DeWalt Releases 12-Volt Max Tools
Last week, we were privileged to be invited to the Baltimore HQ of DeWalt for the launch of their new line of 12-volt tools. While there for the two-day event, we took in a Orioles game (from the Jim Palmer Party Suite...woot!) had a few brews at the hotel bar with some of our fellow tool writers, and the next morning, got to check out the tools.
There are seven tools in the release. They are:
1. DCF610S2 1/4" Screwdriver
2. DCD7102S 3/8" Drill/Driver
3. DCF815S2 Impact Driver
4. DCF813S2 Impact Wrench
5. DCT410S1 Inspection Camera
6. DCT414S1 IR Thermometer
7. DCL510 Work Light
The most interesting thing that DeWalt did with these tools was to opt to use the traditional rectangular battery configuration as opposed to the cylindrical style that Bosch and Milwaukee use. This allows for the handle to be thinner (because the battery isn't in it) and for the weight of the tool to be distributed on both sides of the grip, making for a much nicer hold. The Hitachi tools released over a year ago did the same thing, but they left on the battery stem which DeWalt got rid of as well.
We've never had any complaints about the balance on the Milwaukee or the Bosch tools, but when you're holding one of them in one hand and a new DeWalt in the other, the difference is significant. There is no question that the DeWalt feels better and much lighter, due to the smaller handle and weight balance. In fact, we were almost veering towards the opinion that DeWalt might have made the handles too small. We've got some pretty massive paws and our little finger was snugged up right against the battery. With gloves on, the fit would be even tighter.
The tools all have some nice touches to them; the inspection camera has a removable screen; the drivers can handle a 1" bit and have a smart LED configuration that lights up the work area without shadows; and the tools have nice little belt hooks where appropriate. The drills and drivers were powerful when stacked up against the competition and the flashlight has a fantastic design.
But of the tools, there wasn't much that we hadn't seen before. But that's fine and, in a way, it's DeWalt in a nutshell. They're not a company that's going to throw the long ball and create a tool for every known micro-niche of the HVAC world like Milwaukee is prone to do. No, DeWalt has more of the everyman feel. They're about tough tools for the tradesman, and the tools that they make are the kind that can hop from a plumber to an electrician and then over to a carpenter. There wasn't much flair at the event, but there didn't need to be.
So as it stands now, the tradesman-ready 12-volt world is as such: Makita released a nice driver and a drill/driver and nothing else, which renders them a bit impotent for someone looking for a system to plug into. Hitachi came out of the gate strong with a variety of tools (a mini-recip and a nice right-angle impact driver), but has since been located napping behind the barn. Bosch started strong then seemed to lose their way but now appear to be gearing up again with the release of their incredible PS31-2A drill/driver. DeWalt is now fully into the fray with a solid line of tools and they're no doubt researching (and probably already testing) their next wave. And then there's Milwaukee who is apparently looking into releasing a 12-volt tool for every single action that has ever been taken on a job site. It's interesting to watch all of this develop and we're sure that another chapter in the 12-volt saga will be written in a month when we pack up and head out to Milwaukee for another one of these events.
Oh, and one last thing to all you people who live in Baltimore...get over yourselves and go out and root for your baseball team! Even if they completely blow, you'll still be out and experiencing a game. The one we were at had an attendance so low it didn't even look like there was enough revenue generated to pay the electric bill for the Jumbo-Tron. We live in the vicinity of the over-expensive and always-packed Fenway and don't understand why, if you have the ability to hit up a game, you wouldn't. Also, if you start going now, when they win the Series in fifteen years, you'll be able to say you stuck with them through the worst of it (and boy, oh boy, this sure is the worst of it).
There will be more info on the tools at DeWalt.com/12vmax
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Posted by Doug Mahoney at June 28, 2010 4:20 AM
Good question. I'm surprised that they took this long to get their 12-volt line out, but I really don't think the delay is going to cause any long term harm as far as sales go. Honestly, I think that there's the hardcore tool-watching crowd that has been onto the whole 12-volt thing for the past three years, but I think that most people out there really don't know much about the 12 volt lines. Most of the carpenters I work with, for example. There's also the fact that the DeWalt line is probably going to be at eye level at the checkout of every Home Depot in the country.
So with that in mind, I actually think that the DeWalt line will be a big breakthrough as far as 12-volt awareness goes.
Back to your question, they were asked during the press event about how they would compete with other very established 12-volt lines. They said that the quality of their tools would speak for itself. They really didn't seemed to concerned about it.
Do you think DeWalt is 2 or 3 years too late to "12 volt game" and really won't play in the market?
I know there are "DeWalt Fanboys" that will buy anything yellow, but Milwaukee and Bosch have done a very nice job w/ their innovative tools and have "saturated" the end users w/ batteries, to quote DeWalt "get w/ the system" so if I have invested hundreds or thousands in Milwaukee or Bosch 12 volt gear and it works well, the odds of switch "now" are pretty slim...
Just wondering if DeWalt addressed this w/ you folks and if they are losing their edge as a cordless innovator?
Keep up the great reviews!