New DeWalt Cordless: In a world of 18v tools, why go 20v MAX?
If you’ve been following my recent blogs here on Toolhound, or via Twitter (@toolhound), then you’ve seen quite a bit of new tool news coming from the folks at DeWalt, as we just wrapped up a two day seminar that marked the launch of several new products.
You also probably read my prediction about a new line of cordless tools, which DeWalt was rumored to be calling 20v MAX. So, I had to ask, why 20v MAX when the battery voltage is really only 18v (5 cells, 3.6v each)?
To be honest, I thought I knew the answer to this question before I even asked. I assumed that 20v was a more attractive number than 18v, and that DeWalt was simply looking for an edge to maintain their position as top-dog in the crowded cordless marketplace.
I was wrong (it happens sometimes).
It turns out that going to 20v MAX was actually done to avoid confusion, not to gain an edge. Really? Really.
Apparently the decision stemmed from research where DeWalt reps observed buying behavior in a “secret shopper” setup. What they noticed was shoppers picking up the new line of slide-on Li-ion batteries (which were originally branded as 18v, by the way) under the impression that they would work with their existing DeWalt Li-ion tools and chargers. From a brand perspective, this is basically a nightmare of guaranteed pissed-off buyers, and when you have 63 million batteries in the marketplace, that’s a big deal.
Because these new tools will share shelf space with the existing line of DeWalt 18v Li-ion tools, and the new slide-on batteries won’t work with the old post-style tools (and vice versa), the company decided to change the branding to 20v MAX.
For those of you worried about the new 20v MAX line crowding out the existing line of 18v Li-ion, rest easy. DeWalt made it repeatedly clear to us over the two days that the existing lines will not be going anywhere. Again, 63 million batteries in the market, and they aren’t about to alienate that customer base.
Tools will be available early September, and you can expect to see a review in the print edition of Fine Homebuilding, and here on our blogs, too. The new tools aren’t on the company website yet, but when they show up we’ll get you all a link to check them out. For now, I’ve attached a few pictures.
Questions? Let’s hear em!
Why are they copying makita battery style. Is it any wonder why makita makes the best cordless. I know my name is milwaukee cuz i love their corded stuff (milwaukee cordless is bad). Makita cordless rocks. Dewalt is just now releasing batteries that allows the charger to monitor each cell. They are a late player in this game. oh well maybe they are learning. Do these drills use brushless motors?
Mr. too technical for the universe
I know it will probably never happen, but I wish cordless tool battery packs were standardized across the industry.
I purchased the new Milwaukee compact 12v cordless and have to say its a great lightweigh tool. I never went for the heavy Dewalts, you might as well use your Milwaukee Magnum with a cord. I previously used the Panasonic cordless for years, thats another powerful lightweight 12v cordless. Nice metal circ saw too.
I think that the concept of the new sliding battery connection is a good idea unfortunately that means that me or anybody for that matter will have to buy the new tools in order to use the slider battery because they don't interchange.thehandtoolco.com
My old Dewalt 14 and 18 volt drivers have both finally died. Is this the time to make the switch to the 20v tools since I will be buying new ones anyway? Any down sides?
Always go with your first hunch Mr. Editor. In Europe these same DeWalt drills with the slide batteries are called for what they really are: 18v. So, no secret shoppers in Europe? Are we to believe that European contractors are somehow smarter than Americans? DeWalt can call the "20v" line whatever they want; I have used both DeWalt and Makita and still prefer the Makita 18v line of tools because they are lighter and charge faster.
Are the 20vMax/Lithium Ion and the 20vMax XR Lithium Ion batteries compatible (can be used in the same chargers and tools)? Thanks.