Skil has launched a new line of PWRCore 40V cordless power tools.
Why should you care? Well, Skil’s parent company is Chervon, which is also parent company to the hugely successful EGO brand of cordless outdoor power tools. EGO has come out with some truly amazing tools and tech in recent years and have grown to be quite popular.
So, it’s my assumption that the same folks that designed and engineered EGO’s 56V cordless outdoor power tools have put their efforts towards these new Skil 40V cordless outdoor power tools. Skil’s system operates at a lower voltage, and the tools appear to be a bit more affordable than EGO’s.
In my mind, I’m seeing these Skil tools as “EGO Lite,” and hopefully that’s how they’ll end up performing.
All of the new Skil PWRCore 40V cordless power tools look to feature brushless motor tech.
Shown above is the PWRCore 40V 5.0Ah battery, with each cell said to be surrounded by temperature management material to keep the battery cool and powering on. (EGO Batteries feature similar tech.)
Skil says that their battery tech provides for 25% longer runtime and 2X battery life.
Skil’s new 40V charger has an Auto PWRJump feature, which can charge the 5.0Ah battery up to 30% capacity in only 30 minutes. This lets you take a short break and get some final work done without much delay.
If you’re using the 2.5Ah battery, the Auto PWRJump feature gets you to 30% charge capacity in just 15 minutes.
At this time, there are 6 tools included in the launch, and they’re only available in kit format right now. It’s unknown as to when Skil might launch bare tool versions of their new cordless offerings. In addition to the 6 kits there is also a blower and trimmer combo kit. Replacement batteries and additional chargers are also available at launch.
- Blower (500 CFM)
- String Trimmer (14″)
- Hedge Trimmer (24″)
- Chainsaw (14″)
- Self-Propelled Mower (20″)
- Push Mower (20″)
Skil PWRCore 40V Blower Kit – BL4713-10
The new Skil PWRCore 40V leaf blower is kitted with a 2.5Ah battery and charger, and features a turbine fan that can deliver up to 500 CFM of airflow, variable speed trigger, and a PowerBoost feature helps to clear heavier leaves and debris.
Skil PWRCore 40V String Trimmer Kit – LT4818-10
The new 14″ string trimmer is kitted with a 2.5Ah battery and charger. It features a 14″ cutting swath, and a dual line bump-feed and twist-to-load cutter head.
It works with 0.080″ twisted line. Skil doesn’t specify the cutting speed, but says that the motor delivers “a staggering 1200 watt output.”
Skil PWRCore 40V String Trimmer and Blower Kit – CB7478-10
There’s a single combo kit available at this time – a string trimmer and blower kit, for users who want to buy into the system and get both right away. We might see additional combo kits later in the season, but that’s hard to predict.
Skil PWRCore 40V Hedge Trimmer Kit – HT4221-10
The new 24″ hedge trimmer, kitted with a 2.5Ah battery and charger, has dual action hardened steel blades and cuts at a speed of 3000 strokes per minute.
We know that EGO’s 56V 24″ and 3000 SPM hedge trimmer can cut shrubs and branches up to 3/4″ thick. Skil’s 40V hedge trimmer has a similar maximum cutting capacity of 19 mm, which is ~3/4″.
Skil PWRCORE 40V Chainsaw Kit – CS4555-10
The new 14″ chainsaw, also kitted with a 2.5Ah battery, features tool-less chain tensioning, auto-lubrication, and an anti-kickback brake.
Replacement 14″ bars and chains look to be available at launch.
Skil PWRCore 40V Self-Propelled Mower Kit – SM4910-10
The new Skil 40V self-propelled mower features a 20″ cutting capacity and deck size, mulching, side discharge, and rear discharge modes, 60L collector capacity, and 7 cutting height settings from 1/4″ to 4″.
It has a push-button start and a folding and telescoping handle that allows for vertical storage.
The mower is kitted with a 5Ah battery and 150W charger.
Skil PWRCore 40V Push Mower Kit – PM4910-10
Skil is also launching a new push mower, and from what I can tell, it’s identical in specs and functionality to the self-propelled mower, except for the lack of motorized wheels. The wheels on this mower appear to be larger – at least at the front – which should help with manual maneuverability.
This mower is also kitted with a 5.0Ah battery and 150W charger.
Batteries and Charging Time
2.5Ah Battery (BY8705-00): 60 mins
5.0Ah Battery (BY8708-00): 120 mins
These charging rates are with the standard 150W charger (SC5364-00).
Pricing and Availability
At the time of this posting, it looks like Acme Tools has the tools at MSRP pricing, which will be quoted below, and Amazon has most of them at randomly lower pricing. At this time it looks like the tools are expected to start shipping in April or May.
- Blower Kit: $180
- String Trimmer Kit: $180
- Blower and String Trimmer Combo Kit: $250
- Hedge Trimmer Kit: $180
- Chainsaw Kit: $220
- Self-Propelled Mower Kit: $480
- Push Mower Kit: $380
- Compact 2.5Ah Battery: $110
- 5.0Ah Battery: $190
- Charger: $50
The first thing that confuses me – and might bother me a little – is the “Auto PWRJump” feature, which charges a 2.5Ah battery from 0 to 30% in 15 minutes, and charges a 5.0Ah battery from 0 to 30% in 30 minutes.
I had to dig a little to find the SKU for the replacement charger, and only there does it say that the 2.5Ah battery fully charges in 60 minutes, and the 5.0Ah battery in 120 minutes.
Now, those are decent charging times – pretty fast actually. I don’t doubt that this is made possible thanks to the cooling wrap around each battery cell that keeps things cool and high-performing during use as well as charging.
But what’s the point in marketing the system’s Auto PWRJump feature if all it means is that you get 30% charging in 25% the time it takes for a full charge? That’s not surprising, since charging curves aren’t linear – it takes less time to charge a depleted battery than to top off a partially or nearly fully-charged one.
Oh, I see – Auto PWRJump. This is why there’s no mention of a PWRJump feature, button, or activation in the online user manual – because it’s automatic.
If a battery and charger don’t have a specific boosting or quick-charge function, why not simply market the 0-30% charging time without giving it a fancy name like Auto PWRJump.
That little peeve aside – as I don’t like that I was led to believe there was some kind of quick-boost charging function, which Chervon has built into some chargers before – I think that Skil is launching a solid line of cordless outdoor power tools.
Actually, I have very little doubt that these tools will perform well, although I’m known to be overly optimistic at times. EGO has come out with some excellent cordless outdoor power tools. With this Skil launch, I’m sure that Chervon leveraged their years of know-how and advancements.
Sure, these tools are less expensive then EGO tools, and that might mean lower performance, but the specs so far seem fair and balanced.
I really like EGO’s 15″ carbon fiber shaft string trimmer. At the time of this posting, it’s $229 via Home Depot, kitted with a 2.5Ah battery and charger. Skil’s trimmer is a 14″ trimmer, and it uses thinner line – 0.080″ vs. 0.095″. With that in mind, and the smaller battery (40V vs. 56V), the $180 kit price of the Skil seems proportionate.
With the Skil trimmer, you still get an easy twist-to-load bump-feed cutter head.
The biggest hurdle for Skil, in my opinion, is in how they market the new PWRCore 40V cordless tool lineup. Skil’s PWRCore 12V and 20V cordless power tool lines have expanded, but I think they need greater visibility.
Here, there’s a brand new line of Skil PWRCore 40V outdoor power tools, and I only learned about it from one of my “check to see if there’s something new on Amazon” searches. There are tools up on Skil’s website, Acme Tools, and Amazon, but no press releases, no launch announcements, nothing.
But the biggest problem is in retailer support.
Home Depot marketed EGO very heavily, and I believe that’s what boosted the brand into the leadership spot in the cordless outdoor power tool market, or at least the consumer OPE market. EGO sprung forward, and while other consumer brands have been working on their cordless lawn, garden, landscaping, and other outdoor cordless power tool offerings, EGO seems to be way ahead in performance, popularity, and innovation.
Skil might very well have the potential to be a leader in the 36V to 40V cordless outdoor power tool market, despite the late start. But, they need support to get there, which means spending money on advertising (hey – we’ve got some open spots and opportunities), but also coordinating with retailers on promotions and emphasized placements.
Lowe’s is likely focus on promoting Craftsman cordless outdoor power tools. Home Depot will likely continue promoting EGO and Ryobi at the consumer level, and brands such as Dewalt, Makita, and Milwaukee for pros and consumers with deeper budgets.
Which retailers are going to emphasize Skil? Amazon? Are sponsored placements going to be enough? On a platform like Amazon’s, Skil will have competitors such as Greenworks to contend with, and also brands such as Worx, and even Black & Decker. Amazon also offers Craftsman V60 cordless power tools, and I’m sure there will be coordinated marketing efforts as there were last year.
I’m optimistic about Skil’s new 40V cordless outdoor power tools, but I’m worried about how well the line will fare against more visible competitors. We’ve seen expansion in PWRCore 12V and 20V product lines, and so maybe Chervon will have the momentum to make Skil a household name (again?).
Right now, you can order a Craftsman V20 string trimmer kit (13″, 0.080″ line) for $139 via Amazon, or a V60 kit (15″, 0.095″) for ~$182 via Amazon. Greenworks has a 12″ 0.080″ trimmer kit for $180. Skil’s 40V trimmer seems like a better buy than Greenworks’, and its intro price of $161 at Amazon is lower than the presumed MSRP of $180. But does it have enough to compete with Craftsman’s returning clout and market share?
The tools look decent, but the fact remains that I felt compelled to mention Skil’s sibling brand, EGO, in the post title to ensure that it caught enough readers’ interest to justify the time and effort of a detailed news post. That sentiment, that I didn’t think enough of you would be interested in the post if I only mentioned Skil in the title and left out their relationship to EGO, highlights the problem.
That all said, I am quite optimistic about the new tools. Skil has their work cut out for them in raising brand visibility and familiarity, but fortunately I have near-zero concerns about the quality and performance of these tools – this is Chervon’s specialty.