The Power Tool Industry is Slowly Embracing USB-C

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A new Milwaukee USB-C charging accessory pack recently launched at dealers – I first spotted it at Acme Tools. While not a big deal, especially since the wall charger still has a USB-A outlet, this is the latest sign that the power tool industry is moving forward with USB-C, albeit very slowly.

Dewalt DCL182 LED Task Light

The latest Dewalt cordless personal worklights feature USB-C charging.

Dewalt-DCB094-USB-C-Power-Adapter-and-Charger-Kit-with-Battery

Dewalt launched a USB-C PD charging kit last year – we reviewed it here.

Dewalt ToughSystem 20V Charger Tool Box DWST08050 with Batteries and USB Charging

The new Dewalt ToughSystem 20V Max battery charging tool box also features a USB-C port, as well as a USB-A port.

Milwaukee M12 Packout LED Flood Light 2356-20 USB-C Charging Phone

As of last year, Milwaukee started designing their personal lighting products with USB-C charging. Their Packout compact worklight, shown here, features USB-A and USB-C charging ports.

Dremel-HSSC-01-Cordless-Scissors-Cutting-Cardboard

Dremel announced new cordless scissors last year, and it too features USB-C charging.

Husky Dual Power Rechargeable LED Flashlight Plugged into Phone

All of the new Husky rechargeable LED lighting products that launched this past winter featured USB-C charging.

Worx 4V Cordless Screwdriver Kit

Worx moved to USB-C at least as of 2020, when they launched this 3-speed cordless screwdriver.

Makita Cordless Microwave with USB Charging

Surprisingly, the Makita XGT cordless microwave has a USB-A port.

I heard from a component maker a few months ago – they wanted to talk about a “USB-C based solution specific to power tools that they were working on, but also acknowledged that “USB-C adoption in this segment” has been “very slow.”

I haven’t seen any notable developments since then that might accelerate USB-C adoption, but I remain hopeful and have been checking back periodically. Could brands be doing more with USB-C? Absolutely. But, some progress is better than nothing.

Personally, I want to see more USB-C chargers, similar to the two-way adapter Dewalt launched for their 20V Max line. While not perfect, it’s very convenient and has a tiny footprint.

Obviously it’s not cost-effective to replace pricier equipment just because they don’t feature USB-C ports. I can tolerate USB-A on charging devices, as I still have plenty of compatible cables and don’t always need a faster charging rate, but I don’t want to see micro USB (or worse – mini USB) on new equipment.

3-1/2 years ago, I wrote a story – Why Dewalt Probably Won’t Make a USB-Chargeable Cordless Power Tool Battery. Built-in charging would still add to a battery’s size and weight, but the charging rate is no longer the biggest obstacle.

There are now plenty of USB-C PD chargers that can reach 100W outputs, and many of us have become accustomed to using the connection with modern personal electronics and devices.

Brands have been almost keeping pace with modern times, as they design new flashlights and personal worklights, compact tools, and charging products with USB-C ports.

What other ways can – or should – USB-C be used in the tool world? Are there potential implementations that might save you time or effort?

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