It appears that over in Europe, Bosch has struck deals and is now introducing new cordless power tool battery alliances.
At this time, there appears to be two distinct systems – Bosch 18V will power a new 18V Professional System Powered by Bosch product family, and their consumer/DIY platform will be at the heart of a new Power for All 18V Alliance.
As a reminder, this is all in regard to Bosch’s activities and marketing in Europe. No announcements have been made in regard to what Bosch might due in North America.
Let’s rewind things a bit.
Do you remember Klein Tools launching a new “powered by Dewalt” line of cordless power tools? This seems to be the same type of deal.
Metabo is also at the center of a Cordless Alliance System in Europe, where their cordless power tool battery is compatible with different brands’ tools.
Surebonder makes a cordless hot glue gun that is powered by Ryobi’s 18V cordless power tool battery system.
There are lots of these types of products sprinkled throughout the market.
Now, Bosch is ramping up efforts, gaining more brand partners and actively marketing the new system compatibilities.
18V Professional System, Powered by Bosch
In their promo video, Bosch says that countless more tools from other expert brands will soon be compatible with their 18V Li-ion cordless power tool batteries.
Over 60 million batteries have been sold, and in this slide a Bosch 18V battery sports the new “system” branding.
Bosch’s emphasis that theirs is the trusted system to build on suggests that there’s some competition brewing. Might this have to do with the increased visibility of the Metabo-centered Cordless Alliance System?
The new system is said to deliver maximum flexibility to users.
Here’s a look at the brands on-board so far:
- Cox (a Sulzer Brand)
- Lena Lighting
- LED Lenser
There’s no mistaking that Bosch will be at the center of things.
One Battery System.
While it sounds exciting and promising, how will this be different from before? We’re going to have to see where this goes.
Power for All Alliance
There will also be a separate Power for All Alliance, also powered by Bosch, focused on DIYer and consumer tools.
The focus here will be on flexibility around the home.
One battery for all your home [tool needs].
At this time, here are the participating brands:
- Bosch Home & Garden
- Bosch Home Appliances
- GLORIA House and Garden
- Emmaljunga epowered by Bosch
Gardena, Wagner, and Rapid products are said to be available as of 2021.
In addition to tools from these brands including traditional DIYer home and garden cordless power tools, Wagner makes paint sprayers, Rapid is known for hot air and riveting tools, and Emmaljunga and Bosch collaborated on an electric baby stroller. Bosch household vacuums are also in the mix of brand specialities.
Bosch describes the new Power for All 18V Alliance as one of the largest cross-brand 18V battery systems.
Bosch’s DIYer “green” tools sport similar Power for All 12V branding, but this appears to be Bosch branded. At this time, it appears that only the 18V battery system is at the heart of the new Power for All Alliance.
Okay, so there’s a new 18V Professional System that builds upon Bosch’s 18V cordless power tool system, and a Power for All 18V Alliance that builds upon Bosch’s European “green” DIYer tool system and adds in other tools and equipment “for your home.”
There are quite a few brands that have existing industry collaborations, and it seems that this number is increasing.
Dewalt’s 20V Max system powers Mac cordless power tools – which makes sense since Mac is also a Stanley Black & Decker brand – but also Klein cordless power tools and a Graco cordless sprayer. There could be other collaborations and cooperative efforts. Dewalt FlexVolt batteries power a collection of Amkus rescue tools.
This makes sense, doesn’t it? Why should traditional corded tool makers build R&D teams to compete with cordless brands, or cordless brands build R&D teams to dive into new product categories, when they could work together. Combining tool know-how with battery system know-how, and everyone wins.
Which cordless power tool brand makes for the best collaborators and partners?
With the emergence of these two new Bosch-powered cordless alliances, and the suggestion of new brands already signed-on and working towards 2021 tool launches, we might be seeing the start of new competition.
Presently, Bosch and Metabo are at the heart of their respective alliances, and the more brands that sign on, the more enticing it will be. C’mon, join the family.
An alliance-powered tool kit could feature Bosch construction tools, a Wagner paint sprayer, and an LED Lenser worklight. Bosch doesn’t have to attempt to market a competing paint sprayer, Wagner doesn’t have to develop their own proprietary battery interface, and LED Lenser applies their existing know-how to develop or co-develop a product that will gain more exposure due its battery compatibility.
It remains to be seen how these new alliances develop, and also if they come to North America. If anything, the Bosch 18V Professional system stands a good chance of being introduced here.
Then, if these multi-brand-compatible systems do take off, how long until other brands actively seek out additional alliances and partnerships of their own?
If Dewalt feels any competitive pressure, I’m sure they could whip up some marketing to highlight their existing brand relationships and solicit new relationships. Perhaps other brands will seek out similar dealings.
It’s going to take time to see what materializes from all this. Yes, it is certainly nice to be able to access the functionality of very different tools without having to buy into incompatible battery and charger systems. But how impactful will these alliances be, even with the current dozen or so brands signed on to participate in the two distinct systems?
Thank you to Hugo for writing in about this!
Bosch 18V Alliance Promo Videos
Chicago pneumatic has a cordless line powered by ridgid batteries. Before ridgid came out with their new high torque impact, the CP one was the most powerful you could get with that battery
Ah – I remember! https://toolguyd.com/chicago-pneumatic-cordless-power-tools/
That’s a little different, as TTI was the OEM for the tools. I asked at the time, and couldn’t get anyone to acknowledge compatibility.
It’s like how Craftsman Bolt-On and Black & Decker Matrix were compatible, but neither brand could or would advertise or discuss this.
I successfully put my Porter Cable batteries into a Black & Decker hedge trimmer. No mods required, contrary to what I read online.
Interesting. But what happened to the new mega watt tools that were to come out? I know that’s off topic but its seems rather bizarre that while some are out, the circular still isn’t.
Delays? I believe the tools are still coming, and have not yet learned about why they didn’t launch when originally expected.
A lone Bosch social media spokesperson hinted at COVID19 being a culprit (the marketing materials do show Hungary as being the designated plant for the saws), however, that doesn’t really account for the six months that occurred before February….
Meanwhile, every other monolithic multi national power tool manufacturer is delivering right on schedule. Festool is backed up, but they have an entire two assembly plants, so, excuse granted.
Thanks for the info.
I got mine now. Just missing the gbh 18v-45.
So I then hot the gwx 18V-15c, gkt 18v-52 and gcm 18v-216. Also the gks 18v-68 is in stores here now??
On the surface this sounds like good news.
Gardena’s small cordless gardening tools were nice – but powered with on-board LiIon batteries and wall wart chargers. If they can be transitioned to new tools with Bosch 12V and 18V batteries that should make them longer-lived.
Wagner going with Bosch – seems good too for the DIY sprayer crowd – they should compete with the Graco-Dewalt teamup.
Some Gloria cordless sprayers – using Bosch batteries – would also add to the competition.
Interestingly, Wagner looks to be involved with both battery systems.
While I’m just waiting for Elon Musk to buy out GM just to declutter the market. And maybe help them enter the 21st century and the end of ICE.
While Ford might still have a chance while Fiat/Chrysler I just dunno.
Kinda kidding. Kinda.
FCA is merging with PSA, they will be larger than both Ford and GM
2 garbage companies together to create the mega garbage company!
I’m waiting for BYD, VW, and Rivian amongst others to show what they can do.
The electric car is here to stay, but there’s no good reason to justify Tesla’s current market cap. I actually expect the robinhood army to send it even higher from here, but after that, I think there will be a reckoning.
Here in 2020, the internet is a fundamental part of our lives, but few of the insanely valued dot com bubble companies are still around.
Tesla may yet become the new GM, or the new Studebaker, but like all car companies it’s had an impact on the world of tools and vice versa.
The power tool market helped bring down the cost on the 18650 cells used to make the battery packs for the first of the current generation of EVs.
I expect better motors and batteries to make it into riding mowers and larger power equipment, but the real next step for that application comes when they are equipped to use automotive fast charging infrastructure.
I want to get a battery operated Carton Stapler. Bostitch has one, but seems to be discontinued. There is one available from Europe.
Does anyone know of other brands?
Would have been nice before I invested in Ryobi, Hitachi, and now Makita, but I can’t see adding another battery system now just to get this interoperability.
I’m on the Bosch battery system. You’re missing out on the Festool knockoff drill that is almost as good as the actual Festool drill I’ve already had for a decade or whatever and a very nice rotary hammer that is probably no better than anyone else’s.
I’m on the Metabo battery system. You’re missing out on a couple of excellent Mafell saws, one very light duty Collomix mixer, a near vaporware Steinel heat gun, and a heap of crappy Metabo tools that belong in a dumpster.
Meanwhile, Hitachi has the nail guns and Makita has a good to excellent cordless version of just about everything you can think of (except, of course, nail guns).
The German (often German made to boot) brands disappointed and continue to disappoint me to no end in the cordless arena. Makita and Hitachi are a good place to be. I would know, I am a convert. I am in a very happy place.
They’re all in a race to make the worst multimaster clone, however.
So, you’ll be buying Fein or Festool batteries if you want an “oscillating multi-tool” that doesn’t look it’s best in a scrap pile.
I really which fein joined the Cordless Alliance System. I also which their cordless multimaster had the same performance as the corded version.
With the adapters poping up on amazon and ebay, and the ease of 3d printing them, I give it a few more years before battery platforms become moot.
I bought a couple of adapters and they have been a life saver. On dewalt but want the new Milwaukee framer? NO PROBLEM!
Seriously last week a coworker left his batteries at home so i lent him a couple adapters and batteries to keep him going.
I know companies like you commiting to their eco system, but as a consumer being able to side step that is awesome
Those adapters can be very dangerous. Every tool talks to the battery to monitor temperature and cell voltage. It shuts the tool off if either get to dangerous levels. Will it happen the first time you use the tool? Most likely not. Can you take extra precautions to avoid stressing the battery pack? Yeah, if you like thinking about that stuff all the time instead of the work you’re doing.
I have an adapter for an older ni-cad powered drill. The batteries are shot so I figured the adapter would give it new life. It did, until the contacts started arching and I had to fiddle with that for an hour. Then I noticed I was spinning drill bits in the chuck more and more often. It just isn’t worth the energy to get an old tool on a new platform.
And what do you possibly gain by not using the right battery with the right new tools? Why buy a DeWalt tool if you have Milwaukee batteries? A few fringe cases, yes. But they tend to be specialized tools that if you need it you should be able to afford and justify the purchase.
I use the adapters in a Milwaukee finish gun, not a high demand tool thats going to over heat.
yes but a flashlight would be nice ran on a Fein battery
Some brands have the safety electronics in the battery case. The Surebonder adapters have it in the adapter. So does Dewalt’s own adapter for there old Ni-Cad tools. Some older Hitachi post type battery tools can draw too much current on new batteries but that’s true even with Hitachi batteries.
I’m just going to be as honest as I can… I have trouble getting excited about this concept. It’s a mix of “What’s the point?” and also “Well… Yeah… What took you so long to figure that out?”
I think the most interesting combo here is the mention of LED Lenser. That’s owned by Leatherman Tools Inc. I know they’re saying “In Europe”… but the negotiations being finalized with LED Lenser means it’s not THAT big a jump to the North American Market in some form. In fact, if it can be arranged in time, Leatherman may be able to take advantage of this, and offer Tool+Accessory+Flashlight Gift Sets by the Holiday Season, with the Bosch shared ecosystem included.
But… Beyond that… Honestly this doesn’t seem like that big a deal. It’s not that innovative, as Bosch goes. They’ve made bigger leaps in the past, and they’re ALWAYS missing the major efficiency market that would best suit their needs. One that DeWALT keeps missing as well. I could paint a target on the niche they keep missing, mount it with a 100 foot wide neon arrow pointing to it, and they’d both still miss the chance for this market crossover. It’s one of those times I wish I was a stock market tycoon, and could buy DeWALT and Dremel AWAY from SBD and Bosch, just so I can save those two brands from the stupidity of their current parent companies.
But, that’s for a different tangent, on a different day. That Bosch has decided to produce batteries for other tool brands, so they can put THEIR stickers on the side… I’m sorry but that’s not all that exciting to me. It’s kinda “Business as Usual” for the companies involved, and it’s every bit the over-cautious step that Bosch has been taking for decades now. There IS something called being TOO CONSERVATIVE, and this is one of those moves. I’m sure it took a lot of negotiation, and hard work, to get it to this point… but Bosch is extremely good at negotiating their way around things, rather than making big leaps. So… Not too exciting. INTERESTING? Sure… For a minute… Akin to someone saying “We found a new Asteroid in the Kuiper Belt!” … Right… The belt OF ASTEROIDS in our Solar System which has a Currently-Uncertain number of Asteroids in it… Great… Have you determined if it is in the Millions of objects yet? Billions? Trillions? Septillions? No? You just found ONE more? Okay. Interesting. Carry on, and let us know when you’ve traced its trajectory well enough to say if it’s a potential collision threat to Earth at some time, okay?
This is a Bosch Move. It’s a good move, but it’s practically a move you could’ve predicted they’d do in 2020, from guesses made in the 1970’s.
I work at leatherman and LED lenser was sold off by leatherman. As far as I know some European company owns it all existing stock and warranty issues are gone from the portland plant.
I have a few Lenser lights and so far so good. Very well made in the early era of Leatherman’s ownership.
Good to know I’ll need to move on if they’re no longer available in NA.
Oh well. That’s what Amazon. de and .UK are for.
Thank you for the insight.
If they did not move operations to another location in NA, that becomes a dealbreaker for warranty & repair.
Well, I’ll be damned… 2020 has thrown me for such a loop I didn’t even notice that happening… I retract the hopeful note of the North America crossover situation…
Thanks for the update though! I definitely don’t want an LED Lenser now… Always had trouble picking from them, and they all seemed “Wrong For Me”… So… That solves that… High Five to you!
Sweet, I can use the same batteries as the “strong arm” when it comes out in the fall of 2019….. lol.
It would be great, if Bosch USA and the partner brands would go on the offensive and offer these new products globally, not just in EU.
But, I am not holding my breath. They don’t even have their own products for sale that people ask for. I have become quite disappointed and frustrated with Bosch USA’s minimal product selection, year after year, no change. They still only bring about 6 of their 12v tools to NA. Talk about shooting yourself in the foot, when you have 50+ great products you could sell, but you don’t even offer them for sale.
I simply don’t get it, why they only offer so few products to the NA market.
I just counted atleast 13 different 12v Bosch tools they offer on their NA website.
This is a good move and I wish all platforms were like this. One single r&r team and multiple companies that utilized the same open source battery tech. It will be interesting to see how this goes.
Notably absent is Dremel, a brand Bosch owns that uses identical batteries deliberatly made incompatable by little bits of plastic. Super stupid.
so i CAN use dremel batteries in Bosch tools?
You could if you can get them to fit. I charge them on the same charger. The main battery shaft is the same. They are the same batteries except the plastic at the base. Its more than the “little bit” i said above so what you’d need to modify isnt that easy. Real stupid and deliberate to make them not fit.
On my batteries the plastic piece that locks into the Dremel/Bosch is a separate piece that can be removed from the basic battery case. Not easy but was possible. An old Dremel piece fits the Bosch battery once the corresponding piece on a Bosch battery has been removed.
If i was SBD, TTI, or Bosch or anyone that made batteries i’d let anyone make non-competitive tools using the batteries. The profit margin seems way higher on replacement batteries than the tools themselves. That that doesnt happen makes me think everyone wants their own battey platform so to get others to use yours you need to provide them incentives.
Let the battery manufs compete on batteries, and the tool manufs compete on tools. The dream is interoperability like C, D, AA, AAA……
Give it time, but we will get there.
Bosch owns Dremel, has for years. The only difference between a Dremel 12v pack and Bosch 12v pack is a small bit of plastic on the pack’s OUTER shell. You can swap the outer shell from one pack to the other. The fact that they haven’t even bothered to get their OWN brands on the same platform is a disgrace.
Just… a side note… Surebonder actually makes Cordless glue guns for 4 different Tool Manufacturers’ tool batteries. Makita, Milwaukee, DeWALT, and Ryobi.
Currenty saying “Sold Out”… but still… They have a few more models of the Ryobi, but they do make the other three as well.
Correction: They make the Ryobi to Makita/Milwaukee/DeWALT adapters separately, and they appear to work on both the Pro60 and Pro120/Hybrid models of Glue Guns.
Bah! Double Correction! PRO2-60, PRO2-120, and HYBRID-120 models… The adapters only say “Works on Surebonder Tools” it doesn’t specify anything other than the glue guns anywhere.
I saw this coming. 18v and 12v systems are basically the sweet spot for 95% of power tool applications so there is really no need to create new voltage level systems. Prices are going down and Ah capacities are going up. The only real place for tool makers to compete is the number of tools available for the system.
Niche tool companies can’t really afford to field their own battery ecosystem, and customers don’t want to have to use more than one system, so it makes perfect sense for these companies to piggyback on larger, more established systems.
Alliances like this are the way forward, and as proprietary battery systems get licensed out, they will end up being treated as formats rather than products of the original manufacturer. Whoever wins the format battle gets to save on engineering costs and also earns more market share.
Hopefully, TTI and SBD start pushing alliance groups for their own formats soon.
High & Mighty
But unlike bosch, sb&d and tti are developing and designing their own tools on a consistent basis. Bosch had to do something to make up for giving up on their megawatt line and putting their eggs into kitchen appliances. One tool release in two plus years is a pretty clear indicator that they have abandoned the megawatt tools. You can’t count the freak because it came out b4 the announcement. Nonetheless they have made no strides to improve the quality of their tools nor the selection of their tools, which is the fewest of all major brands. I can’t believe that people still think they’re a professional brand of power tools. Reflective pricing doesn’t do much for me. Neither does an expensive table saw or miter saw which were released years ago. Look how long it took for them to design their own table saw after they tried to jack sawstop and got sued. They haven’t even followed up with new improvements to either of them. Or for the majority of their power tools for that matter. Corded or cordless. It’s like they release it once and that’s it. They don’t do anything else to make it better. Yeah, they’re real professional. And now they’re having to reach out to a bunch of little known brands and get them to pitch in their tools to give bosch’s batteries something to power because bosch doesn’t want to put in the work to design and develop anything new or improved. It’s pretty awful that they developed the core batteries that were supposed to be a part of the megawatt thing and now they’re asking other brands to make tools for the batteries because they ditched the megawatt thing. Delays, right? Uh huh. There’s no compelling argument for them to be considered as a professional brand of power tools. They’re an auto parts manufacturer that happens to make a few power tools. Yes, they came up with the rotary hammer and the laser distance measurer. That doesn’t mean they’re a professional brand. They also dabble in kitchen appliances and they own dremel. Of course we know how much effort they put into skil when they owned them. Same thing with the 12v tools. Released once and that’s all. They’re done. I have nothing against bosch power tools but to call them a professional brand is a stretch.
Y’know, all this battery stuff is cool, more so of they signed up some big companies to make it enticing for the consumer. The biggest issue is that Bosch has been buying up companies or going into head to head competition with most, even when they partner. Too much greed in this company and I believe this will drive the competition elsewhere. Look at the companies they signed up, not one of them a direct competitor to their product, so not much traction.
I’m settled on CAS, with Metabo / Mafell and others as key players. I hope they would make their big an announcement on new partners soon, it will make it even more interesting.
IMHO, if I was in the tool business, moving to one of these packages, say Feinn for example, I would get the battery partner to build me an adaptor, take a direction of discount stock like crazy… then come out with your improved tools (All Brushless) and new battery system, sell them with the kits only , 2x tools + charger + 2x Batteries, make it sweet and try to get as much market share… else you could be holding a warm beer by summer 2021…