Skil is officially launching their PWRCore 12 and PWRCore 20 cordless power tool product families this week. Not only that, Skil is realunching their brand.
To start off, let’s talk about the brand relaunch. Chervon, a very experienced power tool maker, acquired the Skil and Skilsaw brands from Bosch, just over two years ago. In addition to manufacturing tools for other brands, they are behind EGO, which has grown to become a very popular brand of cordless outdoor power tools.
I spent some time talking with Skil’s brand manager and marketing leadership (thank you for your time!), and learned quite a bit about Skil’s philosophy and strategy.
Tools for the Modern DIYer
It comes down to this – they want to launch new power tools for the modern user. The modern DIYer, to be specific. Today’s users want good quality. They want features. They want a brand that stands behind their products with a strong warranty. And, they don’t want to spend a fortune to get all this.
Skil is avoiding “me too” products, and is seeking to leverage all of their experience and industry research into new innovations.
The new Skil PWRCore 12 cordless power tools are about delivering compact power. The Skil PWRCore 20 cordless tool lineup will include a full range of tools.
PWRAssist and PWRJump
Features such as PWRAssist, which allows users to tap into a USB port built into their cordless tool battery pack to charge their smartphone, add to the value. This makes those battery packs more useful in today’s world.
The PWRJump chargers have a special fast-charging mode that gives you a 25% battery charge in 5 minutes, and I’m told that this is enough juice to fully recharge a smartphone. You cannot do that with a typical USB power bank. Or, for a drill or driver it’s enough power to drive in 100 more screws.
The battery packs will also feature Chervon’s phase change cooling technology. It was predicted that I will be surprised at how well built the PWRCore 12 tools will be, and especially in how they perform. I was also told that the phase change cooling tech, in addition to years of R&D and involvement in the cordless power tools industry, will give the 12V-class battery packs the ability to add extra capabilities.
Skil says that their patented battery cooling system will keep battery cells cooler, even under heavy load, which will provide for up to 25% longer runtime and 2x longer battery longevity.
By this – and I don’t have specific details just yet – it was suggested that we’ll see several new kinds of cordless power tools in the Skil PWRCore 12 compact cordless power tool lineup than previously possible for tools of this class.
I previously wrote about some of these technologies here: New Skil PWRCore Cordless Power Tools – Here’s What We Know.
The majority of all the new Skil PWRCore cordless power tools will be brushless. At launch, all of the PWRCore 12 tools are brushless, but the introductory PWRCore 20 tools will be brushed.
The majority of kits will include PWRAssist-capable Li-ion battery packs, and PWRJump fast-charger-capable chargers. For some tools and kits, consumers will have the option to go with a fully-featured kit, complete with PWRAssist battery and PWRJump charger, or a more value-priced kit, with non-USB battery and a standard charger. Bare tools will also be available.
There are very many new tools on the way. The PWRCore 12 and PWRCore 20 lineups will both be launching in Q4 2018, with introductory assortments. There will be expansions in 2019, predictably in the spring and again at the start of Q4.
Here’s a look at the introductory PWRCore 12 combo kits that feature the new brushless multi-tool.
With the new brushed motor PWRCore 20 models, I’m told to expect them to be shockingly powerful. I am also told that the upcoming PWRCore 20 brushless power tools will be more affordable than competitors’, while delivering outstanding performance.
5 Year Warranty
The new tools will be supported with a 5-year warranty. Skil’s research has shown that today’s DIYers look for longer warranties, as it shows that a company has more confidence in their products.
When I asked about pricing, I was told that Skil was entering the mid pricepoint market, and that although their new PWRCore cordless power tools will be competitively priced, the performance of their tools will surpass that of their competitors’.
It seems that the new Skil PWRCore 20 offerings will be competing against cordless power tools by other mid-priced brands, such as Craftsman, Porter Cable, and Ryobi.
Buy Now(PWRCore Tools via Amazon)
I’m starting to get really excited about what’s to come.
Skil has raised my expectations about what their PWRCore 12 and 20 cordless power tools will deliver. And while I am usually reluctant to take manufacturer’s claims at face value, Skil’s new parent company, Chervon, has proven that it can build a great brand from the ground up. But, unlike EGO, Skil is already an established brand name, one that even millennial DIYers are familiar with.
There aren’t very many 12V-class cordless power tool options for DIYers, even if you consider pro-grade brands. Skil has the opportunity to shake things up, and I think they’re definitely going to turn some heads. No other brand offers anything like what their PWRCore 12 cordless platform offers – brushless compact power tools at DIYer-friendly prices, plus the added PWRAssist and PWRJump features discussed above and previously.
As for the PWRCore 20 lineup, I am sure that Skil knows how competitive the industry can be. There are a lot of brands already vying for DIYers’ attention, purchases, and shelf space. The new Skil PWRCore 20 cordless power tool kits, which started to appear on Amazon already, are extremely competitively priced. I’d predict that the upcoming brushless PWRCore 20 cordless power tools will deliver performance that further contributes to putting competitors on their toes.
Skil says that their PWRCore 20 brushless power tools will be powerful, yet more compact, efficient, and lightweight, in contrast to the bulky, heavy motors used by most manufacturers in the [DIY tool] space. Skil is very optimistic about the tools they’re about to bring to market, with these and other claims, but I see strong reasons to believe every one of them.
I think they have the experience, will, and direction to successfully relaunch the Skil brand. From everything I heard about their new PWRCore 12 and 20 cordless lineups, and the technology that it will be built on, DIYers have a lot to look forward to.
The next year or two will be very interesting, as Skil climbs back to relevancy and the market is forced to adjust. Something tells me that there might be some surprises along the way.
What does your Skil PWRCore 12 and PWRCore 20 cordless power tool wishlist look like? Personally, I want to see a PWRCore 12 compact multi-cutter (similar to this older Skil tool), and a cordless inflator.
Wow Stuart. Thanks for the nice write up.
When these new lines were first introduced I was rather happy about what I was reading in the press about Chervon’s attempt. They are serious about the Skil brand. And as far as that goes, the pro level Skilsaw brand. Good for them.
If the 12 volt lineup is anywhere near the level of performance and reliability they are shooting for, then you can expect to see a good sales level. And even though intended for DIY’ers, you will see them appearing in tool boxes on job sites too. When it comes to compact 12 volt tools most guys I worked with were no where nears as tribal with compact lower voltage tools as the were with their 18/20 volt models.
That Skil is offering all the models brushless and a good number of them at or just after launch is a great sign. Add in the fact they are made in what most guys will see as a proper ‘tool colour’ and the laughed-at factor on job sites is mitigated a bit. To this day I say the number one reason you do not see more Ryobi on job sites(they really do make better than decent power tools these days) is the kid toy ray gun neon scheme. The Skils actually look like tools. It is why SBDC was wise to make the new Craftsman power tools mostly red. Looks matter.
As to the 20 volt lineup I say Chervon is smart here. They are not trying to introduce yet another pro lineup to compete against already STRONG market dominance by Milwaukee, DeWalt, Makita, and Bosch. You are swimming upstream trying to break the shell on that market. But truly decent, mid to upper range diy’er tools are dominated by Ryobi for the correct reasons; value vs performance vs support. Ryobi owns this right now.
And back to the 12 volt lineup. I am not saying they will take a big chunk of the job site market. Milwaukee’s M12 is pretty much king of the hill for a very good reason. The same reason Ryobi owns the diy market. And the support is important. By that I mean the tool catalogue. There is not really much left out of Red’s wardrobe in the 12 volt commercial segment. Still, the little Skil models are an interesting option to keep an eye on. With the practical abandonment of the 12v segment by DeWalt, the limited amount of new offerings by Bosch, and the mixed signals from Makita(Do I buy the 12v platform or wait for more sub-compact models?), Chervon could make a dent.
Good lord guys. I just re-read that post. Sorry for the novel length.
No worries, summed up my feelings exactly. (Especially the dig on DeWalt for abandoning the 12V segment.)
Considering the rather broad array of brushless tools that are available, this is (at least arguably) a more impressive launch than Craftsman.
I’m missing how? With the exception of 12v offerings specifically, Craftsman’s total rerelease dwarfs this considerably. Not to say that I’m not interested in these skil 12’s, just not gathering the same impression as you.
That could be true, but it’s hard to judge either brand’s relaunch based on introductory offerings.
How did you arrive at this conclusion? Craftsman is releasing 1200 new products. Most look great visually, are good quality, perform well and priced fairly. For 12V tools I’m holding out for when the new 12V Hercules tools drop. Skil products look bland, probably won’t be easy to find in stores, and not easy to exchange or get warranty work done.
I think he was specifically referring to Craftsman power tools.
Wow, that tool in the lower right of the picture is a pistol gripped area light. That actually looks like a design that would work for what I generally use a flashlight for, which is working under a car in the driveway. I don’t see specs on how wide the beam is, or how tall the unit is with a battery, but depending on those, it could work.
The only decent option I have now is the dewalt DCL044, which works because of the pivoting head. I can also stick it to the bottom of the car body with the magnet as long as I have a compact battery in it.
Most of the other options out there don’t have the correct flexibility, a strong enough magnet, or have a beam that is too wide and blind me while providing light.
Maybe its just silly. I think they should have tote boxes like Bosch and now the rest of em too.
Seems to be a large market for boxes and packs. Bags etc. Everyone needs a few of each. I still use an old skil saw i got at a flea market. Made in USA. Built like a tank. Use it on lots of nasty jobs
Doesn’t Bosch offer a 12v class brushless oscillating tool? Or does it not accept said universal attachments? Only the starlocks?
Ah, thanks for jogging my memory!
Its blade holder isn’t tool-free.
The Fein version is, in fact one of the reasons they produced the starlock was so you could change sander pads instantly without having to remove the paper that and the fact it moved them back to the front of the pack, still not sure about the Bosch partnership.
Many years ago when Ford owned Jaguar I queried selling my in the process of becoming ex wife’s S type back to the dealer I bought it from about eighteen months before, he quoted me a price lower than I expected and I asked him why he said you are upset because you have one car I have a forecourt full of them, when Ford sees sales slowing for one of its cars it cuts the price so I have fifty plus second hand cars which are worth two to three thousand pounds less than they were yesterday because a cut in the new price feeds directly and instantly to the second hand market.
I can see Bosch making exactly that decision if they are unhappy with starlock sales which would make Fein unhappy.
Redcastle, good analogy. I was a bit sceptical when the Starlick system was announced. Not that it is a bad product. It us a nice attachment system. But it seemed like all of them had just settled on OIS(I think that’s right) for compatible toolless blade change. I think the jury is still out since other than Bosch, no other manufacturer I know of has adopted it.
As an aside, I handled in if the Fein 250 models at Menards a number of months ago and have to say it’s ergonomics and hand feel were superb. Fein still knows a thing or three about these tools.
The Fein reps last year were extremely pleased with themselves to have blades which work on the Multimmasterx and Supercut and batteries which work across their whole range they felt for the first time in a while they had something other than we were first to say.
There are rumours that Imperial and some of the other blade companies are going to produce starlock blades. As the machines have no backwards compatibility I will keep using my existing machines until my starlock blades exceed my non starlock blades.
I don’t know if you can buy it in the store in this configuration, but the Ridgid JobMax has a tool-free OMT head available (I have one for my Ryobi JobBoss), and a 12V power base.
This looks more interesting than the original info.
The 12V Max market could definitely use some more competition, and I like their emphasis on compact and light weight — most DIYers don’t need heavy, expensive super tools.
I hope they will take another leaf or two from Ryobi’s book and come up with new tool ideas, especially in 12V. There are lots and lots of drills, impact drivers, hammer drills, etc. They aren’t so many drain augers, bolt cutters, back pack vacs, shears, etc.
Also, Ryobi USA has a big social media presence,and a lot of fans. Chervon/Skil has a lot of potential here, especially for 12V.
Wish them luck in the 20v category. Ryobi has a cult like following, wide selection of tools, backing of tti, distribution through home depot, and usually reasonable prices. How they plan to compete with a line of brushed tools i have no idea.
On the 12v side it looks interesting. M12is the only real competition. Maybe bosch as well. M12 isnt that expensive of a platform for most tools so this should bevan interesting comparison.
I wanted to add that i wish other mnfrs would add the 5 minute charge capability. With all the money major tool companies put into battery tech this is surprising.
If they go deep with compact yet capable 12v tools, they may be able to gather interest where other brands have jumped ship. I think the market is saturated enough in 18v (20max).
Having been left in the dark by Makita 12v, Craftsman 10v (iirc), Ridgid 24v …
And currently on Ridgid 18v, Ryobi 18v ( because ridgid only made like a dozen tools vs Ryobi’s 64 or so), and Bosch 12v … the last thing I need is another platform … but I will be watching.
I have posted a number of times to say that I hope Skil’ s new owner builds on a huge legacy on both sides of the Atlantic when it comes to saws.
I am also on record as saying another me too producer of 12v and 18v drills, etc is not what the world needs and yet it looks like the path they are going down. I refuse to believe that the UK has a broader market for 12v tools than the USA but over here in addition to the big box firms house brands plus lots of internet brands the lower end DIY market is saturated.
I am also surprised at your gushing tone based on a press release and a conversation with the brand manager and “marketing leadership” (is that a fancy term for salesmen) not a group interested in hard edge truth.
Waiting till there were physical tools to handle and test would have been better, there are lots of tool review websites which just regurgitate marketing pap and for that reason I do not bother with them, that has historically not been the case with Toolguyd.
Once over the amazement that you can charge your mobile telephone from their batteries I looked at your first wishlist tool which of course already exists in Bosch blue however the Skil version dating from 2011 first appeared as an IXO tool years before that. Really struggling to understand how come the headline tool for a relaunch should be one someone else already produces which would be the very definition of me too and is also a retread of an old idea.
As part of the starlock range Fein produce a three way cutter designed to cut cardboard, carpet and all sorts of floppy stuff obviously it is not cheap being Fein but it is cheaper than buying into a new system.
I am wondering what SBD are up to in this area, they may have decided the 12v market would be better served by their new Craftsman range having determined that there are too many cut price options available and as has been said already in this thread the brand loyalty is not there.
There was a reference to these tools coming in cases similar to the L box etc, I saw on a tool retailer website yesterday a Systainer box in Fein orange with an insert to hold the tool and for the box and insert they wanted £80 clearly where the money is.
At first glance at the picture that went along with this post, I thought not to bother looking further as it seemed like a ho-hum sort of product launch. I agree with Redcastle that we don’t need more me-too offerings crowding the market – but that’s from a buyer’s perspective not a seller’s. It would have been nice – but perhaps a bit naïve to think about what they might have done to move the Skil brand into a premier line of cutting tools – perhaps to compete with the likes of Mafell – rather than this downmarket approach. But maybe Chervon better knows what enhances their business – and producing more mass market tools is what fits them best.
You make it sound like optimism is a bad thing.
More options are good. I for one am really eager to see what the PWRCore 12 line brings to the market.
This brand relaunching effort is news NOW. I will absolutely follow up with hands-on coverage, but that’s not what this story is about.
You could have just said there is a new line of cordless tools coming out from Skil (which you have already done), we will return to the subject when the tools are available, there is a fine line between optimism and hagiography.
I reserve my optimism for them producing some genuine advances in relation to cutting tools with a fall back position that they become the best VFM producer in that sector at both the DIY and everyday user levels.
There is a concern that if I was a first time visitor to this site I would put it in the category of me too sites panting breathlessly over vapourware from manufacturers promising the fantastic and delivering the mundane, the reason I and others read this website is that generally you perform the role like Calpurnia and stick to facts and measured reporting please do not ruin a good thing.
I’m sorry you feel that way.
I love ToolGuyd – and it’s audience – and a big part of that stems from my excitement about new tool developments, innovations, and progresss. I won’t filter out the excitement and passion that makes ToolGuyd what it is for me.
No need to apologise.
As I have said new tools as in genuinely new and innovative not me too, no over the top enthusiasm for promised products if I remember correctly you have some involvement in the IT industry where nirvana tomorrow is a staple of the marketing spin that is available in too many other places that is where I see the value in Toolguyd.
I had some very interesting conversations at the tool show on Friday including with a senior member of the marketing leadership team (although he did not refer to himself as such) who as luck would have it was in charge of Skil’s relaunch in the UK after it was purchased by Bosch and he said that the decision to start with the Skilsaw classic had been successful in part because they emphasised its US of A origins by having Harley Davidsons in the promotional material and present on the road shows.
It is incredible how that one manufacturer has come to represent a country (at least in the UK). He was also very blunt about the reasons why the initial success (they were receiving orders in hundreds when they expected tens) did not continue probably too blunt for a forum such as this.
The reason he came to speak to me was that he was the only member of their marketing leadership team who knew what the MX2 was and we had a good conversation mostly about V8 engines. He said that he like the rest of his team were slightly frustrated that their day was taken up with people coming up holding out their mobile telephone and saying can you match this price, like most members of marketing leadership teams who really like their jobs who was proud of their products and wanted to engage with their customers.
He said that he had again a conversation with personnel in Germany about having uniforms which displayed the Bosch name more prominently than in 16 pitch on the right sleeve of a fleece which was navy blue however he was told that shouting is not the Bosch way.
The 12v line definitely seems the most exciting. Milwaukee is tough to beat in that area, but it seems like most of the bigger companies arent even trying. Bosch has a wide variety of really good 12v, but they aren’t as readily available where I live, dewalt looks like they’ve given up, makita revamped their 12v line, and then immediately starting releasing their subcompact stuff rendering 12v obsolete. I really like ridgid 12v, but they’ve stalled a little on new tools, kobalt had something a few years ago, but they let it die. Same with ryobi. Same with craftsman. I know there are some others, Hilti, metabo had something, central pneumatic. That just leaves classy old black and decker. As long as skil outperformed b and d, they will be a hit
If you consider Milwaukee to be the market leader in 10.8/12v tools in the USA and Bosch the same in Europe which given that both of them by the simple measure of the breadth of product range and on going innovation in the area seems to be the case and that they have chosen the same form factor it is almost like the other leading manufacturers have decided not to play in their sand pit, this would also follow in the Bosch have been slow to release their new 12v tools in the USA and Milwaukee push their 18v tools far harder than they do their 12v however that could be a function of relative margins.
SBD made a half hearted attempt to relaunch their 10.8v tools as Stanley Fatmax but they just wound up decorating the deal of the week shelf in the big box stores. Festool continue to provide 10.8v tools but I always get the feeling they are just so their customers do not look elsewhere.
After producing some very good early tools in this area I am referring to the “stick” powered tile cutter among others Makita clearly has decided that small light 18v tools are the route to go and at one point that might have been the case however 18v tools now carry sufficient power that you need to be always wary of using too much, there is also the issue that you cannot sell your smaller form factor tools at a substantial discount to the full size versions without damaging your margins.
The role of 12v tools in the everyday user market is interesting because as the market leaders continue to develop more tools and better batteries they need to be wary of cannibalizing all but the pure power end of their 18v business, Bosch do not push the fact that their 12v circular saw fits the same track as it’s big brothers and has never introduced a 12v SDS tool despite the Milwaukee one proving that it is a valid concept.
Seems like an interesting line, if not for me. I agree that 12v is really an under-served DIY market here in the US, a good selection there is probably the best bet at taking on Ryobi, though that’s going to be a tough one.
I also like the quick-charge and USB-out capabilities of the batteries, though I’m going to have to call out the claim that a 25% charge is enough to fully juice most cell phones. My mobile has a 3760 mAh battery, my wife’s is 4000 mAh. If these are pretty standard numbers (my phone is more than 2 years old, so I’m assuming so), that means the 18v battery packs are clocking in at around 16 Ah storage capacity? Impresive, given Milwaukee just recently pushed their max output to 12 Ah…