We recently posted about a slew of new Craftsman 20V Max cordless power tools, and I thought it would be interesting to wonder about what this might mean for Stanley Black & Decker’s Porter Cable brand.
Note: I wrote this post before the Craftsman media event, and even before posting my Craftsman V2o cordless tool teaser post. Everything is speculative. I couldn’t find the opportunity to ask about this topic, and so aside from the addition of this paragraph, the post remains unchanged.
As we’ve seen, Lowes and Craftsman have formed a very strong initial relationship. We know that Craftsman tools will also be sold at Amazon and other dealers, but with Lowes being a first-launch partner (at the least), it is safe to assume that the special partnership will continue.
But, like other retailers, Lowes has limited shelf and floor space. They have finite marketing resources to emphasize product promotions and new offerings. How much can they carry in warehouses that they don’t have room for in stores?
Over the years, Lowes and Porter Cable have enjoyed a strong relationship.
At first glance, many of the new Craftsman 20V Max power tools seem to draw strong parallels to many of Porter Cable’s 20V Max tools.
This is a drawing of a new Craftsman 20V Max cordless LED worklight, discovered via a PDF copy of its user manual.
Here is a current Porter Cable worklight of similar design.
So… will Lowes expend any shelf space or marketing efforts to sell Porter Cable cordless power tools when Craftsman tools carry greater brand name potential for what look to be practically the same tools?
At times like this, it helps to remember that power tool brands don’t only sell to end users; their primary customers are retailers and distributors.
Will Lowes have Porter Cable promo displays during the winter holidays, when the same displays could feature similar Craftsman tools instead?
Will Lowes be willing to stock everything that both brands offer?
Will users still be interested in Porter Cable cordless power tools, or will those not already married to the platform find favor in Craftsman equivalents?
With all this in mind, will Lowes order as many Porter Cable cordless power tools, and if not, how will that change the presence of these tools at other distributors and dealers?
Big box retailers are very important when it comes to tool pricing. If a brand can only sell a smaller quantity of tools to independent retailers which often have lower visibility than big box sellers, the cost per item will be higher than if they can also ship a higher quantity of tools to big box sellers and their thousands of physical store locations.
In my mind, this all suggests that the emergence of new Craftsman cordless power tools and other tools, led by Stanley Black & Decker as the new owner, will prompt changes for the Porter Cable Brand.
Maybe not, but I see the “writing on the wall,” and I also believe that this could be a good thing.
Can you see any way for Porter Cable’s power tool offerings to not be supplanted by Craftsman’s?
6 years ago, I wrote: Porter Cable Brand Confusion and Mixed Messages. What has changed since then? The brand launched decent 20V Max drills and impact drivers, and then a whole bunch of value-focused Ryobi-grade tools.
“Ryobi-grade” isn’t meant as an insult. Porter Cable sought out to compete with Ryobi’s 18V lineup, and I think that they accomplished this well, at least with many of their 20V Max power tool options.
In the way suggested to me by an industry observer a few years ago, Porter Cable has had somewhat of an “identity crisis.”
Perhaps this will be a good opportunity for Porter Cable to forge ahead on a different path? Or it might be an opportunity for Stanley Black & Decker to court other big box retailers, but that seems less certain.
In the nicest way possible, I would argue that Craftsman cordless power tools have now made Porter Cable’s 20V Max lineup extremely redundant. There’s no room for Porter Cable to inch upwards, with respect to quality, features, and price, because they’d then enter Dewalt’s space, and no way for them to drop downwards, where they’d encroach upon Black & Decker territory.
We are bound to see changes. What do you think will happen to the Porter Cable brand and their products?
Ultimately, I think that this will be an opportunity for Porter Cable to rehone their focus. What should (or could) Porter Cable be known for, 5 or 10 years from now?
I think SBD should have made their new cordless Craftsman tools to use the same batteries as PC. That way, they could have made Craftsman their new mid -range brand so that current PC users could keep on using that one platform, and turn PC back into that great woodworking brand they once were.
I personally wish Dewalt never bought Porter Cable or Delta. They almost killed Delta. They then really screwed up Porter Cable. I wish they would sell off Porter Cable so it can once again be a Pro line of quality tools.
I feel the same personally. I love my pre SBD Porter Cable tools. It could go either way, there could be some value in the PC brand if they sold it or they could try going the way Luxottica is with glasses and own everything brand and sales channel.
I used Dewalt cordless tools for work and my god,were they heavy and batteries sucked when I retired after four hip surgeries I bought a porter cable set and I absolutely love the tools and I have no issues with the batteries or charge time to sum it up, I will not hesitate to buy another set of porter cable cordless tools again.
I have three sets of Porter Cable cordless tools. When they changed their battery style npt to fit existing tools I had, I said that’s it, I’m not buying all new PC tools knowing they could give a damn about their loyal customers. I’m strictly RYOBI and couldn’t be happier.
They do share the same battery.
What kind of Modifications
Gonna go against the grain here.
I remwmber Dewalt as a maker of stationary tools. Especially saws.
Let Dewalt return to that market . Bring Craftsman to the forefront on power tools . As well as lawn and garden. As well as storage. As well as mechanics tools. Kill off Proto kill off Mac. Bring all that under Craftsman.
This would be a good strategy. As most people remember Dewalt as a radial arm saw maker and not much else. Most people associate Craftsman with lawn mowers and mechanics tools. No one thinks of cordless power tools when thinking of Porter Cable.
I’ll give you credit, that is against the grain. Perhaps so much so that I’d say it’s on a completely different piece of lumber lol I disagree that “most” people only think of DeWalt as the radial arm saw these days. DeWalt has global pro recognition that Craftsman absolutely never had, and Mac and Proto’s industrial professional reputation exceeds anything Craftsman ever held. I’d wager Craftsman was, and hopefully will be again, the top homeowner and commercial brand: great quality to price, and spearheaded the best warranty. But they were never in the demographics that the brands you’ve mentioned are.
No one under 40 (aka the majority of working people and Dewalt’s biggest customer base.) remembers a time when Dewalt was anything but a premium power tool company. It would destroy the brand to remove that name now.
And get rid of MAC? That would be equally as bad. No pro mechanic is going to invest in their career tools with Craftsman.
Maybe make Porter Cable be specific to Menards? Though they have Masterforce (made by Chervon). I also suspect anything in Lowe’s now with the FatMax branding will be replaced with Craftsman. Other questions linger about Kobalt tool storage and 24v power tools.
And there is also the question about what will happen to the bizziare move SBD made making 18v Bostitch tools for Wal-Mart and rebranding other tools Porter Cable tools in Bostitch black and gold while haveing Bostitch 20v nailers that have a different battery. Thus SBD currently has different battery designs for Bostitch 18v, Bostitch 20v max, DeWalt 18v, DeWalt 20v max, Porter Cable 20v max, Black and Decker 20v max, FatMax 18v, and now Craftsman V20 max. What SBD got right was that Mac cordless tools are “powered by DeWalt” and use the DeWalt 20v max battery.
I didn’t even know they made Fatmax power tools. SBD has way too many different power tools. It would be nice if the just focused on their core brands.
This is the exact thing I’ve been thinking in the wake of the Craftsman launch. I feel like the smart play is to give yourself three market positions with B&D as your entry level, Craftsman as your homeowner/diy and DeWalt as your pro line. I’m pretty sure I’m not the only person who’s thinking this as well.
I don’t know the history of Porter Cable, but in my mind, the other 3 brands resonate more and PC feels like the odd one out.
“Good,” “better,” “best.”
But, not fully utilizing brands like Porter Cable can “leave money on the table.”
The Craftsman brand will have strong retail partners. But what happens if you want to get similar tools at a different big box retailer, or online dealers?
I suppose this is why SBD had Stanley FatMax and then Bostitch cordless power tools at Walmart.
There are many unknowns, but I cannot imagine a scenario where things for Porter Cable remain unchanged.
I’m with you there. This seems like the best play.
Someone else suggested allowing PC to focus on woodworking tools… ok, sounds good to me as long as it can be differentiated from B&D, Craftsman, and DeWalt I guess!
As a someone who still uses the 18v lithium Porter Cable tools and saw SBD make these batteries incompatible with newer 20v max batteries, I have a sour taste in my mouth. I have been thinking a lot about Milwaukee/TTI seeing how they maintained their battery platform. SBD needs to toe a fine line, as they also have the 18v Wal-Mart bostich tools and 20v max nailers also with incompatible batteries.
I had some of those 18v PC tools. They were pre SBD I think. They were decent enough at the time they came out but the lithium batteries kind of sucked and they were rediculously expensive. I ended up Ebaying them and got some really good money for them. They all went to Eastern Europe, why they like them so much I have no idea.
Looks to me that they are rolling PC into CM. Which is exactly what I would have done. I bought into PC when I first went on my own and started my own shop almost two years ago. The plan was to save where I can and upgrade as needed. I was surprisingly happy with most PC cordless tools, and would have continued to invest in them. However, the obvious lack of interest in continued growth of the brand has led me to invest elsewhere.
My thoughts exactly. I invested in the full PC kit a couple of years ago and have been reasonably satisfied. Lowe’s has started closing out the PC cordless nailer lineup to “make room on the shelves.” The lack of development in the brand has me looking elsewhere as my needs grow. I think PC would do well to specialize in stationary and air tools (two areas where they have historically excelled).
Thwy also had great woodworking tools and circular saws and are still my favorites. I have a magnesium blade left circular saw that kicks butt, and used ones sell for a lot now. Belt sanders built like a tank and great routers. All US made from a bygone era (1990’s).
From the day SBD purchased Craftsman I’ve felt PC would be the odd man out. It’s sitting directly in the space Craftsman will occupy with little backing and a much weaker brand name. In comes a billion dollar plus investment in Craftsman and that’s all she wrote. I see this going one of three ways, PC is either discontinued, sold off, or refocused on a niche.
They should make Porter Cable a great name again by going back to quality tools of times past imo.
Make Porter Cable Great Again.
Can we get some red hats made up?
MAKING PORTER CABLE GREAT AGAIN!
So this media event is mostly about Craftsman at Lowes right? I believe Sears is still going to carry the TTI Craftsman C3 lineup for the time being then? It’s obvious Sears is not going to exist as its current form much longer. In the Detroit metro area on the east side no Sears stores exist after the latest round of store closures.
TTI and Chervon make the C3 tools.
I would imagine so, but when’s the last time there was a new C3 offering?
SBD and Lowes will heavily promote Craftsman around holiday time. There simply is no incentive for anyone but long-dedicated C3 fans to spend more money on the now-outdated battery platform. Plus, TTI and Chervon might not be planning to ship promo-scale quantities to Sears.
I wonder whether there has even been a production run on C3 tools in the last few years. My local Sears keeps reducing the space for power tools. Right now, the entire C3 and Nextec lines are relegated to a single shelf.
The last 19.2v C3 tool that was released was a few years ago and what was it, the brushless drill? Chervon/TTI must have told Sears long ago no more new releases we will just supply you witht he basic drill/driver/Impact.
I don’t see the need for Porter Cable anything. Kill off the line, keep the name so nobody else can use it. People keep talking about this refocus on woodworking for PC. I understand they once made a good router yet I don’t know a single person who does woodworking and uses PC anything. Not as a hobby, not in the professional sense, not even in general construction.
DeWalt, Milwaukee, Makita, Bosch and (old) Craftsman (table saws usually). Those are the names still big here. A new Festool tracksaw is among a friends DeWalt shrine of wood tools in the shop. I’d even go so far as to say I think the Stanley name itself is held in higher regard despite being sold in Wal Mart. Maybe it’s different in other parts of the country?..
For a long time (starting in the 1950s) Porter-Cable was a big name in heavy-duty woodworking power tools, especially routers and belt sanders. I can’t speak for others, but my dad never bought any other brands for those two tools in his 40 years as a contractor.
Sadly, almost everything was discontinued with the SBD acquisition, and as Stuart’s experience with his 7518 router (https://toolguyd.com/why-im-returning-my-brand-new-porter-cable-7518-router/) shows, their quality just isn’t very good on the few things they’ve continued to make.
Porter – Cable is one of those victims of circumstance in the business world. Fifteen years or so ago when SBD purchased them, I would wager if Craftsman would have been available they would have tried for them instead.
Back in the 1960s Rockwell owned P-C and the name really wasn’t out there since Rockwell sold the tools they designed under their marque. In the early 80s or so, P-C was sold to Pentair and they started selling them under their regular name. Pentair restored them to their full quality and it was rewarded at the sale counter.
Porter-Cable innovated several major woodworking developments including the random orbit palm sander. That’s right. The sanding feature offered by EVERY company on the face of the planet was developed by them. And they had some fantastic belt sanders, small circular saws, and a really nice reciprocating saw. They did a lot more than just routers. And did it bloody well.
Sadly, I think Matt has hit upon it. They’ve been so rebranded by the move that a new generation of tradesmen and avid woodworkers know little to nothing about the real history of the one of the best brands of portable power tools to ever exist. No, they did not make the best of everything. That one-company-did-it-all-the-best is a magic unicorn. But what they did in handheld woodworking tools they did bloody well. More’s the pity they will likely wind up on a scrapheap. In a way, I will be happier. I could never quite stomach their image as a DIY weekend warrior brand.
Their big router was THE router for tables and aftermarket router lifts were designed to use them. Either Pentair B&D merged PC and Delta operations. They had common service centers. After the Stanley merge, they sold off Delta. Companies keep rehashing old names. Rockwell has nothing to do with the Rockwell that owned PC.
I forgot to mention the SpeedBloc. Thanks for reminding me about it.
I’ve been tempted to try and find one of their old 504 ‘Locomotive’ belt sanders. Not because I really need it for anything, but just because they were such a fantastic tool. For anyone who’s never used one, it’s a worm-drive *chain driven* 3×24″ belt sander, and has such a ridiculous amount of torque that it’d probably sand through just about anything.
Thanks for mentioning their reciprocating saw as well. I’ve never used it, but a friend describes it as having two speeds – “Off” and “Destroy”.
They also were the “door hangers” tool supplier, making everything from the jigs to the tools used to prep slab doors (blanks).
Hinge templates, mortise pocket mortiser, planers, and a power tapper to name a few.
Doors are now pre-machined so alot of the tools are used less and less but they still get pulled out by me occasionally.
We had some of those belt sanders back in high school shop class. I remember the shop teacher wouldn’t let us change the belts for some readon. Maybe belt adjustment was tricky. I cannot remember. I know you had better be HOLDING it well when you pulled the trigger. More than one kid let it get away from him and ran it off the table. Never hurt it! Picked it up and kept sanding.
The recipro saw I remember had to be from just a few years before the sale to SBD. Our HVAC guys got it for one reason. It had a 360 degree rotating handle and they could turn it any way they needed for cutting loop lines, condensate drains, and particularly any overhead, above the ceiling cuts. Getting a clear cutting angle in above ceiling equipment brackets and mounts is a real bear.
I asked them how they liked it compared to their super sawzall. They told me they didn’t pull the Milwaukee out anymore unless the P-C was alrady in use. I consider that some good praise because no one ever said the old corded Super Sawzalls were exactly a piece of junk.
Welcome to race to the bottom and globalization. Decades ago, I knew a engineer who made some predictions about certain brands and the trend the electronic industry was heading. Long story short, a larger majority o f their predictions unfortunately came true. Thousands of factories shut down, entire genre of products no longer domestically made at all, unemployment would be dramatically increase. Yet few took his warnings seriously. Granted full automation hasn’t happened yet, sadly we are quickly heading there. There was a prediction that Porter Cable among other brand’s quality would diminish and sadly that has happened.
Assuming this plant hasn’t been demolished or abandoned yet, when was the last instance any Porter Cable came out of the Tennessee plant? Sure certain reciprocating blades are made in USA of global materials, among some other items perhaps, but nothing electronic. Instead of strengthening the United States, the globalists rebuilt China, Taiwan Mexico and other 3rd world countries. Labor there is far cheaper, less regulations (even safety regulations) and child labor happens despite rules making this “illegal”.
In the end, after all is said and done, what can be done? Bluntly put, I don’t any solutions that aren’t obvious to most. Most just don’t care until this is their job or their family that outsourced. Hopefully, the younger generation comes to realize that globalization isn’t as noble or exceptional as some legacy pundits/establishment figures salivate about.
I’ll say this though, Porter Cable could re-establishment the brand as more professional, however only time will tell. I’ve long since retired, so I no longer buy power tools anymore, yet I’d love to see more manufacturing done locally. Enough of giving other countries employment and our wealth, I say let them build/manufacture their own products. Same with foreign financial aid, these countries do very little for the United States, yet demand we always bail them out or support their causes. So I ask why? What have these countries, some of whom hate us, done for the United States?
Lol, ya have to be really young. Most professional woodworkers used many Porter Cable tools exclusively; routers, belt sanders, specialty hing and dove tail jigs. In fact, PC routers and sanders were industry standard tools. The were made so well the they’re still highly in demand.
Also, for ya youngsters, PC came out with the very first cordless router!
However, the tool I love was PC hand-held oscillating spindle sander…they come up on ebay every once in awhile but they still command a good buck. I did a ton of custom fences with that sander…good times…
I’m a few months late posting this, I found this site here on 1/2/2019 while searching for some Porter Cable buyout history. After looking for any 6″ electric PC Saw Bosses out there for sale. As the last poster says, you must be young Matt if you don’t know how much some of us used and still use our Porter cable electric tools from the 80s and 90s. I’m 56 and have been using their older tools as my first choice since the 90s. Still use my 25 yr old 4×24 ALL THE TIME. Then there’s the 5″ random orbit sander, laminate trimmer, spiral head door edge planer, and I miss a D handle router that got stolen.
I have begun buying different Makita cordless items, but for me I still associate small Dewalt tools with inferior quality. Bosch is OK, but as a semi-dinosaur I don’t really see all the new cordless stuff as any better than the solid electric tools of the 90s. Same with Milwaukee electric vs. cordless. Sure cordless is the wave right now and it has convenience and speed for production pressure at times. But for me it’s about knowing how things were compared to now. (Same goes for crowded attractions and roads, if you knew them back in the previous times, there are times when the previous decades were better).
And the other part is they used to be made in the US. Maybe some still are but much of the cordless tools are made in China now. I worked with a friend’s Festool systems lately, but it’s fairly pricey. Maybe there will be a time when can get serious about bringing American manufacturing back. It’s happening on a small scale but until we also take a serious look at how these corporate mergers and buyouts affect the quality of the products it won’t get much traction. If the focus is on shareholders ahead of customers and workers, guys like me will still be looking for the solid tools we knew online and at used tool stores and flea markets.
Michael R Morgan
I use porter cable for woodworking, but will be selling off may porter cable tools now. Kinda sad.
Hi, now you know one, lol. I am a professional cabinet builder and own my own shop. I love my PC routers and belt sanders. They have served me very well. Grizzly, Shop Fox, Dewalt, and Jet for all of my other machinery. They Have all been great brands to work with so far.
I like the porter cable stationary tools. The drill press, bandsaw and table saw have been absolutely wonderful to use. I couldn’t imagine craftsman bringing every tool to market to compete with every tool PC offers, both corded, cordless and stationary.
What I would like to see is more benchtop tools and equipment from Porter Cable.
Craftsman can cover the value side of things, and Porter Cable could be an upgrade.
I really want to see brands spend more time and energy developing such tools, but they probably figure they cannot compete with the very many entry price point tools from Harbor Freight, Grizzly, and other value-orientes brands.
You know Stuart, I think you have a great idea there. P-C made their bones with top shelf corded power tools. If SBDC is going to keep it alive at all it would be a natural fit to position it in that niche.
I would love to see bench top models of; bandsaw, drill press, some sort of belt sander, and a router/rotary tool table machine of some magnitude better quality than Dremel stuff. One of their trim router motors would be a possible power plant. I wonder if it could be adapted to to use 1/8 collets or one of the really nice Jacobs chucks that go from something like .5-4mm? That would cover everything from hobby tool bits to 1/4 inch router bits. I think, but am not sure that side loading a drill chuck at those speeds is a no no and it is why collets are used.
BTW, when I say bring them out, I mean something significantly better than the typical 129 dollar stuff you see at the big box stores.
I agree. I wish companies would actually manufacture their own products instead of rebranding overseas junk. I could totally see the need for a 9” benchtop bandsaw. Not everyone has a large shop. Space is valuable and not enough room or need for a 14” bandsaw. But why limit me to a cheap lightweight aluminum and plastic machine? First off, I want something that’s going to give me accurate results. Second I don’t want pieces breaking off if I accidentally knock into it with a 2×4.
I could genuinely see a market for heavy duty benchtop machines. But no body makes them.
Funny we’re on this subject today. I’ve got Porter Cable corded 1/2” drill and a couple of Sioux Offset drills I just unpacked (from a move plus storage) and I’m taking them to our local all brands repair joint to get them all tuned up. And maybe a new long cord or two as well.
Maybe like my ancient corded Hole Hawg these too will outlast both me and western civilization.
So if a cord is okay these US made tools perform perfectly and therefore should be my last similar tool investment no?
But 12v and 18v Blue and Red brands suck up all my (our?) modern tool acquisition attention.
Funny though the 120VAC power source never fails or needs new and bigger supplies.
And the torque is almost too much.
Jim! You sound like me. We had a number of old P-C and Milwaukee Holeshooters back in our maintenance shop and you just couldn’t kill them. And as you said, they go pop every time you plug them in and pull the trigger. I was particularly fond of using them for drilling holes in electrical cabinets for conduit knockouts. You could drill over and over with no damage other than having to stop to keep the bit from being over heated! The drills didn’t care.
The older Milwaukee D-handle drills were pretty ridiculous, too. Never ever let the bit bind, or you’re likely to end up with a broken arm, being thrown off the ladder, or both.
Ya just reminded me about the PC screw shooters! Drywall guys loved them. They had an excellent feature in that the depth collar tip was removable so in the event ya didn’t sink the screw, ya quickly pop it off, sink the head and pop it back on and keep rolling.
From what I gather, PC is going to make heavy duty shop tools ,PC was King when I started framing….. meanwhile if craftsman doesn’t take off ,then why get rid off PC ? And Craftsman won’t get traction if it’s not made in the USA ….check out Lowe’s and put a mark on a craftsman tool ,they just sit there on the shelf….
The people that bought craftsman before are the same type to buy it now, they want made in the USA tools….
The same people who put the president in office,we care about products being made here and jobs staying here…..and Craftsman is part of that, there are enough Chinese made tools made…
I don’t think SBD can make heavy duty shop tools.
Initially, 40 percent of the products will be made in America, with the share rising to 70 percent over the next few years.
Loree said “one of the strategies behind rebooting Craftsman is to revitalize the products and make as many (of) them in America as possible.”
“We ended up simply buying the brand because the products had been left to devolve over time to the point where they weren’t high-quality, respectable products they once were,” he said. “They had migrated from made in America to virtually everything being made in China and Mexico.”
I recently purchased three 20v PC tools, drill, impact driver, and cordless nailer. I love all three, they’re excellent weekend warrior tools and were quite a bit cheaper than any equivalent tools of other brands in this tier. I wish Craftsman kept the same battery platform. If they had I’d switch to Craftsman in a heartbeat. Look at the new Craftsman cordless nailer, it’s the same exact one I just bought from PC with different colors. Why not keep the battery? Instead, I’ll probably stock up on more PC tools now that they’re all on clearance and ignore the Craftsman line until I need to replace or upgrade my current tools likely 5-10 years from now. By that time who knows how things in this market will look. Sorry Craftsman, I want to love you, but I can’t. Not with the three incompatible batteries I already have.
PC will move to a different store.
I get my PC Stuff at farm and fleet, initially I was there to get a couple of replacement batteries for my Panasonic cordless tools until I saw the price of the batteries compared to the whole kit of PC so I switched right there on the spot and I have not been disappointed at all.
I have a good friend who works at SBD in Towson. I will have to get the scoop from him what the plan is for Porter Cable. Clearly the Craftsman purchase was a big deal for SBD because of the name recognition that Craftsman has.
As for projects he tells me that when they get assigned a project it is not clear at all when that product gets designed as to how it will be sold (read brand).
Did a “quick” glance at the Craftsman website. Pancake air compressors are red just like Porter-Cables. Just saying. Another nail in the coffin. 🙂
I “think” the non tool geek (sorry gang (I am one)) will have “no clue” that the new Craftsman is mainly rebranded PC & DeWalt stuff.
3/8” electric drill that debuted this week is the old/updated DW106, I have the same drill as a B & D industrial (date code 1996) I bought in 2001 (new old stock).
Porter Cable has already been reduced to nearly nothing at the Lowes around here for like a year or so now. Wouldn’t be surprising to just remove them all together.
I’m more curious what the new Craftsman will do to Kobalt, since they actually take up more of the limited shelf space in Lowes. If they get a good enough contract with SBD on Craftsman, I wonder if they’ll just put craftsman stuff everywhere in the stores and slowly phase out Kobalt (again). It seems that might be the easier way for them to compete with Home Depot (Ryobi) than slowly expanding Kobalt.
I definitely think it’s the final and much needed mercy killing of PC. For some reason a lot of people think Kobalt is going to die but I find that HIGHLY unlikely. SBD basically has Lowe’s by the balls, I doubt Lowe’s is thrilled about putting Craftsman sets next to Kobalt where the Stanley(Previously Blue Hawk) socket sets were.
IMO, If anything non-SBD gets pushed out its going to be Hitachi. You have to wonder about how good Lowe’s and Metabo’s relationship is after the very brief venture into Lowe’s stores…we don’t know if Metabo backed out of the space or were pushed out by more money and how that may affect that relationship. Hitachi has a relatively small footprint in Lowe’s with a few tools but add that space with PC and you have one side of an aisle for Craftsman power tools, and half of the other side is B&D(based on footprints in Florida stores).
The biggest benefit to both the consumer and Lowe’s is that they’re finally going to be competitive with tool boxes. I hope Craftsman/Waterloo brings in some boxes that have a flat top shelf instead of the raised lip. The long drawer box at the event looks promising. This will put three local competitors for the tool box category; HD, HF and finally Lowe’s. Sears and Northern Tool are players here(Florida) but really, I doubt either is selling a lot of tool boxes. Sears is a ghost town and NT doesn’t have much and is rarely trafficked in that area of the store.
I’m of the camp that would like to see PC make enthusiast level woodworking tools, preferably made in the US. Drill presses, planer/joints, lathes, band saws, table/cabinet saws. SBD is really lacking in those areas. Even benchtop sanding stations are hard to source since 2/3rds of the brands seem to use the base model with minor variations. Help us, PC/SBD!
Porter Cable . . . return to what they were known for, Sanders, Biscuit Joiner, core Woodworking tools and while they’re at it make them 100% in the USA. I own the older “Made in USA” versions and they’re still going strong, but neither have some of the more modern design features.
IF SBD just has to have cordless Porter Cable Cordless tools, sell them where the Craftsman tools will not be available. Independent Shops, Personally the Cordless Tool lines are overcrowded and Porter Cable (and Bostitch) are just canablizing DeWalt. Return both of those lines to they’re original offerings.
My recommendation for PC cordless and corded is to make them once again appeal to woodworkers. How? Just one thing extra. Add in what Festool has done with dust collection!! I don’t mean try to emulate other pricey Festool features, just the dust collection and offer the solid tools that they used to have a reputation for. If they did this for both corded and cordless tools, Most of my other tools would be on eBay/Craigslist so fast your head would spin and I’d be buying the PC branded ones. The good dust collection would also appeal to homeowners, in my opinion. No DIY homeowner is going to buy Festool, but I’d bet dust collection would tip the scales against other brands if they were smart with their marketing. Possibly remodeling/repair pros who work in people’s homes but don’t want to spring for Festool.
I would never buy Craftsman tools, just don’t trust the brand after the Sears gyrations. They seem to have splashy promotions that go beyond the goodness/long-lastingness of their tools. Long ago I bought one of their Nexxus(?) right angle drills, but then the line disappeared. Quality if they are made in China is also an issue. I’d probably buy a wet/dry vac if I needed one and they were competitive with Ridgid. I had a nifty vac with a plug in for a tool that triggered the vacuum, but that part died and there were no parts to replace it. The vac still worked. I have some other old Craftsman corded tools that are perfectly good, but no replacement parts. So much for a brand that used to mean reliability and solid value. If they started offering parts for these older corded tools, they might build brand loyalty again. Sears used to have a decent number and decent quality of woodworking tools, so if Lowes did that it would be an attraction.
Right now, Menards has the best line of woodworking items, though I’m not at all attracted to most of their tool brands, except ones that are higher end like Bosch. I’ve never researched their Mastercraft/force(?) in-house brand, but they “seem” on par with the upgraded Harbor Freight tools, maybe good but an off-brand that may or may not last. If they picked up the PC brand and targeted woodworkers, it might be a win, not sure, since they are regional.
Ryobi is a brand I can trust to stay with the same battery platform, and pretty well designed, so it has made sense to buy a bunch of their more specialized tools, including lawn and garden. I also have a 24V Kobalt saw and if they’d have many more tools in their lineup, I’d theoretically buy Kobalt (assuming I wasn’t already into Ryobi).
Ktash, I like your take on P-C. If there is one brand in SBDC’s stable that could pull off top level, woodworking specific tools at a pro level of price and performance, it would be P-C. I am like you. This would need to be American made and pushed at pros. Pricing would most certainly reflect it. Go big and the dust collection you mention would be a good buy in. Thy would have to market and support it big time. I don’t know if they would ever see that as profitable.
This is the whole bugaboo with P-C and the horribpe niche they were shoehorned into. SBDC sees DeWalt as their pro tool brand and that is where they focus but for the life of me, I just cannot associate DeWalt with precision woodworking tools. Maybe rugged contractor items for out on the job site but for cabinet makers, custom trim installers, and other jobs like staircasemand hand rail instsllere, I can’t get it to image in my brain as a brand that a tradesman would say; if you want the best for thise jobs, buy DeWalt. It is just my age group(55) but when I was 25 you saw the guys who did that work carry two brands; Porter-Cable and Bosch. Routers, jigsaws, handheld piwer planere, etc. Those two dominated. I wish it were still so.
I think it’s an age-generational thing. I’m about 15 years behind you and while Bosch certainly has everyone’s respect (and it has as long as I remember), it’s been a DeWalt world for a good 10-15 years here now among my group of friends. We all grew up on Craftsman. Woodworking,construction,building hot rods… I remember groups of us kids still hanging out at Sears in the late 80’s/early90’s dreaming about the next red & black Craftsman tool we’d get. The friends I have who did go into woodworking wanted better stuff than what Craftsman was offering in the latter years. These are all blue collar guys. In those work enviroments there’s been this Milwaukee vs DeWalt thing going on for a good 10-15 years at the same time. You go into their shops and there’s a lot of old Craftsman stuff and everything else seems to be yellow now..
Here’s the thing, the Milwaukee guys who also do woodworking want the same thing. So many people I’ve heard say Milwaukee is geared more towards electricians and plumbers while DeWalt is geared more towards construction contractors. Perhaps it started that way, it’s not that way now. The DeWalt guys who do electrical work want DeWalt electrical tools. The Milwaukee guys who do woodwork want high end woodworking tools. None of these guys are going to switch their brand loyalties. They all want their DeWalt and Milwaukee lawn tools now and everything else…
That brand loyalty can be a double edged sword for companies. Everyone wants literally everything in Their color or brand. That’s fine when you’re the only game in town but not so good when there’s so much competition. See General Motors.. If SBD can see a profit in putting PC into where you remember them, perhaps they will. Porter Cable guys would probably love it. And I’m a Craftsman guy. I’ve bought some DeWalt tools in recent years but only because Craftsman didn’t have anything as good. If they did, I would have bought Craftsman. So them bringing Craftsman into DeWalt territory with their American Made Brushless tools just makes me want to support them more. I don’t want the cheap stuff.. So I can definitely see where you’re coming from.
Matt, good points. And I agree with you. The cordless revolution changed everything. Years ago you really couldn’t be a one brand man. Not when everyone shared the same battery; mains power.
You typically bought the best brand of a particular type of tool you could afford or save up for. If you were looking at upper end you went Bosch for jigsaws, Bosch & PC for routers, Milwaukee for reciprocating saws, Skil 77 for circular saws, etc. No one had to be tied to one brand so as to maintain power compatibilty. And each company tended to specialise in a certain area because it was not really necessary to compete in each category. They tended to do what they did best. Boy howdy, a guy had better consider it now.
Guys in the trades are rightly sick to death of the battery carousel. And with the realignment of all the tool brands over the last 20 years I don’t blame them for wanting to keep to one house for tools.
And I remember the drag race strip myself. All of us used Craftsman tools because they were really good and affordable. We couldn’t afford tool truck brands. I just wish with the way it ended up SBDC could have taken hold of Craftsman when the P-C purchase was made. I honestly don’t know if there is a real market left for P-C in any category. I hope they have incorporated some of the P-C designs and tech into DeWalt because if a fellow is going the SBDC route that is the only logical choice for pro tools.
Well, stick to one brand for cordless as long as they don’t change their battery platform to make it incompatible with what is already there. At that point, people might decide to jump ship if something else looks better.
You make all the sense in the world to me. That is a very good explanation of how things go with brand loyalty,I would still be using Panasonic if the batteries didn’t cost so much. But now I am a loyal PC user and I think that I will be sticking with the brand.
We can all wax nostalgic about what PC once was, or what we would like to see them become. But, it all comes down to market share ladies and gents. The woodworking market is not anywhere near as large as the homeowner/pro-sumer market. This is why we’re seeing a lot of the brands make everything. If I’m manufacturer A known for high quality power tools, I don’t want to lose your money to competitor B for your hand tool business. So the people in the “conference/marketing room” make decisions to target “getting all the money”. Making quality, focused products is always going to be secondary nowadays to those companies. The new buyers coming into the market are different than us in many ways as well. I’ve been a professional for almost 20 years now and have amassed over $30k in personal tools. I’m a person who usually buys the best I can afford of the specific item I’m after depending on usage. I don’t put all my eggs in one brand, and unless quality changes, I am highly unlikely to buy a different brand of a replacement tool. If I need a crescent wrench – it will be made by Crescent. If I need a new channel-lock pliers, it will be made by Channel-Lock. And so on – Why? Because I’m not going to take a chance on one of inferior quality just because it’s one of my preferred power tool brands.
However, I see the new buyers (apprentices) getting caught up in the matchy, matchy. The marketing is working. Recent new guy buys Red brand everything without thinking about cost. Can’t pay for his own lunch, but everything matches. When I questioned him about some of his purchases being overpriced compared to buying a lower priced brand of a quality tool that does the same job reliably for how often we use it, his response was “it wasn’t red”. I’ve got nothing against the red brand and have about $1k in power tools with them, but I also have about $1k in the black and yellow one too. They don’t all make the best for my purposes – and seriously does anyone really want to use a 12 pound red sawzall just because it’s red all day.
Craftsman was my family’s brand for several generations before me, but their quality and commitment to their customers over the last 20 years have lost both me and my father. My dad just sank $2k in all new harbor freight mechanics chest and tools. I stopped buying Craftsman when I had several bad interactions with the only two stores in my area. They made it clear that people in uniform were not welcome to do warranty exchange and I took that as a hint to move to a different manufacturer. I have a bucket in my garage of broken craftsman tools – I wonder what will happen if I try to warranty it at Lowes. Certainly won’t be able to do it all at once, so it’s probably not worth my time.
My point is this – I think the majority of tool brands today are focused on the 18-34 year old market because they are the new buyers, not us. So it’s what they’re doing that will drive the market, not what 34+ wants. The new generation wants cheap tools, or tools under one brand. When it breaks, they throw it away and buy a new one. My generation was driven by customer service and product quality. When something breaks, I go to my local tool rep and pay to have it repaired. In my part of the country I am fortunate enough to have five tool repair shops that cover all the professional brands and I have at least one tool that belongs to each shop.
Lastly, I’m still using a PC Tiger Claw from the 90’s on a weekly basis and a PC right angle drill for all my upper roughs. All I’ve done is put brushes in the right angle drill once, and rebuilt the clamp on the saw. They did make great tools at one time, lets all remember them for it and move on. If you like PC now it’s probably because of what they are now (fits a certain price point for a decent quality homeowner tool) not what they were. If you disagree with me, see what other brand you would purchase tomorrow if your PC’s were stolen. Does that brand align with the above statement?
If you’re an avid woodworker of the most recent generation, you’ve probably filled your shop with the oldest tools you could buy. PC isn’t missing your money. Craftsman isn’t either; they’re going after the new money.
This could very well spell the end for porter cable unless sbd sells them to a company that will actually try to make the brand better. Sbd has done nothing but shit on porter cable since buying the brand in 05. The irony is that sbd has done pc worse than how sears ruined craftsman. Although porter cable’s name doesn’t ring bells like it used to, they invented more tools than anyone else did back then. Pc is responsible for the circular saw, router, belt sander & orbital sander,as well as the tiger claw(most versatile recip saw ever made) along with other designs and tools they contributed to the industry. Anything that was associated with improving porter cable tools before sbd was all but abandoned when sbd bought them. I’m sure sbd will find a way to screw craftsman up worse than they are now and the whole assembled in the USA with global (Chinese) materials is a damn joke. Sbd can’t do pc any worse than what they’ve done since owning them. Next up is craftsman. Give it a couple of years and I’m sure they will find a way to *BEEP* them up epically also.