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.
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.