I just got back from Lowes, and I find myself surprised at the experience. In case you missed yesterday’s post, here’s the discussion of my Home Depot holiday tool deals haul.
I was half way through the displays at Lowes, snapping some photos on my phone and thinking to myself how their tool deals selection is rather lame compared to Home Depot’s.
But then something caught my eye – the Irwin 8-piece screwdriver set. It was a little cheaper than when I spotted it on the shelf a few weeks ago. I think so, at least.
Hold on. *zip zip zip.* That’s the sound of my thumb flicking through my smartphone’s image gallery. Nope, the screwdrivers were the same price a few weeks ago. ($20)
I did end up saving a few extra bucks on the set because they were mispriced in not 1 but 2 displays. Should I feel bad about that? I think maybe the Irwin screwdriver prices and displays were accidentally swapped around. But a polite “I think the price is wrong, but can you still honor the price?” goes a long way.
After I raided the tool displays I went and browsed through the regular aisles, tossing in a few utility knives I hadn’t seen before, as well as some more tape measures – mainly the Komeleons. You can get the same self-locking tapes on Amazon for the same price ($7, but an add-on item), but I didn’t even think to price shop at the time.
There were some other tools I almost bought, like a Lenox reciprocating saw blade handle that doubles as a drywall jab saw. But I bought a Milwaukee that I don’t really use often enough. I also can’t find it at the moment, so maybe I will head back and pick up the Lenox. I’ve got some branches to cut, and special tree-pruning reciprocating saw blades work well. It’d be nice to chuck ’em in a handle for quick and noiseless cuts.
Lowes’ power tool promos were a lot different from at Home Depot, focusing on a mix of cordless and corded power tools.
I got the feeling that Lowes’ power tool deals were a little more DIY-er friendly, while Home Depot’s power tool deals favored more serious tool users.
Things typically change as Black Friday and the peak of the holiday shopping season approaches.
There was definitely a stronger Irwin Tools presence than in past years. I wonder what next year’s displays will look like, given that Stanley Black & Decker now owns Irwin and Lenox tool brands.
I finally brought myself to buy the Kobalt utility knives that were… um… obviously… “inspired” by Milwaukee’s Fastback utility knives. I wrote about one of these knives before, but didn’t realize a second style had come out. I’m actually optimistic, as the larger one looks to have a good replacement blade storage compartment.
My total out of pocket cost? $266. But that also includes like $60 in alkaline batteries.
Rayovac seems to have rebranded their alkaline batteries as “Rayovac High Energy.” Instead of being made in the USA, they’re made in the USA with global materials. But, the dates were better – a year later.
Last year, there were some imported boxes of Rayovac batteries, and some USA-made ones. Wait, no, that was in 2014. The old and new style of batteries both had made in USA labeling, except the newer style had the global materials disclosure, and also a more prominent “made in the USA” stamp on the front.
Oh, crap. Home Depot has better pricing than what I paid. I think I spent $20 on the 60-cell AA and AAA packs at Lowes. Yea. It came down to $0.33 cents each cell.
Double crap. Home Depot has them at 24 for $4. That’s $0.167 per cell – HALF of what I paid!
Amazon has the AA 60-cell pack for slightly less than what I paid, and AAA 60-cell packs for about the same. But… buying them online is no guarantee that you’ll get fresh cells. And it’s possible that they’re imported, given that Rayovac had mixed sources for battery cells in the past.
It’s a 20-minute drive to Lowes, which isn’t a big deal, but it’s completely out of the way, so I probably won’t bother with a price adjustment request or return. But I WILL be buying some more batteries at Home Depot the next time I’m there.
I also bought some non-ratcheting Kobalt screwdrivers that also feature the QL3 chuck as on their new Double Drive screwdriver. The ratcheting version seemed clunky, so I left it on the shelf. I picked these screwdrivers, the multi-bit and precision sized drivers, off a small display wall in the regular tool section.
I don’t think I saw the new Kobalt laser distance measurer, or any big display of Kobalt’s 24V brushless power tools, but I expect some displays will be going up between now and Black Friday.
One of the tape measures I bought was a new Stanley that I had never seen before (bottom left of the photo). I wonder if I’ll see these again in-store after the holiday season.
P.S. It looks like Lowes kicked off their “Black Friday Deals Start Now” sale. There actually look to be some decent tool deals, and I’ll try to get some up before the weekend.
Shop Now(Lowes Pre-BF Tool Deals)
Someone mentioned wanting to see a Werner ladder deal. While not exactly what you asked for, there’s a 13-foot telescoping multi-position ladder for $89. It costs a lot more via Amazon, but the 3rd party sellers are likely baking shipping fees into the price. This ladder, MT-13, has a 300 pound rating. Maybe the 22-foot model you wanted will be on sale later in the season?
Remember where I said I won’t be heading to Lowes soon? Nevermind! I think I want that ladder.
There’s also a Bostitch 6-gallon pancake air compressor with nailer kit, which I think is kind of what someone else asked for. I’d bet Home Depot will have something similar, but with Porter Cable branding.
There’s a 16-foot version of the Stanley Auto-Lock tape measure, which I reconsidered and now consider to be the best tape measure. The image doesn’t show “made in USA with global materials” branding, so I have to wonder. But $17 for that tape? Argh, I might have to have one!
Bosch double-ended impact screwdriver bits?
Ack, I should leave some commentary for the Lowes online deal post, shouldn’t I? Sorry, it’s nearly 3am and I’ve been going through the Lowes pre-Black Friday tool deals listing while wrapping up this post.
I can say this – I found Lowes’ in-store 2016 holiday tool deals to be quite compelling, once I got past the first few displays, and the only deals are giving rise to an excitement I haven’t felt for Lowes’ holiday tool deals in quite a few years.
If you’re hesitant about making the trek out to your nearest Lowes, I have one thing to tell you. You’ve GOT to feel the handles on the new Irwin screwdrivers!
Here’s that online holiday tool deals link again:
Shop Now(Lowes Pre-BF Tool Deals)
I agree the caliber of tools looks more DIY than pro level. No real carpenter uses a self lock tape measure! There isn’t a long decent tape in that bunch. I wonder about those screw drivers they look like a nice handle. Stanley knives look nice is the price good? Also I bought that mini screw drive set at the store the other day for $5.00 looks nice and can never have enough around!
Tape measures are one of those things that people have some personal preferences. When I was earning a living – I probably had upwards of 100 folks who carried a tape measure of one sort or another. Most were probably Stanley Brand – some Fat Max. Some of the guys hated a heavy tape. Many hated ones with magnetic tips saying they collected debris – but some guys liked them. I had requests for some Fastcap tapes – and a few guys wanted a Komelon. If I’d have put a 100 guys in a room and asked them their opinions, I probably get more than 100 opinions and a heated discussion. I posted over on the ToolGuyd Forum about some different tapes:
BTW – I should have said that the Pinocchio Tape (at the end of My ToolGuyd Community Forum Post) – looks really useful – at least for laughs.
When my father and I had a roofing business, we used whatever tape was closest, self locking or not. Same for many other guys we saw on the job sites.
It would be nice if Lowes would offer a general discount on types of tools. i.e. 30% off any corded power tool. That way, people that already had the basics could still get some benefit from the seasonal sales.
What’s wrong with a self locking tape measure? I use one daily after I learned about it from fred on this forum. I am not a carpenter by any mean but I failed to see how the self locking can become a drawback.
I want some clamp deals!
You didn’t try out the ratcheting style adjustable wrench? They were on display near the pro desk at my lowes. One example was already bound up and the other felt very cheap.
I’m talking about this one:
This things are big and bulky. They look like a good idea but usability in general is a minimum. Stick to the old reliable…
Stu I think we need a gallery of each tool. I can’t seem to see what is what in that pile. I can’t seems to zoom in? Am I missing that capability?
That’ll take some time. I also have photos of the displays.
It’s coming. =)
I’ve got a set of those ready for testing.
It does seem like a clever design…. but they seemed pretty bad in the store.
That’s one thing I love about those demo stand. They get a lot of abuse! Probably more so if I were using the tool myself but it also a good indicator of long term reliability. Something that most of those gimmicky toy lack…
I’m wondering, Stuart. Just how many tape measures do you own? 30+?
Before this week?
Maybe 2 that I can find.
After this week?
Maybe 3 that I can find, lol.
Man, I hear you, last year I bought a 4 pack of tape measures during the holiday sale. I swear, within a week I couldn’t find any of them. I think they share the same black hole that eats socks in the dryer.
Maybe I’m just getting cheap, but I see no reason so far to go to Lowe’s or Home Depot. I’m just a DIYer and I already have majority of the stuff they discount. Loads of tape measures, more then enough regular screwdrivers, quite a few ratcheting ones.
Maybe I’ll get a 2nd utility knife, but that seems to be more of a crap, I can’t find one I’ll buy another purchase. I don’t need any cheap flashlights.
How many batteries do you need? Since having a kid we’ve gone through more then in the past, but nothing a big pack from Costco or BJ’s can’t handle for over a year. Anything that the batteries get used up quick in get rechargeable ones.
I do want to see some table saw deals and clamps. Can never have too many of those.
“There’s also a Bostitch 6-gallon pancake air compressor with nailer kit, which I think is kind of what someone else asked for. I’d bet Home Depot will have something similar, but with Porter Cable branding.”
Yes, there is. The Porter Cable 6-gallon is on sale for $99 alone, and $199 with ‘3 nailer combo’ which includes 16 gauge finish nailer, 18 gauge brad nailer, and a pneumatic stapler. In my local HD, it was on the shelf-end of the tool section row.
Porter Cable 6-gallon http://www.homedepot.com/p/Porter-Cable-6-Gal-150-PSI-Portable-Air-Compressor-C2002/203162815
‘Combo kit’ http://www.homedepot.com/p/Porter-Cable-6-Gal-Portable-Air-Compressor-16-Gauge-Nailer-18-Gauge-Brad-Nailer-Crown-Stapler-Combo-Kit-PCFP12234/203471431 — I thought this was showing 199 in store, but I could be wrong.
I have that same kit, and it’s a good basic setup. Thing is though, 95% of my nailing is brads in shop projects or trim.
If you are like me, the Ryobi battery powered brad nailer is much easier to use, and cheaper to boot.
The combo kit is on point for my needs for fencing and trim and the price is about the best they come. However, it doesn’t appear to handle an impact wrench well (auto maintenance). Should I just buy it, and if I need more sustained power for an impact wrench, buy something corded or battery powered, or should I be looking for a bigger compressor? The 18v Ryobi I borrowed a few months ago didn’t really wow me but it did get the job done.
You would be very hard pressed to find a portable trim nailer air compressor that can handle an impact wrench.
I too would like to see clamp deals. You can never have enough clamps!!
Bummer. I rarely goto Lowes because my HD experiences have always been more positive and it’s more convenient. With that said, I have a Lowes gc that I was hoping to use on some Black Friday deals- things I will use at some point but really don’t need…
A new multibit screwdriver, some clamps, a better tape measure
fyi: I’ve been pretty happy with the Komelon tape measures.
I might have to get that Irwin 8-piece set. Right now I have a hodgepodge of random screwdrivers, none of which have heads that aren’t worn to the point it’s always a risk they will slip. Seems they have lowered the price to $16.
Of course they did. Some of the other Irwin drivers also dropped in price, and I also paid more on some tape measures and a hammer. Grr. But Lowes always does this. At least they’re not dropping the price and showing “was” prices that might only have existed before displays went up.