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VPX_combo1.jpg

This holiday season marks the entry of lithium-ion power into the lower-priced market, and Black & Decker clearly aims to be a big player with brand-spankin’-new VPX tool series. Centered around an interchangeable 7V li-ion battery and focusing on lightweight, compact designs, the VPX series looks quite promising. Best of all, we understand that the current B&D will continue to expand the VPX line throughout next year.

The VPX debut includes a pistol-grip “cutsaw” that accepts jigsaw blades (think li-ion powered Handisaw), a 14.4V drill, a 7V drill, a 7V pocket-style driver, a 7V flashlight, an inflator, a portable inverter/charger, and a 14.4V handheld vacuum. (The 14.4V tools accept two of the 7V VPX battery packs.) Even with VPX batteries installed, the 14.4V drill is advertised as just 1/3 the size of comparable NiCad or NiMH powered drills.

Though Black & Decker tools are often targeted squarely at homeowners and other casual users, the VPX line offers a lot of professional features. Perhaps the VPX is an attempt to change the “homeowner” image. Once they hit the shelves in a few weeks, we’ll see if this new product line is power or ploy.

VPX_batt1.jpg

The starter set — including the Cutsaw, flashlight, 7V driver, and a single battery and charger — will soon be available for about $100. The 14.4V drill will set you back $100 alone, but includes the required two batteries — and likely a dual-battery charger. Unfortunately, Black & Decker doesn’t have a product page for the VPX series just yet, so you’ll have to browse the products separately.

On a side note, the VPX batteries and chargers are eligible for Amazon’s current 4-for-3 sale.

VPX Starter Set [Black & Decker]
VPX 14.4V Drill [Black & Decker]
Cutsaw [Black & Decker]
Compact Hand Vac [Black & Decker]
Street Pricing [Google Products]
VPX Collection Via Amazon [What's this?]

 

39 Responses to Black & Decker’s New VPX Power Tool System

  1. Kurt says:

    B&D is partly why I was so gun-shy in going with a cordless line. I jumped on their ‘versa pack’ line and it was full of underpowered tools and batteries that couldn’t keep a charge. It took a big price drop from Ryobi to interest me in the One+ line, which I’ve been happy with ever since.

    Maybe Li-ion batteries are the perfect solution for B&D. But I think I’ll stick with Ryobi for now.

  2. Joe says:

    @Kurt
    Those versapak batteries were the worst, and I’m very unhappy with the battery life on the current generation of handisaw. I don’t think I’d be willing to jump in on another round of B&D batteries ant any price.

    I’m hoping Bosch expands their 10.8v line. They know how to make a battery!

  3. Well, B&D just got back to me regarding their 14.4V VPX drill, and I am thoroughly disappointed.

    “The torque rating on this is 80% more that regular 14.4 v drills. That would mean this is 105 in/lbs.”

    In other words, either the specs are incorrect, the drill is grossly underrated, or the drill is less powerful than many other drills in this price range. For comparison purposes, B&D has a few 14.4V drills with 300+ in/lb torque ratings, and their compact 12V model shares the 105 in/lb rating.

    I’ve forwarded my concerns to B&D and are waiting to see if they provide me with a more satisfying answer.

    Last but not least, B&D now has a homepage dedicated to the VPX system, although it is still under construction.

    http://www.vpxsystem.com/

  4. Black & Decker sent me an additional response which basically trampled any enthusiasm I had about their VPX 14.4V drill. I am still a bit optimistic about their 7V drivers, but in the end, there are so many better products for just a little extra cost.

    “The information we show is on the 14.4 v: Question- What is the torque on the PS1441k (14.4) cordless drill . Answer is- The torque is 85 in/lbs. And on the 24v drill 115 in/lbs. Information fron the engineer on the new versa pak states 80% more torques and 15% smaller size that the Black & Decker comact 14.4 v drill.

    This is the only information we have. Any other information would have to come frome the techs at the service center in your area.”

  5. I am the product manager for VPX at Black & Decker and would like to reply to the comments regarding the product range.

    The stated torque comparison on our 2VPX drill is to the CDC140 series drill, as referenced on the marketing materials. The CDC range is Black & Decker compact cordless line. Torque measurements on the VPX Drill are up to 225 in-lbs. The VPX drill has a 2 speed transmission, which enables the product to produce higher torque than our range of single speed drills.

    Black & Decker does manufacture higher torque drills, at higher price points designed for heavier duty DIY activity.

    In classic blog form, Toolmonger had an early read on these products that are hitting retail markets over the next weeks. I hope you all have an opportunity to try the product yourself.

    Thanks,
    Tracine Andrus
    Product Manager – Black & Decker VPX

  6. Tracine,

    Thank you very much for bringing the correct torque rating for the 14.4V drill to our attention.

    I am quite thrilled that the original torque rating I was provided with is incorrect. Given that I had went through consumer channels to obtain the information, it is possible that B&D’s techs have not yet been provided with accurate information regarding the soon to be released VPX series.

    In any case, with a 225 in/lb rating, my enthusiasm for the 14.4V VPX drill is renewed, especally if it as compact as advertised.

  7. l_bilyk says:

    Are these batteries developed by A123 Systems?

  8. T says:

    Man, and after I just bought the Handisaw.

    Of course, it was $30 on clearance at my local Wally World, so I don’t feel too bad.

  9. VPX Fan says:

    Most of the collection can be seen here:

    http://www.amazon.com/Black-Decker-Power-Tool-Collection/dp/B000VJDKK2

    Notice the big price difference between tools with and without the batteries. The reason the things cost so much is the Lithium Ion batteries.

    Versapak was a great system back in the day, they just overreached with it. The Versapak screwdriver is to this day one of the better small screwdrivers available. When they started trying to make bigger tools, the battery technology at the time just didn’t allow enough power. VPX is different because new technology will let them make much more powerful products. These will not be the weaklings you remember from Versapak.

    Once you get the batteries, the rest of the tools are cheap! And there’s no need to buy an after market multi-port charger: these ones “daisy chain” to let you add more charging capacity as you get more batteries. Clever!

  10. Kurt says:

    Tracine Andrus, thanks for the reply. Getting prompt and accurate information goes a long way in the DIY community.

  11. O.Jeff says:

    My local Wal-Mart had an attractive display but was somewhat short of facts.

    The main question I could not see an answer to was how long it takes to charge the battery.

    I also would like to know if these tools are using A123 battery technology?

    Also, does the Cordless Super Compact Drill w/ Lithium Ion Technology
    Model # SC1400 use A123 technology?

  12. Sam Cao says:

    Hi Tracine Andrus, I am employee in Blackanddecker suzhou, VPX is a new and interesting twist on the whole cordless tool idea. really really attractive.
    my question is when I can see it in china market.

  13. Rick Stuart says:

    @ Kurt & Joe -

    I purchased a Ryobi tool in the One+ system and was disappointed in the performance and quality. The fact that it is only available at Depot is an extra negative. I hate shopping there.

    After my One+ battery started smoking on the 5th charge, I decided to turn back to Black & Decker. They have been around a long time, and have a history of success. I look forward to seeing the new line of VPX.

  14. B&D Rep says:

    Here Is Our Current VPX Website

    http://www.vpxsystem.com/

    Enjoy!

  15. David Lynn says:

    To Toolmonger,
    I was looking at the 18 volt Firestorm system and am interested in the new 14.4 volt VPX drill/driver. How do the two compare? Power, how long it lasts and such. I think the two would be a good comparison. The idea of something that would hold the charge so it would be ready when needed is a BIG draw to me, Thanks.

  16. Peter Morris says:

    I looked on the VPX website and the only technical specs are that is is 7 volts. Cab B&D indicate how many amphours one 7 volt pack has. this give the real idea of how long it will last at what power.

  17. Actually, battery specs won’t be of much use since we don’t know the draw of the motors. Obviously larger values yield longer running times, but efficient designs and engineering can do more with less.

    So far, there are limited runtime stats available. A single VPX battery is claimed to be able to drive the LED flashlight for about five hours.

  18. Kevin B says:

    I loved the versapak screwdriver, it’s still going strong after 10 years of of wear and tear and many replacement batteries later. I liked it so much, I went out and got the drill that used 2 batts,and it was awful. I went back to corded tools for awhile and then got a Ryobi starter kit after using one of their corded tools. I’m happy with the one system, the new drills dont look as heavy duty as the older ones though. I love my 3 speed hammer drill, shame they dont make that one anymore. I hitched my wagon to Ryobi for now, sorry B& D.

  19. KL says:

    Now that Ryobi has Li-Ion batteries (and a LOT less expensive, 1/3 the price, than that DeWalt stuff!) the One+ line will take off.

    This 7V system is cute though, and really seeks to hit a different demographic.

  20. I too, am looking for a substitute for my old cartridge NiCad B&D tools. The hand power screw driver was a winner, the cut saw – so so, the portable blower pretty good, the drill was a DOA-POS and the other tools marginal at best. I am looking for primarily a good basic Lithium battery 18vdc tool line. Most of the stuff out there in the market place appears to be pricey DOA-POS types ! Too many bad complaints on Rigid, DeWalt over priced and under powered, same for most of the other brands as well. Ryobi seems like the best design and most reliable so far but still comes with complaints and critiques.

    Mostly, the 18vdc battery based hand tools are usually under powered and of poor reliability and ruggedness. I only use battery based hand tools for quick and simple types of jobs where one doesn’t need a dozen batteries for back up and not a lot of power is required to do the job. Mostly in remote locations, I use a small, portable, wheeled ‘ PowerPak ‘ that develops 120vac with a small 1500 Watt inverter powered by a sealed U1B battery for jobs that need both power and duration. Its become so popular in my area, that I can’t seem to keep one in my shop for any length of time ! The builders, contractors and craftsmen usually throw their battery based hand tools away after using one of these ! Don…

  21. 2wheelChris says:

    I’m interested because of the technology used! Yes, the VPX system uses the A123 LiFe technology. In the VPX sytem the cells are 1100mAh charges, but what sets this system apart is the quick charge times! A full recharge should be possible in about 7 min.! About as fast as you can discharge then under DIY duties :-)

  22. 2wheelChris says:

    Here is the official word about the cells used in the VPX packs: 2 1100mAh 3.6V cells in series:
    http://www.rcuniverse.com/forum/m_6590509/anchors_6614191/mpage_1/key_/anchor/tm.htm#6614191

  23. Gene Robertson says:

    Discontinued???

    Hi I went to my local Lowes and Home Depot today to buy several VPX battery packs. I was told that the whole line was sent back at Lowes, and that the line was discontinued by B&D at Home Depot. Perhaps the VPX rep can fill us in on the real scoop.

    THanks
    Gene

  24. I have heard from a few others that some stores have put their VPX stock on clearance, but I haven’t heard anything about the product line being discontinued. Just the other day I noticed that my Target had put up a new VPX display.

    It is possible that sales for the VPX system have been lower than anticipated at certain stores. Even after the winter holidays, my local Lowes and Home Depots had shelves full of VPX tools. At one point, the displays were moved from the endcap displays to a hidden section by the “contractor services” desk. That couldn’t have been good for sales either.

    Amazon has featured the starter set in their daily “lightning deals” lineup at least twice now, and offers the entire VPX lineup, sometimes at a discount and with free shipping.

    If it is true that Lowes and HD have pulled these products from their shelves, one can only wonder about what went wrong.

  25. Zathrus says:

    I was at the old corporate HQ HD here in Atlanta on Friday (freaking huge store) and they had most of the VPX on yellow tag discount. It was still on the shelves, but only in the “discount to clear” section they have in the front of the store.

    Noticed a few other tools on discount too, I’ll post about them in the appropriate thread.

  26. Corban says:

    Anyone know why Lowes and Home Depot are discontinuing the VPX system?

    corban

  27. I NOTICED THAT BLACK & DECKER DIDN’T PROVIDE A CARRYING CASE FOR THEIR VPX STARTER SET. WELL I DID SOMETHING ABOUT THAT AND DESIGNED A CASE FOR THEM. CHECK IT OUT AT MY NEW WEB PAGE
    http://WWW.PLUGINTOMYPLANS.COM

  28. wondering says:

    All Home Depot stores are selling remaining stock and not restocking. What happened? Why? Too much “design” for the US market – too “toy”-like? Or did it fail because some tools are sold without a battery and the systems approach is somewhat confusing?

    Would love it if someone like Tracine could shed some light on this…..

    Thanks!

  29. Mac says:

    I have Emailed Black and Decker and these tools are not being discontinued. They are considered Seasonal during X-mas, Fathers Day, and will be available at Walmart and Target. Basically there just is no room for them on the shelves. I would not be surprised if they are clearanced after every X-mas.

  30. Stuart says:

    Hmm, if the product is not on shelves, then they’re either in warehouses gathering dust, or in parts awaiting production. I think that B&D is just trying to mask poor sales.

    After handling a few VPX tools on the first day it was released at my local hardware store, I almost broke out laughing. Like others, I thought that the VPX tools were almost toy-like with their flimsy and lightweight plastic construction. I tested a brand new 7V screwdriver, and it just felt sloppy, there’s not really another way to put it.

    If major hardware stores are going to pick up the product again in anticipation of holiday sales, what does that say, that nobody wants to buy these tools for themselves?

    I think that the VPX line was priced too high, especially for “homeowners” tools, and it just didn’t attract enough sales.

    I don’t think that these will fly off the shelves at Walmart or Target, but they won’t be clearanced there either, they’ll just sit, and sit… and sit…, exactly what HD and Lowes and elsewhere didn’t want to deal with.

  31. woolfman says:

    THINK OUTSIDE THE BOX and get your BLACK & DECKER VPX cordless tools out of their box and into a permanent tool case @ http://www.plugintomyplans.com
    Take time to visit this website for plans to adapt a Stanley organizer case for VPX starter set and more.

  32. Jim Nortone says:

    Better buy MILWAUKEE TOOLS. http://www.milwaukeetool.com ON,Y COMPANY WITH 5 YEAR GUARANTEE ON ALL TOOLS AND ALL BATTERIES. Apparently, no one else has the same confidence in their products.

  33. Henry says:

    I like the product line, and bought several items for myself plus a couple as gifts. It’s well thought out from every standpoint except one: the marketing is terrible – promotion, packaging, and product placement. And though the products are good, the customer will only rarely find out.

    Pity, because for the average DIY, some of these tools (and the concept) are perfect. For the money, there is currently no better lithium-powered solution.

  34. Kyle Eadie says:

    I bought a few of the them at http://www.toolauthority.com. They still have all of them listed on their site. I really like the power source.

  35. Let me say that I have been buying cordless tools for well forever….. the last full set I bought was millwaukee at several hundred dollars. The drill lasted about a month and started skipping when in high mode (low mode worked ok). the sawsall worked for 5 repeat 5 times and broke (some plastic thingy inside). The flashlight …. who cares….. bonus impact driver I gave away and the fellow I gave it to said it worked for 2 hrs and failed. The saw i use seldom and if anyone wants it email me. OH yea and I had to buy 2 chargers as they failed also. At that point I gave up on cordless tools or at least expensive ones (I emailed millwaukee and they more or less said tooooo bad). As for b&d I love em…. cheap… last me 6 months throw em away….. beats the hell out of spending several hundred and throwing them away after six months. As a serious contractor who buys (spent over $1000.00 today) quality tools I will not buy expensive cordless again until they get there chit together. I did buy the vpx starter kit today and the extra battery…. hope they work ok…

    for contractors lately for all my search rigid is good…… I have the rigid sawsall and love it (longer stroke) and used to buy millwaukee, circular only Makita… (have 5 of them and would never change). Cordless tools,,,,, only purchase in 2 years has been b&d.. yea cheap but last long enough for me to make my money back. I just bought the rigid table saw (I did hear the bosch was better but $100.00 buck more) and I bought the rigid planer. As for ryobi…… it is a homeowner tool and although I have bought them and for homeowners the price it right they do not hold up for heavy use…… cheers all and any comment can be sent to rlvarcoe @ concast.net

  36. Tool Rep says:

    Fast forward 2-years and the line has been fully discontinued and liquidated. The product group responsible for this miserable failure was canned and for good reason after this flop. I wouldn’t “gift” this item to my worst enemy – well maybe. Not against B&D as they have several very good products, but lets not sugar coat this and call it what it really was – a complete failure.

  37. ALAIN GRISE says:

    VPXIN77A

  38. Mark says:

    Yesterday I bought a VPX assortment at a liquidator (so they’re not fully liquidated yet!) The assortment included a hand vac (what I was really looking for in the first place), the starter set reviewed above, a battery and a dual battery charger all for about $50 Canadian.

    Yeah, the tools seem light and flimsy. I haven’t used them yet. But seeing that all I was looking for was a Dustbuster replacement, I’ll be fairly happy if I can keep the hand vac going for a few years. It seems to be the same design as a current high-end Dustbuster, just in different colours.

    So for a little less than the price of a high-end Dustbuster, I get this and all the other stuff as a bonus. And this is a lithium ion-powered Dustbuster to boot.

    The same liquidator had the 14V drill for $59.99. Not too sure about that one – I can get new cheapies for less than that, and they don’t use an obsolete battery system.

  39. M R Smith says:

    Flash forward more and the VPX line is available from Amazon and eBay. It seems the full kit of drill, electric screwdriver, cut saw, flashlight, one battery and charger is going for about $50. I got one kit for a good bit less, then an extra set of batteries and charger for $25 and an extra flashlight to leave with the driver at our church.

    So for home and light commercial (read that around the church tightening of screws and installing pictures and mounts), the VPX line is a good deal for Lithium, light duty use. We just made sure we had a couple of extra batteries on hand if the liquidator sources dry up soon.

    Best, Mark

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