New testers, innovative hand tools, more cordless products powered by lithium-ion batteries, and a residential wind turbine are among products named Showstoppers at the 2008 NECA Show in Chicago.

Some Showstoppers are new and were exhibited at the show for the first time; others are established products but stood out from others on the Chicago exhibit floor.

As is usually the case, some winners will come as surprises. But remember, qualities that make a Showstopper stand out often can’t be evaluated objectively—it’s a subjective process. Some products simply are better suited than others for exhibiting and demonstrating their capabilities at trade shows, and the ways they are displayed can be an important factor in the levels of interest they attract.

Showstoppers, listed alphabetically, follow. For more product information, direct from the manufacturer, visit 

Jump to a Showstopper


1 Advance Metalworking Co > Lo-Riser inclining platform trailers facilitate fast, easy loading of mobile equipment. A flip of a switch lowers or raises the rugged steel deck for easy loading and unloading. Diamond-patterned floor plates improve traction. Standard features include electric brakes, control switch and cable, LED lighting, D-ring tie downs and built-in tie-down rail. Single and dual-axle models are available with load capacities of 6,000, 10,000 and 12,000 pounds.


2 Allied Tube & Conduit > Integrated Kwik-Fit Compression EMT compression couplings reduce installation time and eliminate the need to buy and store separate couplings. Simply insert the plain end of EMT into the compression coupling end and tighten the gland nut. Kwik-Fit Compression EMT is made of hot-galvanized steel with interior E-Z Pull interior finish for fast wire pulling.  



3 Associated Electric Products > The Bendcart portable bending center keeps everything organized on a portable cart (bender and pump are not included). It saves time by eliminating repeated setup and tear down. With a width of only 29¾ inches, the compact cart is easy to roll around job sites on rubber wheels with sealed bearings. Its small footprint fits in most elevators and can be lifted with forks or straps on the top bar.






4 Bridgeport Fittings > Whipper Snap fittings are easy to assemble and snap into the box. Constructed of die-cast zinc with a hardened spring-steel locking ring, the low-profile device eliminates the need for a lock nut and installs in seconds, simply by pushing the connector into the knockout. Cables may be preassembled or easily installed after the connector is in the box. The connectors also are removed easily by depressing tabs with the blade of a screwdriver.




5 Channellock > New Channellock linemen’s pliers perform multiple functions. Features include crosshatch teeth for superior grip; a nose design that aligns fish tape; a joint path to guide tape without kinking, bending, binding or breaking; a built-in 12 AWG wire stripper; 12 AWG recess for quickly making wire loops; and a crimper/crusher for insulated and noninsulated wires.






6 Cooper Lighting > New Halo LED recessed lighting uses solid-state light-emitting diodes (LEDs) without filaments or glass components that can break. More efficient than conventional lighting sources, a Halo uses less energy (75 percent) than a 65-watt BR30 incandescent lamp and can last five times longer than a fluorescent, or 50 times longer than incandescent light sources.




7 Dranetz BMI > New DranTech series of digital meters and data loggers measure power systems for balancing loads, energy-efficiency measurements, electronic circuit analysis, insulation, resistance testing, verification and equipment tests. They are equipped with patented automatic blocking safety connector jacks to prevent accidentally damaging the meter. With DranWIN software, data can be read out, visualized, analyzed, stored and documented.



8 DUZcart > A mobile dust containment cart designed for ceiling access for use in infection-control areas, DUZcart has a sturdy, anodized aluminum frame with easy height adjustment and fire-retardant nylon fabric drapes that meet NFPA 701 requirements. The cart rolls on nonmarring casters with swivel-locking brakes on the two front casters. The 1¼-inch vacuum hose port connection accepts most standard vacuum hoses and swivels for end or side access.



9 Extech Instruments > The new Extech RT30 wireless AC circuit identifier finds the breaker that powers a circuit without the need to connect directly to the wire, or if access to wiring is limited, uses a built-in light sensor to detect when lighting is on or off. The clamp-on unit can sense AC voltage of mid-run wire and transmits the signal to the receiver. Three test functions are built in with a set of two radio frequency transceivers for local and remote noncontact voltage detection and light detection.






10 Fluke Corp > New Ti25 and Ti10 thermal imagers are affordable options for troubleshooting electrical installations, electro-mechanical equipment, process equipment, HVAC/R equipment and other uses. Both incorporate IR-Fusion, a patent-pending technology that simultaneously captures a digital photo in addition to the infrared image and fuses it together to facilitate IR image analysis.






11 Greenlee Textron > New T-Slot hole saws feature a patent-pending hole stop device to help control the cutting edge of the hole saw, allowing it to penetrate 1/8-inch from the cutting surface to protect hardware or wires located beyond the surface being cut. Hole saw stops can be used with all of Greenlee’s new T-Slot hole saws, ranging in size from 7/8-inch to 6-inches. T-Slot hole saws can cut through steel, tin, aluminum, fiberglass, wood and plastic.  



12 JLG > The new JLG LiftPod offers the portability of a ladder with the functionality of a work platform. The LiftPod’s 24-by-22-inch work platform elevates to 7 feet, 7 inches. Each LiftPod component can be carried and assembled by one person. Power for raising and lowering the platform is provided by an 18-volt drill (not included) or optional battery pack. A wheel-mounted base allows the unit to be easily moved around the job.







13 Klein Tools > Three new Bent-Nose NM Romex cable strippers with patented 90-degree-angled nose are designed for working in confined spaces. The bent-nose design eliminates the need to angle the tool, wire or hand, enabling quick and precise removal of the outer jacket of nonmetallic (NM) cable and to bend, shape and pull wire. Features include U.S.-made tool steel, black oxide finish, precision-ground stripping holes, shear-type cutting blades and exclusive comfort grip curved handles.



14 Leica > The new Lino L2 precision laser alignment tool ends the tedious and time-consuming task of marking lines on walls. The self-leveling device compensates for minor angular misalignment and projects accurate-to-the-millimeter lines that are clearly visible everywhere on the wall. To simplify operation, the tool only has two buttons.







15 Makita > Lithium-ion batteries continue to bring changes to the cordless tool market as evidenced by Makita’s new 10.8-volt products, a compact cordless drill/driver kit (DF030DW) and impact driver kit (TD090DW). The tools combine the power and speed professionals need in a compact design powered by lithium-ion batteries. Both tools are available in a two-piece combo kit (LCT203W).  




16 Maxis > Pulling grips from Maxis offer a fail-safe gripping system using both a cam-lock housing and double braided mesh to secure cable to rope. Total pulling-head preparation is two minutes. Maxis grips move easily over rollers and through conduit and can make 90-degree turns. Wire is quickly disconnected from the grip without cutting wire; simply lift the lock ring to release cams.






17 McCormick Systems > The interface between McCormick software and On Center Software permits electronic drawing takeoffs to be done on screen and automatically imported into a McCormick estimating system. The arrangement works with drawings in .tif, .pdf, .dwf, .dwg, .jpeg, and other formats. The interface arrangement with On Center Software is exclusive to McCormick Systems.


18 Megger > Four new DET4T2 earth/ground resistance and soil resistivity testers perform bonding tests using an AC signal to test grounding systems and also can perform soil resistivity tests. The instruments support 2-, 3- and 4-pole testing and attached rod technique, stakeless, leakage current, and earth noise voltage measurements. They use simple one-button operation.




19 Milwaukee > The newest additions to the Milwaukee line of lithium-ion powered cordless tools are compact M12-Series models, precisely scaled to deliver the power, speed and torque required by professionals in compact tools. Powered by 12-volt lithium-ion batteries, the M12 line includes a ¼-inch hex impact driver, reciprocating saw, tubing cutter and cordless work light.



20 Southwest Windpower > The Skystream 3.7 is a residential wind power generator designed to bring electrical power to individual homes and small businesses. Promoted as the first compact, user-friendly wind power generator, the Skystream has a built-in control panel and inverter. Connected directly to the structure, Skystream at times may supply all a building’s power needs. When there is little or no wind, power demands switch to the utility provider without interruption.





21 Strapper Poles > For making overhead installations from floor level, the Strapper Pole patented telescoping rotary pole uses a bottom-mounted drill or rotary hammer to install pretied wire or duct strap clip combinations with wood or concrete screws. The Slammer 6000 manual telescoping pole makes overhead installations of pretied wire and wedge anchor combinations.



22 Strip Tec > The Strip Tec wire stripper quickly removes insulation off scrap copper and aluminum wires, so they can be sold for cash. Lightweight and portable, the Model 1000 strips wires from 1⁄16 inch to 1 inch outside diameters. Powered by a 110-volt, single-phase motor, the top blade adjusts for different insulation thicknesses. Stripping blades are machined from solid alloy steel and heat-treated. Because of the self-feeding feature, operators can simply insert wire, and it comes out stripped.



23 Tasco > The Inspector III tests for faulty wiring without removing outlets, covers, plates or panel covers; it also tests branch circuits for the ability to handle 10-, 15-, or 20-amp loads. It can test all splices and connections, voltage under load, ground line impedance, and GFCIs and AFCIs for proper connection and operation. Only a small load is drawn on the line during testing, and the tool will not cause breakers to trip.






24 TPI Corp. > Electric portable heating systems provide an alternative to propane and kerosene space heaters for warming work sites during winter months. Electric heating options include forced fan models in a variety of sizes, some on wheel-mounted frames for ease of moving and positioning, combination radiant and fan heaters, and portable metal sheath infrared heaters that heat objects, not the air.






25 UEi > New models of the UEi line of Phoenix series clamp meters are designed for taking measurements in cramped work environments and include capabilities of testing AC/DC volts and amps, micro-amps, resistance, capacitance, frequency, duty cycle, and more, depending on the model. Phoenix testers include work light, magnetic mount, test lead holder, test lead storage, wire sorting tip, and backlit display. A detachable clamp head allows the “CH2—The Hook” (sold separately) to snap onto the Phoenix meter body.





26 Wiremold/Legrand > New Evolution series Poke-Thru devices feature recessed connections and covers with sliding doors that open a full 180 degrees. Available in 6- and 8-inch configurations, Evolution Poke-Thru devices are designed for use in new construction or retrofits and come in a variety of finishes available in prewired or unwired versions.