BIG news here – Lowe’s has all but ditched Southwire Tools in 2021, replacing the brands’ electrical tools with offerings from Ideal, Kobalt, and Fluke.
If I recall correctly, there were some Greenlee and Ideal tools before, but now there are a whole lot of Ideal tools, and very few remaining Southwire Tool products.
Maybe this is why you can now buy Southwire Tools from Home Depot’s website?
The testing equipment is now all Ideal, Kobalt, and… Fluke? Is that a new development too?
Looking at the top right-hand corner, I see Fluke multimeter sales cards. I don’t recall ever seeing Fluke test equipment at Lowe’s before.
New Ideal screwdrivers? Made in USA. But, they’re also priced accordingly. $9 to $13 seems a bit steep, but not inappropriately so.
At the time of this posting, Klein’s standard cushion-grip USA-made Phillips #2 screwdriver is $9.49 via Amazon.
The Ideal wire strippers are also made in the USA, except for one of the styles.
I don’t remember what Ideal hand tool packaging used to look like, but these definitely impart an impactful impression.
Update: Looking back at older images, Ideal’s packaging didn’t change much, but the tools weren’t at eye-level as they are here, and they were surrounded in a sea of Southwire red, blue, and brown.
Here’s what the Southwire-dominant hand tool section looked like about a year ago.
The same goes for the standard Ideal pliers styles – made in USA.
There’s a broad electrical tester selection as well. Quite frankly, I don’t remember Lowe’s electrical hand tool and tester equipment section ever being this nicely laid out.
There are still some big gaps in the hand tool display. Some of the labels were for Ideal tools, and surprisingly, others were for Kobalt electrical hand tools.
This is a huge change to Lowe’s electrical hand tools section, their biggest refresh in quite a few years.
Lowe’s dropped Channellock and Knipex electrical hand tools back in 2013, and replaced all of those SKUs with new Southwire Tools products. Looking back at the 7-1/2 years since then, Lowe’s made a couple of small product changes over the years, such as when select Southwire introduced a small selection of USA-made tools.
I wonder – if this arrangement happened sooner, might there have been a chance to save Western Forge from closing? Western Forge, also an Ideal Industries brand, closed in early 2020.
Some of you mentioned changes at your Lowe’s stores, but this is the first I’ve seen the new electrical hand tool section at my closest store. As you can tell from the first image, they’re still working to stock the entire display.
You know what would be nice? If brands such as Ideal Industries, Kobalt Tools, and Lowe’s would share more news about what they’re doing. Oh, I’m sorry, Kobalt Tools “tweeted” about their new electrical testers. Maybe there was a “Tik Tok” too.
Lowe’s and Home Depot had back to back press releases as they played tug of war with the EGO brand. But big changeups like this without so much as a peep? Tsk tsk.
I don’t know about you, but I’d think that Lowe’s would want to draw some attention to their efforts here. Right?
Rumor has it that one or two Knipex tools will also be joining Lowe’s electrical hand tools display, but I haven’t seen anything official about this yet. Given the premium pricing, I wouldn’t expect to see very many Knipex tools at Lowe’s.
- Home Depot Discontinues EGO Cordless Outdoor Power Tools
- Lowe’s Announces Exclusive Partnership with EGO, Top Cordless Outdoor Power Tool Brand
- Understanding the Home Depot vs. Lowe’s EGO Cordless Power Tools Partnership Swap
Now, here’s the big question:
You need wire strippers, cushion-grip screwdrivers, lineman’s pliers, a GFCI outlet tester, voltage tester, and a digital multimeter, and you want them quick.
A) Go to Lowe’s and buy some of these new tools?
B) Go to Home Depot instead and buy Klein, Milwaukee?
C) Harbor Freight for the win (yeah, right… right?)
D) Shop Amazon from your phone?
And another question – will anyone miss the Southwire tool and test equipment offerings?
Some of these Ideal USA-made tools are quite pricey, but the same could be said about Klein at Home Depot, online, and supply houses.
What do you think about these changes? Has it happened at your Lowe’s store yet?