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Top 20 Tools Most Contractors Wish They Had

Everyone knows the most common tools contractors use every day, but there are also some more unusual tools that can save a considerable amount of time and money if you have them to hand in the right time at the right place. Here's a guide to some of those less obvious tools that can really save the day. So take your game to the next level by investing in this equipment for your business.

1. Line Laser Level

A line laser level comes in handy when you need to level surfaces, check height, or align objects in projects such as construction, surveying, or plumbing. The device is relatively easy to set up as you just mount it on a stand to start observing.

It uses diodes to project a ray of light 180 or 360-degrees horizontally and vertically. The generated laser may be green or red depending on its wavelength.

Why not use a traditional spirit level instead? A line laser level is superior in that it's more accurate over long distances. Additionally, there's a self-leveling model that does most of the work autonomously.

Simply put, line laser levels help you save time and do a perfect job the first time.

2. Blowtorch

A blowtorch is not just for the welding and metal fabrication industry. The equipment boasts multi-industry applications, including road and rail construction, building, and plumbing. Contractors use it to weld steel, flame-cut metals, or cast iron.

The tool generates an extremely hot flame that can mold or cut metal. It uses highly combustible gases (for example, propane and oxygen) mixed in appropriate proportions to produce heat.

You could use a grinder in some situations, but you may find it much easier to flame-cut shapes and contours using a torch. Additionally, the latter cuts thick metal much faster than jigsaws and grinders. There's also the critical matter of fuel cost, whereby gas is usually cheaper than electricity.

3. Non-Contact Voltage Tester

Any contractor, such as an electrician, working with electricity should include a voltage tester in their operational/job site safety plan. Having the tool to hand guarantees peace of mind, and it allows technicians to sustain productivity without worrying over potential electrical shocks.

Non-contact testers do not need contact with an object to detect voltage. These devices can track anything from 12V to 1000V in wiring, fuse boxes, household appliances, outlets, and switches. Some models work with both AC and DC voltages.

Typically, the device gives a beep or LED signal if it detects voltage. Depending on the model, the tool may come with a built-in flashlight for use in dark or low-light conditions.

4. CNC Router

A computer numerical control router is perfect for the high-precision cutting of different types of materials, including wood, metal, and plastic. It employs a computerized mechanism to route tool paths, enabling it to cut into or through objects accurately.

The tool is a superior alternative to traditional plunge-base or fixed-base routers when it comes to high-volume production. Also, it is also the right solution for generating intricate or larger pieces. It does the job relatively fast.

Thanks to its superior precision control, a CNC router minimizes wastage of material, which saves money. A computer system controls the device, enabling the seamless repeatability of production runs.

5. Oscillating Multi-Tool

The oscillating multi-tool serves a broad spectrum of woodworking or metalworking purposes, from scraping and sawing to sanding and grinding. The versatile power device is ideal for tasks such as grout removal, flush cuts, and trim cuts. Having the equipment on standby saves money by eliminating the need to buy different standalone tools for the various tough woodwork or metalwork tasks on your hands.

6. Metal Tag/Label Stamping Machines

Do you need to mark your job site tools with asset tags and industrial labels? You may do that with metal tag stamping machines to help with workflow efficiency, organization, and safety. With such tags, you can identify each equipment or vehicle within the work environment, highlight hazards, or give guidelines for the operation of machines.

Acquiring and bringing your own metal tagging equipment to the job site enables you to generate customized tags and nameplates, cheaply. Typically, you can use such a tool to stamp or emboss different types of metal, including aluminum, brass, and steel. There are automatic as well as manual metal marking systems available for industrial applications.

7. Hammer Drill

A power hammer drill has a hammering and drilling function. It's attached to a bit that rotates and drives into different materials with varying degrees of hardness. The hammering function provides a forward action or an impact that enables the bit to get through concrete, stone, mortar, or other hard materials. The tool is much more efficient and easier to operate than a traditional drill.

There are corded and cordless hammer drills. The former does not run out of battery juice, and as such, it does not slow down with time. On the other hand, you can bring a cordless model to an off-the-grid, remote job site. In that case, a battery powers the tool.

8. Multi-Tip Screw Driver

You may consider using a multi-tip screwdriver, rather than buy and bring a set of standalone screwdrivers to a job site. A good option is the 11 in 1 tool with the seven tips and nut drivers that most professionals, including electricians, demand day to day. A single multi-bit screwdriver comes in handy when you're driving specialty screws in common job site electrical systems or fixtures like fuse boxes, power switches, and conduit couplers.

9. Tunnel Boring Machine (TBM)

Contractors in the construction industry have used TBMs to dig horizontally through the ground when building tunnels. While in operation, for example in a subway construction project, the machines do not cause the surrounding land, soil, or rocks to vibrate, which helps protect nearby buildings and infrastructure.

A tunneling machine has two other functions besides excavating. The equipment supports the ground above it, preventing it from collapsing under its weight or the weight of buildings, cars, and other heavy objects. It also has a conveyor system for mucking out excavated debris. The technique is safer than explosives, and it's quicker and more cost-effective than most alternative tunnel-digging methods.

10. Dust Collector

A dust collector gathers debris and impurities generated in operations that involve sawing, drilling, or grinding materials. The equipment helps clear the air within the work area, which is vital to keeping onsite workers healthy and productive.

You may consider setting up a central dust collection system at the site. In that case, the unit connects to several pieces of equipment via PVC piping.

11. Concrete Moisture Meter

A moisture meter is a time saver when measuring moisture content (MC) in any concrete flooring, such as a slab. While the tool does not provide conclusive readings, it helps contractors narrow down areas of concern for further MC testing by more accurate and quantitative techniques, for example, RH sensors.

The tool measures MC at the concrete slab surface. Be sure to conduct a quantitative test deeper in the concrete flooring if a spot check reveals wetness at the top. It's in your best interests, as a contractor, to make a conclusive MC determination before installing a floor covering.

12. Site Box

A site box is a secure place to store your tools, especially those that are expensive and easy to misplace or get stolen in the work area. It can accommodate small and large items like jackhammers. With such job site storage, you can keep expensive handheld devices in one place, making these easy to find and use on demand.

Usually, a site box has skids for convenient transportation with forklifts. You may also bolt it to a permanent, firm surface, such as a wall.

13. Hearing Protection

Operators of equipment that produces potentially deafening sound should wear hearing protection. Be sure to protect your ears if you're consistently exposed to high-decibel noise when sawing, drilling, or cutting using power tools. You need such protection to avoid hearing damage or loss. By limiting your employee's exposure to such a workplace hazard, you reduce your own exposure to costly work compensation claims.

Earplugs and earmuffs are some of the practical solutions that personnel can wear at the job site to protect their ears. Putting on the gear can cushion workers against the discomfort and distraction of loud equipment, allowing them to focus on the job.

14. Vibratory Compaction Bucket

A vibratory compaction bucket is attached to an excavator or backhoe to help with cost-effective site preparations for projects like sewer or water line installation. It lets the backhoe operator dig trenches, place backfill, and perform compaction without pausing to switch out attachments. As such, the tool helps enhance productivity by minimizing costly downtime. It also eliminates the cost of hiring or buying an extra accessory for compaction.

15. Motorized Wheelbarrow

Move building debris, concrete, stone, aggregates, or other materials efficiently from point A to B within your work area with a power wheelbarrow! The motorized transportation tool lets you haul heavy loads much quicker than possible with traditional wheelbarrows, helping save time. Some models can carry and move 700 lbs or more over several miles.

A typical power wheelbarrow is small in size compared with other motorized transportation equipment, such as a dumper, making it suitable for hauling non-bulky, heavy loads through narrow paths and entrances within the job site. It can penetrate confined construction site spaces that a standard dumper, which is more costly, cannot. While dimensions differ from model to model, an 810 mm wide wheelbarrow can navigate through most exterior entrances with ease.

16. Job Site Heater

Are your employees operating in adverse outdoor weather, such as winter? Consider warming up your job site with a heater to keep the staff comfortable and safe, which enhances their productivity. When it gets unbearably cold outside, you essentially fire up the equipment to ensure the continuity of mission-critical project workflows.

You can count on a direct-fired heater when you need temporary relief from chilly job site conditions. The equipment produces an exposed flame that heats air as it passes through. Other work area heating systems include convection, electric, and hydronic furnaces.

17. Lube Skid

A lube skid can be a handy addition to your work environment assets. You can use it to store oils, fluids, and greases for in-field equipment service. It's a low-cost, standalone alternative to a dedicated lube track that saves you money and time. Likewise, the equipment is easy to transport to the job site, for example, by mounting it on a truck-hauled trailer. A typical lube skid comes with multiple fluid storage tanks.

18. Light Tester

Your crew needs the lamps at the job site illuminating brightly, especially when working in dark or low-light conditions, for example, at night. If a bulb goes dark, workflows are interrupted. Thankfully, a light tester can help diagnose and fix the problem to prevent a potentially costly project delay. The device can determine whether the light bulb has burnt out. If the pins are out of order, the tester will tell too.

19. Power Tubing Cutter

Contractors, such as plumbers, rank copper pipe-cutting among the most tiresome and time-consuming everyday tasks. Fortunately, a power tubing cutter can address the challenge incredibly swiftly, helping save a great deal of production time over the long haul. While a manual alternative is cheaper than the electric one, it's slow, and it can cause wastage of resources.

A power tubing cutter uses a lithium-ion battery to drive its spinning cutting head. It does not require the operator to move their wrist while cutting, making it more user-friendly and ergonomic than a manual copper cutter.

20. An Asset Tracking Tool

As a contractor, you need to know the location of all the physical tools facilitating your field operations. An asset tracking system can help with that. With equipment tagging technology, you can tell where small and large equipment is at any given time. An advanced solution can also provide the status and geospatial information of all your tools.

Automatically tracking your tangible assets can help prevent project site theft, saving you hundreds if not thousands of dollars yearly. It also enhances work area organization, and it's ideal for the optimization of your equipment maintenance and inventory management plan.

There you have it—bringing the above tools to a job site can help streamline your operations and save money and time. Would you like to explore the topic of asset tracking in detail? Feel free to talk to us at GoCodes for more information!

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