There’s been little that’s news in the basic toolbox over the years. Since the advent of battery-powered drills, we’ve been waiting for the next revolution. Who knew it would be in pliers? Problem exposed: Difficulty releasing the locking mechanism and lack of wiggle room due to release-lever design. Solution found: New hinge design that removes the locking lever altogether. We’re talking freedom for hammerheads everywhere. Here’s the deal: Irwin’s new Vise-Grip Fast Release locking pliers require half the effort to release from a locked position—minimal effort will do, really. The leverless design allows for more room to maneuver the tool. Two birds with one stone—I like. The pliers also feature a turn-screw to adjust pressure and fit the work, and the comfortable rubber grip means your worker-bee hands can go on tightening, twisting, clamping, and turning long after the crew thinks it's quitting time. Irwin's Fast Release curved-jaw, locking pliers run about $15. Available in 10-inch, 7-inch, and 5-inch models.