Kobalt 24 Volt Brushless Cordless Tools
Kobalt Announces NEW Cordless PRO Grade Line Up of Tools
Kobalt wants to change the way you think about their tool line!
You’ll see a lot of changes come to light this year as Kobalt has completely re-designed their cordless tool line from the ground up. This new release is Phase I of a multiple phases and includes the following tools:
- 24 Volt Brushless Drill Driver
- 24 Volt Brushless Impact Driver
- 24 Volt Reciprocating Saw
- 24 Volt Circular Saw
- 24 24 Volt Brushless ½” Impact Wrench
- Volt Brushless 3/8” Impact Wrench
- LED Work Light
Kobalt 24 Volt Brushless Cordless Tools – Perception is Reality… or is it?
Kobalt’s new goal with this release is to “up their game,” to a PRO quality line with a consumer price point
I recently tested a few of these tools, and while they still have a long way to go, I think they on a much better track than years past.
Optimizing the Brand
Kobalt increased marketing investments and production activities in 2016, more than any other year in their history. In addition to a new logo and color, Kobalt is making category, strategy changes that better addresses the needs of end-users.
These new 24 Volt MAX brushless tools will be the “hero” for what they are calling the “Year of Kobalt.”
To get there, Kobalt invested in heavily brushless motor technology and made significant improvements in battery capacity, all with the goal of addressing end user needs.
Todays end users are more trusting of cordless performance and Kobalt has developed their new line around four end-user requests:
- More power
- Better run-time
- Desire to cut the cord.
Kobalt made the decision to scale their tools to a place where no other battery platform is going, and that is 24-volts. They designed these tools around one principle, that they call an “extension of me!” Meaning, the tools should feel great in your hand, and are built for serious tool users. Basically Kobalt feels that it’s all about the right balance of ergonomics and power.
The idea of a 24-volt battery coupled with a new 24 volt brushless motor was to achieve the desired power and 20% more runtime all at a lower price point than competitors. According to Kobalt’s Electromechanical Engineer, Abdul Koya, “These are true 24-volt tools.”
Kip Pohlman, Kobalt Design Manager, told us that in order to achieve a 24-volt Kobalt battery they needed to add additional battery cells and reconfigured them to fit in a compact, newly designed lithium-ion battery pack. To make room, they removed some of the battery circuitry and placed it into the tool to make room without increasing the pack size.
Kip explained that the Kobalt team spoke to end-users on job sites and built these new tools with them in mind: to be reliable, resilient and long lasting. He explained that his team built simulated load brakes, performed environmental testing, and other constructed testing jigs to put the tools through thousands of cycles. He told us that each motor is specified for 400 hours of life and he has many motors still operating in his test lab at 4,000 hours plus. The new tools have been rated to perform at temperatures from -4 to 140 degrees Fahrenheit.
Kobalt 24 Volt ½” Brushless Drill Driver
These drills impressed me during our testing. Kobalt built the 24 volts ½ drill to be a well-balanced, well-designed powerhouse. The tools rubber grip is solid and comfortable and the drill operates at 650 in-lbs. A variable-speed trigger allows 0 to 550 RPM [low] and 0 to 2000 [high]. A 24 position clutch allows you to dial in your torque and Kobalt used a “Jacobs” metal drill clutch which has a durable, solid metal ratchet action.
Kobalt ½” Drill Driver Specs
- Variable Speed: 0-550 RPM [low] 0-2000 RPM [high]
- Torque: 650 in-lbs
- 2-speed gear box
- 24-position clutch
- ½ inch Jacobs clutch
- LED Light
See Drill Driver In Action Against A Milwaukee Driver
The impact driver is a staple on today’s jobsites. Kobalt redesigned their impact driver to be 20% more compact and have 40% more torque to meet those job site needs.
According to Kip Pohlman, “this driver will install 1,639 deck screws on a single 2Ah battery, that’s a 10 x 10 deck.”
The new Kobalt impact driver boasts 3,500 IPMs with 800 in-lbs of torque and features an electronic finish function that stops the impact action after 1-second to prevent overturning during fastening. Either turning it off or depressing the trigger additional times easily bypasses this feature. Each time you release and activate the trigger to tool will impact an additional 1-second, allowing you to dial in your fastening.
I tested the finish function on at least 5 different fastening applications from drywall to decking and metal. It word extremely well and will be a useful feature when installing fasteners in the field.
Kobalt 24V 3/8” Impact Driver Specs
- Electronic 3-speed control: 0-850/2000/2700 RPM
- Impact: 3,500 IPM
- Torque: 1800 in-lbs
- 24 Volt Brushless motoe
- 1/4-inch quick release collet
- LED work light
- Variable speed trigger
- Finish function torque control
Kobalt 24 Volt Brushless Reciprocating Saw
Kobalts new reciprocating saw has a 3100 SPM, variable speed trigger and cuts at a 1-1/8” stroke. It was powerful, cut well, has a tool free blade change, adjustable shoe plate, and an LED light.
After testing it on wood studs, gas pipe, aluminum and pvc pipe we feel it has a little further to go before we’d consider it for my job sites. This tool could use a rafter hook, a blade auto-eject and better rubber over mold, contour boot. Specifically, we felt the rubber over mold was not tight enough to the saw body and will eventually become dislodged or damaged after rubbing up against materials.
Kobalt Reciprocating Saw Specs
- Brushless motor
- Variable Speed: 0-3,100 SPM
- Tool-free blade change
- LED light
- 1-1/8” Blade stroke length
- Adjustable shoe
- Manual trigger lock
Kobalt 24 Volt 6-1/2” Circular Saw
This circular saw will allow you to achieve a depth of cut of 7-1/4 inches. In order to achieve this Koblat used an outer rotor brush motor, coupled with slightly rounded cut-out in the shoe plate. The new design allows the blade arbor to get lower and closer to the shoe plate, cutting deeper, than a standard 6-1/2” saw.
The saw spins at 5400 RPMs and is stated to be able to cut 87 linear feet of pine on a 4 Ah battery. We tested this saw on plywood and I was able to easily rip through 3 sheets of ¾” plywood. The retractable saw guard is a bit flimsy but I was told these were prototype testing models, and that may change, I hope so.
Circular Saw Specs
- Blade: 6-1/2″ 24T
- Cut depth: 2-7/16″ (90º) and 1-11/16″ (45º)
- Speed: 5,400 RPM
- Electric brake
- Brushless 24V motor
- Aluminum blade guard and shoe
Kobalt 24 Volt ½” Brushless Impact Wrench
The Koblat ½” wrench was designed for fastening and breakaway applications. While still a heavy tool it is lighter than in years past and certainly more compact.
The new Kobalt 1/2” impact driver boasts 650 ft-lbs of torque.
I had an opportunity to visit with and speek to a few of the Kobalt race team pit crew guys at the Kobalt 400 Race and they told me they have been using this tool in the shop to avoid hoses. They still use pneumatic in the race pit for speed.
Kobalt 24 Volt 1/2″ Impact Wrench Specs
- Variable Speed Trigger : 0-1900 RPM
- Impact: 2,400 IPM
- Torque: 650 ft-lbs
- Brushless 24V motor
- 1/2-inch anvil
- LED work light
Kobalt 3/8” Brushless Impact Wrench:
The 3/8” impact wrench has an 3/8” anvil and variable speed trigger. This tool impacts at 3,200 IPM. Brushless motor delivers 150-ft-lbs or torque in forward and reverse. It’s 3-speed electronic switch to allow the user to dial fastening in and settings from 0-750,1400, and 2300 RPM.
Kobalt 24-volt max 3/8-in cordless impact wrench is ideal for installation and breakaway of nuts, bolts, and fasteners in compact spaces. Built-in LED work light illuminates dimly lit work spaces.
Kobalt 3/8″ Impact Wrench Specs
- Electronic 3-speed control: 0-750/1400/2300 RPM
- Impact: 3,200 IPM
- Torque: 150 ft-lbs
- 24 Volt Brushless motor
- 3/8-inch anvil
- Variable speed trigger
- LED work light
Kobalt Tools 24V LED Work Light
The new Kobalt Tools 24V LED work light looks a lot like other work lights you may have seen, and takes advantage of LED lighting technology, as well as, Kobalts new batteries which provide advanced run-time. I do not have run-time data to report yet.
The work light has a light output of 200 lumens and presents as a focused beam. The bezel head rotates tilts to allow 135 degrees, giving you pretty good angle light coverage.
There are also two chargers, including a 110W fast charger [45-minutes] and 45W compact charger [90-minutes].
Kobalt tools are sold exclusively at Lowe’s Stores, Kobalt is so confident in these tools, that they are offering a 1-year, 100 percent risk free guarantee plus a 5-year tool and 3-year limited warranty.
What’s Next For Kobalt?
These tools are phase one of a multiple phase project. These 24 volt tools will release by June 2016 and Pahase II will be out in December will include a brushless hammer drill, multi tool, and grinder.
What About 18-Volt and 20-Volt Kobalt Users?
This was a question that we asked the Kobalt team and were told that they are working on it. Kobalt will no longer be supporting the older platforms so if you’ve bought into that platform you are standing alone.
My guess is that they will offer a “trade-in deal,” to anyone who has the older Kobalt battery platform, but will it be enough to avoid any and bitter feelings? Time will tell and all eyes are on the Kobalt team to see how they handle they’re loyal end-users.
Back To Reality
While these new tools seem compelling, and the promise to be PRO grade certainly refreshing, time will only tell how these new tools perform on the job site.
The Kobalt Kobalt 24-Volt Max 4-Tool Lithium Ion (Li-ion) Brushless Motor Cordless Combo Kit with Soft Case sells online for $392.00 here:
How Much and Where to Buy?
The Kobalt 24-Volt Max 4-Tool Lithium Ion (Li-ion) Brushless Motor Cordless Combo Kit with Soft Casesells online for $392.00 here: Kobalt-24-Volt-Lithium-Brushless-Cordless
Kobalt 24 Volt Intro Video
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