Is a MasterForce 12V Drill Basically a Craftsman Nextec Clone?
We were cruising the web the other day… as we usually do – looking for great tool news and deals, when we stumbled upon a press release dealing with Menard tools and their house brand, MasterForce. Having not really examined MasterForce at length, we took a closer look at the tools, in particular their 12V compact lithium-ion line, which was attractive and sported the new ultra-compact look. Then it hit us:
That tool looks awfully familiar.
MasterForce Drill Craftsman Nextec Similarities
We were looking at the MasterForce 3/8″ Cordless Drill/ Driver, model #2410300. It’s a beautiful-looking tool, with dual-tone gray and black, an in-handle lithium-ion battery and one-piece chuck. Something seemed familiar, though, about the chuck, the frame and the stance. It looked just like the Craftsman Nextec 12V Drill/Driver we reviewed earlier this year. I mean JUST like it. So let’s take a look at both tools.
and here is the Craftsman Nextec 3/8-inch Drill/Driver:
In particular, what we would note are the following characteristics:
- The length and shape of the chuck and the face, which are identical
- The shape and contour of the trigger
- The housing and positioning of the rubberized grips
- LED light placement
- The contour, and shape of the battery and release tabs
- The molded motor housing and screw positions
- The similar clutch shape
- The identical top-mounted speed switch
- Both have 30-minute chargers
Now let’s look at the 30-minute chargers:
I think it is safe to say that both tools and chargers came out of the same factory in China. If they are truly identical, then the MasterForce has the same 195 in.-lbs. of torque and 2-speed 400/1300 rpm gearbox of the Nextec model. So which is better? Well, honestly that’s something we can’t answer by looks alone. Consider this: both tools sell for a retail price of just $59.99 including a lithium-ion battery and charger. That is incredibly cheap for a tool like this, and a price that, frankly, should have everyone running to pick up these tools in time for Christmas.
So let’s look at the warranties:
For one year from the date of purchase, this product is warranted against any defects in material or workmanship. Defective product will be replaced free of charge. This warranty does not cover expendable parts that can wear out from normal use within the warranty period. This warranty is void if this product is ever used while providing commercial services or if rented to another person.
Near as we can tell the warranty on MasterForce power tools is anywhere from 1-3 years depending upon what type of tool you purchase. What I do know is that they simply don’t publish the warranty, at least not clearly, online for their power tools. That may give some people pause, or it may be a null issue if you have a brick & mortar store nearby and can investigate for yourself.
What can we deduce from this little experiment? MasterForce’s 12V line is identical, at least physically in any respect we can ascertain, to Craftsman’s Nextec line. This also goes for their 12V Impact Driver and their 12V Li-ion Trim Saw. It would appear that Craftsman is maximizing its Nextec line through the MasterForce brand. All this means to consumers is that they have more locations with which to get what is likely the same quality of tool. Both brands seem to sell them at the same price points – and in our opinion both are great deals for the non-professional market (even the warranties preclude use as a professional tool for maximum enforcement).
This little investigation shouldn’t cause consumers to worry, or give them any reason to disparage one brand or another, it’s pretty much standard practice across many industries and a way to allow a manufacturer greater distribution and consumers more choice (at least aesthetically). We see it with refrigerators, dishwashers, and perhaps most obviously, with automobiles. In this case, both tools seem to be a great value and we don’t see any reason not to plunk fown $60 for either this Christmas.