Craftsman collection reflects tool trends

New York Sears is launching a new line of compact lithium-powered tools, but consumers will have to wait until the 2008 holiday season to try them out.

The Hoffman Estates, Ill.-based company unveiled the Craftsman 12V Lithium series during a special “Holidays in June” event held for both Sears and Kmart June 25 in New York. The tools -- which Sears says bring professional grade qualities to the consumer -- include a two-speed drill with 175 inch pounds of torque and an auto hammer with a magnetic tip that holds a nail in place. The tools will be in Sears stores in mid-October.

“There are two trends in tools right now -- lithium and compact size,” said Erik Rosenstrauch, Craftsman brand director. “They started in the pro channel, and we threw up our hands and said, ‘Why not the consumer?’ These are easy to work with and easy to store.”

Eric Stromer, host of HGTV’s “Over Your Head” and a spokesman for Craftsman Tools, was also on hand to demonstrate the tools. “They fit easier in the hand, and fatigue is going to be less,” he said. “It’s about ease of use; it’s not intimidating to the DIY user.”

Other Craftsman tools introduced at the event included a digital miter gauge with LCD screen, a four-in-one ratcheting wrench set, four different sized digital levels, an AccuTrac laser measuring tool, a 10-inch deluxe table saw with Laser Trac and a five-inch VibraFree sander with Sears’ patented Vibration Reduction System.

Price was also part of the story at the product unveiling.

“Just a few years ago you couldn’t buy a laser for less than $350; we’ve brought this down to the consumer at $119,” Rosenstrauch said, referring to the AccuTrac laser measuring tool, which uses point-to-point laser technology that is described as accurate to 3/16 of an inch at 150 feet.

Also unveiled at the event was the latest line of Kenmore appliances, which include the Kenmore Elite Shaved Ice side-by-side refrigerator and Sears’ first-ever die cast pump espresso machine.

Other lines that were previewed included the following: the Elvis Holiday Collection of Christmas ornaments, the Martha Steward Everyday Holiday collection and the Ty Pennington Style Dot bedding and dinnerware collections.

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