Over the past several weeks there have been indications that Ridgid, Ryobi, and Porter-Cable will someday offer brushless cordless drills in the U.S. market. None of the companies have announced plans to do so, but Ryobi recently introduced a brushless model in Australia and Ridgid’s “sister brand”, AEG introduced one in Europe. Drills being the most common cordless tools of all, it’s hard to believe these brands won’t someday offer brushless drills here. As for Porter-Cable, a couple of days back I received a link to an online survey from DeWalt—which suggests that its parent company, SB&D, is planning to introduce a brushless Porter-Cable drill.
I received the DeWalt survey not as the editor of Tools of the Trade but as a regular Joe who signed up online for their email announcements of tools that are coming out. Many of you probably signed up and received the same survey. The survey was interesting because it suggests Porter-Cable is developing a brushless drill; the engineering is probably complete and they’re trying to decide on its “trade dress”, the outward look of the tool.
The survey began with the usual questions about my age, trade, brand preferences, and the tools I already own. Next came a series of questions about a black and red Porter-Cable drill with the word brushless on the label. A few questions later they asked if the tool was brushed or brushless. Evidently, there are folks who use tools who don’t recognize brushless motors as something special.
A later question contained photos of 11 cordless drills and asked which one I preferred and why. I found it interesting that the photo did not contain tools from Makita or Milwaukee but did contain tools from Bosch.
The most interesting question contained photos of 4 different color schemes (the outward design of a tool is referred to as “trade dress”) for the Porter-Cable brushless drill and asked which I liked best and why.
There’s nothing odd about using surveys to discover what the tool buying public wants. Smart tool companies do it all the time; what’s unusual here is that SB&D did it in public, where competitors had to have seen it.
A post by Dan at Tools in Action alerted me to a brushless cordless drill recently introduced in Europe and other parts of the world by AEG.
Owned by the same parent company (TTi) as Milwaukee and Ryobi, AEG produces the hand-held power tools sold under the Ridgid label. As far as I can tell, except for the labeling, AEG’s cordless power tools are the same as Ridgid’s. If Ridgid brings the AEG design to the U.S. it won’t be the brand’s first brushless tool; that distinction belongs to their Hyperdrive cordless nailers. Because it’s a drill it seems likely this tool will someday come to the U.S. but there’s no guarantee; AEG offers a broader line of power tools Ridgid, and many AEG designs never become Ridgid models.
The AEG drill goes 0-530 and 0-2,100 rpm and with a 4.0 Ah battery puts out up to 75 nm (664 inch-lbs.) of torque.
The drill goes 0-440 and 0-1,700 rpm. The top speed is slower than that of the fastest drills out there (which go 0-2,100 rpm) but not bad for a brand that sells to DIYers and budget minded pros. As with other cordless models, it is said to have greater runtime and durability—and also more power—than similar brushed models.