Ryobi hit the nail on the head with its well thought out TEK 4 line of battery-powered tools. Cordless tools are nothing new, what with all the saws and drills out there that get their juice from battery packs. However, the TEK 4 line-up addresses home improvement and job site needs with a new twist – rugged, innovative gear that uses the same, relatively small, rechargeable 4-volt lithium-ion batteries, displacing the scads of AA cells that would typically be required.
All of the TEK 4 tools offer some degree of impact, dust, and moisture protection, which definitely comes in handy in situations such as working in colder climates when fumbling around with gloves on, thereby increasing the potential to drop a hand-held device – or when working outside and getting caught in a downpour. Some of the more inventive TEK 4 examples include a digital camera that is sealed from the elements, noise suppression headphones with a built-in microphone system, a portable power source for devices such as cell phones and mp3 players, an infrared thermometer, a job site MP3 music player, and a digital key lock box. Rounding out the rest of the pack is a digital multimeter, an LED flashlight, a laser distance-measure, a cross-leveling plumb/cross laser, a motion-sensing alarm with remote, and a multiple power source rapid-charger that can refresh batteries in 36 minutes via a wall outlet or USB power.
Having had the chance to try out some of the TEK 4 gear, we’re pretty stinking impressed. The run-time is quite long on most items. For instance, the flashlight runs about 6 hours, the portable power source will go up to 80 hours, the headphones clock in at up to 24 hours, the multimeter will give you over 100 hours, and the camera will take over 800 photos per charge. Many of the tools come with one of the lightweight 4-volt batteries, as well as a standard charger that has a 5-hour charge-time.
The camera is very durable, sporting a metal lens barrel, a protective lens filter, a rubberized body, and can survive a 3-foot dunk in the lake. It can shoot video, and has a unique feature usually only found on expensive pro DSLRs – the ability to attach a digital audio-memo to any picture. It can also shoot time-lapse photos at 5 minute, 15 minute, or 1 hour intervals. This camera would fit the bill at any construction site during the week or at the beach on the weekends.
The headphones are engineered with an electronic noise suppression system that allows for normal conversation while limiting background clatter. The microphone system permits you to hear yourself, and the level can be adjusted with a volume knob. There is also a minijack input for music… say goodbye to earplugs.
The other items that I checked out were the flashlight, multimeter, laser measure, and portable power source. All are built ruggedly, work well, and come with a 2-year warranty – all in all, Ryobi has done a great job here.
Buy Now: $13 to $199
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