So far this year we’ve seen some interesting new tool innovations.
Bosch announced new anti-kickback cordless drills and an inductive wireless battery charging system. Dewalt expanded their efforts into to the automotive air tool market with new air tools. And Milwaukee’s been releasing new hand tools, such as locking pliers, and expanding their cordless power tool and accessories lines.
So what might be coming out next?
Bosch has yet to announce their 12V expansion in the USA, but these tools, mainly a circular saw, jigsaw, and rotary tool, are already out in Europe. I expect that these tools will eventually make their way to the United States.
Dewalt hasn’t come out with anything new for the 12V Max line in a while. When I last spoke with a sales rep, he said that sales were a little slow and lagging far behind 20V Max sales. Dewalt has some nice core offerings already available, but we probably won’t see a massive expansion. If Dewalt were to come out with a 4.0Ah or 5.0Ah 12V Max battery pack, that would definitely open up the doors to new powerful tool options, such as a compact trim saw.
18V/20V Max Expansion
Dewalt has a new brushless drywall screwgun on the way, and we’ve been seeing a lot of questions about whether they will be expanding their cordless nailer lineup. It would be wise for Dewalt to come out with new nailers to complement their brushless DCN692 framing nailer, but it’s unclear if that’s in their plans.
Readers have also been asking as to whether a Dewalt brushless 20V Max circular saw is in the works. Milwaukee’s brushless M18 circular saw came out last year, and seems to have become quite popular. It’s pricey, but users appreciate the power and runtime improvements. Will there be a Dewalt brushless circular saw? I think so, but question whether we’ll see one in 2014.
Cordless circular saws often work with 6-1/2″ blades. With 5.0Ah batteries hitting the market and more brushless motor versions undoubtedly in the works, we might see one or more brands come out with full-sized 7-1/4″ saws. That would help justify the price jump associated with new designing new tools around brushless motor tech.
We still get asked whether Dewalt is coming out with a cordless miter saw. The answer is still that I don’t think they are, at least not before they come out with a brushless 20V Max circular saw.
TTI, who owns Ryobi’s and Ridgid’s power tool divisions in North America, as well as Milwaukee Tools, filed a patent application for Hyperdrive, regarding power tools, namely nailers, serial 86259055. TTI also manufactures some tools for Craftsman’s C3 cordless tool line. Ryobi has been expanding their line of Airstrike cordless nailers, and so I am left to wonder which brand might also be working on a new line of nailers.
I think that Dewalt definitely has the cordless nailer market in their sights, and that Milwaukee might as well. It would be wise for Paslode to be working on cordless fuel-less nailers of their own, otherwise they stand to lose much market share.
Evolutionary, Expansionary, and Exploratory Strategies
We’re not going to see many revolutionary leaps and bounds this year, at least in my opinion. What we are more likely to see are brands exploring new technologies and capabilities.
There will probably be more brushless tools, and more types of tools that take advantage of next-generation 5.0Ah battery packs. 5.0Ah battery packs that are built with 2.5Ah Li-ion cells don’t just offer longer runtime, they also allow for increased current draw. As mentioned in our post about how power tool brands don’t make their own batteries, I wrote about how the cells in current generation battery packs can discharge at rates up to 20A and even as high as 25A.
There might be a few revolutionary tool designs, but brands are likely to focus on evolutionary and expansionary designs. We are already seeing Dewalt and Milwaukee explore new segments in the hand and power tool markets. They’re not just releasing new tools, they’re aiming to strengthen their branding into these market segments as well.