Written by Rhizlaine Benabid | September 28, 2023

On construction sites worldwide, there's a phrase that resonates deeply with professionals seeking rapid and secure fastening on a diverse array of materials: "hand me the Hilti." Hilti direct fastening, renowned for its ability to anchor almost anything to concrete, steel and wood, has become synonymous with the very concept of direct fastening. This is a story that stretches from the heart of Central Europe to the corners of the globe - a tale of evolution and innovation that has made Hilti a household name in the construction industry. 

The journey began amid humble surroundings, far removed from the towering skyscrapers and expansive bridges that its tools would one day help create. Based in Liechtenstein, the company embarked on a path that would lead it to become a globally recognizable brand. In the construction world trust is paramount, and Hilti's reputation for delivering fast and secure fastenings made its name resonate with excellence. 

Hilti's impact extends beyond its innovative products. The iconic Hilti Red toolbox, a symbol of reliability and quality, has become a fixture on jobsites across the globe. Moreover, it was direct fastening that spurred Hilti to pioneer a direct sales model. The company’s fleet of red vehicles, staffed by highly trained employees in over 120 countries, reaches customers wherever and whenever they need support. This personal touch, coupled with cutting-edge technology, has made Hilti not only a provider of tools, but also a trusted partner in construction projects of all sizes.

How did this story begin?

As we look back on the remarkable Hilti journey, we see more than just a brand, we see a legacy built on innovation, reliability, and a relentless commitment to customer satisfaction. From its modest beginnings in tiny Liechtenstein into its global presence today, Hilti has not only shaped the way we build, it has also become an integral part of the construction industry's DNA. 

In 1953, Hilti launched the first powder-actuated, high-velocity tool for setting studs and nails in concrete, the Hilti Perfix. This innovation laid the foundation for the company’s modern direct fastening portfolio. As construction projects continue to reach new heights and push the boundaries of what's possible, one thing remains constant - the enduring legacy of Hilti direct fastening:


Hilti Perfix

Hilti Perfix

First tool 

The first powder-actuated tool developed and sold under the Hilti brand name, used for fastenings on concrete, masonry and steel. With no piston, the tremendous propellant forces on the nail or stud were transmitted almost completely to the fastener and sometimes made the tool dangerous to use.


DX 100

DX 100

Piston principal

First powder-actuated tool with the piston principle, making it safer to operate, and the basis for all our future direct fastening tools. Single powder cartridges (sold in different strengths) were ignited by hitting the tool with a hammer to fasten nails and studs (up to M6) on masonry, concrete and steel.


DX 300

DX 300

Trigger actuation

First powder-actuated tool with the piston principle and a trigger mechanism. Single cartridges for fastening single nails and studs (up to M6) on masonry, concrete and steel. An automatic cartridge ejector helped increase productivity.


DX 450

DX 450

Collated cartridges 

First powder-actuated tool with a coacting repeat mechanism, which meant no ramrod was needed. Also, the first tool with power regulation, previously only possible by selecting different colored cartridges. Versatile tool for fastening nails and studs on masonry, concrete and steel.


DX 36 M

DX 36 M

Nail magazines

First tool with a magazine (MX) for collated nails, available as the MX32 (32 mm nails) and MX 62 (62 mm nails). Powder-actuated tool for fastening on concrete and steel, with collated (6.8/11 caliber) cartridges. 


DX A40

DX A40

Automatic piston return

First fully automatic tool, with a piston return unit powered by the exhaust gas (previous tools had a manual piston return). Power regulation dial on the side of the tool, collated cartridges (6.8/11 caliber) in green, yellow, red, black and an X-AM magazine for collated nails of either 32- or 72-mm length.


DX A41

GX 100

Gas tools

First gas-actuated tool from Hilti, powered by GC 11 and GC 12 gas cans and featuring a range of collated nails (up to 40 in the magazine) and fastening elements. Designed to be ideal for drywall applications, with a GX 100-E tool optimized for electrical trades.


DX 460

BX 3

Battery tools

First battery-powered (BX) nailer for hard base materials like concrete and steel. Combustion-free technology means no gas cans or powder cartridges to dispose of. Fasten up to 800 nails on a single charge. BX 3-ME tool (20 nails), for Mechanical Electrical, and a BX 3-IF (30 nails) for Interior Finishing trades.


FX 3

Cordless stud fusion

First tool with Cordless Stud Fusion technology, for fastening F-BT threaded studs to steel. Brings higher loads and can fasten on thinner base materials than previous Hilti solutions. More productive, safer and easier to transport than traditional welding.

Current innovations:

Today, Hilti sells a portfolio of fastening tools: powder-actuated (DX) gas-actuated (GX) battery-powered (BX)


Productivity, safety and sustainability 

As our journey through the world of construction tools unfolds, we find ourselves at the heart of Hilti's legacy - a legacy anchored in our customer promise: to be their best partner for productivity, safety and sustainability. In construction, every second counts and Hilti understands this better than anyone else. Each tool is meticulously designed to boost productivity, offering a one-step fastening method that defies convention and completes the fastening tasks in less than a second. But speed combined with top-quality nails yield reliable fastenings even in the most unforgiving concrete. Hilti has also introduced smart tools that connect via Bluetooth to the Hilti Connect App that becomes a digital companion, offering insights into tool data, maintenance updates and how-to videos.

Hilti's tools are engineered with an unwavering commitment to safety. The peril of cords snaking across job sites is eliminated by cordless innovation. The daunting challenge of working at heights is reduced with innovative accessories like the pole tool, turning high-altitude tasks from hazardous to manageable. The tools are also designed for low vibration, significantly reducing the risk of hand-arm vibration Syndrome compared to drilling and anchor setting.

In a world where sustainability is an imperative, Hilti plays its part by creating Clean-Tec cartridges that contain no lead or other heavy metals. Hilti’s commitment extends to tool circularity and Fleet Management to reduce carbon emissions. The Hilti story isn’t just about tools, it is about being an enabler of productivity, guardian of safety and advocate for long-term sustainability.

Future is fusion

But after 70 years of innovation, we’ve only just got started.

But after 70 years of innovation, we’ve only just got started.