Li-Ion Tool Sales History – Canada

Posted by on August 28, 2006

With Li-Ion tools being out in North America for over a year now I think its time to take a look back and see how it went. What has been selling well, and what has not.


First a disclaimer, this article by no means is reflecting on the actual quality of any of the products, just the sale history in my geographical area (West Coast Canada, Vancouver Area). I fully realize that other geographical areas may have completely different sales track records, which I would find very interesting to look at also. In fact, I would love to hear some of Brian’s comments on how things are going in his part of the world.


First a little history. As we all know, Milwaukee Power Tools was the the first to introduce Lithium Ion Technology in North America with their V28 line, and they did so with a big splash. However, they had a very hard time keeping production up with the demand of the product because they couldn’t make the batteries fast enough. What happened then is America gobbled up all the available product for about the first 8 months, which meant Milwaukee Canada simply had no units available for the northern distributors.

Product Arrival

By the time we finally got Milwaukee Li-Ion Products, Makita LXT showed up that same week, which was early January 2006. We made a very impressive display for both, having them side by side. On one side we had the larger, more powerful, more expensive 28v Milwaukee tools, and on the other side we had the more ergonomic, lighter, compact and less expensive 18v Makita tools.


What happened? Makita 18v Li-Ion so far has completely out sold the Milwaukee 28v tools to the point where our stores will no longer be stocking the 28v series on a regular basis. It seemed the paying customer preferred less expensive lightweight ergonomic tools over the impressive brute power of the bigger tools.

More Choices

When the Bosch 10.8v pocket drivers arrived they to had very good response. The first 50 we got lasted barely a month. Dewalt 36v arrived shortly afterward, and has had very moderate positive response so far.

Current Trends

Right now, it looks like the consumer is leaning towards lighter, compact tools over the big heavy power houses. Milwaukee and Hitachi 18v Li-Ion has also just arrived into stock, but haven’t been around here long enough to analyze the demand for them. I would like to know how other areas are responding to the Li-Ion tools. If anyone has information on the subject I would like to hear about it.

Article submitted by Chris of KMS Tools.

6 Responses to Li-Ion Tool Sales History – Canada

  1. Matthew

    Quote: What happened then is America gobbled up all the available product for about the first 8 months, which meant Milwaukee Canada simply had no units available for the northern distributors.

    Have you (Brian) seen similar sales ratios between brands or is that “gobbling” for the US market meant that there are different ratios?


  2. Brian Mark


    I was starting to get a full post ready on this, but I’ll answer your question. We sold a TON of V28 before anyone else launched Li-Ion. Now, it’s all pretty even. We sell anything lithium on a pretty consistent basis, from the 10.8′s to the 36′s.

    I really wonder if being in a retail environment has made for the odd results for Chris. Since people can’t pick the tools up when shopping online to decide if they want that much weight, I think online is probably a better fit for these big voltage tools anyway. Of course, there are other metrics we could look at, but I don’t have the time at the moment to research that.

  3. KMS Chris

    Well, being retail definetly should make it different for us because customers come right up to them and can touch, feel and compare them up close.

    If milwaukee 28v came here when they promised, I would bet their sales would have been very good also and they would of gotten alot of the market share.

    I know alot of canadian customers ended up going south to the States to pick up the V28 items.

  4. hambo

    Any word on when the BTP140 will ship? This seems like the best Li-ion drill yet.

  5. Anonymous

    Unsure where to post this question. Pardon if it’s misplaced: Does anyone know what’s going on with that black and white colored Makita 18V Li-ion Compact Drill Model BDF452HW?

    It’s identical to the LXT BDF451 save for the battery is half height. But whats with the black and white? I really like the colors. I just don’t understand the significance. Any thoughts? Thank you.


  6. Brian Mark

    The black and white has one purpose – to differentiate their “Pricepoint” tools from their “Professional” line. The white drill comes with 1.5 AH batteries instead of 3 AH batteries, but for $100 less it’ll sell.

    There is also a white impact which is 14.4V instead of 18V, and there will be more coming out as they expand the line.