No argument here, Tim. I agree with that point of view as well.
You see, I’m not an absolutist on this particular DeWALT family theory. There are deviations from it working 100% of the time, and I’m not even sold that it’s a good idea. It just happens to fit a certain pattern they’re pushing for.
In the 12 volt line, they’ve really neglected it as a whole, so it’s hard to really see what I mean. I know they have a weak Recip saw that is little more than a pruner, and a few Drills, Impacts, and Screwdrivers that, although just as rugged and useful as the 20 Volt level of this Family theory, just aren’t as price-to-investment compatible. But, the 12 Volt lineup has Instruments. Wall Scanner, Inspection Cameras, Thermal tools, Laser levels, Etc. It has a lot of these, compared to higher or lower on the DeWALT food chain.
So… really I don’t see the TOOLS as the thing that connects them all together. Rather the Industry does. DeWALT is usually aiming at the Jobsite market, usually Industrial. So, looking at the tools THAT way, we start to see the “Family” theory working together. It might not work 100% on a skyscraper build, but for Warehouses, Homes, and Reno businesses, it seems fitting.
To Illustrate: A House Build. You need Plumbing, Electrical, Woodwork, Framing, Concrete, Roofing, Drywall, and probably Brickwork. And obviously a Foreman coordinating everything, because… We’re humans and who knows why we do things, but we know someone has to keep us on track, even make sure we don’t shoot ourselves in the foot with a nail gun, or otherwise kill ourselves (or eachother) when we get tired and/or goofy in the brain.
Now, you’re going to have supplies brought in, and fit to the job. Outside the perimeter of the build, you’ll probably be able to set up the FlexVOLT tools to prep the big stuff into the finished product. Particle Board, Plywood, Mitered Joints, Etc. That gets handed to Framers, Drywall installers, Plumbers, and the Concrete workers of all sorts. The Framers are going to have a mix of the FlexVOLT 7-1/4" Circular saw, and the 20 Volt 6-1/2" saws, and a selection of Drills, Impact Drivers, and Nailers. Not all on a single person obviously, but 5-6 people, sure. As time goes on, it’ll be time for the Electricians and Plumbers to come in, and that’s where you start to see a mix of 20 Volt Drills/Impact Drivers, 12 Volt Instruments, and 8 Volt screwdrivers and flashlights being carried around. They all have their job to do, and each person carries a select set that suits their jobs. They finish everything they’re doing, and now Drywall, Insulation, and Cabinetry and Doors start getting to work. They’re carrying more 20 Volt tools for installing everything, Drills, Impacts, Nailers, Drywall Screwdrivers, the odd Laser Level to verify what they’re doing. Something goes slightly wrong, and a board of some sort, possibly decorative, possibly structural, is too long. They carry it out to the FlexVOLT team, and shorten it to the correct length, bring it back in, and install it. By this point they can’t guarantee they need the FlexVOLT team anymore, so these guys are carrying FlexVOLT batteries on their 20 Volt tools just in case. When they go out to make the adjustments, they unhook the FlexVOLT batteries, lock them into the FlexVOLT tools for the few minutes it takes to need them, then take the batteries back when done. Battery dies? Foreman tosses them another one, and they keep going. (Not literally, that’s a very mean Foreman. Ideally just handing it off, not throwing it.) Then the build progresses to roofing, with nailers galore, paint with the FlexVOLT Compressors (I’m hoping they make bigger, 120 Volt ones at some point, to make this a reality.) and air sprayers… All-in-all start-to-finish Max Family tools.
I know this is pretty much an idealized/exaggerated view, but… then again… DeWALT has been offering the Max family over the old XRP family with that level of idealism in mind. Ergonomics improved, Lighter, Longer Runtime, “Tougher” as they say… So, I’m pretty convinced that the “Marketing” side of the 5 Max family lines is actually meant to promote that start-to-finish DeWALT continuity.
Real world? Not like the Marketing world. For the INDIVIDUAL? It can work. You’ve already bought into DeWALT, you might as well stick with them, as long as a tool doesn’t fail you. For MYSELF? I’m a DeWALT guy, but DeWALT doesn’t make the rotary tools I use, Dremel does. I’ve been drooling over the Wall Scanner for years now, even back when it was the failed Radar Scanner. I’ve considered the IR Thermometer as well. These are 12 Volt Max tools, and my DeWALT tools are all 20 Volt Max and 8 Volt Max thus far. I think I have 1 20 Volt XR tool as well. And, honestly, I see how they all fit together in a build, or a project.
But, hey… You have 100% of my support to think otherwise. I don’t expect everyone to see things this way, in fact it can sound rather crazy at times. Hell, I’m still fond of my Stanley Anti-Vibe 16Oz Hammer, and only RECENTLY was convinced that, if I wanted a heavier hammer, I should go with Estwing’s UltraHammers. It doesn’t take much to get me to agree with others.