Gents, I noticed over at pro tool review an article landed today discussing Skil’s new cordless line. Skil Cordless Tools
It looks like Chervon/Skil are not fooling around or waiting to see what the rest of the tool world is doing before acting. Now mind, these tools are aimed squarely at the DIY’er but they also acknowledge that many of these types of tools get used at some level by pros for lighter work whether intended to do so or not. According to the article they are positioning the tools as prosumer models. They are introducing 12 and 18 volt Lithium ion models with a fairly complete lineup of tools to go along with the new batteries.
Speaking of batteries, they claim to be including some insulating wraps in the packs to help alleviate heat. All the packs will have usb charging ports in them as well. I think the latter is very smart.
What’s more interesting to me is how they are marketing the tools. They will land at Amazon in October and then other retail channels after that. I find that interesting because to me, Amazon is the regular retail channel for most people now. Particularly the under 40 market. These tools are going to be directed at the millennial generation, makers, etc. I think it is probably a good idea. While it is certainly fair game to somewhat dismiss this group of people as non-hands on types, I found in my maintenance days that many only needed a gentle shove to get them interested in hands on type work.
I also think it is no accident that Chervon is making the tools to look a lot less gimmicky and cheap. They are a deep Skil red with heavy black overmoulding. None of the toy space gun look of Ryobi tools. I hate to harp on it because the line is successful but I cannot bring myself to touch Ryobi tools because of that Buck Rogers colour scheme they use. They actually have some nice tools but…
I also think it is no accident they are introducing this stuff now. Remember, SBD grabbed up Craftsman a couple of years ago and launched some of the line a month or so ago. At least in press releases. I said it then and it bears repeating; SBD had better get Craftsman tools into the Amazon marketplace and do it pronto. I mean an entire Amazon storefront. I cannot say for sure but it looks like Chervon is doing this with their Amazon launch.
Personally I hope it works well. I am a Bosch fan but frankly, Bosch orphaned Skil and only the nice circular saws kept them relevant. Have you been to Skil’s web site lately? Not the Skilsaw pro site but the regular consumer site. They are showing off new sidewider circular saws front and center. They are phasing out the older models and the new ones have a tougher look to them. No telling what’s inside but marketing is huge and these at least look like TOOLS. Unlike the rest of the lineup. I hope they revamp the whole line.
And lastly, can someone more familiar with Chervon cordless comment on the new battery packs? They are a slide on pack but I am unsure if they look like other Chervon stuff or not.
I agree about Ryobi not being able to bring myself into buying Ryobi. Maybe it’s my bad experience with Ryobi 2-cycle weed trimmers or Maybe it’s how they don’t seem up to par in tests with other cordless tools. But I do like the fact that they have everything available in the Ryobi line. I’m not sure if just making cordless drill/impact drivers is enough to get people to switch from one line to another. Someone has to make a superior cordless tools across the line with drill/drivers, impact drivers/wrench, weed eater, wet/dry vac, blower, mower etc. I don’t think most battery powered blowers cut it. I’ve seen mixed reviews on all the brushless weed eaters from DeWalt and B&D. The old 40V B&D brush unit still gets the best reviews. Milwaukee is tempting me except for the price $$$, but for now I’ll stick with my hodgepodge of cheap B&D weed eaters and Porter Cable drills/impact drivers and battery/charger hackery.
Les, good points. Ryobi does inded have a stable full of cordless tools. Me? I don’t care as much. I am one who likes a cord on some tools. Saws, rotary hammers, etc. As for weed eaters I will stick with my trusty 30 year old Stihl FS76. It is a beast and I have spent a total of about 65 dollars on it in all that time. This year for a new carbeuretor. Runs like a champ. That’s less than one of those pricey large capacity batteries for these newer weed eaters.
I’m never had a stihl because I’m cheap, but I hear they are great I went through yearly breakage on with clutch burn-up on cheap Ryobi two stroke so I switched to a Ryobi Pro 4-stroke that lasted until the mutil-tool connect wore out. I got tired of finicky small gas trimmer engines and got a 40V B&D for $15 weed eater with battery and charger off Facebook marketplace, I also got a cheap 20V B&D weed eater to share batteries (Porter Cable and Stanley) I use for edging and light trimming. I have a small lawn so it’s good enough for me. I have an old original Japan made husqvarna that was given to me to use as a backup and I consider an antique. It was actually made by what’s called shindaiwa now.
Les, that is a good score on the battery weed eaters. Makes it worth experimenting with. I looked at the Milwaukee electric weed eaters at home depot. I think they were 299.00. Extra batteries were something like 100 dollars apiece or more. If anyone thinks those battery jobs will do what a good 2 stroke gas model will they are fooling themselves. Your usage is perfect as it would even be for pros in certain areas. Rest homes where patients cannot be disturbed. Areas near conference rooms where someone is giving a presentation. They all have their place in the scheme of things.
This whole battery tomfoolery is one thing I thing Skil/Chervon may be thinking about with this new Skil stuff. It would be really easy to merge the battery platform over to pro level tools. They already have the Ego 56v(I think) and now these new 20 and 12 volt models. All one manufacturer of both tool and batteries. Just keep the DIY stuff at say, 3.0Ah batteries and lower and the pro stuff at anything higher. If the go cordless with their circular saws they could make all them 56v and anything else 20v. Or even recips and tablesaws could use the higher voltages. All the DIY tools are brushless and for the life of me, why any company would introduce anything else at this point is ridiculous. Unlike some, I think Skil has a real chance to compete with Ryobi. Maybe not to the same sales level but a core group of younger ‘makers’ who are maybe like us in that we cannot quite go the toy gun look but would like something like Skil because, well, not everyone uses this. You never know what will move youngsters. But if there is one thing I would scream at Skil; No matter what you do, stick to your battery platform for EVERYTHING(like Milwaukee does) and you will get a certain amount of brand loyalty on that point alone. People will know their tools are simply going to work when the batteries go bad.