Bosch USA has added several “new” tools to their website, and I say “new” because these SKUs feature existing brushed motor and brushless 12V Max cordless power tools. These are not actually new tools, as some of these models launched more than 10 years ago.
So, what’s going on?
Why is Bosch re-releasing their older 12V Max cordless power tools with different SKUs?
We asked Bosch USA for more information but have not yet received any response.
Looking closer, it seems that the only difference is that the new bare tools ditch the “Exact-Fit” L-Boxx-compatible insert trays included with current bare tool SKUs.
Does this mean Bosch is moving away from their L-Boxx system? Probably not, that would be a leap, but it certainly does suggest that their L-Boxx system of modular tool boxes is about lose some of its visibility and exposure here in the USA.
What is the Goal?
The simplest explanation is that Bosch might want to make their bare tools less expensive. Leaving out the L-Boxx-compatible tray from a bare tool SKU probably saves a little on cost.
Why else would they do this?
What will this Mean?
What will the impact be on those users who do use Bosch’s L-Boxx compatible tool trays?
Having tool inlays that could be effortlessly placed in a Bosch L-Boxx tool case is one of the few benefits Bosch’s L-Boxx tool storage system can claim over competitors’. I’m sure that this helped win a fair number of cordless power tool and modular tool box users over to Bosch’s systems.
Bosch’s L-Boxx tool boxes don’t quite stand up to competing systems, and I don’t think there are many who would argue otherwise. Quite frankly, I’ve grown fed up with my Bosch L-Boxx tool boxes. Stacking my Bosch tool boxes gets more finicky the more they’re loaded up, and it has become clear to me that the design is very user-unfriendly compared to other systems by Festool, Milwaukee, and even Dewalt.
This is one of the reasons I have been moving towards Milwaukee’s Packout tool box system, with its greater ease of use and its vastly superior construction.
If Bosch’s new SKUs are to replace existing ones – we’re still waiting for Bosch USA to respond to our questions on this – then it’s going to become harder for Bosch cordless power tool users, at least anyone buying these 12V Max bare tools, to get their hands on L-Boxx insert trays..
In my opinion, this can only negatively impact Bosch’s L-Boxx system, and so far I am not seeing any indication that they will do anything to counter or balance against this.
Is Bosch really going to give up one of their few L-Boxx system advantages at a time when Festool, Dewalt, and Milwaukee have ALL recently updated or expanded their modular tool box systems?
Maybe Bosch USA will finally launch an L-Boxx insert tray configurator, similar to the one they launched in Europe more than 8 years ago, where users can buy the inserts separately? This seems likely.
Part of a Bigger Trend?
My gut instinct says that fewer included accessories is simply being done to lower pricing.
We have seen this recently – Bosch has come out with cheaper and less featured tool kits for the 2020 holiday shopping season.
Ignoring for a moment that all of Bosch’s “New Products” are older models which should have lower unit costs, especially since some of these tools launched more than 10 years ago, eliminating the L-Boxx-compatible tray could simply be a cost-cutting effort.
Whether by intent of effect, this will also reduce the visibility and strength of Bosch’s L-Boxx tool storage system.
Then again, Bosch has not given their L-Boxx tool box system much exposure in recent years. When is the last time Bosch introduced any new tool storage products to the USA market? Sortimo, their manufacturing partner, came out with new L-Boxx products over the years, but Bosch did not bring any of them over here.
Bosch used to have holiday season bundles that featured cordless power tool kits and L-Boxx tool box bundles, but they have not had any promos like this in a very long time.
Bosch offered L-Boxx-compatible trays for some of their bare tools, bundling them with bare tools to the benefit of users.
It was – and is – a great idea, and one that a lot of users wished other brands offered for their tools and tool box systems. These trays add to the appeal of the L-Boxx system, or so I would think. But then why would Bosch remove the inlays from the “new” tool SKUs listed on their website?
It seems likely that these new bare tool options will replace existing SKUs, and maybe this isn’t the case, but are retailers going to have to stock two different SKUs of bare tools? As mentioned, Bosch has not yet answered our questions about this.
What comes next?
I haven’t touched any new Bosch tools in quite some time, with the exception being a couple of tools I purchased from European dealers; do they still come with L-Boxx inserts?
One Other Possibility: Bosch L-Boxx Expansion?
Milwaukee has been very aggressive with their marketing activities, launching select cordless power tool and Packout tool box bundles.
Now, they also have select cordless power tool and Packout tool bag options.
Milwaukee also offers power tool accessory and Packout organizer options, as regular catalog items and special bundles as we saw during the 2020 holiday shopping season.
Dewalt has started doing the same, with a mechanics tool set that stores in a ToughSystem tool box.
With new tool trays, it’s not long before we see more Dewalt ToughSystem modular tool or accessory set integrations.
They also have ToughCase power tool accessory bundles that are said to be compatible with their Tstak tool box system.
Right now, it seems as though Bosch is simply doing away with the practice of including L-Boxx-compatible tool box insert trays with select 12V Max bare tools as a cost-cutting measure.
But, maybe Bosch USA is planning something big, to better compete against modern tool storage systems and promotions by Dewalt, Milwaukee, and other tool brands that are carving out ever-larger shares of the modular tool box market?
There might be something that I’m not seeing. Otherwise, why would Bosch do something like this, eroding one of the few benefits of their L-Boxx system? With other brands greatly increasing the visibility, exposure, and reach of their modular tool box systems, is Bosch USA really doing something to decrease theirs?
There is also the question – am I the only one who cares?
Assuming that Bosch’s “new” tool SKUs replace existing ones, would anyone else notice or care about the absence of an L-Boxx tray?
Update 12/15/2020: Here is Bosch’s response to our questions.