Kobalt Tools 24V Max Brushless Tools

Kobalt tools 24V Max brushless tools

I know what you’re thinking. 24V Max—what’s that? Don’t worry, it’s not another iteration of 20V vs 18V tools. Kobalt tools has actually added another cell to its battery packs and completely redesigned their entire cordless power tool lineup. With the Kobalt Tools 24V Max Brushless Tools, they’re going for more power, longer run-time, and the ability to operate more tools without cords. The new tools are also designed to be scalable to handle a variety of new applications—and new Pro users with higher expectations. Kobalt is also backing all this up with a “1-year 100% risk-free money back guarantee” on top of their existing 5-year tool warranty.

And make no bones about it, Kobalt is going right after the professional contractor and tradesman. This goes double for the Kobalt XTR Tools which boast more power.

A Little Background on Kobalt 24V Tools

Kip Pohlman, design manager for Kobalt Power Tools, introduced the new tools and explained the idea behind the new 24V brushless tools lineup. He spoke a little about the design methodology, including product development and research, as well as the designed application for which these new tools were created—the residential construction job site. To get here, Kobalt went onsite and interviewed as many Pros as they could to see what end-users wanted in their tools. This research happened weekly (and still continues as far as we’re aware) and resulted in some new revelations for the company…and, apparently, some new tools.

The first wave hits stores in June and is comprised  7 new tools—all of which are brushless except for the LED light—including an impact driver, 1/2″ drill, 3/8″ impact wrench, 1/2″ impact wrench, reciprocating saw, 6-1/2″ circular saw, and LED work light. There are also two chargers, including a 110W fast charger and 45W compact charger.

What is 24V and How Do You Make a 24V Battery?

Kobalt tools 24V battery packs

To simplify things, all you need to do to make a 24V Max battery is add another cell. The Kobalt Tools 24V battery pack is basically a newly redesigned lithium-ion 20V Max battery pack plus an additional battery—but the pack design and cell layout is different. Kobalt Tools opted to lift some of the electronics (like the big circuit board) from the battery and place it into the tool—that gave them the room they needed to beef up the pack with that extra battery cell while keeping it compact.

How It Stacks Up

Offsetting the cells did the rest (We’ll break this down further in a future article on the Kobalt Tools 24V battery pack). The result is a true 24V battery pack that’s: a) much smaller than the 24V packs of old, and b) mated to a true 24V tool. And that’s the real news here—these tools are running at 24 volts as well—so they’re literally making use of the additional voltage and entering that into the equations for power, torque, and run-time.

The new Kobalt Tools battery packs are designed to work under load in temperatures from -4 degrees to 140 degrees F, and they’re made to last a long time and handle drops. The batteries are actually both drop and weather tested while under load to ensure they hold up to job site expectations. They tested the packs through 1,000s of cycles, ran various environmental tests, and spec’d each motor for 400 hours of life—all while actually testing the same systems for as many as 4,000 hours. Kobalt is planning to stand firmly behind the tool warranty on these products.

Update: Kobalt’s everyday price on their 24 volt, 2.0 amp-hour is $29. Nope, I didn’t forget a 0, that’s $29 for a new lithium-ion battery. As a comparison, the other Pro-level compact batteries will run anywhere from $40 – $70 sold in packs of two, and more for the single pack. The fact that the battery cost is so low sets the stage for a hostile takeover if the tools are able to compete at the Pro level. We’ve done some initial testing and the results are promising. You should see even better results with the 4.0 through 6.0 Ah batteries.

Kobalt Tools 24V Max Brushless Tools – One by One

At the Kobalt Tools media event, we were testing what’s known as MSL (manufacturing sample lots) samples. These are “first-run” tools that manufacturers get in order to test out the actual production quality from the line to ensure the quality and performance of the actual tool meets with the final manufacturing process. The tools we tested are, for all practical purposes, the same as the final tools Pro consumers can expect to see in Lowe’s stores come June.

Abdul Koya, an electromechanical engineer for Kobalt Tools, spoke a little about how Kobalt Tools balances the goals of maxing out the specifications and technologies while keeping the tools efficient, compact, and running with long life durability. After he wrapped up, it wasn’t long before we got our hands on the new tools to test them out for ourselves.

Kobalt Tools 24V Max Brushless Circular Saw

On the Kobalt Tools 24V brushless circular saw we saw them take the traditional motor design and reduce the length of the new brushless motor. They did this by taking up more of the diameter space afforded by the sidewinder form factor through the use of an outer rotor brushless motor design. Outer rotor brushless motors differ from typical brushless motors in that the rotor is situated outside, instead of inside, the stator. This not only makes the Kobalt 24V circular saw thinner, but it also allowed them to increase the performance.

Kobalt tools 24V Max brushless circular saw cutting

The Kobalt Tools 24V brushless 6-1/2″ circular saw spins the blade at 5400 RPMs and can cut 87 linear feet of pine on a single 4Ah battery pack. Kobalt Tools claims this is the only 6-1/2″ circular saw that can cut three 3/4″ pieces of plywood—the same cut depth you’d expect from a 7-1/4″ circular saw. They did this by designing the blade, spindle, and shoe to give you the ability to cut all the way up to the maximum potential of the blade.

Kobalt 24V Max brushless circular saw

Making the Cut

The saw indeed cuts very quickly and very authoritatively. We were also testing it with the 24T blade that Kobalt will include with the actual shipping model, so cut speed was representative of what you can expect when you bring home this tool from Lowe’s. Overall, my impression was that it was nearly effortless on 3/4″ plywood. Kobalt Tools also improved their shoe so that the cut alignment notch is more or less the width of the blade. About the only negative I could see was that the design didn’t seem to include a fan or vent to help clear the cutting path of sawdust, so expect to do a lot of blowing on longer cuts to open up your cutting line. Here’s the saw in action:

Kobalt Tools 24V Brushless 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
  • Motor: 24V brushless
  • Aluminum blade guard and shoe
  • Price: $129

Kobalt Tools 24V Brushless Impact Driver

In 2012 Kobalt launched their lithium-ion impact driver, and this new brushless model is 20% more compact with 40% more torque. It has three speeds, activated by a switch which helps you electronically set the tool’s speed and torque (the three speeds are 850, 2000, and 2700 RPM). It can also sink 1,639 deck screws on a single 2Ah battery.

Kobalt tools 24V impact drivers

Possibly the most advanced aspect of the tool, however, is the presence of the Finish function. This button, when activated, will shut the tool down 1 second after the impact mechanism kicks in. It works with all speed modes but gives you a way to work faster and smarter when fastening clamps, driving self-tapping metal screws, or even sinking screws into drywall.

Kobalt tools 24V impact driver self-tap

Kobalt Tools 24V Brushless Impact Driver Specs

  • Electronic 3-speed control: 0-850/2000/2700 RPM
  • Impact: 3,500 IPM
  • Torque: 1800 in-lbs
  • Motor: 24V brushless
  • 1/4-inch quick release collet
  • LED work light
  • “Finish” function electronic torque control
  • Price: $150

Kobalt Tools 24V Brushless 1/2″ Impact Wrench

Kobalt tools 24V Max brushless impact wrench

The new Kobalt Tools 24V brushless 1/2″ impact wrench has 650 ft-lbs of torque and also features the electronic Finish function. It’s a pretty heavy duty tool, and we were able to get it in our hands and at least experience how it felt—which is good. This is a tool that Kobalt should have a lot of success with as the original Kobalt 18V cordless impact wrench was a very good tool with plenty of power and long run-time.

The integrated LED work light (which is located on the base of the tool) should come in handy, and the speed and power seemed like it was perfect for this type of tool. In terms of size, it’s fairly compact given the power, and most mechanics don’t use one of these tools overhead long enough that they’d trade the cordless convenience for the weight savings of a pneumatic alternative—once you get it into their hands, that is!

Kobalt Tools 24V Brushless 1/2″ Impact Wrench Specs

  • Speed: 0-1900 RPM
  • Impact: 2,400 IPM
  • Torque: 650 ft-lbs
  • Motor: 24V brushless
  • 1/2-inch anvil
  • LED work light
  • Price: $229

Kobalt Tools Brushless 3/8″ Impact Wrench

You might think Kobalt took their impact driver and slapped on a 3/8″ anvil—but you’d be wrong. This tool has the same torque as the Kobalt 24V brushless impact driver, but it has entirely different speed and impact settings to customize it for use as a 3/8-inch fastening tool. The Kobalt 3/8″ impact wrench has three speeds (in forward) and the electronic Finish feature which can be toggled on or off to stop the tool one second after the impact mechanism kicks in.

Kobalt tools 24V Max brushless impact fastening

Kobalt Tools 24V Brushless 3/8″ Impact Wrench Specs

  • Electronic 3-speed control: 0-750/1400/2300 RPM
  • Impact: 3,200 IPM
  • Torque: 150 ft-lbs
  • Motor: 24V brushless
  • 3/8-inch anvil
  • LED work light
  • “Finish” function electronic torque control
  • Price: TBD

Kobalt Tools 24V Brushless Reciprocating Saw

The new Kobalt Tools 24V reciprocating saw has 3100 SPM with a 1-1/8″ stroke. It has an adjustable shoe and a quick release lever for removing the blade (no auto-eject). It felt good in the hand, and I used it to all but demolish Kobalt Tools’ set (since we were the last crew to pass through that area). Metal, wood, nails, PVC…all cut very easily with this tool. Vibration is low thanks to the brushless motor—much lower than their previous model (which was also on-hand for testing). This is a good tool overall, and we think Pros will like it. It lacks a rafter hook, but that may be the only negative thing we can say about it.

Kobalt tools 24V reciprocating saw cutting

Kobalt Tools 24V Brushless Reciprocating Saw Specs

  • Stroke length: 1-1/18″
  • Speed: 0-3,100 SPM
  • Tool-free blade change
  • Adjustable shoe
  • LED work light
  • Motor: 24V brushless
  • Price: $111

Kobalt Tools 24V LED Work Light

The new Kobalt Tools 24V LED work light should be a nice addition to the combo kits. It puts out 200 lumens into a focused beam that seems to throw pretty far. The head rotates (or tilts, really) 135 degrees, so you can set it down and cover just about anything you need. It’s also going to last a good long time on a single battery pack thanks to the efficiency of LED technology.

Kobalt Tools 24V LED Work Light


This is just the first phase of what Kobalt Tools and Lowe’s has to offer, so look for more tools to hit in December and then a third round of new tools in 2017.  In fact, while these tools are coming out in June of this year, in December we can already expect a new Kobalt Tools 24V brushless hammer drill, a 24V brushless grinder, and a 24V brushless multi-tool. Beyond that, we’ll just have to wait and see.

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