Ridgid Octane was the brand’s premium high performance 18V cordless power tool line, with the branding given to individual tools as well as a MegaMax modular tool system (shown above).
There were a lot of tools, ranging from impact drivers to angle grinders.
Octane was about performance, with many Octane cordless power tools being marketed as delivering “best-in-class” power specs.
There were also 18V Octane batteries.
The same question has been repeated over the years:
What happened to Ridgid 18V Octane cordless power tools?
Some of these offerings are still available, but many were discontinued. It seems that Ridgid has abandoned their 18V Octane lineup. Why?
I keep seeing the same theory about why Ridgid’s premium cordless power tools were discontinued, but I cannot say I agree with it.
As many of you know, TTI owns Ryobi, Ridgid, and Milwaukee cordless power tool brands.
It’s actually a bit complicated than that (Emerson owns the Ridgid tool brand) – see Tool Brands: Who Owns What? A Guide to Corporate Affiliations for more details.
It seems to be common belief that Ryobi, Ridgid, and Milwaukee cordless power tools are marketed in a “good, better, best” type of tiered arrangement. After all, they are all within TTI’s corporate umbrella.
However, Ryobi and Ridgid cordless power tool development and marketing is handled by TTI North America (which also goes by One World Technologies), and Milwaukee develops and markets their own tools.
From how I understand things, Milwaukee Tool is functionally independent.
A reader recently commented about Ridgid’s discontinued line of 18V Octane-family cordless power tools. Following are relevant snippets:
I have read this on a couple different occasions and it makes sense, I do not know this for a concrete fact. Perhaps Stuart can step in and clarify if what I mention seems to be incorrect.
From all of the articles I read, what was said is that TTI wanted Milwaukee to be their flagship brand, Ridgid their “Mid Grade” and Ryobi their entry level. Once Octane was released, with all of its power, apparently TTI began to notice that Milwaukee sales started to dip (not plummet) and Octane was the reason. That said, the decision was made to pull the plug.
The idea is that Ridgid Octane was too good and was affecting Milwaukee Tool sales. While possible, I do not believe this to be accurate.
Some brands do have “good, better, best” tiering between their different brands, with Stanley Black & Decker’s brands – such as Craftsman and Dewalt – marketed in such a manner.
Ryobi and Ridgid cordless power tools seem to be marketed in a “good and better” type of arrangement, as they are developed and managed by the same company.
But, keep in mind that Ryobi and Ridgid’s cordless power tool lines are exclusive to Home Depot. Milwaukee Tool’s products are not, although there are some promotional SKUs specific to the retailer.
Let’s say that Milwaukee Tool launches a new cordless power tool product. If there’s no room for it at Home Depot, will they still proceed with its manufacture and sale? Yes.
If Ryobi or Ridgid seek to launch a new cordless power tool product, and Home Depot says “sorry, we don’t want that at stores,” will they still proceed? Maybe, if it can still exist as an online-only product.
I have never received an official explanation about why Ridgid discontinued their 18V Octane line. “What happened to Octane?” is the type of question most tool brands would be unlikely to answer.
Was Ridgid Octane “encroaching” upon Milwaukee’s sales? I doubt it.
Home Depot is the customer here.
If Ridgid’s Octane tools were selling incredibly well at Home Depot, so much so that they were taking away from Milwaukee M18 tool sales, would either Home Depot or TTI really say “hold on, these tools are too good?”
Ryobi and Ridgid have proven to be incredibly market-responsive over the years.
Both brands went in the direction of power and performance at value pricing, and then backtracked to launch compact and lightweight tools, such as under Ryobi 18V HP and Ridgid 18V SubCompact product lines.
Ridgid launched an 18V miter saw in 2016. It was spotted on clearance later that same year. After that, it went out of stock for long stretches. Readers kept asking about its availability, and Ridgid told me it was temporarily out of stock. It was temporarily out of stock for a very long time.
I could be wrong, but everything I know about the retail industry suggests that if a product family or sub-line doesn’t sell well enough in a test period, Ryobi and Ridgid switch directions.
If sales start off flat or diminish over time, they try something else.
Home Depot is these two brands’ exclusive customer.
For the year ending December 31, 2021, TTI reported that the Group’s largest customer accounted for approximately 47.5% of the Group’s total revenue. Their five largest customers accounted for approximately 59.1% of the Group’s total revenue.
For the same period, TTI’s total revenue was reported as $13.2 billion, $10.2 billion of which came from North America. Their largest customer – presumably Home Depot – accounted for $6.28 billion in revenue.
The breakdown is unknown; this figure includes revenue for all of TTI’s products sold to their largest customer.
Is it possible that those Ridgid 18V Octane tools were too good, to where they were affecting Milwaukee Tool M18 sales? Sure. But Milwaukee Tool and TTI North America are functionally separate, making intervening action highly unlikely.
If Ridgid Octane was selling well at Home Depot, we would have seen further expansion of the line. Wouldn’t you agree?
Home Depot would likely have insisted on more Octane tools.
Were Ridgid 12V Max cordless power tools so popular and fast-selling that they’re no longer available?
It does seem at times, that Milwaukee Tool, Ryobi, and Ridgid are all developed under the same roof. A few years ago, Ryobi launched a cordless fan, and then Ridgid, and then Milwaukee.
Ridgid had their Stealth Force impact driver, Ryobi had Quiet Strike, and Milwaukee had M18 Surge. Three brands under the corporate umbrella offered 3 out of 4 of the hydraulic impact drivers on the market.
I spoke with different people at Milwaukee and TTI NA since then, and have been repeatedly told there’s no cross-development.
I am sure there is know-how sharing at the manufacturing level, and maybe also between VP-level decision makers who all have access to the same data or customer and end user requests.
If Ridgid Octane – or any other of their discontinued cordless products – were indeed “too good” and “encroaching on Milwaukee offerings,” Home Depot and TTI North America would have surely capitalized on it.
It’s tricky, trying to perfectly understand the interactions – if any – between Ryobi, Ridgid, and Milwaukee Tool, and how and where Home Depot comes into play.
Will these 18V tools still be on store shelves or sales floor promo displays two years from now, whether they sell well or poorly?
There could be many reasons behind Home Depot’s decisions to sell or not sell certain Ridgid or Ryobi cordless power tools. I find it incredibly difficult to believe that Milwaukee Tool considerations could be involved in this, any more than Dewalt or Makita would be.
That all said:
Ridgid 18V Octane was all-but-abandoned because:
i) It didn’t sell well enough
ii) It sold too well and was disrupting Milwaukee Tool sales
What do you think? Why did Ridgid move away from their 18V Octane cordless line?