Top Tools of 2023

January 27th, 2023 by Nathan Hobbs

By Chris Collier

It’s a new year for the film industry, and the months ahead are packed with opportunities for professional growth. The busy season is just around the bend, and so is the International Window Film Conference and Tint-Off™ 2023 in Virginia Beach, Va. If adding new tools to your toolbox was your New Year’s resolution, we’ve got you covered with several installer favorites.

Sammi Turner

Workshop Manager, Slick Azz Protective Films Queensland, Australia

“A false eyelash tweezer. Might have to head down to your local beauty salon to find these. Not only do tweezers easily pick and pull scored film in hard-to-reach places, but the angled tip of these tweezers gives me more options when using it with PPF. I can use the pointy tip for picking at scored film and it helps in weeding. The flat edge is handy for picking out debris or fibers under the film without distributing the adhesive. Such a great tool, especially if you don’t have any nails—it’s also convenient to pluck those few stray eyebrow hairs.”

Cedro Rodriguez

President, A Different Shade LLC and A.D.S. Window Tint Kennewick, Wash.

“You might recognize me as a face from the TRÜ Spray Systems or the ‘TRÜ Crew.’ But the truth is I’m just the number one fan. Being in the industry for over 25 years, you get to see a lot of improvements in efficiencies. The plotter in computer cutting film was huge for us. The TRÜ Spray Systems is that for a mounting solution. We keep coming up with new uses for it.

When Bruce Slavich at TRÜ Spray Systems revealed his company product to me, I was floored and bought one right away prior to the official release. I remember saying, ‘This is stupid—stupid that we don’t have these yet.’ We now have purchased nine systems and use them every day.”

Gabe Fletcher

Owner-operator, Ceramic Pro Pottstown Pottstown, Pa.

“It has to be Car Supplies Warehouse’s Chest Rig. Since I’m a bigger guy than most, it gives me all my tools right in front of me. The traditional installer of normal size likes the tool pouch—I need the chest rig because traditional tool pouches don’t work for me.”

Hunter Garwood

General Manager, All Pro Window Films Raleigh, N.C.

“My favorite tool when doing [paint protection film] is my handy red dot. More importantly, the type of blade inside that cutting tool—an NT Cutter 30° black carbon blade. I was introduced to this low-angle, sharp blade a few years ago, and it’s changed the way we approach bulking panels and trimming them with precision.

When using a sharper low-angle blade, I get better results. Coming from a stainless blade, more so for tinting to using a carbon blade, is a game changer for the industry. We purchase them off Amazon in the small packs of 10.”

Clayton Summerall

CEO, Mint Tinting Bryan, Texas

“My Wagner 300 is my favorite tool for everyday use. It’s reliable, lightweight and has an affordable price point. Every time I use my heat gun, it has the exact same heat, so I don’t stress about over or under heating the film. Since it’s lightweight, I can easily maneuver it around, making it easy to use. Most importantly, the price point is [affordable] at $25. At that price I can have extras on standby. I bought 10 of them this year to have on my shelf—just in case.”

Ricky Gomez

Owner, Eclipse Window Tint and PPF Sturgis, Mich.

“One of my favorite tools of all time is the Wagner Furno 300 heat gun. I’ve been installing window film for the last 12 years, and I love having this tool. The feature I like the most is the dual temperature setting to help tackle different jobs around the shop—like the high setting when shrinking window film and the low setting for vinyl use. Using this heat gun daily has been a lifesaver and a must to complete our client’s vehicle enhancements. I truly would not be able to run a full-blown schedule without our eight heat gun, ceiling drop-down system at our shop.”

To view the laid-in version of this article in our digital edition, CLICK HERE.

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