Southwire, a USA-based wire and cable manufacturer, is soon entering the hand tool market with a line of electrician’s tools.
Late last month there were a lot of online forum posts where Lowes customers reported seeing Channellock and Knipex tools were on sale as closeout items.
According to posts on the GarageJournal and ElectricianTalk forums, Lowes’ selection of Channellock and Knipex tools are soon to be replaced by the new Southwire products.
Knipex pliers and cutters are made in Germany (at least all those I’ve seen), and Channellock pliers and cutters are made in the USA. Early tool sightings report that Southwire’s electrician tools are made in China.
There is no further information about the new Southwire tools from either Lowes or Southwire, but a product launch countdown can be found at Southwiretools.com.
It has been said that all the tools and meters are being replaced with the Southwire brand (Voltage Hazard via Electrician Talk forum), but the complete changeover has not yet happened in our area.
Lowes lost Klein when they signed an exclusivity arrangement with Home Depot, and it looks like they’re voluntarily clearing the shelves of all Channellock and Knipex tools. According to some customer reports, Greenlee and Ideal tools might be replaced for the new brand as well.
I sincerely hope that the reports and rumors don’t turn out to be true.
I don’t know about Southwire’s quality, but I’ve gotten some killer deals on German made hand tools, so I’m all for the current clearance.
That’s basically seeing tomorrow and not next week/month/year kind of short sightedness…
The killer deals on the German tools are great until they’re gone. The longer term sustainability paints a more bleak picture. It’s a shame. Even in the midst of the apparent direction our country is inevitably headed, we still sell out. We’re already beyond the point of no return.
By the time some companies really get it, it won’t matter anyway. Here’s a news flash. The USA is essentially owned by China already. Gosh, what better time to outsource even more jobs?
Sad day. I am glad I have an Acme Tools near me because they stock high quality pro tools and their target audience are pros.
I’ve already been to a Lowes where all the Knipex, Channellock, and Greenlee are gone, replaced entirely by Southwire. This isn’t a rumor, it’s reality.
Seriously Lowes, you are replacing American made products and German made products with made in China products?
Go figure. Lowes, I’ve really lost a great deal of respect for this company.
They’ve been doing this for years, slowly getting worse and worse.
I’m with Derek. Several Lowes in my area are fully stocked with Southwire branded tools and have cleared out all Knipex and Channellock. I’m disappointed, but not surprised. The average DIYer (which is the bulk of Lowe’s customer base) doesn’t want to pay $25-$30 for a pair of pliers that may get used 4-5 times a year. And, at least at my Lowes, the stock turnover on Knipex and Channellock seemed very slow.
My guess is that Lowes will sell around the same amount of Southwire tools as it did Knipex and Channellock, but at much better profit margins. Unfortunately, only a small minority of buyers have any concept or concern of manufacturing country of origin.
You’d think more people would care about country of origin due to the fact that real American jobs are at stake. I always look at the country of origin with any product I buy, but similar to Allen, whilst I will always buy American made products first if possible, but anywhere but China is second best.
I’ll never understand why more people aren’t concerned about country of origin, as that could be their job or their families, friends job that might be outsourced.
Where have you been the last 20 years. This trend has been going on for a long time.
Few trends continue forever. The pendulum swings.
ABC Anywhere But China. That’s the best we can hope for. It is against our national interests to send them anymore money.
I buy local American if I can but then it is ABC.
Made in USA*
*by illegal immigrants…
Yeah, that’s way better than Made in China…
“with imported steel and parts”
Have some examples of this? If not, it’s just verbal diarrhea…
I’m really hating these exclusivity deals. I first noticed them when I couldn’t buy Milwaukee at Lowe’s any more. (They soon moved mfg to China, but anyway…) It seems that deWalt is the only brand that has avoided this trap. With no competition at the retail big box level, and no price matching either (since you can’t find the same model at either store), less selection about where to buy tools means higher prices for the consumer- and higher profits for the big stores.
The Lowe’s hear in Alanta have cleared out all Ideal, Knipex, Greenlee, and Channellock in their electrical isles.
Channellock can still be found in the regular tool section.
Stopped by Lowes today,
ALL electrical tools Southwire. Made in China.
Screw em I will be buying my tools at Sears.
I told this to Lowes customer service lady who actually agreed with me!
Guess I won’t be buying any more electrical tools from Lowes then. I liked having a local store that stocked Knipex. Now I’ll either just buy more Klein tools or order online from Amazon or some other tool retailer.
As far as Channellock goes, does Lowes intend to discontinue their Channellock offerings in their main tool department as well? Lowes obviously hasn’t updated their website yet because both Knipex and Channellock products are still listed on there.
It doesn’t look like all Channellock tools are being cleared out. I stopped by my local Lowes, and some of the Channellock tools are not on clearance. Perhaps they will simply be moved from the electrical tools aisle to the pliers and cutters hand tool section.
Yep Knipex AND Channel lock are on clearance at my lowes in mid ohio.
Happy to see GreenLee disappear though, that stuff was crap, I bought a kit with a tester, pouch, wire stripper and linesman pliers………..i threw out everything but the tester…….literally tossed the pliers in the trash……….horrible ergonomics, and gritty action, bad spring, lose latch…….junk.
I thought the idea was Lowes sold the in-house brand Kobalt tools as their low-quality/entry-level tools and Knipex/Channellock for higher-tier products. I don’t really see the point if they are offering cheap tools in either the Kobalt or Southwire variety. And frankly, as some folks already mentioned, the whole reason I even go to a Lowes or Home Depot is the availability of higher-tier brands such as Knipex or Klein Tools, or if I want to buy American made products. Boggles the mind why they would purposefully move themselves down a level in terms of product availability.
Seriously making me consider driving the extra 30 minutes just to go to the local Farmers Market and traditional hardware store to buy quality tools.
Although this news makes me sad, I can’t say that I’m surprised… I never understood how a Lowes could afford to keep Knipex on the shelves because they are very expensive to the average homeowners that don’t require much from their tools, and it’s those same homeowners make up 70-75% of their customers( the % is a guess and not backed up by fact, but I feel it’s pretty accurate). As an electrician, I use my tools every day, and have never understood the draw to Channellock; I think they are overly heavy and contain soft metal which makes their alligators prone to binding. Klein has some worthwhile stuff but has also been privy to farming stuff out, and their biggest contribution that goes largely unnoticed is in the leather and canvas pouch/bag category. Most of their other stuff is so-so. Greenlee can’t be touched for knockouts, carts, and mechanical benders, but lighter grade hand tools are so-so. It all needs to be taken with a grain of salt… ALL screwdrivers wear. ALL diagonals get dull if I don’t blow them up first. I’ve carried a pair of Bell Systems linesmans for the past 4 years that I found at a flea market and re-gripped with Klein red handles, and they’ve been my favorite out of any that I’ve ever had.
All that being said, if Lowes goes all China, it’s unfortunate, but not the end of the world. Buy your drywall, your handpicked studs, your lawncare commodities, gloves, scratch and dent apps,…etc, from them.
Go to an Electrical supply house, or go German online for good hand tools. I would venture to guess that one has to either ebay stuff from 30 years ago, or go European to find quality stuff that one can use daily and rely on. And sooner or later, the Germans will get greedy, start buying crap from China, and then we’re all F’ed…..
Mr Michael L. Veach
I guess that its a good thing that my Knipex pliers and cutters will probably never need replaced!
this is why i shop online… people could care less where an item is made, look at the number of people that support walmart….the less money they have to spend they less they care about the origin of the country…..i buy what i can american made, but that is getting harder to do when companies only care about their bottom line and no longer care are quality of product…it’s called greed and everyone has it in them or we would be more up in arms about it….
I also mostly shop online myself, some items you can’t buy at brick and mortar shops anymore or that they are now made overseas. An example would be locking pliers, as they are no longer American made and only Harry J Epstein and eBay are truly only locations to buy these items.
Sadly, I’ve noticed most people don’t care about quality or country of origin these days. Some are care about if it’s cheap and nothing else.
I also buy American made products as much as possible, but some items that unless you go to auction websites or merchants such as Grainger and Harry J Epstein you won’t be able find some items that are of much better quality/potentially American made.
In my opinion, Lowes is making a mistake by removing two exceptional brands for one unknown brand that probably isn’t made out of high quality materials as Channellock and Knipex use. But then again, I am one of the very few people in a small fraction that care about quality and country of origin.
It seems to be a worldwide issue. I’ve noticed that some of the more recent Bosch tools I’ve purchased now come out of factories in China – whereas prior ones (sometimes the same model #) were from Taiwan, Japan, Switzerland, Germany etc. So while the more limited market European brands that I purchase like (Protool-Festool, Maffel etc.) may continue to manufacture in Europe – the more mass-market brands seem to have bowed to the pressure to manufacture at the lowest possible cost.
Stan and Roy,
It is possible for people to change their thinking in regards to buying all USA vs not caring where it was made as long as it is cheap and convenient. A couple of years back, I was one of those people you described. I would buy a tool wherever I was without even checking where it was made. Buying Chinese Stanley and Kobalt didn’t bother me at the time. Slowly my mindset changed as I woke up and realized how hard it was to find American made tools in stores anymore. Seeing brands like Craftsman, Crescent and Irwin sell out started to bother me. I sarted making it a point to seek out the American manufactured product. Now, I have become fanatical about buying only USA made tools, no matter how hard I have to search. I am willing to pay the extra and wait a little longer to get it in my hand if it means I get a quality American product and support jobs in my home country. Once I started doing this with tools, it has begun to bleed over into everything else I buy. So there is hope; some people like myself just need waking up and then they need to dig in and fight back. American products are still out there. We can make a difference and turn this thing around.
More Chinese junk flooding the tool market
I like quality tools, but there is a point where I don’t want to spend too much on a tool that I’m not going to use daily or even monthly. I learned my lesson after using some cheap wire strippers and ending up bashing my face with them because they needed so much effort to use, and it was pow right in the kisser from them they ended up taking a nice trip across the basement. It’s hard to find a nice middle ground its either a really nice pro grade tool and you pay for it, or its a cheap imported tool that your still paying way too much for.
Well, that countdown was uneventful
whats the deal with the Southwire website………countdown timer was at 10 hours when I checked this morning, now half a day later, its at 20 hours………LAME.
Trying to build up artificial buzz with these kinds of gimmicks is obvious, but i’ve never heard of countdown timers that ADD time to a product launch.
Saw some southwire testers and such at lowes………nice turd brown color to get lost on the worksite.
This post has me thinking that I will only buy Knipex, Klein or ???? for now on, quality and longevity means more to me than branded budget marketing.
i just checked again……..its actually adding time……..i thought it was just manually reset.
It looks like the countdown operates similar to a kitchen timer. It counts down to zero and then back up to let you know you missed the bell.
Was doing some electrical work and decided I needed to update my electrical pliers and found this posting. After visiting Lowes today, I can confirm their new electrical tool stock is now Southwire. But thanks to this ToolGuyd posting I was able to snag a sweet pair of Knipex Lineman’s pliers at a great clearance price. Yahoo!!
Honestly… who would buy southwire pliers when they could get Klein or Knipex (respected long time quality brands) for about the same price? How about american made channellocks for even LESS than southwire? This is just silly. Lowes electrical tool section has become a joke. I don’t see knowledgable electricians wanting to shop there… or anyone else for that matter. Stick to Home Depot or online distributors for electrical tools.
The wait is over. My local Lowes has dumped Channellock and Knipex and has a huge Southwire chinese crap selection. Lowes was already on thin ice with me, and that was the backbreaker. Lowes, I hope your business goes in the crapper until you either file for Chapter 11 or wise up and give us some American brands again. I never thought I’d see the day I thought of Home Depot as more patriotic than Lowes.
Lowes has lost all my business by doing this. I am a tradesman and a weekend DIY’er. Here in North Carolina they have switched completely. I spend about 6-10k per year on building supplies and tools. Home Depot just got a 6-10k per year bump.
I just checked Stock prices. Home Depot is up 23% YTD and Lowes is up 36% YTD. I guess no one cares about American jobs. Bigger profit at any expense. Numbers don’t lie.
It’s a stretch to try to correlate stock prices with sales profits and outsourcing patterns. I wouldn’t say “bigger profit at any expense” is how these retailers run things, but sometimes it sure seems that way.
You can keep buying foreign as long as you want but until you wake up and realize you must buy made in America. Your friends your family your neighbors will continue to be unemployed, and you will continue to be owned by countries like China while a president and the Congress continually looked the other way for what’s good for our country and our people companies like Lowe’s choose to stop selling American-made products for foreign products they choose to outsource the people always looking to improve the bottom dollar instead of their people what they don’t even tell their own people is that they are moving their jobs to other parts of the country so that their own market base will not realize that their company has turned their back on them.
I am a Canadian who strongly agrees with with the opinion to “buy American”.
Lowes suck. When I shop in Spokane, Washington I head for Home Depot.
I agree with those that will spend extra bucks to get a quality tool.
You can’t beat Klein and Knipex. There are also some other high quality tools from Germany such as NWS, Wera, Stahlwille, Hazet, Wiha and Gedore.
I purchased South wire screwdrivers, Philips, and slot head.
Both tips snapped off, tightening screw.
These tools are junk.
I’m an electrician.
Back to klein and knipex, for me.