I’m confused, concerned, and a little bit upset. It appears that Dewalt has discontinued nearly every single 40V Max cordless power tool they make. Over at Dewalt’s site, every tool and kit that I checked, except for their mower kit, is marked as being discontinued.
Although this comes as a complete surprise to me, some of you can rightfully say “see, I told you this would happen.”
In comments to another post, Brian and Richard informed me that Dewalt has officially discontinued their line of 40V Max cordless outdoor power tools. Surely that’s not true, right? I didn’t believe it at first. But then I checked Dewalt’s website.
Update: It’s official, Dewalt is indeed discontinuing the entire 40V Max system.
Here are two more Dewalt.com screen captures of additional Dewalt 40V Max cordless power tools that are marked as being discontinued. I thought that maybe the kits were discontinued because new battery packs are coming out, but the bare tools are also discontinued.
I reached out to Dewalt asking for more information, and expect to hear back soon. However, prominent all-caps “This Product has Been Discontinued” notices are hard to misinterpret.
Navigating to Dewalt’s cordless power tool landing page, there are summaries and links for all of their current cordless platforms, even including 18V XRP. The link to the 40V Max cordless power tool lineup landing page leads to a 404 “Page Not Found” error.
Maybe this is a fluke error of some kind. With a website as large as Dewalt’s, mistakes or broken links here and there can happen. I fix broken links here on ToolGuyd every so often, and especially find them in older posts. It’s easy to change the URL of a page, but difficult to update all existing links. Still, the removed, broken, or non-existent 40V Max landing page doesn’t exactly bode well.
40V Max Differentiation – the Pro Landscaper System
Readers have expressed concerns for the future of the Dewalt 40V Max cordless power system ever since the FlexVolt outdoor power tools launched.
Back in March of 2017, I had just posted about the then-new 40V Max backpack blower, and was having trouble answering a reader’s question about how Dewalt’s 40V Max and FlexVolt 60V Max cordless outdoor power tools compared against each other. 40V Max and FlexVolt 60V Max tools had similar specs, and so I asked Dewalt if they could offer words about how the 40V Max and FlexVolt 60V Max cordless outdoor power tools compared, and how they’re targeted towards different users.
At the time, Dewalt explained the differences between the systems and also shared a great chart about their different string trimmers.
The Dewalt 20V Max cordless string trimmer offered professional performance and was part of a professional power tool system. The FlexVolt trimmer offered gas performance and was part of a larger professional power tool system. The 40V Max trimmer was aimed at professional landscapers and was said to offer gas performance and landscaper runtime and durability. The 20V Max and FlexVolt 60V max trimmers were said to have a daily use duty cycle, and the 40V Max was rated for all day use. The FlexVolt and 40V Max trimmers both have 15″ cutting swath and the 20V Max has 13″.
Simplified, the 60V Max FlexVolt cordless outdoor power tools were designed for construction pros or other users in the 20V Max or 60V Max system, and offered similar performance to the 40V max tool and enough runtime for users who aren’t pro landscapers. The 40V Max lineup featured longer runtime and the tools were designed for all day use. Dewalt also pointed out that the 40V Max line included more landscaper-focused tools and accessories, such as a pole hedge trimmer, 6-pack charging station, and backpack blower.
At the time, the 40V Max system had a much larger battery – the 7.5Ah battery provided 300 watt hours of power. Even the largest current FlexVolt battery, 12.0Ah, delivers 240 watt hours of power. At the time, the then-largest battery, 9.0Ah, delivered 180 watt hours of power.
Our 40V MAX* battery system offers bigger batteries that offer gas performance and longer, more continuous runtime. This means it can take a heavier load for a much longer period of time, which is important because landscapers might use a string trimmer for 2-3 hours of trigger time on a daily basis. Does that mean the 60V MAX* batteries don’t offer long runtime and can’t handle a heavy, consistent load? Not the case at all. It’s just that 40V MAX* just gets you to the next level and the voltage actually hits a nice ‘sweet spot’ for OPE.
All this is to say that the 40V Max cordless power tool system has (or had) a place in Dewalt’s cordless lineup.
The chargers and battery packs are NOT discontinued, and even if the tools are discontinued and become hard to find, Dewalt will likely ensure that current users are able to source replacement batteries and chargers for the foreseeable future. It’s worth pointing out that they still sell new 18V batteries.
I’ve told readers that Dewalt was intent on maintaining the 40V Max cordless platform alongside FlexVolt 60V Max offerings, because that’s what I was told and led to believe. After all, 40V Max was their “professional landscaper lineup.” This was their firm standing, that 60V Max were powerful tools, but that 40V Max tools offered not only gas-like performance but also gas-like runtime.
The 40V Max string trimmer, for example, was said to deliver 50 minutes of runtime when paired with a 7.5Ah battery and 40 minutes when paired with a 6.0Ah battery. The FlexVolt trimmer was said to deliver 30 minutes of runtime when paired with the then-largest 9.0Ah battery.
As a reminder, FlexVolt batteries have 1/3 the specified charge capacity in 60V Max mode. A 9.0Ah FlexVolt battery has 9.0Ah charge capacity when used in 20V Max mode and 3.0Ah charge capacity when in 60V Max mode. FlexVolt batteries shift between 20V Max and 60V Max operation automatically depending on the tool.
I’m still waiting to hear back from Dewalt as to whether all of the 40V Max cordless power tools are discontinued, or the entire 40V Max system. Maybe all of the 40V Max cordless power tools (except for the mower kit) are discontinued, but the 40V Max cordless platform will somehow continue? Maybe all new tools are coming out? There’s some hope that we’re reading this wrong, or the situation is different than it looks, but there’s not much to support that.
What Happens Now?
I suppose that it might be a good idea to ask why the 40V Max tools are being discontinued. Why would Dewalt discontinue the 40V Max platform (assuming that is what is happening here)? Lower sales? To consolidate their focus and priorities?
A better question to ask is this – what happens now?
For Dewalt 40V Max cordless power tool users, new product wishes might go unfulfilled, but they can continue to use their existing tools without issue. I checked a couple of retailers and some 40V Max tools are still in stock while others are not. Will sold-out stock be replenished?
Will Dewalt be shifting their focus to another brand for their professional landscaper outdoor power tools platform? That seems unlikely, because there’s no good answer to the question of which brand?
As you might know, Stanley Black & Decker now owns Craftsman. They also now own a 20% share of MTD, a maker of outdoor power tools, with the option to buy the remaining 80% beginning July 1st, 2021.
According to investor presentations, Stanley Black & Decker aims to grow their lawn & garden tool business towards a 15-20% share of their total revenue by 2022. This is discussed in our post: Dewalt, Craftsman, Stanley vs. Milwaukee, Ryobi, Empire: A Look at Stanley Black & Decker and TTI Financials.
Thus, outdoor power tools is a big focus of Stanley Black & Decker right now. They’re pushing hard on the Craftsman side of things, with gas engine tools and cordless tool offerings.
What could Dewalt and Stanley Black & Decker have planned that they would discontinue essentially all of their 40V Max cordless outdoor power tools, save one mower kit SKU? Is anything planned?
A new Dewalt 60V Max lineup? That seems unlikely, given the potential to confuse users. An 80V lineup? Nothing? Is Dewalt exiting the professional landscaper cordless outdoor power tool market?
Will Dewalt launch new FlexVolt 60V Max outdoor power tools? If so, how will they bridge the gap between FlexVolt runtime and 40V Max? Conversations with Dewalt made it clear that they saw 40V Max as the professional landscaper solution and that 60V Max wasn’t quite comparable. I don’t see how they can backtrack on that.
We’ve asked Dewalt if they are exiting the professional landscaper cordless outdoor power tool market and will follow up once we learn more.
Shortly after publishing this post we received official word that Dewalt is discontinuing their entire 40V Max cordless power tool system.
Current users will continue to have access to replacement batteries through online retailers and Dewalt service centers.
Here is what they said:
You are correct, DEWALT 40V MAX* is being discontinued. System compatibility of our 20V and 60V lines makes them a favorite among users – we’re focused on delivering more comprehensive and innovative solutions on those platforms. DEWALT does remain committed to providing solutions for pro landscaping within the FLEXVOLT System.
Replacement 40V batteries will be available through various online retailers as well as through DEWALT service centers for the next few years.