Protected, connected, and groovin'...
Three of the tools that I found particularly cool, useful, interesting (or all three) at the National Hardware show last May in Las Vegas. The show is where buyers from hardware stores, lumber yards, and home centers go to see the latest and greatest tools and products being pitched by the companies that make them.
The 2016 show was particularly good, with more interesting new tools and products than I have seen in years past. Some recently came out, some are scheduled for release later this year, and some are concepts in search of buyers—years away from being produced or fated to never be produced at all.
Honeywell Sync Bluetooth Earphones
These hearing protectors can be paired to any Bluetooth mobile device. With the push of a button you can answer, reject, and end phone calls, and play, skip, or pause music. A 3.5mm auxiliary port allows you to make wired connections to non-Bluetooth devices.
The headphones have a noise reduction rating of 25 and are powered by a rechargeable lithium-ion battery with 12+ hours of runtime.
This brand new product will come out late this year and is expected to sell for about $150.
LockSmart Bluetooth Padlocks
The LockSmart is no ordinary padlock because it has no combination or key; it’s unlocked using a free passcode protected app on a Bluetooth enabled phone. Access can be shared with others who download the app and an internet connection at the lock. The owner can revoke permission at any time and by viewing a log can tell when and by whom locks were opened.
Power comes from a rechargeable lithium-ion battery said to be good for 3,000 opens. The app alerts you when the charge is low; you can recharge with a supplied mini-USB cable that plugs in where a key would normally go.
The LockSmart sells for $90 and the LockSmart Mini for $70. www.dogandbonecases.com
Safety Works Bluetooth Hearing Protection
These hearing protectors have a built-in AM/FM tuner and can be connected to mobile devices—wirelessly via Bluetooth or by plugging them into a 3.5mm auxiliary port. If a mic (not included) is connected to the second input port you can use the unit as a wireless phone headset.
The earphones have a Noise Reduction Rating (NRR) of 23 and come with three AAA batteries.
A brand new product, they are expected to sell for about $89.
—David Frane is a freelance editor and a good buddy of ours. Formerly, he was editor of Tools of the Trade magazine and website. He lives in Northern California.