Southwire has come out with a new selection of USA-made pliers, cutters, wire strippers.
Thank you very much to Eric at @Mechanical-Hub for permission to use his photos. I have some press photos available to me, but I liked theirs better. I should also mention that Mechanical-Hub is one of my favorite Instagram channels to follow. Good stuff there, check ’em out!
The new USA-made tool line will include 6 SKUs, at least to start:
- Cable Cutters
- Diagonal Cutters
- Side Cutters
- Wire Strippers with Straight Handle (10-20 AWG solid, 12-22 AWG stranded)
- Wire Strippers with Ergo Handle (10-18 AWG solid, 12-20 AWG stranded)
The new Southwire tools feature American-forged steel, induction-hardened blades, and hot-riveted joints.
The handle grips are double-dipped, with a shiny vinyl-like appearance on the outside.
Here’s a closeup of the diagonal cutters.
The 9″ side-cutting pliers features a fish tape puller, reaming head, and crimper.
I haven’t seen these in person yet, but I do have a sample request in with Southwire.
I asked them a question that I know some of you will ask, but I haven’t heard back yet.
Why buy these new USA-made Southwire tools over Klein/Stride/Imperial/Ideal/Channellock, or other popular brands?
I’m guessing that the pricing will be competitive, and it’s good to have another USA-made option at Lowes. Right now, there are some USA-made Ideal tools, but that’s about it in the electrical tool section.
I’m told that these new USA-made Southwire tools will be on shelves alongside the current imported ones.
Pricing information is not available. I was told that pricing can vary based on the distributor, and so we’re going to have to wait until these are available to get an idea as to how competitive they will be with existing USA-made electrical tool options.
The tools are available at some Lowes locations, and will start popping up at other stores soon. They’re not available online yet. I checked, and they’re not yet at any of the Lowes stores near me.
Photos by: @Mechanical-Hub, used with permission.
This 6-tool lineup might be an experiment, with sales data determining whether Southwire will expand the USA-made tool selection or not.
It’s definitely good to see.
Personally, I’m a little underwhelmed with the launch, but I suppose that’s better than having high expectations that might not be met.
Why buy these tools? Southwire didn’t answer the question when I asked. Maybe they missed the question, or couldn’t answer it immediately. To me, the answer seems to be: “because you might be at Lowes in need of an electrical tool, and prefer USA manufacturing.”
Why choose these over Klein? Stride? Imperial? Ideal? Channellock? All of these brands have USA-made electrical pliers, cutters, and wire strippers, and top-quality ones at that.
I was told that:
These tools were designed in-housed and manufactured by a partner of ours.
And that’s very good to hear. It suggests that they’re not just slapping their colors and branding on tools you can already buy from other brands. Not that doing so would be bad either, if it made certain tools easier to find and buy.
News of USA-made tools from Southwire is definitely worthy of a thumbs-up. Are they worthy of a spot in your tool bag, and a line item in your business expense report? To be frank, I’d lean a lot closer to “yes” than with their imported electrical tools.
I have not handled any of the new Southwire hand tools yet, but I’m hopeful. Knowing that the tools are manufactured by an OEM partner, the tools are all but guaranteed to be good. Or at least, they should be able to meet or exceed the standard of quality I would expect from USA-made cutters, pliers, and wire strippers.
Thank you again to @Mechanical-Hub for permission to use his photos! Eric’s posts are entertaining, informational, and he’s a nice guy in real life.