the SmartSelect icons, however, we can just twist the dial to select our application, and the tool chooses the correct setting for optimal results. So, whether we're driving 1/4" or 1" screws, or drilling a 1/2" hole into metal or a 7/8" hole into wood, the SmartSelect technology prevents screws from being stripped or driven too far into the surface, or drilling too fast or too slow for the material. The powerful Drill/Driver has two speeds for high torque screwdriving and high speed drilling, and offers more run time with two 18-volt batteries. An indicator shows the level of charge remaining on the tool. SmartSelect Driver/Drills also come in 12-volt ($49.99) and 14.4-volt ($69.99) models.


The LineFinder Orbital Jigsaw ($59.99) allows you to cut lines and patterns like a pro. First draw your line with the LineFinder pen, turn the dial to select the correct application and material, and the jigsaw will adjust the speed and orbit. Turn on the ultraviolet LineFinder light and the cut line will be illuminated to make following your path easier. Whether you're cutting straight lines in lumber, curved lines in plywood, or slicing PVC or metal, simply rotate the dial to one of seven settings for professional results. An easy-to-set Accu-Bevel adjustment allows angle cuts at 0...

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