The Kestrel Environmental Meter provides great information on temperature, humidity, and wind speed and even directly calculates the evaporation rate.
The Kestrel Environmental Meter provides great information on temperature, humidity, and wind speed and even directly calculates the evaporation rate.

From time to time companies in the industry send me tools or other products to try out. Now, I’m pretty comfortable with tools and have done a considerable amount of construction work, but my day job is not actual construction but rather reporting on construction. So when I try out a tool, I’m only using it for a few minutes, unlike a real contractor who might use it all day or might use it every day for a couple of years. That means I form sort of a superficial opinion.

Take, for example, the Kestrel environmental meter I tried out. It provides some great data on temperature, humidity, and wind speed in my office and I even used it on a jobsite and the contractor was impressed. But is it really the best? After using for only a few minutes, I can only report my semi-informed opinion. Or Bosch and Hilti both send me a dust-extracting drill bit to test. I drilled a few holes with each and they both seemed to work well and performed as advertised—if I were installing a few hundred adhesive anchors, I would definitely want one of these bits, but a test of a few holes is just that.

Then there’s the press releases touting one product and providing what sounds like convincing evidence. One company says regular pneumatic tires filled with air are best; another says tires filled with polyurethane liquid are best; a third tells me that solid cushion tires are best. Who to believe? I guess it’s sort of like jury in a courtroom—I make the best decision I can with the evidence provided and with the weight of my experience coloring my opinion. And usually I’m right. But when I’m not, someone always tells me!