Milwaukee has One-Key, Dewalt has Tool Connect, and Bosch has Connected-Ready.
The highest-tier 18V and 20V Max brushless cordless power tools from these brands have Bluetooth connectivity either built-it or available as an option, allowing for users to customize their tools from their smartphones.
Features go beyond tool customizations and allow for inventory management, (limited) tracking, and even task completion reporting for some of the more sophisticated tools.
Some have unique functionality, such as worklight scheduling, crimp reporting, adjustable anti-kickback controls, and even torque adjustment.
Milwaukee and Dewalt have special One-Key and Tool Connect tools, and Bosch has built many of their latest generation of tools to be Connected-Ready, with a separate optional module required to tap into the advanced features.
What this means is that with Bosch, you can choose to upgrade your tool at any time. We’ve talked about their new impact driver, 2-in-1 hybrid impact tool, and new drills so far. Everyone gets the same base tool. With Milwaukee and Dewalt, you need to make up your mind at the time of purchase.
In theory, I like the idea of connected or connectable tools. Customizations can help you mold a tool’s features and specs to your needs and preferences.
Consider Milwaukee’s One-Key cordless drill. You can adjust the torque levels and even the max speeds for both high and low ranges. That can be useful.
The thing to remember is that these are solutions to user needs, wants, or frustrations.
Not all brands are jumping on the Bluetooth-connected tool and app bandwagon.
Makita’s latest and greatest (and superb) brushless impact driver features 4 special modes and 4 speed/torque modes.
The new Ridgid brushless impact driver has 3 special modes, some with dual functionality, and 3 speed modes.
Some Hitachi brushless tools have special built-in features, such as their cordless band saw that has an automatic mode that lowers blade speed, noise, and power consumption when it’s not actively cutting. Their brushless angle grinder has a similar function.
With these and other latest-generation brushless cordless power tools, there’s so much more that brands can do that were never possible with brushed motor tools.
Simpler tools are also still available, such as single-speed impact drivers.
A brand rep brought up a good point. If you’re on a commercial jobsite, are you going to whip out your smartphone to start changing settings before syncing them to your tool? Probably not.
Here’s What We Would Like to Know
Are you a fan of connected tools? Or might you be happier with built-in features and functionality? Neither?
There are of course pros and cons to both approaches.
It has been four years since Milwaukee first launched their One-Key platform, and in that time they and other brands have brought a number of connected tools to market. Have you bought any such tools yet from Milwaukee, Dewalt, or Bosch?
Brands have experimented with connected tools outside of cordless power tools as well – do you remember Ryobi Phone Works or General Tools’ ToolSmart tools – but the trends aren’t as clear and separate as with cordless power tools.
How likely are you to buy connected, customizable, or simply advanced-featured cordless power tools?