Whenever Woodpeckers comes out with a new tool, imitations quickly pop up on Amazon at a fraction of the price.
Often, the copycat companies simply take Woodpeckers’ product images, photoshop out any Woodpeckers logos, and upload them to the Amazon marketplace listings as their own.
The Woodpeckers Auto-Line drill guide is one such example where there are fake products being sold on Amazon. The Woodpeckers product is priced at $260, and the copycat products range from $33 to $52.
I can understand the appeal of these copycat products – they offer huge savings compared to the original products. But, they’re NOT very similar products.
You don’t actually know what you’re going to get, as the copycat products are using edited versions of Woodpeckers’ images, instead of their own product photos.
A couple of ToolGuyd readers took a chance on these products recently.
I bought a cheap Chinese copy online and did not know about the Woodpecker tool at the time. Big mistake. All the red parts except for the collar and hardware is molded plastic. It’s too flimsy, the two guides can be twisted by the sliding chuck plate out of alignment. Not even worth the $45 I paid including shipping. There is a reason the Woodpecker is priced at $220 being all-metal and accurately made.
The Amazon reviews are less than favorable:
Sockets for guide rods have huge tolerances. As a result – vertical guide rods cannot be aligned to provide consistent 90 degree angle. In general – product does not look anything alike as shown on the pictures. Will be returning.
Don’t buy!!! It’s a piece a scrap!!!
Had to wait almost one month to receive product. Looked good and assembled easily. However; China used plastic instead of cast iron to hold the chuck bearings. ONE!!!! HOLE!!! : bearing heat melted chuck holder and I had to cut chuck free in order to retrieve my bit. Can’t return because of what I had to do. What I said: Great idea- Horrible engineering
Here are some review snippets for a knockoff square:
Ruler markings are not accurate. Do not buy
Mine arrived out of square!
Needs better quality control: The tool is square and the holes are accurate. HOWEVER, the marks on the ruler are NOT accurate.
Holes are too small mechanical pencils don’t work
Is this a joke? I know it is not the “big red” but brand, but even at this point they could institute some resemblance of quality control! Not one line is square and not one of the holes actually line up with the increment marks. Guess if you want quality you have to pay for it.
I know that many of Woodpeckers’ tools are priced at a premium, and some at a steep premium. I have purchased a couple of their core tools, and sought out alternative designs for Woodpeckers tools I just couldn’t justify the price for. Rockler, for example, has a well-regarded drill guide, and occasional discounts and coupon codes make it much more affordable.
Some people are buying the knockoff tools because that’s what they come across first, not knowing they’re knockoffs, and others take a chance in thinking maybe they’ll be similar to the much higher priced Woodpeckers, maybe at least in functionality.
Admittedly, there are some types of products where imitations could potentially work as well as the genuine Woodpeckers tools, but you’re always taking a gamble. Who’s to say that the copycat companies won’t change their quality once they gather some positive reviews?
My typical policy is to not mention knockoffs at all. In my Woodpeckers posts, you’ll see links to the Woodpeckers tools and maybe alternative products, but never the fake copycats sold at Amazon and other marketplaces.
I won’t link to those fake products here, but I felt compelled to share the recent reader feedback and other reviews I found on the online marketplace listings.
With the online listings, should the copycat products rack up enough negative reviews, they might simply relist the products and start over.
I won’t judge anyone that knowingly buys knockoff tools, but it’s not something I would encourage. Buying knockoff products is always risky, but this has proven especially true when dealing with layout tools and woodworking accessories where quality and tolerances matter.
I have Many WP Tools. all 100% GREAT. for grins, I order a knock-off adjustable square, total POS. All plastic except the ruler, the locking detent pin would not lock into position.
I have notified Amazon of patent infringement and also notified Woodpecker. Amazon did not seem to care. Woodpecker responded with a thank you and they are working to stop Amazon and FB from selling the infringed items.
The cynic in me says that Amazon will only pay lip service to fighting counterfeit product listings so long as they don’t have any skin in the game. The moment someone figures out how to successfully sue Amazon for profiting from counterfeiting, the game is up and you’ll see an immediate change in how Amazon polices their product listings. Until then it’s the Wild Wild West.
I know a person who invented a product and started selling it on Amazon. Sales did very well and within a few weeks there were already Chinese sellers who had produced knockoffs of his product flooding Amazon. In fact if you searched for his product you’d find one single legit listing–his–and dozens of listings for the fakes. It wasn’t good enough for the scammers to copy his his product, they also felt it appropriate to drown him in a sea of listing spam. The scammers even went so far as to steal clips from his youtube videos to use in promoting the fakes. He had repeated contact with Amazon’s reps, had patent and trademark information to back up his claims, and Amazon didn’t give a crap and took no action against the scammers or their listings.
It’s surprising what is being copied and how quickly it happens these days. I spotted some copycat NWS 8″ linesman pliers on Amazon recently. Product images even show “Germany” stamped near the pivot, even though that’s not where these knock-offs are made. The pattern and color of the handles were a pretty good match though.
I suppose the profit is in copying products where the original is very expensive. E.g. it wouldn’t make sense to copy a pair of Chinese-made Irwins where the “real thing” is only $20.
Mike (the other one)
Amazon needs to seriously crack down on counterfeit and knock-off products. They are all over the place. There’s tons of “brand names” that seem to be random words or even random letters.
Frankly, you don’t know what you are going to get, or what it’s made of. Could be lead, could be hazardous waste, could be radioactive materials mixed in with the recycled metals. There’s no way to be sure, and these companies certainly don’t care about your safety. Even if the materials are good, you could still be injured if the product fails catastrophically. How much money will you have saved after factoring the medical bills?
Do not give these sellers your money.
There’s a couple of youtubers I watch that compare the real tools and the china copies; hooked on wood and inspire woodcraft. They’re pretty fair in their comparisons.
Personally, I’d just spring for the real deal tools. Life’s too short to deal with compromises when it comes to tools.
Reminds me of the Viking Arm that you posted about back in May. The same sort of 3rd party Amazon vendors were selling cheap – perhaps even dangerous knockoffs of that lifting clamp. I don’t think Amazon takes too much notice of these sorts of things – as new vendors, copying tools, seem to pop up constantly. It may also be likely that many (if not most) dissatisfied customers just end up keeping the junk that they’ve purchased rather than returning it.
With this jig – one of the Amazon listings (ASIN B097GKLCSB for $27.99) lists the brand as Yuhao. When you click on the brand – Amazon displays various kids toys (how fitting) – plus one of the Viking Arm knockoffs (ASIN B0936QW18Y) for $16.99 (compared to the $199.99 made in Norway original)
There’s ample room in the marketplace for quality tools “inspired by” Woodpeckers’ designs, but at the $20 price-point, what you’re getting is literally being manufactured differently. For some simple things–jigs where accuracy is less important than repeatability, and with few or no moving parts–that might be okay. If these companies were making tens of thousands of them, they could calibrate their dies and masks and produce something that would be plenty good enough for woodworking purposes, where errors of even five thou or more are rarely perceptible. This is proven by the abundance of uncannily-accurate $10 speed squares on the shelf at your local home center.
But these companies are only making a few hundred, and at that scale of manufacture, even if only $5 of that $20 is materials cost, 200 * $15 = $3,000, which has to cover not just profit but also everything else: R&D, prototypes, shipping to the Amazon warehouse, Amazon’s fees, etc. Frankly, I’m surprised they can make a profit at all. Once you’re in that sort of low-margin territory, saving 50 cents by making a crucial part out of an inferior material could be the difference between making a profit and taking a loss on each unit. As they say, “It only needs to last as long as the returns window.”
Knockoffs can be good or bad. Dennis has a channel Hooked on Wood and he does reviews of a lot of the knockoffs from Banggood. Worth watching if you are looking at some https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AXW4OVfkFoo
Yep. I mentioned him above; Inspire Woodcraft has a few videos comparing the knockoffs with the real ones as well.
This thing needs many close fitting parts. I doubt any knock-off would be good. On the other hand, I’m very happy with the knockoff set of corner router jigs (basically just pieces of aluminum with round corners) I bought on eBay for practically nothing.
Real the latest Amazon expose book “Amazon Unbound.” The seller marketplace is almost entirely automated and until somebody complains enough to actually make a human look at the listing nothing will happen. And then as soon as Amazon boots a seller, they re-apply using the same automated tools under a different name, re-list, and the cycle repeats.
To Paraphrase: Make it Idiot-Proof and Someone Will Make a Better Idiot…
Make A Better Tool, and Someone Will Make A Worse Scam.
I have been seeing similar ads in my Facebook feed. I have reported this to Woodpecker, and always mark them as “misleading or scam” on Facebook. They are usually from different companies, and as you noted are copying the Woodpecker images (some with editing out the WP name, other not even doing that).
I’ve got a couple Banggood tools, a precision marking ruler that is dead on accurate, a cabinet hardware jig that is nearly as good as the one a friend has that cost $150, other than my drillpro having sharper edges Therese no real difference, and mine is red, a set of corner clamps that have been spot on. Is woodpecker higher quality, yes, but not even close to being worth the extra charge for me.
Banggood is also where I got my wowstick precision screwdriver kit on a group buy for $7. And I use it a lot.
Matt the Hoople
Not sure why someone would think this is a tool. If you look right before the description in the Amazon mobile app, there is a choking hazard warning where it states “Toy contains a small ball. Not for children under 3 yrs .” LOL
Woodworking Drill Locator, Portable Drilling Locator,Woodpeckers Precision Locator,Adjustable Drilling Guide for DIY Furniture Connecting Position Hand Tools (Red) https://www.amazon.com/dp/B09B2M4VDP/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_glt_fabc_KHNBJ9743CRD8XTG1YSQ?psc=1
Has anyone tries the UJK version sold by axminister https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=T-sGR1gaDSg
I wouldn’t buy Chinese made tools, but you better watch out for China, they copy everything, the quality is not there yet with Chinese made tools, but it will get a lot better, it’s like Japanese stuff 40 years ago, it wasn’t very good, now look some of the best power tools on the market, and look at Japanese cars, some of the best,
Japan 60-70 years ago maybe. Time marches on.
Do you know why these companies imitate so many designs and innovations, and crank out low-priced copycats of varying quality? Because there are so very many people who buy those tools, thinking they’ll get a tool that costs $200 for under $50 without compromises to quality of function.
There are three parties involved – the companies that produce copies and imitation tools, those that buy them, and the online marketplaces where the buying and selling takes place.
These companies keep doing what they do because people keep giving them more and more money for their efforts.
Some people don’t know that they’re not buying original products, others don’t care.
Charles E Flynn
From https://www.plagiarius.com/index.php?ID=3&SETSPRAC :
Founded in 1977, Aktion Plagiarius e.V. conducts an annual competition that awards the “anti-prize” Plagiarius to those manufacturers and distributors that a jury of peers have found guilty of making or selling “the most flagrant” imitations. Our signature trophy of a black gnome with a golden nose symbolises the exorbitant earnings product pirates collect at the cost of innovative companies. This gnome was created to express the German aphorism “to earn oneself a golden nose” meaning to earn a lot of money. The award ceremony is held during an international press conference at Ambiente, the consumer goods trade fair in Frankfurt, Germany. The Plagiarius prize-winners usually receive significant media coverage. Furthermore, all entries will be presented at the Plagiarius special exhibition during the Ambiente. At the conclusion of Ambiente, the winning products will be displayed in the Museum Plagiarius in Solingen or at the external Plagiarius exhibitions.
Any manufacturer, designer or distribution partner, who is authorised to hand in the original product and publicise the plagiarism case, can participate in the Plagiarius competition.
The 2021 Plagiarius Award “winners” can be found here:
I honestly don’t mind a decent knock-off tool, especially one like a drill guide that I know I may only need a few times in my life. One thing I can certainly appreciate about buying low-cost knock-offs is that I am much less hesitant to modify it or even destroy it for the sake of the project. I recon that those paying $$$$ for a tool tend to really baby that tool to the detriment of the project or they may simply never get their money’s worth out of it.
I don’t claim to be immune from this; For example, I bought the Fein Multimaster when it first hit the market and paid a hefty sum (at the time) for it. But blades were exclusive from Fein, expensive and not easy to source. As a result, I rarely used the tool for fear of damaging the blades. Now that I can get knock-off blades from HD and even HF, I have re-discovered the usefulness that I missed out on for too many years.
I certainly do not condone the knockoff products, but let’s not be too hypocritical. A large number of those jazzy blue jigs marketed by Rockler are re-engineered copies of ideas you first see as reader submissions to woodworking magazines. They also are quick to hop on copies of popular sellers by other manufacturers (e.g., Kreg). I hasten to add that I have no idea if Rockler gives private or corporate originators a cut of its sales revenue or whether they have violated patents in the process of taking these ideas to market.
Products inspired by DIY jigs, improvisations, and existing products are a completely different from clones and knock-offs.
I can see (not totally agree with) DIY jigs and some re-engineering improvisations, but explain to me how Rockler grabbing a Kreg jig, slightly changing it, sending the “new” plans to China for manufacturing, then bringing the product back and selling it under their own label is “completely different.” (I am only using Rockler and Kreg for example–Rockler might argue that this is not what they are doing).
Speaking generally, as I’m not quite certain which tool or jig you’re talking about, this happens regularly in the tool world.
Some tools and accessories are unique and innovative. Others are iterative.
Kreg has a new panel carrier that looks heavily inspired by the Gator Lift (https://toolguyd.com/gator-lift-plywood-panel-carry-handle/).
Is it right? I would be more of a “let’s work with the innovator” type of product manager.
But, competition is how things progress and get better. What would have happened if no other brand adapted Fein’s oscillating multi-tool tech after the patents expired?
Knockoffs are designed to be cheap imitations. When they use original product imagery, it might be fair to call them counterfeits.
There’s controversy about a new Woodpeckers product that too closely resembles an independent maker’s router table-like Festool Domino jig. Woodpeckers defends themselves by saying similar biscuit joinery jigs existed as far back as 2001.
Dewalt has a new cyclone dust separator (https://toolguyd.com/dewalt-cyclone-dust-separator/) and Harbor Freight as well
(https://toolguyd.com/harbor-freight-bauer-dust-separator/). The folks behind the Oneida Dust Deputy cannot be happy about that, but there’s a limit as to what they can do about it.
There’s definitely a grey area between competition and imitation. But in this post, I was focusing solely on the imitation side of things.
I am not defending knockoffs. I kind of look at them as “buyer beware” items. If you buy more than one, you should not be in woodworking or anything else that involves potentially dangerous tools. I was only pointing out that U.S. companies have been doing a version of this for many years. Long before the direct marketing of knockoffs, there was Harbor Freight.
While not defending knockoffs, you’re equating competition and iterative development to knockoffs and counterfeits. They’re not two sides of the same coin.
McDonalds has the McRib sandwich. Burger King also came out with a Rib sandwich for a limited time. That’s not the same as no-name import companies selling knock-off Woodpeckers tools at Amazon.
Harbor Freight came out with a Pliers Wrench that in my opinion too closely resembles the Knipex. https://toolguyd.com/harbor-freight-icon-pliers-wrench-knipex-imitation/