Over at Amazon, they recently listed 2 Dewalt 20V Max Tool Connect SKUs – a bare impact driver (DCF888B), and a brushless hammer drill (DCD997P2BT) that’s shown with images of an impact driver kit.
Amazon sometimes lists new tools weeks or even months ahead of their release.
But the point is this – Dewalt Tool Connect tools are on the way. I’m actually rather excited. Having customizable tools is a big deal. I like the idea of being able to dial in the torque as needed, or switching between special torque modes.
Well, in theory at least. To be honest, I don’t use my Milwaukee One-Key drill or impact test samples very often. I don’t reach for the tools and change settings for one-off fasteners, but for larger projects that involve many fasteners, the benefits add up.
The ability to tweak a tool’s LED worklight settings is also convenient, but not needed. The ability to control an LED worklight, perhaps one mounted out of reach or far from where work is being done – that’s more of game-changer.
The price of the bare Dewalt Tool Connect impact driver is $149. The latest and greatest brushless impact driver is currently priced at $129, or $109 after $20 off $100+ seasonal discount.
The current generation of brushless impact drivers offer multiple speed and torque settings, and some have special modes, such as for the precise and careful driving of self-drilling screws in a fast and efficient manner.
Tool Connect, One Key, and other potential tools allow for users to program their tools to in-between settings. Sometimes the precision is needed.
On a drill, have you ever been stuck between two settings – a lower one which doesn’t deliver enough torque, and a higher one that over-drives a fastener? Well, that’s the beauty of Tool Connect and other such customizable tools.
We’re now seeing greater potential of tool customizations, with the advent of more complex drive controls, where with the help of sensors an impact can deliver different speeds and torques at different points of an application.
I mention all this because I know some users will denounce Tool Connect as a gimmick, just as they denounced One-Key. To be frank, it’s not going to be useful to everyone. But we are seeing a lot of benefits, some of which are tool-dependent.
We’re probably not far away from voice commands, where you can tell your phone “I’m using a 2″ hole saw in steel” and have it automatically set the tool to the right speed.
Anyways, back to the point – a few Dewalt Tool Connect tool listings have popped up on Amazon.
So that means Milwaukee has One-Key tools on the market, Dewalt Tool Connect tools are on the way to market, and Bosch has some hypothetical customizable tools that they announced to the European market over a year ago.
Despite some readers’ cries of “this is gimmicky stuff that will never sell,” big brands are digging their heels in and dropping lots of cash to develop what they see as the next leap forward in jobsite productivity.
Either they know something, or they’re taking big risks.
I just returned from Milwaukee’s NPS17 new product show. From what I saw, regarding what they’re doing with One-Key, and what One-Key is doing for them, I’m inclined to think that these brands are taking risks, but they also know things that we don’t, and they’re learning more.
The age of Dewalt Tool Connect is nearly upon us*. Who’s excited?!
Buy Now(Bare Impact Driver)
Buy Now(Hammer Drill Kit?)
* This sounds so tacky I had to leave it in. =)
The tools are currently listed as “temporarily unavailable,” but you can still order them now. There’s no word as to when they will start shipping.
And yes, I know that technically these aren’t the first Tool Connect tools to be available. There’s an DCL070 LED area light, and Bluetooth battery packs. But tools such as drills and impact drivers are a whole other level of product offering.
Innovation brings competition, and lower prices on other less feature packed tools in the long run. It might be gimicky to some, but these also aren’t one-off infomercial companies pushing a product for a problem we don’t have. They are looking at how they can make their tools better, either more power, longer runtime, or new features.
When it became more difficult to use a stolen phone, thefts dropped. If all tools had tracking abilities, there would be less stolen tools or at least a lot more recovered. If I get programming features too, all the better, but tracking is the bigger benefit to me.
I dont think this has changed the game at all. It has unlocked a door(that i personally didnt emphasize prior as being locked) to some possible tool evolution….possible.
Im not impressed with the capabilities provided by one key and perhaps i dont know enough about it to really speak. But I do not need to customize my speed or torque or led brightness and when i do, i just pop the drill in 1 or 2, adjust the clutch and continue. With my impact, well, isnt that what reponsive triggers and 3 speed modes are for? Is it worth the extra money to hook my impact up to my phone? Does it change how i use tools?
But thats where the whole idea of the unknown comes into to play. Where are tool manufacturers going to take it from here? What more can they do with this? Can they evolve a system to truly give us the ultimate control of our tools? Make them actual extensions and perhaps embed some memory, some intelligence. Or program a tool with the ability to learn, to adapt, to respond based on user input. Will we use it? Until more is known, i wouldnt waste my time.
Considering these new tools are merely augmented versions of existing tools I already have I see nothing to get excited about, don’t get me wrong I think it’s cool tech but nothing worth buying anytime soon, next year, next generation, I might be a buyer then.
Ok now the nerd in me wants to see it be Androidwear/Apple watch compatible.
Sounds like a tool version of 3D TV, just a way to make more money by these companies. 3D is dead and no longer supported at this point, this stuff will either be included at no cost or will go the way of 3D TV
I like that the idea is there – sort of like how I have the tools to re-program/tune my car. Yes I can tailor things to my use pattern which is different than what others do.
so I like it – but I might not always use it
Tower Pool Reader
I agree, the possibilities are the best part but you cannot make your living on a premium priced “maybe”.
I think the feature, if it fails to evolve any further, will become a standard. Just like the brushless motor. Itll be a part of all tools whether its used or not and those that do take ad advantage will capitalize on the tracking aspect. Not so much the ability to customize the drilling speeds and torque. Like Matt said, i believe this is near useless as we customize our tools daily with pressure and clutches and speed control.
I would like to see research and development dedicated to other aspects. One Key funding could go into their storage systems, wearable gear, ope gear, etc
OK but what do you do daily – weekly. The benefit if for that constant repeatable. say you’re an HVAC guy and you run self taps into metal duct most of your day – and you know the way to start them with your impact driver is to punch quick – and then back off and low torque so as not so spin them. But that’s how you do it. Some other guy like to start it slow speed – ramp it quick and let it hammer 3 times to “set” it. and that’s how he does it.
Now neither way is wrong and both might well work for you. (both) OK so with this tech you both could use the same impact driver but run 2 different profiles and you have something that is useful to you – constant and easy repeatable. and tomorrow when your impactor takes that 3 story fall to the cement – you can take your replacement and re-load your favorite profile for you next duct job without issue. I think Dewalt will for some time still sell tools with and without – using the same base motors and frames etc. Not sure about Milwaukee’s intentions.
Tower Pool Reader
Say i am in hvac and ive been at it for yrs, without one key, without brushless motors, maybe even without lithium ion….. Or if i was in construction or plumbing or any trade. What does one key do, ideally, thati cant do for myself?
None of what you have listed is enough for me to break my stride and invest in one key. I dont need digital control. I work as much by feel as by knowledge.
Say that maybe it was a big step for me to buy the 1st or 2nd gen fuel, say i didnt see the need to spend so much money. But now there is something bigger, badder, bolder….. So why did i just buy 2nd gen fuel gear? What if I see all these Electronics as something that will just eventually fail and render my impact or drill impossible to use after the warranty is passed forcing me into more overpriced purchases?
Bluetooth connection between miter saw and shop-vac so that the auction starts immediately when the blade starts would be fantastic.
Didn’t Makita do this already? I recall reading about it here, actually.
DeWalt may be making some changes to its Tool Connect tools. Recently I have been seeing new listings for some the Tool Connect tools, like the DCD792 drill/driver. The original was sold as a bare tool under p/n DCD792B, but these new listings show it as DCD792SB and a description stating “with sensor”. It could be nothing, may just be updating the product page but it does have a different SKU, idk.
I would think any changes would be on new upcoming tools, not tools that already a few years old.