Lowe’s recently started clearing out a lot of Craftsman V20 brushless power tools, and their motivations were unclear.
Well, it seems we have a partial answer – it looks like Craftsman is rolling out a new cordless power tool family at Lowe’s, dubbed Brushless RP.
ToolGuyd readers tipped us off about the new Craftsman products. There isn’t a lot of information out there about the new Craftsman RP tools, but there’s at least enough to get a conversation started.
To start off, there’s a new Craftsman V20 Brushless RP circular saw.
However, it looks to be the same exact saw but with new Brushless RP branding.
This could suggest the imminent emergence of additional Craftsman V20 brushless saws, perhaps more entry-priced versions with RP designation reserved for the more premium models.
When Craftsman’s V20 cordless power tool first launched, there were already 6 different cordless drill/driver models, with half of them brushless.
RP could be Craftsman’s new way to differentiate the premium-performing tools from their more value-focused models.
Hypothetically, Craftsman’s cordless power tools could be organized as follows:
- Good/entry-priced: brushed
- Better/mid-priced: brushless
- Best/premium-priced: Brushless RP
Dewalt, Craftsman’s sibling brand with both owned by Stanley Black & Decker, applies XR branding to their more premium 20V Max cordless power tools and higher capacity batteries.
If Craftsman V20 Brushless RP is a parallel to Dewalt 20V Max XR, this could foreshadow big changes or a major product line expansion.
Lowe’s has also listed a new Craftsman V20 Brushless RP cordless jigsaw (thank you to Steve for the heads-up!).
The new cordless jigsaw does look to have a more upscale design compared to Craftsman’s existing brushed motor models, and it has a premium price to match.
At the time of this posting, Lowe’s has the Craftsman Brushless RP jigsaw (tool-only) priced at $182.16. Craftsman’s brushed motor cordless jigsaw is $79 for just the tool, and $119 for the kit.
There’s one other tool that bares RP branding. Lowe’s has a new product page up for a “Craftsman V20 RP Brushless” cordless air compressor, but everything from the image to the description match that of their existing V20 brushless air compressor. It seems that they simply applied their RP label to this new tool-only compressor SKU.
To summarize everything, here is what we have seen so far:
1) Lowe’s clearanced out many Craftsman brushless tools.
2) The RP circular saw has a new model number but looks identical in appearance to the existing/previous model.
3) There’s a new unique Brushless RP jigsaw.
4) A new tool-only SKU for an existing cordless air compressor model was given RP branding.
So far, it looks like Craftsman’s RP branding will apply to new and existing tools alike.
In his comment to the other post about the clearanced-out SKUs, Steve brings up a theory, that Craftsman RP is a possible response to the new Ryobi HP tools at Home Depot.
This would indeed be interesting competitive positioning. Home Depot’s Ryobi HP is a relatively new line of compact and high-performing brushless power tools that are distinctly more premium than Ryobi’s other cordless power tools.
Or, Craftsman could be following in the footsteps of Dewalt. Dewalt Atomic, for instance, is a line of compact brushless power tools, and XR are their higher performing tools.
Dewalt Atomic is available at Home Depot (and not Lowe’s), while their 12V Max Xtreme subcompact tools are available at Lowe’s (but not Home Depot).
Home Depot has Dewalt 20V Max FlexVolt Advantage, while Lowe’s has Dewalt 20V Max Power Detect.
Stanley Black & Decker occasionally uses distinct branding to differentiate their retailer-specific power tool accessories.
Could Craftsman be expanding their cordless power tool presence at other retailers, such as Amazon? So far, Amazon seems to have a smaller selection of Craftsman cordless power tools than Lowe’s. Might the new Craftsman RP branding might be a way to designate certain tools as being Lowe’s-exclusives?
Craftsman recently launched a new line of V-Series hand tools. Could Craftsman RP be a parallel to that?
I am sure that more information and details are on the way. And if not, as Craftsman tends to be very reticent about their tool releases, we can at least expect additional Lowe’s product listings to clue us in over time.
Why does this matter?
I know that some readers, given what has happened in prior posts, will leave comments more or less saying “this doesn’t matter, nobody cares about Craftsman tools.”
Still, Stanley Black & Decker is a huge toolmaker with many brands, and Lowe’s – Craftsman’s primary retail partner – is an extremely influential and impactful retailer.
Whether Craftsman RP impacts you or not, and whether Craftsman RP is simply a marketing-focused competitive response, or tied to an entire new family of brushless cordless power tools, things like this don’t happen in a vacuum. Developments like this can be very significant, as they tend to shape and reshape the cordless power tool industry, little by little.
The big question is what will this mean for users?, and we don’t have an answer to that yet. Talking about it is the best way to get there.
Sure, we could wait for Craftsman or Lowe’s to tell us what they want this to mean for end users, but where’s the fun in that?