Hot New Tools: Issue 72

Price-smart power tool partner

Karcher WD5/P Wet/Dry Shop Vacuum

These days, I think that a tool-triggered (TT) vacuum is a must-have item in any well-equipped workshop. Whether it’s hooked up to a router table, a random-orbit sander, or a track saw, this mobile vac dramatically cuts cleanup time while also significantly reducing the amount of airborne sawdust that will otherwise coat every stationary surface in your workshop.
In the U.S., Karcher may not have the name recognition of other tool-triggered vac manufacturers, but this German company has been making cleaning equipment (including pressure washers, sweepers, and steam cleaners) since 1935.
I’ve been using the Karcher WD5 for over a month, and I’ve come to appreciate the features that distinguish it from other TT vacs. The first major difference is the price—$100-200 less than the competition. Of course, the WD/5 isn’t configured to hold a stack of Systainers, but it has all the other useful features you’d need in a TT vac, plus a few more notable details.
If you need to move a shop vac in a tight shop or through a house for remodeling work, you’ll appreciate the Karcher’s tall, slim body and excellent maneuverability. Factor in the vac’s light weight and large handle, and you’ve got the most tote-able TT vac I’ve used.
The motor’s variable-speed control and
on-off function are integrated into a single,
easy-to-use switch. There are no levers to open
the vac; instead, you just flip the handle down
to unlock the top. Pressing a button when the
vac is operating will purge the pleated filter.
But you can also remove this filter easily without opening the entire top of the machine. Disposable filter bags are reasonably priced: A pack of four
bags costs around $15.
I like what the engineers at Karcher have done. They’ve come up with a TT vac priced way below the competition. But they’ve still managed to incorporate all the essential features into a functional, no-nonsense design.
#161498, $199.99
Tester: Tim Snyder

Super simple sprayer

Wagner Home Décor Paint Sprayer

Typically, stepping into spray finishing is a serious investment. If you own a large compressor (20 gal.), you can buy a HVLP gun, if you don’t, a stand-alone spray system will set you back $300-$500. With that in mind, I wasn’t expecting much from an $80 system, but I’m pleased to report that Wagner proved me wrong.

This system didn’t quite live up to its “just pour and spray” promise, but it came close. The gun worked well with straight-from-the can water-based urethanes, light-bodied acrylics, and even real milk paint. But it didn’t deliver the goods with thick-bodied chalked paints and latexes. After several attempts to water-down and test the gun, per the instructions, I contacted Wagner for help. They suggested using a Ford #4 viscosity cup. This accessory helped me fine-tune the finish without wasting time or paint…I wish they had included one with the unit.

Aside from the price tag, simplicity is a huge selling point. This gun may lack the air and fluid volumes found on other guns, but you only need to worry about the distance to the workpiece and the speed at which you move the gun. Although initially put off by the all-plastic parts, I was quickly won over by the super-easy cleanup.

The Wagner may not deliver finish as fast or as fine as pricier sprayers, but for smaller projects it can be your go-to gun. You’ll more than make up the extra time spent spraying when it’s time for cleanup.


Tester: Joe Hurst

Bye-bye burns

SNAPPY Roto-Stop Rotating Countersink Stop Collar

Countersink bits are great time-savers because they can drill a pilot hole and countersink (or counterbore) in one step. These bits come equipped with depth stops, but the problem with a basic fixed-ring collar is that it spins with the bit. If (OK, when) you’re not careful, the collar will create a donut-shaped burn mark around the hole. To prevent this, a few companies offer countersinks with bearing-mounted stops, but each bit can cost upwards of $25 per bit. Rather than spend money on a new set of bits, I had resorted to drilling the holes and counterbores on my drill press.

With Snappy’s new bearing-mounted stop, you can banish collar-caused burns—using the hex-shanked countersinks you already own. To use, attach the collar, adjust the stop (the upgrade includes two Allen wrenches for installation and adjustment), and chuck it into your drill. The stop is larger than a standard collar, but you no longer need to keep such a close eye on the hole; when the ring spins, you’re set. After getting my hands on an early production model nearly a year ago, I don’t want to work without it.

#161436, $24.99

Tester: Joe Hurst

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