TOM KRAEUTLER: Welcome to this edition of The Money Pit's Top Products Podcast.
Well, when a traditional tape measure becomes unwieldy and inaccurate, you might want to consider investing in a much more sophisticated tool.
The Stanley Laser Distance Measurer can give you more accurate measurements over longer distances in less time.
Here to tell us more is Spencer Maheu, a global product manager for Stanley.
SPENCER MAHEU: Hey, great to be here, Tom. Thanks for having me on.
TOM KRAEUTLER: So laser distance measurers – they've been around for a long time now. But I know that you guys always don't start with what's here now. You always reinvent the wheel, so to speak, and put a lot of research and a lot of inventiveness, and build a lot of new features into your tools.
So how does the Stanley Laser Distance Measurer change what's out there, and what innovations have you added?
SPENCER MAHEU: Well, we've got three great new items that we are launching next month: the TLM 99, the 165, and the 330. These units basically feature a lot more range and accuracy than you would traditionally find at the price points that they play at today.
So the TLM 99, for instance, features 100 feet of range and retails for only $79, which is about $20 less than the opening price point in the market today.
And they feature a lot of advanced functionality that gives the user productivity, like Pythagoras indirect height measurement, continuous measurement.
And the TLM 330, our advanced pro unit, features an inclinometer and tilt sensor that can be used as a digital level, and it can calculate indirect height values or horizontal distances over obstructions.
TOM KRAEUTLER: All right, so let's talk about how a contractor or a homeowner might use some of those products. For example, who's measuring 100 feet these days?
SPENCER MAHEU: A lot of folks are, actually. I mean, you have realtors that are taking long-distance measurements in lots; inspectors and appraisers, and stuff like that; and then there are builders and remodelers, as well, who are measuring long distances.
And, really, the only alternatives they had in the past were to use long tapes or use things like measuring wheels, which are actually quite inaccurate…
TOM KRAEUTLER: Yeah.
SPENCER MAHEU: …Compared to these laser distance measurers.
TOM KRAEUTLER: It is like using an abacus when a calculator is sitting right there.
SPENCER MAHEU: [Chuckles] Absolutely. I mean, if you look at the accuracy of these tools and you compare it to a traditional short tape, for instance, the 25-foot tape measure will have plus or minus a 1/16 of an inch of accuracy while the TLM 330 is a plus or minus 1/32 of an inch, so when you combine the versatility of the tools with the accuracy, you really have a superior measuring device.
TOM KRAEUTLER: Now, you mentioned a couple other features that these tools will do.
You mentioned that it will measure inclines, so that would be effective in, for example, building a ramp or a sidewalk, trying to get the pitch on a patio, that sort of thing?
SPENCER MAHEU: Yeah, absolutely. Even if you want a quick reference when going up on a roof to convert the angle to a pitch, you can really get better at taking care of your OSHA regulations before you get up on a roof to do work.
TOM KRAEUTLER: Now, this is a market that is really growing right now, and that's a good thing, but what do you think is behind that?
SPENCER MAHEU: There are a couple reasons, really.
The market is growing as the need for productivity grows in this time of cost-cutting. To stay competitive, professionals are trying to do more with less – less labor, less time, etcetera – and the laser distance measurer can greatly boost your productivity.
And then, on the other side, there is the age of technology we live in. As people get more comfortable with iPads and smartphones being part of their lives, and are leveraging them to manage their day-to-day, they become more likely to try tools like the LDM.
TOM KRAEUTLER: Yeah, absolutely, especially given that Apple has not figured out how to make an app for that. [Chuckles]
SPENCER MAHEU: [Chuckles] Not yet.
TOM KRAEUTLER: So let's talk about some of the trades that may benefit from this. You mentioned realtors and contractors.
It seems to me that there are probably a lot more out there that you haven't mentioned, because anyone that really has any need to measure anything can benefit from this, like decorators, for example.
SPENCER MAHEU: Yeah, absolutely. I mean, tradesmen like drywallers, painters, and flooring installers all can benefit from these because, ultimately, what these guys are doing to estimate jobs are that they are figuring out the area of what they need to cover, what they need to paint. And these tools include some automatic calculating functions that will automatically calculate area and automatically calculate volume of whatever area you're measuring.
TOM KRAEUTLER: What was one innovation that was particularly new, that you guys are really proud of that these things do?
SPENCER MAHEU: We really like the horizontal distance measurement over obstruction. So if you want to measure the distance from Point A to Point B, and there is something in your way that doesn't allow you to get a straight shot at it, you can basically measure over the obstruction to the top of whatever you want to measure, and the inclinometer on the inside will calculate the direct horizontal distance as if you were measuring through the obstruction.
TOM KRAEUTLER: Oh, that's really cool. So, in other words, instead of shooting it horizontally, you could shoot it at an angle, and it'll calculate what the same distance would be as long it can connect with the surface on the other side. It basically – you know, you're shooting the long side of the triangle, but it is going to – it is going to calculate the base accurately.
SPENCER MAHEU: Yeah, exactly.
TOM KRAEUTLER: Very cool.
Spencer Maheu, the Global Product Manager for Stanley Black & Decker, about the Stanley Laser Distance Measurer, a very cool tool - lots of innovations, and very, very affordable.
When is this going to hit the market?
SPENCER MAHEU: These are going to hit the market in November. The retails are going to be very aggressive on these units: the TLM 99 is going to be $79; TLM 165, which features 165 feet of range, is going to be $129; and the TLM 330, which features 330 feet of range, is going to retail for $299.
TOM KRAEUTLER: Fantastic. Spencer Maheu, Global Product Manager for Stanley Black & Decker, thanks so much for stopping by The Money Pit.
SPENCER MAHEU: Thanks a lot for having me. Appreciate it.
TOM KRAEUTLER: And if you'd like more information about the new Stanley Laser Distance Measurer tools, you can visit StanleyTools.com.