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If you disagree here, feel free to call me out in comments. But I’m always confused when I see something like this on the Snap-On site. They’re offering a 1/4″ compact cordless impact driver, complete with two batteries, a charger, and a soft-sided case for $203. But are people really willing to pay 75% more for a tool just to have it come in red and black and show up via the tool van? Seriously, we can buy the Bosch PS41 for $135 all day online. And unless I’m missing something, the Snap-On driver’s specs don’t match up well, either.

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The Snap-On driver (model CT561QC) produces 300 in-lbs. of torque, maxing out at 2,500 RPM and 3,000 BPM. It’s 6.2″ long, 6.5″ high, and 2.0″ wide. The PS41, on the other hand, is shorter (5.39″) so it’ll fit in more places. And it delivers 930 in-lbs. of torque and spins up to 3,100 RPM and 2,600 BPM. Now I can’t tell for sure, but the trigger on the Snap-On looks like an on/off sort of deal as opposed to variable speed, which seems backed up by the specs showing “2,500 RPM” instead of “0-2,500 RPM.”

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So what’s up with this? As far as I can tell, the Snap-On is just a bad deal. Do they actually sell many of these, and if so, what motivates people to buy them? Do they include them in large kits or something? Or am I just missing the boat here?

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1/4″ Hex Drive Micro Cordless Impact Driver [Snap-On] (Warning, PDF)
PS41 Impact Driver [Bosch]
Street Pricing for PS41 [Google Products]

 

25 Responses to $203 For A 7.2V Compact Impact Driver? Really?

  1. minh says:

    It’s a snap on, they can sell it for as much as they want and people will buy it. Which answers your question, YES, people do pay the premium for them. I have a buddy that works at a dealer and you’re allowed an account and you can pay it off slowly which is something you can’t do if you order online (well… technically you can with a credit card). Also most of these techs like to have their tools match (who doesn’t?!) and I want to say that most have never ventured out and bought tools since the snap on van comes every week with the goodies.

  2. ToolGuyd says:

    Nope, it’s not just you. Look at the battery specs: 0.7 Amp-hrs with a charge time of 55mins, plus they’re NiCad. And you’re right, there’s no indication that it has any variable speed control.

    There’s also a 3/8″ square drive impact wrench coming out with the same form factor, but with a 50 ft-lb max torque rating.

    Realistically that’s not half bad for a 7.2V tool, but I’m not at all impressed.

  3. mike foley says:

    Just looked at the Bosch on Amazon and it’s even at a special $25.00 off right now! $109? Wow! Thanks for the heads up!

  4. Mark says:

    Costco sells wet/dry Snap-on vacuums. Maybe these products are overstock, but it seems odd to me that Snap-on is selling products through a mass merchant discounter.

  5. Jeff says:

    Snap-On usually will repair/replace most of their tools for a really long time. And, the truck drivers are usually independent, so they can cut deals. You buy the driver, I’ll throw in a ratchet free. I found their pricing to be really high but the service usually backs it up. Similar deal with Matco and the like.

  6. Robbie_B says:

    Or for the same price you could get the Milwaukee M18 Impact Driver: http://www.milwaukeetool.com/tools/cordless-tools/m18-cordless-system/m18-cordless-lithium-ion-%C2%BC-inch-hex-compact-impact-driver/2650-21

    I’ve had mine for a few weeks, and it doesn’t disappoint.

  7. Fong says:

    I’ll admit Snap On tools have always been the envy of every mechanic and install shop I’ve been in. They may even know how to make really strong, purdy wrenches and ratchets. I don’t, however, for an instant believe they can beat Bosch’s reputation or quality in the power tool arena.

    This smells like a rebadge of an overseas product. If I was a company releasing this type of tool today, it must be at least over 10V, must have variable speed, must have Lithium Ion/Polymer batteries and cannot be priced more than leaders in that niche like Bosch unless the tool itself can justify it, not just the brand. Sad thing is, they’ll probably still sell a buttload of these things.

    This kind of brand leveraging cannot be maintained. Over time, newcomers to tools will offset brand loyalists thanks to the abundant information provided on toolmonger and similar sites. The product must speak for itself. The brand only tips in your favor when all else is equal.

    …and just a side note…imagine how much gas on those Snap-On vans must cost. Those things are Heavy!

  8. Bob says:

    It looks cheap to me. I’d even say it reminds me of Harbor Freight.

    Yes, I’m a Bosch fanboy. 🙂

  9. Jerry says:

    It’s actually only $103 for the tool – you just have to add that extra $100 because it’s SnapOn. As others said, there are loyalists to the brand and a lot of that is someone delivering the tools and letting you pay on a monthly account. Auto repair places usually seem to have a fair number of SnapOn fans – especially dealerships. Competition among the mechanics to have the most?

  10. John says:

    On the PDF flyer posted above, it says right at the bottom “Country of origin – CHINA”.

  11. Slow Joe Crow says:

    It reminds me of the tale of my electric impact wrench. Way back in 1992 or 93 I bought a Craftsman commercial electric impact wrench from the discount bin at Sears for $80, then I saw the Black & Decker Industrial version for $150, both with black plastic motor housings ( with a very distinctive shape that identified the common origin) and a sandblasted aluminum hammer case. A little while later in a Snap On catalog I encountered the same basic tool, with a red motor housing and a snazzy polished hammer case for $250! Same guts, same manufacturer, just a name brand and some cosmetics.

  12. george says:

    one of my techs bought one or similar to it years ago. this was around or before the other stuff started showing up. he used that thing constantly every day in a auto repair shop. never had a problem. so you decide. course if i needed one i would probably get the bosch one.

  13. Chris says:

    More snap-on crap made overseas. Seems snap on have jumped on the made in china/Japan bandwagon. My brother stopped buying their tools years ago because of them being over priced and no better than Mac tools versions.

  14. Bill says:

    “But are people really willing to pay 75% more for a tool just to have it come in red and black and show up via the tool van?”

    Yes.

  15. Phil says:

    Never underestimate the power of branding.

  16. Eric says:

    From what a mechanic friend told me it’s usually the payment plans that suck mechanics into buying the high dollar snap on stuff.

  17. Old Tool Guy says:

    One part of the tool truck purchase that should not be taken lightly: The tool can be paid for over 4 or 10 weeks on a no-interest “truck account”. This account can carry anywhere from $100 to a couple thousand dollars, paid off at maybe 10% of the balance, and can go on for years. When I had a tool truck (different brand from Snappy) I had customers that had very nice habits: they paid me $25 to $100 per week, no matter what the balance was, and took tools they wanted/needed off whenever they had the notion to. Sometimes they paid off their account, and just let the balance build until I sold them something new.

    Another advantage of tool truck service is the warranty; if there are any problems, the theory is that the tool truck guy takes care of it. No extra trip to the mall or mailing it back to the guy you bought it from…see the blog about the Buffalo Tools air shears if you want to see the opposite of “customer service”. Service has a price-you can buy a cheap tool with no service or an expensive tool with lots of service.

    And for those of you who want to tell me about how you don’t get that kind of service from a tool truck anymore…or how you haven’t seen the Matco man in three years, etc.: That’s a whole ‘nother discussion.

  18. DoItRite says:

    Snap-on tools used to be about the best on the market. The dealer-drivers own their own routes and are usually great guys. They will set up revolving credit lines with almost anyone in your shop and stop by each week to make sure that you have what you need and that its working for you (and collect a payment). That’s the upside.

    The downside is that corporate Snap-on treats their driver-dealers like dirt. They are squeezing them more all the time, even realizing that in this economy, the customers can’t make payments. The dealer is caught in the middle. The tools are made in China more and more, and are sometimes knock-offs for the discount stores. They still make some great stuff, but it’s not gold, and shouldn’t be priced like it is.

    Worst of all, not you see Snap-on at places like Ace Hardware and Costco. The dealers say that this is not the same items, and they don’t even have access to those products, but it is diluting the brand image for quick profits. Seems like they are selling the logo and all that it once stood for.

    All of this puts me in a dilemma. While I like the dealer and his ability to repair or replace anything (although often at his own cost), I despise the way corporate Snap-on treats him and the other dealers, and I despise the brand trashing that is being done to the name. The tools (always pricey) are now price completely out of touch with reality, especially for Chinese manufacturing. I can understand the price if it is made in USA, but not anymore.

    So I guess, if I really want something to last the rest of my life and can’t be without it, I’ll go Snap-on. That situation is very rare, so I’ll be looking around more for better options.

  19. Sean says:

    There are many destitute mechanics of my acquaintance who are addicted to Steel Plated Gold. I’ve gotten by without the prestige of a tool box that costs the down-payment for a house and can complete the work just as efficiently.

  20. Toolfreak says:

    $203 is a bargain price for that from Snap-On. I would have expected it to be more like $499.

    I’d go with the Bosch for sure though, in terms of quality and specs.

    Skil has Bosch-engineered Made-in China ones in the same red/black color scheme for even less, too.

  21. lens42 says:

    Selling a NiCd powered cordless tool in 2011 is almost criminal. If Snap-On had any brand value left, this just zeroed it out for me. Jeeze, why don’t they take a Bosch or Milwaukee lithium battery driver, put it in a bullet proof gear box, and sell it for $300. That would at least make *some* sense. This is just worthless.

  22. Zeke says:

    Never buy anything from Snap-On that runs on electricity. That’s never been their strong suit.

    They still have a lot of nice hand tools, but even there you have to be careful nowadays. The selection isn’t as good as it used to be, either.

    They seem to be cashing-out their reputation by offering a lot of average-quality, often imported, often re-branded merchandise for the same huge prices. It’s a bummer.

  23. Terry says:

    I have to say that one of the factors is how snap on stands behind the tools they sell. I have a box (yes snap on) full of tools (yes snap on) I have a few mac tools as well as another box (craftsman) at home that is full of craftsman. Most of your big name tool company’s (snap on, mac, matco, cornwell, craftsman, etc) stand behind their tools. BUT do research and see what the warranty is on a craftsman box then a snap on. Snap on is LIFE. I have also dealt with broken tools its what happens. If it is snap on mac etc then I just return it and get a new one every week. Now the driver is the one that keeps his truck inventory up to date and on your everyday tools he ALWAYS has them. Now for craftsman I have to go after work or on the weekend and it is 30 min away. Not to mention I have had to wait for them to get commonly used tools like 12pt 14mm 3/8 drive socket. Now as far as price/payments. Yes Snap on is EXPENSIVE. Would you go to a discount (harbor freight) Dr? Ok neither would I. You get what you pay for. And what your paying for is availability, warranty, and quality. As far as payments you caan do corporate which would have interest or a truck account which is interest free. Truck accounts all depend on the truck operator. Mine starts everyone off at 500 and once you build credit with him he will up it. Try to warranty most other tools and see how well it works. I just walk on the truck and say here this is broke and its done. I dont have to ship anything or explain anything.

  24. Berk says:

    Ive been in the automotive repair industry for the last 15 years and ive had many electric impact tools, drivers and flashlights including snap on, Bosch and makita ones. I’m not saying the name “snap on” doesnt make a difference in the price BUT the biggest reason is engineering. I’ve worked at very busy shops and I used to go through electric tools every other year. Biggest reason for failure was chemical contamination. Brands other than snap on are great until you start getting oil and parts cleaners and other chemicals on them. If you’ll be using it at home or at a car stereo installation shop any brand will do. If your tool is going to be used in a harsh environment snap on will serve you for years and years. I’d rather pay more and buy a tool that lasts me more than 5 years than buy cheaper products that barely last a year.

  25. Larry says:

    My uncle is a snap on dealer So just remember when you’re buying something off the truck The dealer pays 60% every tell price With the exception of the toolboxes i don’t know what the markup is on them So he has 40% profit to play with I never pay more than 80% of retail They act like they’re not making any money but if you push they will deal with you. Good luck

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