Back in October I was doing a lot of work with Ego’s cordless string trimmer and needed to order additional trimmer line.
The Ego 56V brushless trimmer uses 0.095″ twist line, and I saw that Ego has two widely available options: a 5-pack of pre-cut line, and a bulk pack of line.
I purchased a 5-pack of line in-store, because I wanted it quickly, and also ordered a 50 meter spool from Amazon.
The trimmer takes 14′ of line at a time, and so that’s what you get in the 5-pack, 5 coils of 14′ line. That’s a total of 70′ of trimmer line, priced at $13. If you don’t go through a lot of line, a single pack will last you quite a while.
The 50M pack, on the other hand, gives you 164′ of line for $20. It’s uncut, but you can easily measure and cut the line for use.
70′ (in 5 coils) of line for $13 comes out to be 5.38′ per $1.
164′ (continuous coil) of line for $20 comes out to be 8.2′ of trimmer line per $1.
If you use a lot of line, the continuous roll is a better value – you get 52.4% more trimmer line per dollar.
Buy Now: EGO 5-Pack Trimmer Line via Home Depot
Buy Now: EGO 50M Trimmer Line Pack via Amazon
As with the difference sourcing of Stanley PowerLock tape measures, I was surprised to find that the pre-cut line is marked as being made in the USA, and the bulk-packaged line is said to be made in China.
I kept both. I probably should have returned the continuous spool based on changing needs, but I’m sure it’ll get used. With something like this, different sourcing is less impactful than when you’re talking about multi-component products.
So far, we’ve seen different sourcing when it comes to Milwaukee utility knife and blade bundles, where the blade packs are sourced differently than the usual off-the-shelf USA-made packs, Gladiator workbenches, and Stanley PowerLock tape measure bundles.
Irwin launched a line of premium NWS-made pliers and cutters, and then clearanced most of them out, replacing them with similarly styled pliers made in Taiwan instead of Germany. That’s not quite the same as what we’ve been talking about recently, but it still made sense to mention.
Dual sourcing can be beneficial. In this case, with the Ego trimmer line, you can spend a little more on the 5-pack, which is convenient and available in-stores, or save money and go with the bulk pack. If the quality is comparable, I’m happy to have the choice of both options.
With products like the Milwaukee utility knife bundle, it made sense to have everything made overseas, rather than to ship components back and forth for the holiday season promo packaging.
I shouldn’t have been surprised about the different Ego trimmer line options having different origins, as they show you the COO in the online product imagery.
What I’m curious about is whether there are other instances of mixed sourcing for different tools or accessories. Does this kind of thing happen a lot?
Occasionally brands do change the sourcing for their products, as with the Irwin pliers example discussed above. But what’s going on here and in the other examples, those are instances where brands maintain different sourcing at the same time.
Some brands have “make it where they sell it” policies, and from this we’ll occasionally see 3rd party sellers bringing regional tools or SKUs into the US.
Back in 2017, Bridge City Tools announced a new licensing agreement where customers outside the USA could buy licensed copies of their products for half as much, while only the full-price USA-made tools would be available to USA customers. That left me with mixed feelings, but it’s a moot point now.
Now, that licensed partner owns Bridge City Tools, tools are no longer being made in the USA, and price-cuts were recently announced on the imported tools. I did buy an imported version of a cutting gauge to compare with the USA-made one I bought a few years ago, but have not closely compared them yet.
A couple of years ago, I found holiday season displays with mixed-origin Rayovac battery packages. Now I won’t use Rayovac batteries anymore – here’s why.
Sourcing is a complicated topic, but one I find very interesting.
I received one bit of political hate-mail yesterday, resulting from my post on the Stanley tape measures. I’m here to share observations and candid opinions, and am welcome to your own, but keep politics to a minimum.
What other sourcing intricacies have you noticed?
The pre-cut being made in the USA, I would bet that the ‘made’ portion is the cutting and packaging. The USA company is more than likely using giant spools they buy from overseas. Just enough content and labor to allow them to label as Made in USA.
Look at a car’s window sticker, they have percentage of domestic and foreign sourced content listed.
Have to read the details carefully. My nephew bought a new bike years ago and was all proud that it was USA made. I told him to look closer. Big bold type “USA” along with red, white and blue stripes on the decal. Teeny tiny type “Designed in…” and “MFG in China”. Poor kid was really bummed.
Reminds me at one point some spax screw boxes said made in the USA or Germany.
Take your pick I guess.
Dewalt has some power tools where the same tool is made in the USA and also elsewhere depending on the bundle you buy it in or bare.
I’m curious why you felt you needed Ego branded line, when you can buy an 846ft spool of .095 for $30 at Home Depot with an Echo label on it. That would be 28.2′ per $1, or to look at it another way, only 50 cents to refill your trimmer.
For the record, I can’t find any COO on the Echo spool I have here at work, or online. Nor can I figure out a way to make tape measures political, and I’m very active in politics.
Very true. I love EGO stuff and I have it all but branded string has never been a good value
I liked how the trimmer performed with their twisted line (it came with two full coils), and so it seemed logical to buy more of the same.
I use a good quality . 095 line not made with the EGO name on it and it works fine at an even better price point.
“but I’m sure it’ll get used.”
Stuart. I’ve got a warehouse full of odds and ends that I’ve used this logic on saving. And now I’ve committed countless hours/days to sorting, donating mostly to Jimmy Carter/Habitat, eBaying, labeling and trying to find the time and energy to complete the fools errand I’ve started.
But all the best in you too seeing the light. ;-)~
So far more important part of the thread as I read it was that different packaging of the same thing might well be made elsewhere.
True in nearly any industry.
and the next more important tidbit
EGO OPE reviews coming soon.
To be perfectly honest here… There’s no way to reverse globalization… There are things I can ONLY get overseas. I’ve been transforming my EDC into a MOLLE system, for all my possible needs, especially in summer. I’ve checked with Army Surplus stores all across Canada, and several in the US and Amazon… They have extremely limited supply of this stuff.
There is Canadian Armed Forces Armoury downtown Oshawa (my current city where I live, home of one of the most recent GM Plant shutdowns.) and I have walked in, showed credentials, and asked for a source for certain MOLLE items I could buy from the Military itself. Their answer “Oh, don’t buy from us. We get them from China, or we get custom made stuff for specific battalions. You need full military credentials to buy what you want, and I don’t think it’s worth it for you. The stuff made on Alibaba is from the identical supplier that we use, the only difference is the variety of colour options, and they don’t issue you a mandatory name badge for it like we do.”
The truth is, Globalization is here to stay. There are a huge range of rotary bits and accessories that are literally made globally. I’ve bought rotary blades and drill bits that are german engineered design, but made in Japan, Taiwan, or China. And that’s the ONLY place to get those particular sizes, to operate at the higher speeds of a Rotary Tool without deforming.
Leather: Before you start putting your mind in the gutter, I was a Scout, and Leatherwork was a natural thing I learned, to repair and replace Knife and Tool Sheaths. Well y’know what happens with Leather? Animal hides STILL travel the globe in huge numbers, across dozens of borders, with tanning and colouring supplies being made everywhere from the Middle East, Italy, and South America, right on up to Locally here in Canada. If I want a Hide to make a Sheath out of, I’m going to pay a couple hundred dollars, up to $300 for it. But it’s a half a cow’s skin, sometimes the ENTIRE skin… it has been tanned, it has been split to a specific thickness, it has been dyed with special dyes to get a SPECIFIC colour to the leather, through and through. Did the COW come from Canada? Sometimes, sometimes not. Sometimes it’s a Deer Hide, or Lamb Hide, and those are sourced by certain Provinces and States on both sides of our border, naturally shot or generally killed during legal seasons. They get tanned, split, salvaged, dyed, and resold to a Leather Supplier somewhere in North America. Some of these suppliers go out of business, or the owner retires… and y’know what they do with the stock? They auction it off to a network of suppliers across the continent… I happen to deal with an extremely high volume supplier that has been open for generations, and they’re bringing in some of the best hides, tools, and supplies all the time, from all over the US and Canada. Sitting on their shelves may be a hide from Montana, right next to one from Alberta. One from Texas set up to clear next to one that was bought from a farmer right here in Ontario. The entire story of each individual hide is only known to one EXACT source: The Hide. We still do enough Leather work in North America to consume these products at rates that exceed what can be fully sourced. All we can guarantee is that the ones that make it to sale have been researched to ensure they didn’t come from an Illegal hunt or theft.
It’s wacky to think, but the reality of our lives is simply Global. There isn’t a single one of us in North America, ESPECIALLY reading these words on ToolGuyd, who cannot admit they have something made overseas. The technology you’re using to read these words, both my fingers typing, and your eyes reading it off a screen, came from Asia. It’s inescapable, and has nothing to do with generating “More Jobs” in North America. We don’t have the supplies to make all of this, without at least getting some part of it made elsewhere.
And y’know what? If that’s where I get the precision drill bits I own, so be it. If my EDC has a badass water bottle cooler on my belt, because it was made in a factory in China somewhere… So be it… That’s where it’s made, and so was the Canada Flag MOLLE patch on top of it. I’m Canadian, so what if the Chinese made the flag patch? Let them serve my needs if they want. That’s where it’s made. Simple as that.
Sometimes I suspect that we may be hoodwinked by package labeling that indicates (or doesn’t) the COO. I had always been more in favor of looking for quality giving COO a somewhat secondary spot in my buying decisions – both personal and business. If I had a toss up on quality I might go with price as the determining factor – but did look to buy USA made goods when it made good business sense.
More and more lately – I find that COO is no longer included on package labeling.
Sometimes using our flag on the packaging may denote something other than “fully made in the USA.
Packaging phrases like “assembled in the USA” or “made in the USA from Global materials” – may be truthful – but might deceive some customers.
I also suspect that some claims of “made in the USA from global materials” might be more accurately characterized as “re-packaged” in the USA form bulk goods shipped in from who knows where.” We seldom know what percentage of the cost of an item stays within the US economy. The sad truth is that caveat emptor applies now more than ever.
There are legal requirements to mark the COO, and legal requirements for determining COO; just say, trans-shipping from China to Vietnam does not change the COO. US Customs does take this seriously, and you can in fact get a monetary rewards if you can help Customs find companies that illegally mark the COO.
I believe some states (such as CA) may have additional requirements for saying Made In USA.
So even if something has substantial US input, if it’s complex it likely has substantial non-US inputs, too, so I suspect saying “Assembled in USA” is an easy to way to keep the lawyers away. To give some examples, my favorite made in Texas Tactile Turn pens often use non-US materials (such as Swedish damascus steel). Intel CPU’s often are, I believe, “Made in Malaysia”, but that’s only where chip was packaged, and the actual wafers (most of the value) are made elsewhere (Intel still has major CPU fabs in the US, plus Israel and Ireland). Similarly, a lot of “Made in China” electronics have a substantial amount of non-Chinese content.
I agree that the USA flag seems like it’s often overused. For example, I’ve seen on some levels that only the vial is made in the USA but they stamp the flag all over the packaging to make it seem like the whole tool is made here.
In the case of the tape measures from yesterday, I actually did some digging and found this video on Youtube of a tour of the Stanley factory from 2 years ago. At least for the ones still made here “with global materials” it seems like a good portion of the processing is still occurring here.
The fact that the bulk spool was in Meters instead of Yards would have made me suspicious.
I’ll be honest and admit that I am not terribly annoyed when multiples change the COO, although I can’t say I’ve ever noticed, but I am more annoyed when the pricing doesn’t scale. Buying something in a two-pack should be cheaper than buying 2 single packs (with the exception of the occasional sale). Whenever I see that single items add up to less than the cost of a multi-pack just drives me crazy. although that is a separate topic than this COO issue, which is also a head-scratcher.
Like fred said, caveat emptor. I often see the unit price go up when buying multiples and it gets my ire up too. We, as consumers, have an unspoken, unwritten deal with manufacturers that if we pay more up front by buying more than our immediate needs, then we will save in the long run. These dirty doers are breaking that deal and I feel they are deliberately trying to bamboozle us. We have to pay attention all the time…caveat emptor.
I keep kosher. I have learned that a processed cereal or snack can have a kosher symbol on one box size but not on another if it was processed in different factories.
I hate to be the bearer of bad news, Stuart, but you are about to bear witness to the greatest disruption in the global supply chain since the OPEC oil embargo of the 70’s. Items made in the USA (truly made in the USA and not sourced from Chinese parts) will be the only supplies left. Whether or not you believe the official story on nCov, the indisputable fact remains that hundreds of factories in key Chinese cities have been shut for weeks on end, with many having no reopening date in sight.
Just about all of the wonderful stuff we talk about here has a connection to Chinese supply. You will see shortages in some consumables first, and then in many high volume (sales) tools.
I know you’re an analytical guy at heart, so let me leave you with something to ponder-
Consider the possibility that the “inevitability of globalism” isn’t an idea based in economic fact, but a convenient talking point used and promoted to serve the interests of parties who stand to benefit most from the arrangement.
In a world where cost in time and fuel to ship something around the world still exists, how is it that these incredibly long supply chains retain advantage over local sourcing? There are many answers here to look into, each of which the talking heads on most financial media have been trained to simply ignore and dismiss out of hand.
You owe it to yourself to take a deeper look at the evidence for currency manipulation, as well as the numerous lopsided trade agreements that passed over the course of your lifetime.
You also owe to yourself to see where the gains in productivity and GDP have accrued to most, and more importantly to whom these gains have accrued.
Rx9, I must respectfully disagree. Local sourcing remains extremely costly due to higher labor rates. Labor input remains one of the highest costs of doing business in the US. It is universal across almost every industry. Think about your own quotes you provide to customers. What percentage of the invoice is related to building materials vs. your time to complete the job? It’s no different for our brothers and sisters in manufacturing. They, too, want to earn a decent living wage and charge accordingly based on their skill level. And the capital equipment necessary to automate processes and reduce the labor input often costs tens of millions of dollars, which must then be depreciated over several years and continue to have an input in the cost of producing an item. Thus, it still remains significantly cheaper to source products from overseas, where both labor and capital equipment can be obtained at often less than 20% of the cost available domestically.
I will agree that global supply chains are definitely changing, but most of the investment is going into southeastern Asian countries such as Vietnam and Thailand, not the USA. The news companies want you to hear about, such as SBD’s investment in a new Craftsman factory in Texas or TTI’s investment in Wisconsin, don’t even compare to what they are investing in overseas.
For example, TTI is expanding its manufacturing presence in West Bend, WI with a $26 million investment. You probably saw one of their many press releases about it. Sounds great, right? But it pales in comparison to the $650 million power tool factory they are building in Vietnam right now (source: https://www.vir.com.vn/tti-to-invest-650-million-in-cordless-power-equipment-plant-72856.html). Global supply chains are very complex, but they are most definitely here to stay so long as they remain financially lucrative. Right now, it’s still not even close.
I didn’t think I’d have to explicitly mention it, but of course the key reason for offshoring, outsourcing, and the general rise of globalism is lower wages in these countries – wages low enough to more than compensate for the added cost of transcontinental shipping.
The point being made here is not to simply stop at this fact as if it were an unquestioned universal law, but to dig deeper into why this is the case.
There are several reasons why China’s labor costs are perennially lower than those of the United States and Europe. All of them are deliberately designed to undermine local production.
First, there is a consistent history of currency manipulation, whereby the Chinese central bank creates large amounts of money, devaluing their currency and keeping it at an artificially low (advantageous in trade) exchange rate. This imbalance also functions as a hidden tarriff on American products imported to China. What would have been an exchange rate rising high enough to give American industry a chance has been ruthlessly suppressed.
Second, there are Chinese government subsidies to numerous industries, designed to allow these companies to drive prices so low that international competition is driven to insolvency. This kind of activity is prohibited within the United States (with the exception of agriculture and defense) but exists as a matter of state policy in China.
Next, there is the matter of lax or nonexistent enforcement of standards by Chinese industry, including safety, environmental, and child labor rules. EPA, OSHA, and other standards agencies drive up American costs, but there is no such regulatory analogue in China.
Normally, these bad faith actions and policies would be responded to with an increase in tarriffs, but (until recently) the leaders of the United States and Europe have instead consistently sought to lower or eliminate tarrifs and trade barriers on Chinese (or other globally sourced) products. Meanwhile, the Chinese themselves have maintained a tarriff rate that is on average more than double what the United States does.
While there are some advantages 3rd world countries will naturally retain for industries involving the most menial tasks, the truth is that the march of global trade has been in large part propelled not by natural comparative advantage, but more by deliberate intervention on the part of foreign governments, and deliberate inaction on the part of actors within our own.
I was in HD the other day and saw another Klein tool 4 screwdriver set/combo with mixed product sourcing, 2 U.S. made screwdrivers mixed with 2 chinese made ones. Unlike some other companies I will say they did a very good job on the back of the packaging explaining the country of origins, there was nothing hidden.