DeWalt’s yellow power tools have long been prominent on most any job site and in the shops of serious DIYers. They’re now looking to move even deeper into tradesmen’s tool belts with a broad line of new hand tools, and a new battery platform for cordless tools. I had an opportunity to sample the wares during a recent trip to Stanley-Black & Decker University in Towson, Maryland, just outside Baltimore. (DeWalt is a division of Stanley-Black & Decker.) Let’s talk hand tools first.
DeWalt launches a full line (90 SKUs) of hand tools July 1, with 40 more joining the lineup September 1. They range from screwdrivers to wrecking bars, tin snips to tape measures, razor knives to adjustable wrenches. Here’s just a sample of what’s coming:
And these aren’t just designs commandeered from the Stanley line and rebranded DeWalt. A few may have started with Stanley DNA, but have been “retooled” to fit DeWalt’s reputation for durability. From my brief time handling them, all felt well built, and fit nicely in my hand. Promised price points look to be very competitive, and they’ll be available in Home Depot and online at Amazon.com in addition to other retail and online channels.
Of interest in the hand tool line for us woodworkers who also dabble in DIY: You’ll no longer need to use your good bench chisels to punch a hole in drywall or notch out treated lumber. DeWalt’s side-strike chisel features a beefy blade that tapers in width from edge to edge. The wider edge can take a beating while the thinner edge features serrations for cutting twine, drywall etc. A steel tang extends the length of the handle with a metal cap for striking on top. Here’s a close-up look at that blade. Like I said, beefy!
For moving your tools to and from the job site, the ToughSystem offers a wide variety of transport options. Three sizes of containers mix and match and lock onto a dolly that can also serve as a hand truck. The handles of the containers drop over arms that reach out from the dolly. The containers can even be locked onto the dolly to discourage theft. Any container can support up to 440 pounds so, even though it’s not a recommended use, you won’t break them when you need a boost up.
Now let’s talk about cordless. DeWalt introduced a line of cordless tools powered by the new 20V Max line of lithium-ion batteries. The new tools and slide-on battery will be available in early September. The 20V Max batteries come in two sizes, one rated at 1.5 amp hours, the other at 3.0 amp hours.
The slide-on configuration eliminates the vertical “post” found on top of DeWalt’s current 18V batteries. Without this post extending up into a tool’s handle, engineers are able to design more comfortable grips and play with weight distribution for better balance. I did find the smaller grips of the drills and drivers to be more comfortable, and the balance of the cordless circ saw better than then the current 18V saw. We’ve got tools on the way for more in-depth evaluation and will pass along our impressions.
One thing DeWalt wanted to make perfectly clear: The current 18V system is not going away. They will continue to offer batteries and tools in the 18V line as long as consumers want them. In fact, the new “20V Max” designation is a bit of marketing speak. These battery packs have five 3.6-volt cells just like the 18V packs. Technically, the batteries have 20 volts fresh off the charger, but deliver 18 volts in the tool. DeWalt chose the 20V Max moniker to help consumers distinguish between the current and new lines of tools and batteries.
Craig @ WOOD
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