Just this week, Les posted up a very interesting thread about SBDC and their battery merry go round. He provided some good information about about B&D, Bostitch, FatMax, and Porter-Cable battery interchangeability or easy mods to do so. And contrasted this with SBDC’s new Craftsman batteries which are evidently different in polarity on the pin outs hampering any interoperability with the older tools. Bummer.
Okay, lets talk about my little trip to Lowe’s yesterday. Once in awhile I stop in and just look around at what’s on sale or possibly new or whatever. This was such a day. So naturally I popped over to the tool aisle to check the latest Bosch sales or closeouts. Didn’t notice too much there but in the Porter-Cable section, oh yes. Lots of reduced prices. None said closeout so lets not get too antsy about the Craftsman vs P-C debate as to which takes shelf space. What I noted are the RIDICULOUS discrepancies in battery prices between brands. Even within the same stable such as SBDC.
For instance. A Porter-Cable 1.3A battery was ‘new lower price’ for $40 with charger. Regularly $49 I believe. The version without a charger is $29 without charger today online, regular price. They didn’t have them in store yesterday. Okay, fine. I get this. Maybe a prelude to closeout. Who knows? Yet directly in the next aisle they had B&D 2.0A batteries for $49 everyday price. So very close in price(originally) for the 35% or so lower rated P-C. Then I look at the 1.5A P-C(red top version) and it is $71 and change! What the…? Is this some super secret high output battery?
Now lets go over to the Bosch aisle. Hmmm. A nice little 2.0A 18v battery for…$69.99. Why in hades is the P-C battery higher priced? And this leads to, why would anyone invest in these lower tiered tools when you can watch the sales and get much better tools(bigger prices usually to be fair)? And get this, it is not online but they had a couple of other Bosch batteries on sale, including I am pretty sure, a 4.0Ah model for something like $89. Okay, not exactly bargain store pricing but for Bosch’s larger capacity batteries, which are considered to be some of the best technology out there, to be in the same zip code as a very much inferior 1.7A Porter-Cable models is beyond ridiculous. And get this. Right now, online at Lowe’s you can buy their latest 6.3Ah battery for a regular price of $99. Heck, it may have been that model at Lowe’s yesterday on sale. I did not check that close. Only looked at how thick it was. You can always tell the 4.0A and up because they are twice as thick as the next models down.
This whole battery thing is beyond confusing and aggravating. Last week Menard’s had the nice little compact Bosch brushless 18v on sale for something like $130. It came with lower rated batteries than these brutes but hey, ANY Bosch 18v lithium fits. So upgrades are as easy as waiting for a sale. Unlike the lower tiered SBDC models.
I think this sort of thing has the potential to turn a lot of people off to these SBDC brands. For goodness sake, you can go to HD any day and buy a 2 battery/2.0Ah each DeWalt 18v batteries with adapter for older XR tools for 119 and tax. So 80 apiece for a battery that fits ANY newer DeWalt tool and it is the same rating as the 2.0 P-C batteries when you can find them. Just a few weeks ago, HD had the two pack of 4.0Ah Ridgid batteries for $99! one-half to one-third the price of comparable models from SBDC’s lower tiered brands. This is all a big game/matrix or something. You cannot keep it straight.