Clayton, who reviewed a number of Porter Cable 18V cordless power tools for us, noticed that his local Lowes has clearanced out most of their Porter Cable 18V offerings.
I went to Lowes last night to pick some lightbulbs up, and I usually swing by the tools to browse around and scout for any deals. Unfortunately, I found that my local Lowes had the entire 18V Porter Cable tool line on clearance.
There were some were very good tool deals (mostly things I already had), and others were just minor discounts, but it was fairly obvious that Lowes is coming closer to removing the 18V line from their stores. They had no 18V Lithium batteries in stock, and only a single pack NiCad that costs 75% as much as the 2 pack. I had noticed this somewhat the other week at a different Lowes, but at this store, the situation was fairly obvious – the demo tools were even off the shelf.
I stopped by my local Lowes and saw about the same – that most of the Porter Cable 18V offerings were being clearanced out. This isn’t good news for tradesmen or home users that bought into the 18V platform thinking it would be around for years to come.
Back in early 2013, I was told that the 18V and 20V Max lines would exist concurrently, as the 18V platform was still extremely popular with users. It seems that this has changed, now that the 20V Max line has a fuller range of products.
A chat with Porter Cable product manager Wil Granger helped clear up what’s going on.
Essentially, the emphasis will be on Porter Cable’s expanded 20V Max lineup moving forward. The transition will be gradual, and replacement batteries, chargers, and select bare tools will continue to be available at least through 2015 and into 2016.
This makes sense. Lowes has limited shelf space which they could fill with Porter Cable’s 18V products or 20V Max products, but there’s not enough space for both. We have seen a similar transition with Dewalt’s product lines, as retailers shifted emphasis from Dewalt 18V and 20V Max tools and components.
Porter Cable will support the 18V lineup with replacement battery packs for years to come, but the bare tool selection will likely be limited to the most popular models.
It’s easy to be disappointed by news like this, but such transitions are inevitable. Since Lowes was Porter Cable’s major retail partner for the 18V lineup, the transition will likely be swifter than Dewalt’s 18V to 20V Max transition. On the bright side, we can probably expect to see greater availability of the 20V Max tools in stores.