Taking a look back to the history of power tool innovation for the past 20 years we have certainly seen an escalation in the speed and advancement at which power tools are being improved. No longer is it good enough for a company to do an incremental improvement every 8 years and still call themselves a serious player in the power tool industry. With teams of R&D specialists and scientists working around the clock on new cordless battery chemistry, advanced electronics, innovative tool uses, etc, the cycle for many power tools seeing improvements is happening almost every other year. The improvements are not just coming in functionality. We are also seeing great improvements in comfort, style, user fatigue and other areas that make the experience of using power tools all that much more enjoyable. We wanted to take a minute and look at all the improvements we know are coming and think about some others we hope we might also see by the end of 2013.
New Battery Technology
Lithium Ion technology is not without its problems as these cells can actually start on fire if damaged and environmental impact is a concern but the good news is they have taken us a long way in delivering cordless power since NiCd. While we are probably 10 or more years away from another battery chemistry replacing Lithium Ion the good news is many scientists say there is still room for at least a 100% improvement in the technology during that time frame. That could mean 5, 6, 7 even 8.0Ah batteries at some point in the not to distant future! By the end of 2013 we will for sure see 4.0 Ah batteries from Bosch, Milwaukee, Dewalt as well as many others.
Brushless Technology Take Over
As more and more assembly lines are configured to produce the new brushless motor the price to produce one will drop significantly, while at the same time improvements and advances will happen more frequently. Our guess would be most the new tools we will catch wind of in 2013 will be using the brushless technology. The technology lasts longer, produces more power, and has a smaller profile all while using less power. What’s not to get excited about? Our hope with combining brushless with the larger battery capacity (& maybe the dual battery technology we’ve seen from Makita) is that we will see some additional cordless tools that just haven’t worked as we would hope in past. Cordless sawzall/circular saws are a given but we would love to see new brushless attempts at a miter saw, mag drill, chainsaw, weed wacker, etc. Could we even see some new tools that haven’t been tried before that could replace small gas or corded motors such as earth auger, core drill, or concrete cut-off saw? Maybe not next year but if we see a 8.0Ah battery within the next decade our guess is these things won’t be far off!
The Turning Point for 12V Tools
We were a little disappointed to hear that Milwaukee’s M12 Fuel Brushless Tools got pushed back from their anticipated launch in 2012, but we are very excited to hear the reason was because they increased the power, put a 1/2” chuck on the drills and have decided to go in direct competition with everyone else’s compact 18v tools. It is a bold move, but we think being the leader in the 12v push could really payoff for Milwaukee in the long run. The new M12 Fuel Milwaukee drill kits will include a 2.0 & 4.0Ah battery with a target price of $179 M12 Drill/Driver and $189 M12 Hammer Drill which would make them the most expensive 12v tools on the market. However, this is pretty inexpensive when compared to compact 18v kits which would probably only come with a pair of 1.5Ah batteries. Our guess is we are only going to see additional expansion in the Milwaukee M12 Fuel line before this year is over, as well as some other brands launching their own brushless 12v tools.
Better Organization in Tool Storage
In 2012 we saw several new expandable storage systems launched for organizing power tools and supplies with the Bosch L-Boxx Click-N-Go & Dewalt Tough Systems. These types of systems have long been popular in Europe but for whatever reasons the popular opinion has always been people in the US preferred a messy truck. Apparently in a surprising revelation when these storage options hit the shelves in the US, both Bosch and Dewalt had some trouble making enough to meet the demand. Apparently we don’t prefer complete chaos when looking for our tools and supplies after all. Who would have ever guessed? If the adoption of these new systems continues we would certainly guess other brands would either make their own or partner up like we’ve seen with Bosch & Sortimo.
Apparently the Mayan calendar, like all other calendars, just resets at the end and doesn’t imply the end of the world all together. This is great news because our underground bunker isn’t even complete yet and certainly not stocked for Armageddon. Maybe we are just happy to be here, but we are pretty optimistic about the outlook for 2013. While those holding their breath waiting for new construction to return to housing bubble pace will continue to be disappointed, we are seeing promising signs all around for steady increases in construction and manufacturing. As long as there are folks out there looking to buy new tools we are pretty confident we will continue to see companies willing to innovate and launch new tools! The outlook for Coptool 2013 keeping up with all the new innovations… Busy!