The future of power tools – what to expect

Welcome to the world of tomorrow!

The site week 12We recently posted a brief history of the power drill to celebrate it turning 100 last year. History’s all well and good, but what about the future? What’s your construction site going to look like a decade from now? What smart tech will be decorating your toolbox when you arrive on the job? Where will you store your hover-saw as you teleport to your next customer?

OK we’re not great at predicting the future. So instead we’ve researched the top trends for power tools and accessories. Based on tool manufacturer innovations, here’s what we think will be the big changes in the future of power tools.

All cordless, all the time

The site week 12There was a time when the cordless power drill was a futuristic thing – now we can’t imagine a site without them! According to CoVest Sourcing Network, in the last decade “we've seen the power in cordless power tools rise by 240%, the size shrunk by 28% and the weight reduced by 28%”.

Over the last 2 years we’ve seen the introduction of cordless jackhammers like the Makita M18 FUEL SDS-Max 2717-21HD, cordless table saws like the Dewalt FlexVolt – not to mention cordless clean-up systems (Makita HEPA backpack vac XCV05Z and HEPA roller vac XCV04Z).

Even cordless small engines are making an appearance thanks to Hondas GX range.

The next big step with these cordless options is refining the tech. All of these examples are huge steps forward, but some of them definitely need fine-tuning so that they work for every site. Heavy duty cordless alternatives like concrete cutting, grinding & drilling systems will also be a consideration for tool manufacturers as cordless gets even cooler.

Going green

Being eco-friendly has become a way of life for many. Now it’s becoming a big part of how manufacturers market their products. Even major companies are ruling out fossil fuel models over the next decade! Power tools are no exception.

As well as opting for energy-saving power solutions for customers, improvements in efficiency and waste disposal at the manufacturing stage will be the name of the game.

The end result will be power tools that are greener in design and application.

More power, less charging

The site week 12With heavier duty power tools jumping on the cordless wagon, battery power is a big concern for tool manufacturers. It’s also going to be one of the biggest selling points.

The jump from NiCad batteries to Lithium-Ion technology revolutionised the way tool manufacturers built and marketed their tools.

Whether the next stage in battery technology will be an extension of Lithium-Ion or a brand new form of battery chemistry is anyone’s guess at this point. But the end result will be more powerful tools that last longer. This should also result in smaller, lighter battery packs on your favourite tools.

Smarter tools

From smart homes to smart jobs! As our power tools grow in functions and settings, there’s a risk they become more difficult to use. That’s a big problem - tools need to become smarter to stay user-friendly.

Whatever you think of Milwaukee Tools, their One Key app technology is lightyears ahead of their competitors. Customising your tools to pre-defined personalised settings, tracking missing tools and inventory management – this app is going places. The next few years will see other tool manufacturers making their own app tech to give their tools a smart-connection makeover. The most interesting development will be seeing where Milwaukee takes their app tech next. As the current pioneers, they seem like the horse to back!

Smarter storage (Smart toolbox, modular storage)

The more tools you acquire, the more you have to worry about keeping them secure. A reliable tools insurance policy always comes in handy for valuable tools. Not only that, it’d be nice to have a state-of-the-art way of storing them.

Big innovations have already started appearing in the tool storage world. Earlier this year ToughTerrain unveiled their smart toolbox. Using the partnering app, you can locate the toolbox within 1 metre, remotely lock and unlock it, not to mention remotely activate a 120 Db alarm. Oh, and did we mention it’s motorised and will follow you through the worksite? Yeah, it does that too.

Even modular storage has started making big strides. You only need to look at the Milwaukee PACKOUT Modular Storage System range that was released earlier this year: a whole range of different sized containers that effortlessly lock on top of each other. Now that’s future-proof.

Brushless and beyond

Brushless motor technology has been a power tools game-changer. For the last few years every major tools manufacturer has been releasing their own lines of brushless tools. Less friction, less voltage drop, longer motor-life, better performance. Cost is still an issue for some tool-users, with the improved performance difficult to justify thanks to a higher price tag. A big part of future motor technology will be finding ways to make brushless tools more cost-effective. Once the market for these tools increases, the drive to improve them further will increase too. That’s good news for tool professionals.

So there you have it. A few predictions on where the power tools industry is going. We’ll check back in a few years and see how many of those predictions came true!