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There’s nothing more frustrating than beginning a project and discovering that you can’t find your drill or losing your work light somewhere in the dark while you’re trying to finish something. Have you ever started sanding and forgotten to turn on your shop vac, making your dust collection system useless? Luckily, our power tools are getting smarter, and wireless technology is making inroads into our home workshops and garages. 

DeWalt tools with wireless tracking

DeWalt has a line of wireless connected drills and work lights and tool trackers that allows you to track your tools within range of your device’s Bluetooth, and can alert you if your tools leave the range of your home. In addition, the “last seen” function in the free to download DeWalt app available on Google Play and iOS allows you to track where your lost tool was the last time it connected with your device. This can help find stolen or lost tools even if they’re out of range.

For an average DIY enthusiast, DeWalt’s wireless tracking system is likely the most useful for their impact driver ($179) and drill ($149), as these are commonly misplaced tools, but the tool tags are also a good addition; they can be attached to anything or put into a tool bag for easy location.

Milwaukee tools with wireless tracking and maintenance

Milwaukee offers wireless connectivity on 70 of its line of tools, using its One Key system that will track tools through its free app available on Google Play and iOS. The tracking tool allows you to locate lost tools, turn work lights on and off, and get alerts when your tools need maintenance.

For most home shops, the most practical wireless tool from Milwaukee will be the impact driver kit ($349) that comes with a case, battery, and charger. Since the Milwaukee wireless system is currently mostly marketed to pro shops, many of the tools will be more expensive than your average home DIY enthusiast can afford, but as the technology becomes more common, it will likely get cheaper to access.

Makita wireless automated dust collection

If you’re a woodworker or someone who uses power saws and sanders a lot, you’re probably already familiar with dust collection as a way to reduce mess and improve the air quality in your home workshop. But if you’re like me, you might sometimes forget to turn it on when you need it, giving yourself a face full of sawdust and making a mess, too.

The Makita LXT Dust Extractor tool ($445.99) will pair with any other LXT-compatible tool, like a sander ($117.97), to automatically start when you start the tool. If you’re switching between tools, no problem, the dust collection system can pair with up to 10 tools at once, making transfer between your saw ($259) and your router ($149.18) as simple as swapping out the hose.

Bosch wireless and cordless tools

If you’ve ever had the sun go down on you while you’re working, only to discover that you can’t find your work light in the dark, there’s a tool for that.

The Bosch connected cordless 1,200 lumen work light ($69) can be controlled using the Bosch Toolbox app, available on Google Play and iOS. If you lose your light, you can turn it on from your phone if you’re in Bluetooth range.

The Bosch connected laser distance measure ($101.68) is a multifunction tool that will help you measure distances and angles, and its Bluetooth connectivity feature that works with the toolbox also allows you to snap photos of your measurements and record on the photo, skipping some note-taking steps along the way.

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