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Sneaky cordless tool price increases?

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D_W

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Maybe this is a U.S. thing - not sure.

I have two gas trimmers, one I need to unload and the other is the string trimmer and multi-tool equivalent of letorneau loader. Not really the kind of thing you'd get out to snip off little bits here or there in the off weeks where the whole yard doesn't get a hard trim at the fence, etc.

Went to home depot where my favorite (but becoming less favorable due to a philosophy of moving to more expensive tools to push on the folks with lots of batteries) ryobi brand trimmer was scarce other than expensive models. $150 for a brushless 18v trimmer. This seemed steep. I recall a time when these were $79 with a teaser battery, but they were pre-brushless. The "tool only" version that's about $30 cheaper was empty with a sticker that said "get it online only now".

Go online, gone - redirects you to the version with the battery. I guess they're not happy about people buying the $79 bare tool once they had 3 or 4 batteries, as the batteries are marked up like printer ink.

Ghee, I guess I can lift thor off of the rack for $150. Next to the trimmers was a pack of 6 pools of line for the new version of ryobi trimmer. These spools look like they would last about an hour each. $30! (it's finer line than full sized trimmers). 11 feet per spool. five steps down the aisle and commercial braided trimmer line is $30 for 830 feet. More than 10 times the price for thinner flimsy line. I guess the line now is a profit leader, too.

the tools don't look any heavier, but they're brushless - that's an improvement. One that's to be (by price) $20 more. Except the tool only version is now gone and the $79 version was marked up to $99, and then replaced by the brushless version at $119, which itself is NLA tool only. Eek. The old line spools changed in color from green to gray and the price doubled, and the length of line on each spool was removed from the labeling.

I guess the idea of the economy line of tools being economy is sort of over, but the old $79 google shopping links go directly to the $149 version now. "we found something similar to the item you're looking for"

Yes, sort of like calling 2 year scotch and 10 year similar.

(there may also be some motivation to try to push people out of the 18V tools into the 40 so that we can't continue to use our old batteries - which surprisingly, have been superb for me for 5-10 years after first buying a higher cost brand of tools here and finding the batteries to lose function (at the circuit board level) within a couple of years).

My favorite tool-only hand vac (think green dustbuster) was also replaced - $24 version replaced with a $65 version, and apparently the new version is terrible by the reviews.

I guess it's progress. For someone other than the buyers.
 

Inspector

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The only Ryobi tool I have is a drill/driver that I bought for about $70Can 5 years ago. It has a cord! That's right a cord!

The
only battery powered tool of any kind we have is a Stihl string trimmer and that's because the wife doesn't want to drag the cord on the other Stihl string trimmer we have. The battery powered one is pretty decent but wasn't cheap naturally. I like the corded one because when you reach the end of the line you're done. Everything past that is not important.

Well there is the 4 stroke gas powered Makita for the big stuff along the property line of the 9 acres. Got it because I hate mixing gas/oil.

I also have a scythe that runs on rib eye, tenderloin or rack of lamb. 😋😋😋

I don't fall into the ever upward spiraling battery tool trap so I be happy. :)

Pete
 

Spectric

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I don't fall into the ever upward spiraling battery tool trap so I be happy.
I can see your point, I think it is like renting rather than actually buying or leasehold and not freehold because with a corded tool it will run until it dies, you are not constrained by the life of the battery or left holding a decent tool without any motive power.
 

D_W

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I've got two small cordless vacs - one's a dustbuster type and one is the size of a small cooler. Super for stuff like vacuuming out the car without running a line. No interest in the higher voltage higher capacity stuff, and my strimmer that's left is some chinese 52cc monster. I figure it'd be a big dud with no response, but for $160 shipped, it's got a pole saw (that works) an extended hedge trimmer (that works), a brush cutter blade head (that works) and a strimmer head (that's obviously fine) with a hardened splined solid shaft. Interestingly, about the same price as the new ryobi 18v trimmer.

Some genius just put the 52cc ubiquitous 3 horsepower chainsaw motor on a trimmer mount. A squeeze of the trigger to half throttle and you have bare dirt and a few worms who run for cover like you caught them in the middle of a poo. You can trim and run with it if desired - we'll see how long it lasts, but it's on year 3 so far and the objective was to get the pole saw to avoid paying $400 for someone to round one of my large ornamental trees.

At any rate, small suburban properties, no problem on the cordless tools. Properties like yours (yours is similar to my parents) - what are you going to do with several acres of yard, more than that of woods and a battery. Nothing. But in my filthy little shop, having a low power "leaf blower" that is totally unsuitable for leaves, but superb for blowing the filthiest of fine dirt and metal dust out of the shop into the open - great. The real leaf blower's (both electric or gas) have too much power and the shop is a cloud of dust.

My intro to ryobi was two things - a 15 amp router (still have it) made in japan, and a $60 hammer drill with a cord. On two different ends of the universe, but the corded drill has done way more than its weight in concrete dust, and 15 years later, it feels a whole lot more for quality than I suspected it might be.

I think we're getting data-driven changes in the range on the cordless tools, though. Home depot has the market saturated. The only way to increase revenue is to expand the share the store gets for each customer in the territory. I get how that works, but don't like it. Even harbor freight here is attempting to go up market. I need the next snake belly company selling one-use tools rather than someone passing off 3 use tools as something 5 times as good.
 

D_W

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I can see your point, I think it is like renting rather than actually buying or leasehold and not freehold because with a corded tool it will run until it dies, you are not constrained by the life of the battery or left holding a decent tool without any motive power.
The Ridgid brand sold by home depot here costs like a pro tool, and the batteries last like something with no name on it at all. The draw for me with one cheap brand was you get 6 batteries, they can't be worse than the double as expensive ridgid, and they cost less per AH capacity and the bare tools are cheap. Nothing can really stick you like having four figures of ridgid tools and then $100 a year in refurbished batteries after the new ones give up in two years. there's a "warranty" but it's almost useless because they always find a way to tell you that you didn't file it right and then filing it right adds enormous paperwork to a little tool. Yuck.

I think they have guys like me (cheapos) with a pile of batteries over a barrel. They can double the cost of the tools to farm the battery owners and eliminate the ones that were lower cost and there isn't a thing we can do about it other than start over elsewhere.
 

D_W

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I figured of all things, the lithium packs would come down in price (the battery raw material is about a 10th or 12th of what it cost 10 years ago). No, they're actually more expensive now. That's really something. $99 for one, $149 for two or $499 for five (figure that one out). 3ah batteries otherwise identical to the 4ah batteries are $49.

It's almost pointless to even look and expect the pricing schemes to make sense. I think it's data driven now - data driven suggests that making things make sense isn't always good for getting the most out of people.
 

Inspector

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I can see your point, I think it is like renting rather than actually buying or leasehold and not freehold because with a corded tool it will run until it dies, you are not constrained by the life of the battery or left holding a decent tool without any motive power.
The old corded tool has polluted less too because you aren't scouring the earth for rare battery minerals that need replacing a bunch of times along with the tools that become obsolete when they don't supply the batteries anymore and the new ones don't fit. The big problem is the manufacturers are making fewer and fewer corded tools.

Tethered to a plug Pete
 

Trainee neophyte

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I have a 3 year old Ryobi strimmer (or possibly weedwhacker in the usa). It cost 25% of of a real one (€120 instead of €450), and is repaired annually. We are probably up to about €150 in repairs so far, which nearly matches my other strimmer over 15 years of use. It also has less power, and does less work than my Efco workhorse, despite the claim that it is the same engine size.

I'm still not sure it was a good buy, and is used as as spare, or if we have 2 people available to cut grass. I still wish I had bought an expensive one, but the initial saving was huge.
 

clogs

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Vamos, Crete, GREECE.......
cant handle the big strimmers - weed wackers anymore due to Arthritis.......
have my reliable 2 stroke Kawasaki and Echo models, slightly dif sizes....small one for between the rocks....
so I made this to save my body....we have 7,500m2 rough garden, with embeded rocks....mostley weeds in the winter and a desert in the summer.....
wheels from a junk w/chair, engine is 4'ish HP, Honda, so old u cant get parts now but still starts first time..
belt pulley from 50's Massey water pump, tool bag is a blown seat air bag from a Renault....only had to by the self-aligning bearings and the 1" shafting...stone shield is UK type DPM, doubled up....not pretty but man it works well, runs for at least 2 hours on a tank full...1/2ltr......after that my body hurts.....
the photo's are the machine on the sluice of the old watermill we had in France.......
would like to have bought a new one but at the time Huskvarna wanted over 900euros for a pretty thing with a duff Briggs n Stratton motor....dont think so.....

on the battery tools
I need a new Milwakee Fuel 1/2 impact gun.(1200n/m's).....in the end found a bare model for 1/2 the UK price in Germany...with no import duty to Crete.....
you just got to spend a few hours checking the net.....

for the guy's in the US, what happened to the place that sold tools $1 doller over invoivce (Carolina, I think)....it was awhile ago since I lived there....
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IMG_0679.JPG
 

Phil Pascoe

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Tool prices from one Country to another have always gone out of kilter (ours usually being the highest). I remember being in an expensive small suburban tool shop in Auckland some twenty three years ago. I saw a Marple chisel (of which I knew the list price as someone had been hauled across the coals for booking one out where I worked - £17.50, from a trade outlet) on sale for the equivalent of £12 and an Estwing hammer which was about £35 here on sale there for £10. I bought 18v DeWalt stuff there and brought it back - even paying duty and VAT it was half the price it was here.
 

Gordon Tarling

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If you can believe all that you read, the massive increase in demand for electric vehicle batteries and the raw materials from which they are made can only lead to shortages and price increases until alternative batteries and materials become widely used. Not sure that the same can be said for the price of the bare tools though.

G.
 

Terry - Somerset

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I can accept that one may choose to pay more for quality. DIY tool use for a couple of hours a week is quite different to a tool that earns a living where short life and frequent failures damages your wealth.

My frustration rests with the clones, often at the lower end of the market, where significant price differences exist.

They appear to originate in the same factory. The mouldings and castings may be similar/identical, the colour is different (so what), and there may be a minor external variation (eg: a part chromed not painted)

What is not clear is if there are internal differences which may affect function and durability - the important bits. This is true of both corded and cordless machines and tools.

The end result is a race to the bottom as price is the only differentiator, offset by those who promote brand in the hope that loyalty will excuse high prices.

Perhaps Which (consumer mag) could be encouraged to run some proper tests on a few popular tools - eg: cordless drills, multitools, plunge saws. At least they tend to be thorough, objective and independant - not always the case with other reviews and opinions.
 

Dabop

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I haven't bought a replacement battery since 2014, according to the dates written on my batteries- I have bought a few aftermarket elcheapos to fit my dewalt stuff, and then when their batteries fail (usually within a few months at the usage I give them LOL) I repack with quality cells (usually sanyo) at a third or less of the price of a new batterypack, and they last longer per charge and par longer before pack failure...
I also made a 'power adapter' which was a 50A 20v PSU (24v just turn the trimmer pot down until it gets to around 19-20v), with a cord soldered into a dead battery case, that turns any of my battery tools into a mains powered tool- win/win
 

D_W

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The old corded tool has polluted less too because you aren't scouring the earth for rare battery minerals that need replacing a bunch of times along with the tools that become obsolete when they don't supply the batteries anymore and the new ones don't fit. The big problem is the manufacturers are making fewer and fewer corded tools.

Tethered to a plug Pete
Things like corded tool displays and a guy who cuts keys are thin on the ground here. A machine that does the key cutting poorly for four times the price is now resident at home depot here, and the corded tools are reserved for things like one or two routers, a recipro saw and a circular saw. I didn't walk back fast enough, but there must be a rotary hammer or two that's still corded (even their days are probably numbered).

A subcontractor is replacing the gas lines on my street this week (and those of us hooked up get a one time freebie to have our line off of the main replaced for free if it doesn't pass a pressure test - much appreciated that!). They are working mostly with air tools off of a pull-behind compressor. They already have the compressor to run pressure tests and I guess they figured all of their tools might as well run off of it, too. Working 1935 style!!
 

D_W

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I can accept that one may choose to pay more for quality. DIY tool use for a couple of hours a week is quite different to a tool that earns a living where short life and frequent failures damages your wealth.

My frustration rests with the clones, often at the lower end of the market, where significant price differences exist.

They appear to originate in the same factory. The mouldings and castings may be similar/identical, the colour is different (so what), and there may be a minor external variation (eg: a part chromed not painted)

What is not clear is if there are internal differences which may affect function and durability - the important bits. This is true of both corded and cordless machines and tools.

The end result is a race to the bottom as price is the only differentiator, offset by those who promote brand in the hope that loyalty will excuse high prices.

Perhaps Which (consumer mag) could be encouraged to run some proper tests on a few popular tools - eg: cordless drills, multitools, plunge saws. At least they tend to be thorough, objective and independant - not always the case with other reviews and opinions.
You've got AvE for this. If there's enough luck to see him take a tool apart.

Interesting is the case where someone like Harbor Freight over here makes a line that's a little cheaper than a top tool but asserts it's just as good. It appears when it comes down to the nuts and bolts inside, the tools are better than their cheap ones, but still have consumable limited life parts in some places (which lets you know that they really don't expect pro buyers - they expect people who think they're buying a pro-buyer level tool for a less - the something for nothing gimmick).

So far with ryobi's tools, after having a twice as expensive "Ridgid" drill and all of the ridgid battery packs go to rubbish, I haven't had any tools give up the ghost except for one partially due to my error. A battery impulse pinner jammed and when I took it apart (there's no reason it should've jammed, but not everything works perfectly - something malfunctioned). I attempted to get it to cycle partially disassembled and then it cycled!! and some of the parts flew out of the front (it wouldn't cycle fully assembled). That was a $100 lesson (bare tool cost) as the part assembly that I need isn't available separately. The drills feel cheaper than better drills, but all of them are still working, and all of the batteries are still functioning. The reviews in terms of reliability for some of their more upmarket tools (like the $150 strimmer) are less favorable. I think they're repositioning, not necessarily for the better, but for a different area in the market - potentially merging over the ridgid brand? Don't know - I don't know any contractor here who has bought any of the ridgid stuff on coupon offer and likes it.
 

D_W

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cant handle the big strimmers - weed wackers anymore due to Arthritis.......
have my reliable 2 stroke Kawasaki and Echo models, slightly dif sizes....small one for between the rocks....
so I made this to save my body....we have 7,500m2 rough garden, with embeded rocks....mostley weeds in the winter and a desert in the summer.....
wheels from a junk w/chair, engine is 4'ish HP, Honda, so old u cant get parts now but still starts first time..
belt pulley from 50's Massey water pump, tool bag is a blown seat air bag from a Renault....only had to by the self-aligning bearings and the 1" shafting...stone shield is UK type DPM, doubled up....not pretty but man it works well, runs for at least 2 hours on a tank full...1/2ltr......after that my body hurts.....
the photo's are the machine on the sluice of the old watermill we had in France.......
would like to have bought a new one but at the time Huskvarna wanted over 900euros for a pretty thing with a duff Briggs n Stratton motor....dont think so.....

on the battery tools
I need a new Milwakee Fuel 1/2 impact gun.(1200n/m's).....in the end found a bare model for 1/2 the UK price in Germany...with no import duty to Crete.....
you just got to spend a few hours checking the net.....

for the guy's in the US, what happened to the place that sold tools $1 doller over invoivce (Carolina, I think)....it was awhile ago since I lived there....
View attachment 110486View attachment 110487
If the place you're talking about was an old mail order business, most of them have gone out. Their mortal sin was that they looked at and carried only good tools, and sooner or later they're beat by modern marketing.

We are probably the cheapest place to get tools, so when they bump up a line of tools like they appear to be doing with ryobi, we're SOL.

Milwaukee fuel stuff has a huge following here, all the way to dairy farmers, who are notorious in the US for beating their tools and equipment (low margin, constant work, stuff can't be coddled - often itinerant labor, too with the presence of corrosive cow poo ending up on things). I have yet to run into a farmer or heavy mechanic who isn't replacing some of their corded tools with the Fuel tools. And it's 99.9% of the time that brand only.
 

D_W

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I have a 3 year old Ryobi strimmer (or possibly weedwhacker in the usa). It cost 25% of of a real one (€120 instead of €450), and is repaired annually. We are probably up to about €150 in repairs so far, which nearly matches my other strimmer over 15 years of use. It also has less power, and does less work than my Efco workhorse, despite the claim that it is the same engine size.

I'm still not sure it was a good buy, and is used as as spare, or if we have 2 people available to cut grass. I still wish I had bought an expensive one, but the initial saving was huge.
I have a 15 year old shindaiwa trimmer that I have to admit that other than checking the splines for grease at 50 hours, I've literally never done anything to. Not even changed the plug. It was $270 (but who knows what it would be there with VAT, and shindaiwa was purchased and changed around, anyway). The chinese multi-tool thing that I got, I was hoping for one go or maybe a year or two with it as it was a third the cost of a single tree service for shaping a tree. It's three years old now and starts after 8 months of disuse in about 4 pulls. It's heavier than the older trimmer, but I can't justify keeping both on a postage stamp and have 100 feet of tall rose of sharon that makes the china machine more valuable. I still don't know how they make them and get them shipped to your door here for $160 including ebay fees for the seller.

First chinese tool that I ever bought and found the power description to be accurate and then thought "wow, this has twice as much power as it should". The tube around the hardened shaft was too long, though, and I had to cut it for the shaft to go into the power head - out of the box, pull the trigger and nothing moved, and the only fix that corrected the geometric issue was actually shortening the tube/shaft housing. I'd imagine many of them went back. After that, no problem.

Burns fuel at twice the rate or more, but one just doubles their walking speed - there is no way to stall it in grass or weeds. For folks who have parts or service on their mind, this kind of thing is out of the question - when it breaks, if something can't be fabricated for it, it's done other than maybe robbing the string head and saving the engine for a go kart for the kids.
 

Inspector

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cant handle the big strimmers - weed wackers anymore due to Arthritis.......
have my reliable 2 stroke Kawasaki and Echo models, slightly dif sizes....small one for between the rocks....
so I made this to save my body....we have 7,500m2 rough garden, with embeded rocks....mostley weeds in the winter and a desert in the summer.....
wheels from a junk w/chair, engine is 4'ish HP, Honda, so old u cant get parts now but still starts first time..
belt pulley from 50's Massey water pump, tool bag is a blown seat air bag from a Renault....only had to by the self-aligning bearings and the 1" shafting...stone shield is UK type DPM, doubled up....not pretty but man it works well, runs for at least 2 hours on a tank full...1/2ltr......after that my body hurts.....
the photo's are the machine on the sluice of the old watermill we had in France.......
would like to have bought a new one but at the time Huskvarna wanted over 900euros for a pretty thing with a duff Briggs n Stratton motor....dont think so.....


View attachment 110486View attachment 110487
I don't have one like yours but they are not terribly expensive here.



I leave the back half of the property alone. The Meadowlarks like to build their nests in the tall dead grass so it easy to justify.

Pete
 

Jake

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Come on DW you’ve been reading this UK forum long enough by now to realise it will be Brexits fault, regardless of problem or location
He is obviously not affected by that, but the Trump tariffs on Chinese goods (right or wrong) will be a major component.
 
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