PCL120CR SAW ($149) »
A sub-compact Sawzall you say? Nope. This is the PCL120CR 12V reciprocating saw and it packs 0-3.000 strokes per minute at 5/8 inch.
The kit came with two 12V lithium-ion batteries, a 30-minute charger, a couple of blades, and a hex key for the blade clamping shoe.
What I liked best about the PLC120CR was the variable speed trigger and three-position pivoting handle, which provided a ton of versatility in a very compact package. The tool-free blade release and LED work light were also nice accouterments. The adjustable clamping shoe was also a nice touch for when small tubing was to be cut.
The downside to this machine is really what plagues all battery-operated tools; the loss of juice when the going gets tough. I like corded tools for the constant power, but it seems like with reciprocating saws, the cord always gets in the way. That’s why I always have another battery fully juiced up for the hot swap.
My consensus is this; on 99 percent of the chopping duties we do around here, this little reciprocator is the ideal tool to have in the arsenal.
LED Pro Pocket Pliers ($50) »
Coast’s C5899 stainless steel LED Pro Pocket Pliers multi tool is only 4 inches closed, but has a ton of things packed neatly inside it. The unit features spring-loaded pliers, a full-sized knife blade with partial serration, scissors, a cap lifter, small and medium slotted screwdriver tips, and a Phillips screwdriver tip.
Under first inspection I found the C5899 to be well made. It also comes with its own carrying case so it can be stowed in a bag or on your belt. One thing I liked about the tool is that it had two built-in LEDs. One at the knife end and one at the pliers’ tip, so either end can be used in the dark with no other light needed.
The multi tool did come a bit stiff from the factory and it took some heft to open it up, but that is much better than some other tools like this, which come from the factory too loose.
My thumb can attest that the blade is very sharp and my throttle cable can tell you that the pliers work with the best of them. All in all, this tool is packed with both quality and versatility for the amount of money I paid for it.
MicroCut 301 Plasma Cutter ($799) »
One of the more fun “big boy” toys, a plasma cutter not only makes quick work when hacking stuff up, it also creates a cool sound and a bunch of purple and orange sparks.
For those of you that don’t know plasma cutting is a process that uses an inert gas (compressed air) that’s blown at high speed out of a nozzle. The gas is combined with an electrical arc turning the gas to very hot plasma. The plasma is searing enough at 45,000 degrees to melt metal and make a very clean dissection. Cool huh?
Designed for the professional or the serious hobbyist, the MicroCut 301 has some very diminutive dimensions and a weight of 14 pounds, but it in no way make this a lightweight in the realm of plasma cutting. This thing sliced through 5/16-inch steel like butter and 3/8-inch steel with a little work. It also worked great when cutting stainless steel and aluminum as well. I was cutting rusty and painted sheetmetal with ease and only had an issue when a good ground wasn’t secured.
One thing that took a little while to get the hang of was HTP’s advanced inverter technology, which lets you adjust the cutting amperage from 5 to 25 amps. Once I got the hang of it I was able to fine-tune the cutter to work with all sorts of metals and surfaces much better than many other manufacturer’s plasma cutters.
This machine can go anywhere you can find a 220V outlet and a little compressed air making the HTP MicroCut 301 a great choice for guys who ride.