Over at Lowe’s, they just launched a new line of Kobalt electrical testing tools.
Lowe’s has been promoting the new Kobalt electrical tools on social media channels, but there haven’t been any announcements or information provided to press or media channels.
Didn’t Lowe’s have strong ties with Southwire as their primary electrical hand tool and test equipment brand? Do these Kobalt tools replace those Southwire offerings?
Who are these tools being aimed at? Electricians? DIYers? Hobbyists?
Lowe’s has been showing off a new Kobalt digital multimeter (DT-946?), but I can’t find any information or details about it. It looks to be able to test continuity, resistance, and voltage, with auto-hold function and IP67 water and dust resistance rating.
Basically, this looks to be a 3-function multimeter with auto-ranging capability. There’s no mention of price or target audience,
Next, there’s a Kobalt manual-ranging multimeter (DT-926?), which looks to be a standard basic multimeter.
Kobalt will also have a clamp meter.
There are no press materials or product listing for any of these new Kobalt digital multimeters at Lowe’s, just direct-to-consumer social media posts that don’t include much in the way of details.
Lowe’s is also launching a surprisingly broad selection of electrical testers, some of which seem to already be available.
Kobalt has a new receptacle tester with GFCI test function (ET-18), and also this enhanced version which also shows you a readout of the outlet voltage (ET-19L).
The Kobalt CT-30 is a basic continuity tester.
There will be new Kobalt 4-way AC/DC voltage testers.
Looking deeper, there are a couple more SKUs – an addition basic-function outlet tester, voltage meters, and a non-contact voltage tester that you can only purchased bundled with a receptacle tester.
Buy Now via Lowe’s – sorry, their website won’t let us link to a Kobalt-filtered URL
Discussion – Should You Care?
To be perfectly frank here, I am completely confused and caught off-guard by this.
WHY would Lowe’s launch a new line of Kobalt electrical testing tools? They don’t have much in the way of electrical hand tools, and so this isn’t a logical expansion or anything of the sort.
Southwire, Ideal, Fluke – these are brands that I would expect to see in Lowe’s electrical tool department, maybe even Craftsman. Under Sears, Craftsman had a decent selection of electrical testing tools and accessories, and hand tools such as wire strippers as well.
And what’s the selling point here?
If I needed a receptacle tester, I’d consider one of these brands from Amazon, with all but the Extech ET15 also offering GFCI testing.
- Extech ET10
- Extech ET15
- Klein RT210
- Ideal 61-501
- Amprobe ST-102B
- Southwire 10022S
- Sperry GFI6302
- Gardner Bender GFI-3501
If I needed one *now*, I’d likely head to Home Depot to pick up a Klein. If I could only go to Lowe’s, I’d prefer Southwire, Ideal, or even Gardner Bender. Kobalt?
Kobalt is generally a decent brand, but this is a product category they have never been in before.
Are these tools rebranded from existing products, or specially designed for Kobalt and Lowe’s, in which case WHY should you, the end user and potential customer care?
Every new product launch is done for a reason, but what’s the backstory here?
Hello Kobalt electrical tools, Goodbye [which brand]?
Was this a product category hole that Lowe’s needed to fill, with Kobalt as the best brand to do so?
Don’t get me wrong, I feel quite optimistic about this overall, I just wish that Lowe’s and Kobalt were more forthcoming with information and details.
The Kobalt product line is expanding into new territories. What will they do next?
More importantly, at least pertaining to these electrical testing tools, do you care? If you needed a receptacle tester, voltage meter, multimeter, or other such tool, would you consider these new Kobalt options at Lowe’s?
Personally, I have very strong brand loyalties when it comes to test equipment, and it’s going to take more than Kobalt social media hype to chip away at my preferences. But, I also don’t shop for test equipment based on price. Perhaps these tools are aimed at users shopping more with of a “I need it now for this one-time use and don’t want to spend a lot” mindset.
Would you buy any of these tools? Would you be eager to see Lowe’s expand Kobalt’s electrical tools and testing product selection even further?