Now that the International Builders’ Show is over, it’s a good time for a post-mortem to see what types of new products the show had to offer. The results were mixed, with some banal offerings, such as new colors, new sizes, and new finishes. But there were some show-stoppers among the 900 exhibitors.

In a strong housing market, most manufacturers at shows such as IBS have something interesting to offer. In a weak economy such as this one, research and development budgets get slashed and truly innovative new products are hard to find.

This year, the best surprises came from the smaller booths on the fringes—companies in the 100s and 200s, those short on large marketing budgets but long on innovation and moxie. We have assembled 13 products (some from large companies, some from small outfits) that we feel you really should investigate further to see if they fit into your normal rotation of products.

If you saw something cool that we did not list here, drop us a note in the comments section at the end of the story.

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