I recently noticed a mark-down and disappearance of many Bessey clamps at my local Home Depot. There were some other signs that suggested that Home Depot might be changing up their in-store clamp section.
Many readers reported that there are no changes at their local Home Depot. Jeff shared a photo, above, of a Michigan Home Depot’s clamp section (thank you!), showing a full rack of Bessey clamp SKUs.
Several new Dewalt clamping products, which previously appeared on Home Depot’s website, have since showed up at my local Home Depot, although there are still some empty pegs.
Separately, Bessey has new clamps coming down the pipeline, and I have confirmed that some of them WILL be available at Home Depot stores.
Thus, I am increasingly convinced that Home Depot is NOT dropping Bessey in favor of Dewalt products.
So what’s going on?
What We Know and Can Conclude
Some stores are giving Bessey shelf space to new Dewalt products. Temporarily? More stores are keeping things as they were.
When I asked Dewalt about their new bar clamps, I was told:
These are a test with The Home Depot for DEWALT.
I had asked about the online listing I saw. I thought the answer was about the online listings, but what if it was referring to the in-store Dewalt clamp selections?
Bessey has some new products coming out, and so some empty pegs could simply be because a product refresh is pending.
Perhaps the Dewalt test is being done at some stores, with Bessey products to return once new or updated clamps are available to take their place.
There are still a lot of questions, but it appears that Home Depot is only testing out Dewalt clamping tools at some brick and mortar locations.
Will it be at the Detriment of Bessey?
That part is unclear, but I can say this: I sure hope not.
I really like Dewalt hand tools, and I really like Bessey clamps. I have purchased both brands’ clamps. I also own some Irwin clamps, and have tested others.
Bessey knows clamps. That’s their forte – clamps, clamping tools, and other such products.
From the looks of it, Dewalt’s new clamps are more affordable, and quite good. But are they as good? I have my doubts. Dewalt has iterated some of their hands tools over the years, making good products better. But in regard to clamps, Bessey has a significant lead.
I want to be able to visit my local Home Depot store to buy Dewalt clamps AND Bessey clamps. Surely Home Depot can find a way for both brands to share the same space.
I have purchased a couple of Bessey parallel clamps at Home Depot, but I bought more of them online. My local Home Depot has 2, maybe 3 of each size that they carry. Or at least they had. A new woodworker, or a seasoned woodworker that needs extra clamps for a new project, isn’t going to visit 3 or 4 Home Depot stores to pick up all the clamps they need. They’ll go to a woodworking supplier, or order the clamps they need online.
Nothing beats being able to try a clamp in person. Parallel clamps are a big investment, and it helps to be able to evaluate one or two brands before you decide where to spend your money. Some pre-purchase hands-on time is advantageous when shopping for other types of clamps, too.
Now that I think about it, I purchased most of my clamps in stores. I have 2 Craftsman bar clamps, a whole slew of Bessey bar clamps, mostly short ones, 8 Irwin trigger clamps, and a bunch of Dewalt trigger clamps. All bought from Brick & Mortar stores.
I have Jorgenson cam-action clamps, and a pair of Bessey ratcheting KliKlamps that I purchased just before posting about them. The Jorgenson and Bessey KliKlamp purchases are among the few clamps I bought sight unseen.
There are some clamping products where Home Depot’s buyers will have to decide between Dewalt and Bessey. For instance, how many right angle clamps do shoppers need or want to choose from? I can understand that, but I really don’t want to see ANY Bessey products pushed off the shelves at Home Depot.
I must admit, there are 2 reasons why I want to see both Bessey and Dewalt clamping tools available at Home Depot. First, I like to have options. I want to choose from different brands and styles of hammers, screwdrivers, pliers, and clamps, among other tools. Options and choices are good.
But second, I’m worried about what it might mean should Home Depot decide to replace Bessey clamping tools with Dewalt products.
Right now, it does NOT look like that’s happening. But it could. This test that Home Depot is conducting at some store locations, or however else you can describe it, is being done for a reason.
What I’m hoping is that Home Depot can find a way to bring new Dewalt clamping tools to their stores, without giving any Bessey space to them.
The new Dewalt parallel clamps are less expensive, and my in-store hands-on left me optimistic about their performance. But Bessey’s are the best, and they don’t cost all that much more. Bessey’s 24″ clamp is $5 more, but their 50″ clamp gives you 2 extra inches of the same money.
It’s hard for me to think or talk about this, as I’m fond of both brands. I don’t want to see any Bessey products dropped from stores, but at the same time I also want to see more Dewalt products available at stores when I can check them out and maybe buy some in person. I can’t imagine what it’s like for the Home Depot buyer or buying team that has to make decisions about what to buy to stock their clamp section with.
We’ll have to see how this plays out.