There were plenty of new cordless power tools in 2019, but I wouldn’t say it was a big year for new tech or developments. 2020, however, is going to be a very big year. A lot has happened towards the end of 2019 that sets the stage for a lot to happen in the 2020 months to come.
Notable New Cordless Power Tool Tech
To start off, Milwaukee launched MX Fuel, their new cordless power equipment system. This is big news as it introduced quite a few new “world’s first” battery-powered solutions. 2020 will be the year that Milwaukee’s competitors figure out how to respond.
Makita announced their new XGT cordless power tool system. Makita has been light on details and information, and as far as we know, we won’t see any of these new tools until late 2020.
Makita XGT is a new 40V Max platform, with the 36V/40V MAx batteries looking to be the same size as their 18V batteries.
There will be a charging adapter that allows Makita 18V batteries to be recharged on their XGT chargers, but that’s as far as the cross-platform compatibility will go – at least that we know of.
Maybe 2020 will be the year we see the first new FlexVolt 120V Max cordless power tools since the system launched in 2016?
Hart, a TTI brand, launched a new line of, well everything, exclusive to Walmart.
Craftsman, a Stanley Black & Decker brand, launched a couple of new tools this year, although personally I had expected a bigger showing.
Bosch is coming out with a new next-gen 18V 12Ah battery, but has not yet announced any new high-powered cordless power tools specifically designed around it.
Summary of 2020 Expectations
So, on the professional cordless power tool side of the industry, we have the launch of Milwaukee’s new higher-powered cordless power equipment system, Makita’s 36V/40V Max cordless system, and a new Bosch battery that looks to match the highest capacity Dewalt FlexVolt and Milwaukee M18 High Output batteries.
XGT seems to be Makita’s response to Milwaukee M18 High Output, Dewalt FlexVolt, Metabo HPT MultiVolt, and Bosch Core18V next-gen technologies, but didn’t their 18V X2 system have the same role?
It’s too soon to tell if or how Makita’s new tech will influence the industry, especially since the tools are still many months away from launching here, but surely they’ll have some impact.
Dewalt launched their new 20V Max Atomic and 12V Max Xtreme Subcompact cordless power tool sub-brands. Hopefully we’ll see expansion of both lines, but I’m also hoping to see new FlexVolt tools as well, and not just minor spec updates. Dewalt hasn’t surprised us in a while, and so it’s about time we’re due for some big news.
Competition among the pro tool brands will surely heat up this year.
Speaking of competition, the main contenders in the DIY space used to be Sears’ Craftsman C3 and Ryobi’s 18V lineups. Ryobi still commands major market share, and Stanley Black & Decker’s Craftsman brand has a lot of catching up to do. But now, we also have Hart vying for market share. Skil is also trying to compete in this space, but they don’t seem to be gaining a lot of ground yet.
Porter Cable, Kobalt, and Ridgid have all compete in the DIY and mid-level spaces. Porter Cable can now be found at more online retailers, but we haven’t seen any active development from the brand in a while, with their current focus is seemingly on budget-friendly cordless power tool combo kits. Kobalt has a much smaller presence at Lowe’s, having given up shelf space to Craftsman.
It’s hard to predict what we might see in 2020, but the one near certainty is that this will be an interesting year. My gut tells me that we’ll definitely see more activity than in 2019.
If any popular cordless power tool brands don’t seek to break from the pack with new innovations, the next best thing is to keep pace. If you’re not in front or at least maintaining stride, you’re in the back and sweating to catch up, and that’s a position no brand wants to find themselves in.
What do you think 2020 will hold for your favorite cordless power tool brands?