Kobalt XTR Technology – A Big Upgrade
By now you may have seen the new Kobalt XTR 24V tools in your local Lowes. The company claims the lineup offers 50 percent more power. Kobalt’s typically conservative marketing messages often let the tools’ performances do the talking. New tools featuring Kobalt XTR technology come with a bolder look and tone that stands out from their 24V tools. We sat down (virtually) with Kobalt retail and product management teams to find out why there’s so much buzz around these tools.
Throwing Down the Gauntlet
Kobalt 24V Max Tools have consistently performed well in our tests, especially for a house brand. The new tools have some key advantages in having best-in-the-industry motor design and completely automated, in-house printed circuit board (PCB) capabilities where they’re made.
Kobalt XTR technology aims to appeal to the heavy DIY user and budget-conscious Pro. Of course, show us one Pro who isn’t budget-conscious! The smaller brushless motors in the XTR tools actually produce twice the torque. XTR batteries use higher current discharge 21700 cells that have become the new high-performance standard. You can use the XTR batteries in first-generation Kobalt tools (which are not being discontinued, by the way), but you won’t get a performance boost. They optimized the Kobalt XTR Tools to work with the new batteries while retaining compatibility with all Kobalt 24V products.
Kobalt XTR Technology – Spec’d To Compete
If that all sounds a bit familiar, you’re right. Kobalt XTR Tools set out to take on Ridgid’s Octane line, which has optimized batteries as well. We see similar moves from other manufacturers—even if they don’t release a dedicated line like Kobalt and Ridgid.
Even with bolder marketing, the company is still a bit reserved about how Kobalt XTR technology competes. Taking a look at the specs and prices, however, it certainly appears like XTR will be a contender not only against Ridgid but quite possibly against about every major manufacturer.
For example, the new Drill Driver and Hammer Drill have anti-kickback position sensors and accelerometers that instantaneously stop rotation. This occurs whether in a quick bind-up situation or even when slowly moved into a dangerous position to the hand, wrist, and elbow. Kobalt focused, in part, on the heavy DIY user, and that user is typically most prone to injury, so we find this Pro-level feature really attractive.
Making an Impact
Perhaps just as appealing as the competitive prices, the kits Kobalt put together include a 5-piece medley in a rolling hard case. For a detailed look at the new lineup, be sure to check out our recently published article on Kobalt XTR tools.
And check out those Lowe’s endcaps soon—you’re sure to see tools with Kobalt XTR technology ready for action!