DeWALT Outdoor Power Equipment Is Coming!
by John R. Williams
I am writing this article because I believe it is important to inform the public about what I believe will happen with the new generation of power equipment coming out of DeWalt.
The last time I wrote anything about these things was when they were announced in 2005. At that time there was no way to tell how much better or worse than their competitors they would be. Now we have all kinds of data on them and I think it’s time to put together a comprehensive review of these products so that consumers can make informed decisions.
Let me start off by saying that I am not an engineer nor do I pretend to be one. My job is simply to provide unbiased information based upon my years of experience in the field of technology and product development. I don’t claim to be an expert on any of these products but I am trying to give you as many facts as possible so that you can make your own educated decision.
The first time I handled a DCG414 string trimmer I thought to myself, “This thing feels like a toy!” It was so light that it almost didn’t feel right. The engine, while powerful for a trimmer, felt under-gunned compared to a traditional trimmer. It’s been said by many people that “it feels like it’s going to vibrate itself to death”. I personally don’t think it’s going to be durable long term.
It feels like a plastic toy.
The second generation line of products fixed a lot of these concerns but at the expense of adding weight. I think they were trying to make them look more like their higher end commercial grade equipment but they simply came out too heavy. The DCK655 line is much heavier than traditional gas trimmers and I personally believe that many people won’t want to hassle with the additional weight.
Now we come to the current 3rd generation line. They’ve finally gotten the weight down to a comfortable point and they have addressed a lot of the issues that plagued the 2nd generation but at a much higher price. It’s obvious that they are trying to bridge the gap between their lower end products and their high-end commercial grade products. I think they still have a ways to go before they get there as there are concerns with quality and pricing but it certainly looks promising.
The 2nd generation products were not exactly received well. There are a lot of reasons why but I believe the most important one is that they didn’t truly fix any of the issues that people had with the 1st generation line and just tried to enhance them. I know there were some quality issues with some parts but it’s my opinion that these products failed because people didn’t see any benefit for the upcharge.
As I’ve said, if you are going to charge more for a product you need to be able to justify that with something. The 2nd generation line didn’t do that and it suffered greatly for it. It’s my opinion that the 3rd generation products have learned from that mistake.
Here is a quick break down of the new 3rd generation line and some pros and cons about them.
DCST585T, 24.1cc straight Shaft Trimmer
Pros: One of the lightest Weight to power ratios available. Fast speed can really get the job done. Auto-feed line system is a joy to use. Excellent handling.
Cons: Expensive. Due to the fast feed system you go through line pretty quickly so it could end up costing you more money in the long run.
Verdict: This is one product that I think can standout in a major way. It’s going to appeal to a certain type of customer that has the money to spend on a high-end product and doesn’t mind spending it. It’s a lot of machine for the money without being overpriced.
DeWALT has always had a tough time with the professional customer due to their premium pricing. It’s my opinion that this is the product that can get them to bridge that gap and start getting professionals to seriously consider them.
The only concern I have with this product is availability. It looks like it will only be available online or possibly through big box retailers. While large retailers like that can sell out of the entire stock in a day it does leave the smaller customers out in the cold so to speak.
Still if the product is a hit I believe they will eventually add more distribution so it won’t be an issue.
DCKT781M1, 40V Cordless Brushless String Trimmer
Pros: Excellent power to weight ratio. Great runtime with included extended capacity battery. Auto-feed line system works very well and doesn’t require bumping. Very quiet compared to a gas trimmer.
Cons: The extended capacity battery does add some weight. This is can be an issue for some people but the trade-off in run time is worth it. It can be a little more expensive than some comparable 40V trimmers.
Verdict: This is another home run in my opinion. The power to weight ratio is pretty amazing on this thing and it has one of the most efficient line feed systems I have ever seen. The only concern I have is that it does add a little bit of weight with the extended battery but if you need the runtime I don’t see that being a problem.
The 40V line has been very good to DEWALT. I think this product will just add to that. It already has some great products in this category and I think this will now just be added to the list of great tools they offer.
The only other concern I have is availability. Like the other product I mentioned above it will be available online and at some large retailers. It would be nice to see it at more places but that will most likely come in time.
Overall I think this is going to be a very successful product, especially with pros who have been waiting for a decent line of brushless tools from a reputable company.
As predicted both of these tools have done very well for themselves. The 40V trimmers were a big hit with professionals and the 82V line of brushless tools has been very popular as well.
I was also correct about distribution. Both of these products are now readily available at multiple outlets. DEWALT has done a great job of making sure these tools are available at places like Lowes, Home Depot, Amazon, and many others.
The only thing I didn’t predict was that both of these products would be joined by dozens more. DEWALT really hit the ground running with these and continue to add new and exciting tools to their line on a regular basis.
As a side note, I don’t get anything for mentioning any of these retailers. These are just places I’ve seen them available.
3rd and Final Update:
Well I was wrong about the impact of these tools. I thought they were going to be successful but I didn’t know they would be this successful. I think anyone who has anything to do with the power tool industry or even just home improvement has heard of DEWALT by now and their line of brushless tools. They have really changed the industry over the last few years.
I don’t know the exact numbers but I believe they have sold more brushless tools than anyone else by a wide margin. This has also caused other manufacturers to re-think their strategies and has really expanded the whole market. Now retailers are fighting over who gets to sell brushless tools and entire categories of tools that didn’t exist a few years ago (lithium-ion chainsaws for example).
I think this is great and gives consumers more options. I’m also glad I got to play a small part in helping these tools come to market. It was very satisfying to see them take off the way they did. Congratulations again to everyone at DEWALT for their hard work and success!
Sources & references used in this article:
- The climb: Tragic ambitions on Everest (A Boukreev, GW DeWalt – 2015 – books.google.com)
- The games outdoor adventurers play (T Storry – Whose journeys, 2003 – researchgate.net)
- Lowes Companies, Inc. And The Home Improvement Industry In 2007 (DJ Gilliard – Journal of Business Case Studies (JBCS), 2008 – clutejournals.com)
- The benefits of an outdoor preschool experience for children in their early year’s education. (M Donoghue – 2015 – dspace-test.interleaf.ie)
- Exploring outdoor leaders’ cross-cultural experiences in the wilderness education setting (GJ Wu – 2007 – search.proquest.com)
- Culture matters: exploring pedagogical approaches to outdoor environments in London and Helsinki (R Seinelä – 2019 – jyx.jyu.fi)
- Portable power system using DC to DC converter (JE Pfeifer, JC Boda, DM Hoerr – US Patent 6,087,815, 2000 – Google Patents)