New Brand of Cordless Tools from Lowes - FLEX

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RFGuy
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New Brand of Cordless Tools from Lowes - FLEX

Post by RFGuy »

Not sure we needed another one of these, but looks like there will be a new line of power tools that Lowes will sell. I guess they weren't happy with their partnership with Craftsman tools. The lineup is called FLEX and comes from Chervon, who I guess is a German based power tool company though I have never heard of them. The intent is for FLEX to be a pro series of tools targeting even higher performance than what Milwaukee, DeWalt, Festool deliver.

https://www.flexpowertools.com/faceoff

https://www.prnewswire.com/news-release ... hnologies.

Last edited by RFGuy on Sat Mar 20, 2021 8:20 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Ed in Tampa
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Re: New Brand of Cordless Tools from Lowes - FLEX

Post by Ed in Tampa »

Interesting Chervon manufactures Ego, Skill, Skillsaw, Kobalt, Xtron, Flex, Devon, Calmdura. Most brand sold in Lowe’s. I think the idea is Skill will be entry, Kobalt will be mid, and Flex will be pro. I also heard that the Flex line may include pro quality outdoor tools which is presently held by Ego.
Seems like the market is getting filled up with brand names while a handful of actual manufactures exist.
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Re: New Brand of Cordless Tools from Lowes - FLEX

Post by edma194 »

Ed in Tampa wrote: Fri Mar 19, 2021 9:42 am Seems like the market is getting filled up with brand names while a handful of actual manufactures exist.
Yes, this. The price will probably be good, but it keeps getting more difficult to tell just what we are buying. I shouldn't complain too much though, hand held consumer power tools in general are a very good deal for the price due to the high level of retailing competition.
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Re: New Brand of Cordless Tools from Lowes - FLEX

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Ed in Tampa wrote: Fri Mar 19, 2021 9:42 am Interesting Chervon manufactures Ego, Skill, Skillsaw, Kobalt, Xtron, Flex, Devon, Calmdura. Most brand sold in Lowe’s. I think the idea is Skill will be entry, Kobalt will be mid, and Flex will be pro. I also heard that the Flex line may include pro quality outdoor tools which is presently held by Ego.
Seems like the market is getting filled up with brand names while a handful of actual manufactures exist.
Ed,

Thanks. Didn't know that Chevron owned/engineered all those tool brands. It is interesting because it still doesn't quite seem clear what Lowes is trying to do with all of this. I mean I saw some industry debate in the last year on the whole Craftsman <-> Kobalt rivalry at Lowes. I have a few Kobalt sockets, etc. myself and they seem to be high quality. However, in the last year I have heard reports that Kobalt hand and power tools have been slowly disappearing from some Lowes stores and being replaced by Craftsman tools. I couldn't find the news article on it, but I think Lowes partnered up with Craftsman in some kind of business arrangement. Speculation was that Craftsman was going to become the new "house" brand of tools at Lowes, similar to how Ridgid is the house brand at Home Depot. I don't know what all this means so if anyone has more details please share. I agree it is good to have more choices and competition is healthy, but in ways it seems like we have too many choices now for cordless power tools (IMHO).
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Re: New Brand of Cordless Tools from Lowes - FLEX

Post by reible »

From the little they showed us it would appear at least part of the power package comes in the form of more voltage. I remember my first screw driver that was a 3 volt B&D. Later I had a 9V drill and then of course the 12V phase. I still have a Milwaukee 12V drill/driver that I really love but the rest of those 12V tools are long gone. They of course were replaced with 18V tools, and a couple of 20V(rated) tools. Now it seems that is not enough and the new tools need to be 24V.

The problem with this is that one really needs to buy in to the battery system and chargers. Most of my drills and the like are Hitachi because I have a collection of batteries and charges already. I have some other tools of course because there is on one company, at least at this point in time that has all battery tools I want. So when I went to get a couple of battery powered nailers I had to Porter Cable, well until I wanted a small pin nailer when I went back to Hitachi. Then I wanted a battery router, and since I loved the DeWalt small router I went with that brand.

My couple of brands already make life interesting since my charger shelf has no more room and the Dewalt battery doesn't fit the storage shelf I made. So good lucky getting be to buy in to yet another battery system. And if I was going to go to yet another system it would likely be Festool which I have so far avoided in that area.

After all this one would expect that I've pretty much had it with all the different battery systems and was not looking to get yet another one.... and that would have been the case except about a month or two back I had a project that was a bit of a pain to do and my dremel failed and it was not the right tool anyway so. So I got a worx chopper (WX801L) which has yet another battery type and so now I have to figure out how and where to set up to do that changing as well. Again the other brands/battery systems did not have a tool like this so I was sort of forced into another brand to get what I wanted.

So while I don't like the idea of adding yet another battery system the advantage of this new system maybe that it will have a much wider selection of tools that all use the same battery and charger. Starting out with only the couple of tools of course they are not there now.

Ed
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Re: New Brand of Cordless Tools from Lowes - FLEX

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Thanks Ed. Yeah, I agree with you. I don't think adding one more brand of cordless helps the market for some of the reasons you stated. With air tools and corded tools it is simple, i.e. everyone is on a level playing field and the best tool wins. It makes it easy to mix and match brands to get the best tool for every job (if that is what you want to do). However, with cordless the customer is buying into a battery platform. Sometimes this forces you to buy a cordless tool with less features because you have batteries at home for it. Also, this puts a shelf life on the tool because that battery technology won't be around forever which forces an upgrade eventually. I mean how many of us have older corded Skil saws that we will never get rid of and continue to use? Good luck saying the same about cordless tools in the future. Another thing that kind of concerns me is I tend to see fewer brand choices at a lot of stores...not just Lowes and Home Depot, but Walmart, etc. So, Ridgid is the house brand of Home Depot. It has a lifetime warranty so a lot of contractors buy it because of the warranty not necessarily because it is a better tool. In fact, I have had contractors and service guys at my house with Ridgid tools and they often complain about them, but the lifetime warranty was too good for them to pass up. Don't get me wrong - I am not saying that Ridgid is a bad tool company. They make some very solid tools though not always with all the features you want, etc. Similarly Lowe's house brand was Kobalt before they adopted Craftsman and now FLEX. I can still get Milwaukee (my chosen battery platform) tools at Home Depot, but I wonder if that will always be the case given moves like this by Lowes. What happens when brand X can't be purchased at Home Depot, Lowes, Menards, etc. any more? Does it become the next forgotten brand like Porter Cable? Usually I am all for competition and more variety, but in this case I am wondering if we would be better off with just a few good cordless tool brands. That or a future where there is common battery platform for all brands so we can mix and match.

P.S. I thought chasing higher voltage cordless tools had gone away with the inclusion of brushless DC motors and better battery tech a while back. In fact, I know Milwaukee and DeWalt (and probably others) have been offering some compelling solutions in the 12V line-up now that compete favorably with the 18V solutions. If they are escalating battery voltage again this isn't good because it forces yet another tier in battery platforms to have to deal with.
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Re: New Brand of Cordless Tools from Lowes - FLEX

Post by DLB »

I also agree with Ed, it would take a pretty compelling tool to sway me to add another battery format to the shop. The Milwaukee M18 and DeWalt 20V lineups already each boast 200+ tools. Others, Ryobi comes to mind, might be even higher. I'm sure everyone has their own perspective, I like both the Milwaukee Fuel and DeWalt XR pretty equally. But I think there is a clear preference for Milwaukee among the trades, perhaps followed by Rigid based on warranty and ease of getting service. When I want more power I like the DeWalt Flexvolt (60V) lineup, notably absent from Lowe's, along with Milwaukee and Rigid. Which is why I think Lowe's needed to make a move like this. They have too many tool brands with little to differentiate them. Lowe's needs something perceived as high end because for years they've been in second place on high end tools (at least in this part of the country where Lowe's and HD dominate the market).

I personally don't own a single cordless tool that I'm looking to replace because of power, so this line of advertising doesn't really speak to me. If they can come up with some new tools not currently available in cordless form that may be a different story.

- David
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Re: New Brand of Cordless Tools from Lowes - FLEX

Post by RFGuy »

DLB wrote: Fri Mar 19, 2021 5:07 pm I also agree with Ed, it would take a pretty compelling tool to sway me to add another battery format to the shop. The Milwaukee M18 and DeWalt 20V lineups already each boast 200+ tools. Others, Ryobi comes to mind, might be even higher. I'm sure everyone has their own perspective, I like both the Milwaukee Fuel and DeWalt XR pretty equally. But I think there is a clear preference for Milwaukee among the trades, perhaps followed by Rigid based on warranty and ease of getting service. When I want more power I like the DeWalt Flexvolt (60V) lineup, notably absent from Lowe's, along with Milwaukee and Rigid. Which is why I think Lowe's needed to make a move like this. They have too many tool brands with little to differentiate them. Lowe's needs something perceived as high end because for years they've been in second place on high end tools (at least in this part of the country where Lowe's and HD dominate the market).

I personally don't own a single cordless tool that I'm looking to replace because of power, so this line of advertising doesn't really speak to me. If they can come up with some new tools not currently available in cordless form that may be a different story.

- David
I agree...we all have our own personal preferences when it comes to tools. For me, I think the major brands are all fairly equivalent. At the moment I have a clear bias towards Milwaukee, but I loved DeWalt before that. Even though I don't purchase DeWalt anymore I still think they are a great tool company. I know there are higher voltage lines in cordless, but honestly I don't see much point in them except for a few exceptions in the trades, e.g. battery operated miter saw, tablesaw, etc. For me, as a hobbyist, I like the recent trend towards lighter and more compact tools in the 12-20V range. With on-site power and fast recharge times I think hobbyists and most professionals prefer smaller batteries and recharging them. When you look at the new FLEX cordless drill it looks way out of proportion because the battery is ridiculously large. Reminds me of cordless drills from 10 years ago.

Cordless tools typically have more than enough power these days to do what 90% of us need on the job, but for marketing reasons often they chaser higher and higher torque numbers, etc. Interestingly I looked up the press release for FLEX and it looks like are going to offer a limited lifetime warranty (see info below) on the tool, including battery, but I think this is going to be just a 1 time promotional thing as they launch the brand. In other words, in this warranty won't apply to FLEX tools purchased in 2022 and beyond. Supposedly a few of these new FLEX tools will be in stores next month.

"Additionally, FLEX will include a limited lifetime warranty on any tool, battery or charger purchase with registration in 2021."
https://www.prnewswire.com/news-release ... 50119.html
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Ed in Tampa
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Re: New Brand of Cordless Tools from Lowes - FLEX

Post by Ed in Tampa »

Something no one mentioned is the line of battery adapters that are slowing coming to market. These allow using one manufactures batteries on a competitors tool. I do not know if some of the new battery sensor technology will stop this but right now most major brands have an adapter that allows the use of another manufactures battery.
I keep hoping someone will come out with an adapter that allows Ryobi batteries to be used on Makita but I think the Ryobi battery design prevents it from used in an adapter.

Also have you noticed the trend in most lines where the tool is getting smaller and lighter but more powerful than the preceding year's tool? Some of the new 12 volt tools now have better run times and more power than older 18 volt tools. Of course the newer 18 volt tools are getting extended run times and increases of power. Then there are those manufactures that are now using two batteries at a time or huge 36 volt, 40 volt, and 60 volt tools. Unfortunately it takes two men and a boy to use these heavy weights all day long. 73 years old my limit is quickly becoming 12 volt tools. Holding a 18 volt up over my head causes me to start shaking my arm to the point I can't do any constructive work. But I have a 12 volt Ridgid that I can hold above my head with no problem.
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Re: New Brand of Cordless Tools from Lowes - FLEX

Post by RFGuy »

Lowes just launched the FLEX line of cordless tools yesterday. I believe they sent free tools to certain social media influencers with the caveat that they don't give their opinion until after it launched yesterday. I don't know the channel linked below, but this is the first review that I could find on one of their new cordless drills. It looks like it didn't do too well in the 1st video so I guess I would caution anyone considering this new product line to maybe wait and see how other reviews come in on them. At this price point, that drill should have performed much better than it did in this video (IMHO).







Last edited by RFGuy on Sat Apr 24, 2021 7:12 am, edited 2 times in total.
📶RF Guy

Mark V 520 (Bought New '98) | 4" jointer | 6" beltsander | 12" planer | bandsaw | router table | speed reducer | univ. tool rest
Porter Cable 12" Compound Miter Saw | Rikon 8" Low Speed Bench Grinder w/CBN wheels | Jessem Clear-Cut TS™ Stock Guides
Festool (Emerald): DF 500 Q | RO 150 FEQ | OF 1400 EQ | TS 55 REQ | CT 26 E
DC3300 | Shopvac w/ClearVue CV06 Mini Cyclone | JDS AirTech 2000 | Sundstrom PAPR | Dylos DC1100 Pro particulate monitor
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