2019 Gear of the Year

Words: MASONRY Magazine  
Photos: AROO, CAD BLOX, Cali Cowboy, CrewTracks, DeWalt, Hohmann & Barnard, Iron Age, iQ Power Tools, JagClamp, Kapro, Klein Tools, Tools, LoopRope, MagnaReady, Malta Dynamics, Milwaukee Tools, RovR, Sakrete, Safety Hoist, Trowel Trades 

This year, we are excited to bring you a list of some of our top picks for this year’s flagship Gear of the Year feature. From software to saws to shoes, we have worked hard to carefully select products that got our attention. The wide range of products in our Gear of the Year Guide includes everything from the most popular products being released by some of the best-known industry brands to newly released items from brands you may never have heard of before.  

Some of these items would be great stocking stuffers, but many of these are innovative technologies to make jobsites safer and more efficient. Don’t worry about trying to find where to buy these products, we’ve got you covered!  
 

Apparel/Workwear   

Cali Cowboy- High Sierra Shirts   

While working outdoors has its perks, when the temperature drops, masons need to stay out there to work effectively. Cali Cowboy’s High Sierra Shirts are made with soft imported luxury flannel and then fitted with their custom developed cotton modal thermal lining, resulting in a warm, close fit that breathes while you work.  
 

The shirt also sports some fun and additional functional features like a sunglass loop and a hidden glove loop to help contractors stash their work gloves while on the job. There is also a covert pen pocket- meaning you’ll never misplace another pen while working, and even a water-resistant dry pocket to keep valuables close. The Cali Cowboy High Sierra Shirt retails for $148 and is available in a variety of sizes and colors at https://shop.californiacowboy.com/.  

Milwaukee Tools- Winter Demolition Gloves  
 

Winter is here, and with it comes the need for durable, warm, and dependable gloves to get things done on the worksite. Milwaukee Tool’s Winter Demolition Gloves are designed specifically for mason contractors and are filled with 40g of insulation for warmth that lasts all day long. The Winter Demolition Gloves are completely water- and windproof for extra protection and have reinforced palms and fingertips for durability.  
 

An added TPR knuckle guard adds further durability and protection, reinforcing the Winter Demolition Gloves to reduce vibration, and even feature SMARTSWIPE™ technology so contractors can use their touch screen devices without removal! The Milwaukee Tool Winter Demolition Gloves are available in sizes S-XXL and retail for $34.99 at https://www.milwaukeetool.com.  
 

Iron Age Footwear- Immortalizer Boot  
 

Masons have a special job that requires specialized equipment for the best performance possible, and footwear is no exception. Iron Age Footwear’s Immortalizer Boot is designed, tested, and approved by career masons across the nation. These rugged boots have a variety of features that make them perfect for the tough conditions of a jobsite. This includes easy to clean crack-resistant leather uppers, tough scuff high-abrasion heel and toe areas, and a hydrotex waterproof membrane to keep feet warm and dry.  
 

Additionally, the Immortalizer Boot meets ASTM F2413 Safety Standards, meaning you can be sure you are experiencing the best protection possible as you work. Iron Age Footwear’s Immortalizer Boots are available in size 6W-15W and retail for $143.99 at https://www.ironagefootwear.com/iron-age-ia0171-immortalizer.  

MagnaReady- Flannel Shirts  
 

Flannels are designed to keep you warm and dry, but what about safe on the job? MagnaReady’s Flannel Shirts combine the soft and insulating shirt mason contractors need when facing cold weather conditions on the jobsite with their MagnaReady closure technology for quick-release action to keep the user safe as they work.  

While they look like any other flannel shirt, the buttons are hiding the magnetic closure technology beneath and are both stain-resistant and wrinkle-free. For workers who often do their jobs at dizzying heights, this is a simple way for ever greater protection from an unfortunate accident. MagnaReady Flannel Shirts are available for $59.99 in red and navy, green and navy, dark teal, burgundy plaid, and gray and navy at www.magnaready.com 
 

Jobsite/Lifestyle  
 

RovR- RollR 60 Cooler  

Masonry can be thirsty work, no matter what time of year. The RovR RollR 60 Cooler’s unique design may be great for camping, but it is also perfect for even the toughest and most-rugged jobsites. The RollR 60 features stainless steel axels with puncture-resistant tires in a high-performance wheel assembly that ensures optimum maneuverability as you work, and high-density foam insulation provides up to 10 days of ice retention, holding up to 60 cans and 20 pounds of ice.  
 

With an airtight gasket, rubber latches, and Fast Flow drain plug with gasket, the RollR 60 is a great worksite companion to keep you and your team hydrated and ready to work. The RovR RollR 60 cooler retails for $399.00 and comes in Desert orange, Moss green and Powder white color options at https://rovrproducts.com/product/rollr-60-quart-cooler-with-wheels.  

Milwaukee Tool- M18™ PACKOUT™ Radio + Charger 
 

M18™ PACKOUT™ Radio + Charger

Why settle for one speaker when you could have 10? Milwaukee Tool’s M18™ PACKOUT™ Radio + Charger is the most available and most powerful system available today and has been specifically designed for premium performance on any jobsite. Featuring Bluetooth® 4.2 capability and the ability to charge all M18™ batteries, the system is completely compatible with the PACKOUT™ system. It can withstand up to 250 pounds on top of it, making it perfectly durable for demanding worksite conditions.  
 

This Bluetooth® 4.2, AM/FM radio has full-range connectivity to 18-station presets, it offers a built-in auxiliary, which means you’ll experience powerful low-end, balanced 360° sound across both large indoor and outdoor spaces. It is both water- and debris-resistant with the built-in exterior protection on every corner. The Milwaukee Tool M18™ PACKOUT™ Radio + Charger is available for $299.00 at https://www.milwaukeetool.com/Products/Power-Tools/Specialty-Tools/Radios-and-Speakers/2950-20.  

Klein Tools- Tradesman Pro™ 12 Quart Soft Lunch Cooler 

The Tradesman Pro™ 12 Quart Soft Lunch Cooler is the perfect size, shape, and weight for a mason contractor’s next personal lunch bag. The liner is both leak-resistant and reinforced with double-thick anti-microbial insulation, keeping lunches, drinks, and snacks cool for up to 12 hours.  

This durable, rugged lunch bag is constructed using 1680d ballistic weave with a fully molded bottom protecting your meal from the ground, and its design includes a separate area to protect items in danger of being squished. With mesh pockets on the side and a front zipper pocket for valuables, this is more than just a lunch bag- it’s also an organizational tool as well! The Tradesman Pro™ 12 Quart Soft Lunch Cooler retails for $45.70 and can be found here: https://www.kleintools.com/catalog/jobsite-accessories/tradesman-pro-soft-lunch-cooler-12-quart.  
 

DeWalt- 20V MAX* Tool Connect™ All-Purpose Light 

This year the DeWalt brand released its 20V MAX* Tool Connect™ All-Purpose Light- a product well-suited for a career mason who also loves to work on home improvement or other personal hobbyist construction projects. This powerful LED light emits 5,000 lumens of natural white light, illuminating hard to see indoor and outdoor spaces. The All-Purpose Light is also smart and includes Bluetooth® connectivity so it can be controlled with the free mobile TOOL CONNECT™ app.  

With 11 hours of battery life and impact-resistant lens with intelligent “roll cage” design for added durability, this versatile addition to any career mason’s tool kit is compatible with 20V MAX* 6.0Ah Lithium-Ion Batteries, as well as all DEWALT 20V MAX* and DEWALT FLEXVOLT® Batteries (sold separately). The DeWalt 20V MAX* Tool Connect™ All-Purpose Light retails for $199.00 at: https://www.dewalt.com/products/storage-and-gear/jobsite-lighting-and-flashlights/tool-connect-20v-max-allpurpose-cordless-work-light-tool-only/dcl074.  

JagClamp- JagXL  

A great stocking stuffer and the latest release from the JagClamp brand, JAG:XL clamps are the original JagClamp line stretcher, maximized! With adjustable sizing from ⅝” to a full 5.5″ grip, the applications for the JAG:XL are almost limitless. Anything from solid brick and block on the jobsite to fences, decks, and more!  
 

If it requires a string line, the JAG:XL will come in handy. Winner of the 2019 World of Concrete “Most Innovative Product – Experts Choice” award, this clamp will innovate the way mason contractors get work done more efficiently than ever before. The JagClamp JAG:XL is available for $30.00 at http://www.jagclamp.com.  

Tools  
 

iQ Power Tools- iQMS362 Dust Control Masonry Saw 
 

The innovative iQMS362 Dust Control Masonry Saw from iQ Power Tools leaves other masonry saws behind in the dust. Between the motor package, highly refined 270-degree integrated Dust Reduction System, and proprietary Q-Drive® blade, this powerful masonry machine is capable of cutting through a 60mm x 4″ paver in just three seconds. With diamond tool technology that cuts 40% faster than any other blade, iQMS362 Dust Control Masonry Saw also features the iQ Power Management System, incorporating soft-start technology for careful control of the power ramp-up, ensuring smooth machine operation.  
 

Additionally, the powerful integrated vacuum pushes dust, debris, and microparticles through a triple-stage cyclonic filtration system, collecting and filtering in a 40+ pound capacity collection chamber. The iQ Power Tools iQMS362 Dust Control Masonry Saw is available for $2750, includes one blade, at https://iqpowertools.com/professional-power-tools/iqms362-dustless-masonry-saw/.  

Aroo- ProGrade™ Disposable Grout Bags  

Be ready for anything projects throw at you because you’ve stocked up on Aroo’s ProGrade™ Disposable Grout Bags. As the strongest disposable grout bags available on the market today, this product is ideal for creating smooth lines and makes your work more efficient than ever- less cleanup, and there is no need to go back over your work to touch up dispensed grout.  
 

ProGrade™ Disposable Grout Bags are 12″ x 24″ and have reinforced side seals designed to conform to the shape of the bag itself, ensuring a smooth and even grout distribution. One master case contains a total of 1,000 bags, which is perfect for retail or any busy mason contracting company. The Aroo ProGrade™ Disposable Grout Bags are available for $225.00 at https://shop.a-roo.com/products/prograde-disposable-grout-bags.  

Arbortech AS170 Brick and Mortar Saw 
 

Every masonry team needs a ringer- you may want to consider adding this one to your roster. The Arbortech AS170 Brick and Mortar Saw has been specifically created with operator’s safety in mind, and as a result, is carefully engineered to cut with precision. With a powerful 1250 watt motor and ergonomic design to improve visibility while cutting, this is an excellent choice for any sized project.  
 

Additionally, Arbortech’s patented cutting technology produces minimal dust, meaning the AS170 Brick and Mortar Saw works well both indoors and out. The Arbortech AS170 Brick and Mortar Saw is available for $949.00 and can be purchased at https://troweltrades.net/product/arbortech-as170-brick-mortar-saw/.  

Kapro Level- 705 Eagle 24″ Level  

Say hello to the newest addition to Kapro’s line of OPTIVISION™ Red leveling products- the 705 Eagle contractor box level, 24 inch. Designed with durable Polycarbonate vial housing and featuring gradient lines capable of 1%, 1.5%, and 2% slope lines, this level is specially designed with masonry and concrete workers in mind.  

Easy-to-read bubbles with a high contrast ratio make visibility up to 8 times easier to read in all light conditions compared to traditional levels, which takes the guesswork out of measuring. Additionally, reinforced wall grips and cushioned shockproof endcaps ensure that your level can handle even the toughest work conditions with accuracy and efficiency. The Kapro 705 Eagle Level is available for $39.99 at https://www.shopkapro.com/product-page/705-eagle-box-level-w-optivision-plumb-site.

  
 

LoopRope- 5 Foot LoopRope  
 

Are you tired of spending half your morning untangling ropes, bungee cords, and cargo nets? If so, the LoopRope tie-down system can be a definite game-changer. Designed for use on any construction site, this versatile product can be used for anything from lashing down chimneys to quickly creating a cargo net for heavy lifting.  
 

The LoopRope is simple- a five foot long rope with a series of loops that can be utilized for almost any purpose imaginable. The 5-foot LoopRope is available in black, camo, and orange/black for $19.99 at www.looprope.com.  
 

Benchmade Knives- Benchmade 551BKSN Griptilian Blue Class Knife  
 

When you need a manual-opening blade on your next project, reach for the ultra-versatile Benchmade 551BKSN Griptilian knife. Featuring a standard clip type with reversible tip-up clip position, masons can rest easy knowing their Griptilian knife can be safely stored when not in use. With 3.45″ stainless steel blade length and 0.115″ blade thickness, this knife can cut through almost anything needed on a jobsite, and weighing in at 3.82 oz. This is a great addition to any mason contractor’s toolbox.  
 

The Griptilian features a modified drop-point blade style with ambidextrous thumb studs, meaning it is suited for virtually any user. The Benchmade 551BKSN Griptilian Blue Class knife is available for $114.75 at https://troweltrades.net/product/benchmade-551bksn-griptilian-blue-class-knife/.  

Crick Level 50″ 5 Piece Standard Level  
 

A trusted name in the masonry industry, Crick has been producing quality construction products since 1980- and they’re not going anywhere any time soon. With carefully selected and crafted materials like laminated hardwoods, double strength lenses, water-resistant glues, mason contractors know and trust Crick products.  

The 50″ Crick level looks impressive, and its performance is even more so, having passed through 11 quality control checks to ensure each level is accurate to .015″ in level length. The 50″ level is available with a clear color vial for easy visual reads while measuring, and comes with a 3-year warranty. The Crick 50″ Level is available for $170.19 at https://troweltrades.net/product/crick-level-50-5-piece-standard-clear-50120/.  
 

PPE 

Safety Hoist Double Rail Deep Ladder Bracket  
 

Sometimes, masonry techniques require the mason to work at towering heights. While often scaffolding is used to complete these tasks, ladders can sometimes be the only or best option to ensure worker safety. In these situations, the Safety Hoist Double Rail Deep Ladder Bracket can definitely come in handy.  

When the rungs of a ladder can be obstructed, you can safely and securely attach your ladder to the side of virtually any building or wall with the help of the Safety Hoist Ladder Bracket. The Safety Hoist Double Rail Deep Ladder Bracket is available for $24.50 at https://www.worksafecompany.com/ladder-brackets/.  
 

Malta Dynamics- 50′ Personal Fall Arrest System 
 

The 50′ Personal Fall Arrest System from Malta Dynamics is the complete package when it comes to height safety protection for mason contractors. The complete kit, neatly packaged in a convenient carry bag, contains everything necessary to ensure safety when working at heights. The full system includes a full-body harness available in S-M-L, XL-XXL, 3XL, as well as a 50′ Vertical Lifeline Assembly with Shock Pack and Positioning Device with 18″ lanyard extension and durable, reusable anchor.  
 

Rather than sourcing a variety of personal fall arrest system components from a variety of vendors, the 50′ Personal Fall Arrest System makes height safety convenient, simple, and easy. The Malta Dynamics 50′ Personal Fall Arrest System retails for $114.99 and is available at https://maltadynamics.com/product/50-personal-fall-arrest-system/.  
 

Dax Carbon Fiber Cap Brim Hard Hat  

No matter the conditions, a hard hat is always necessary for optimum protection while on the job site. Dax’s Carbon Fiber Cap Brim Hard Hats are a stylish, well-constructed option for the mason contractor who needs a new hard hat this holiday season at a competitive price. Featuring a 6 point suspension system for quality comfort and effective impact protection as well as a hand-laid carbon fiber reinforced resin exterior for a unique effect, this is a hard hat for a serious career masonry professional. 

Additionally, these hard hats are designed with brim grip for a secure fit and have a triple-reinforced crown for increased durability. They also meet ANSI Z89.1-2014 requirements for Type 1, Class C. Dax’s Carbon Fiber Cap Brim Hard Hats are available in 5 color options are retail for $150.20-165.20 at https://troweltrades.net/product/dax-carbon-fiber-cap-brim-hard-hat/.  

Tech  

CAD BLOX- BIM-M  

Are you looking to reduce costs and make project ordering and management more accurate and efficient? The services available through CAD BLOX can afford mason contractors the peace of mind that the materials for the project ahead will be specced, measured, and ordered the first time correctly!  

Gain insights and understanding of the materials needed, resolve design issues, and fully visualize building layouts with CAD BLOX color-coded 3D layout drawings. Complex orders and complicated material planning is now a thing of the past, thanks to CAD BLOX. CAD BLOX costs are project-dependent, and more information can be found at https://www.cadblox.com/.   

Crewtracks- Management Software  
 

As 2020 rapidly approaches, many mason contractors are looking to begin the shift toward integrated paperless field management. As the only field management solution partnered with the MCAA, Crewtracks web interface solutions have been specifically developed to help mason contractor companies develop more efficient management processes.  

Features like Document Management allow office staff to seamlessly communicate with the jobsite to upload plans, as well as a Photo Timeclock for simple time tracking and a digital scheduling hub. With this simple-to-use software, virtually any mason contracting company can budget better, improve time management, and reduce unnecessary paperwork. Crewtracks Management Software pricing and additional information can be found at https://www.crewtracks.com/.  

Sakrete- Mobile App 
 

“Contractors needed a simple, dependable tool for estimating bagged concrete needs for their various projects,” says Damie Lumsden, Senior Marketing Manager of Oldcastle APG. With the release of their new mobile app earlier this year, Sakrete has done exactly that. The first of its kind, the Sakrete mobile app works with your smartphone’s digital camera to calculate project material estimates through the use of augmented reality.  

By using this software, mason contractors can save time and money by ordering the exact amount of materials needed for the project ahead. The Sakrete augmented reality app is free, available in English and Spanish and is available for iOS and Android for the following devices: iPhone 6S or newer, iPad Pro (9.7″, 10.5″, and 12.9″), iPad 2017 or newer and Android devices running Android 7.0, and can be downloaded at www.sakrete.com.  

H&B- ProWalls 

If you’re looking to design and build submittal packages up to ten times faster without sacrificing accuracy or incurring additional expenses, Hohmann & Barnard’s ProWalls Software Tool can help. With this free software, mason contractors can perform a variety of useful data processing tasks, which includes selecting anchor points unique to the project specifications, searching through information packets for relevant project information, and locating technical product information almost instantly.  

You can even generate LEED reports, and the included System Compatibility Check feature guarantees wall compatibility and code compliance. Hohmann & Bernard’s ProWalls Software Tools are available for free download at https://www.h-b.com.  

As this year draws to a close, we know you are eagerly looking forward to how you can continue to grow your company and improve your professional performance. If you have any questions about the products and services listed in the Gear of the Year Guide, feel free to contact us at 800-536-2225 or contact the company directly.