Home Depot Is Selling Power Tools That Require Activation In-Store

Shoplifting is a major problem for many brick-and-mortar retail stores, and it seems that stealing and then selling power tools is a lucrative enterprise for some criminals. To combat this, Home Depot is starting to sell power tools that will not work unless they are activated at the checkout counter.

According to a 2020 survey in the US, “organized retail crime” cost retailers $719,548 per $1 billion dollars in revenue. One thief was recently arrested after stealing more than $17,000 worth of power tools from Home Depot. While many stores put high value items in locked display cases, Home Depot felt that this tactic would negatively affect sales, so they partnered with suppliers to add an internal kill switch. Although persistent criminals might find a way to deactivate this feature, it sounds like Home Depot is hoping that will be just enough trouble to convince most criminals to look for easier targets somewhere else.

We would be really interested in getting our hands on one of these power tools to see what this kill switch looks like and how it works. Something like a Bluetooth activated relay is one option, or maybe even something that is integrated directly in the motor controller. If it were up to us, we would probably pick something that receives power wirelessly using a coil and requires a unique code. For their sake, we hope it’s not something that can be deactivated with just a large magnet.

Thanks for the tip [Garth Bock]!

343 thoughts on “Home Depot Is Selling Power Tools That Require Activation In-Store

        1. This is the kind of forum I was looking for. I was thinking to myself that this would be very easy to override as a power tool is simply a battery making contact with a motor through a switch. I don’t see how this could be a difficult task to bypass. What are your thoughts?

        1. Thank u ryobi and hdx products only so u guys know if a store sells it it doesn’t make it its brand stores are also known as market places and those companies are marketing there products thru stores like home depot

        2. They are all effectively the same product. Pretty much every brand has been sold off to Chinese interests/production and the products have been largely homogenized. They are traded now on the name and only differ slightly in design, color, and battery interface. Individual brand robustness, quality, and support doesn’t differ much anymore. Also note that the products not made in China(and outside the US, namely Japan) differ in design and quality between models intended for domestic sale and models intended for export(mainly to the US). [AvE] did a report and demo on this.

          I will say that out of all of them, I personally prefer Milwaukee(for the accessories) with due respect to DeWalt. Bad experiences with recent Ryobi & Makita. B&D tanked a long time ago – one of the first to do so…For me, that’s a local brand as one of their production facilities is only a few miles away; I have family and friends that worked there. Sad, really.

          1. I tend to go with Bosch over all of them. Milwaukee if Bosch doesn’t have what I need.

            Rigid and Ryobi just don’t have the quality control. B&D is a joke, as is Craftsman, and Makita has declined.

          2. Only one difference is it four companies on 48% of the marketplace and Black and Decker owns Stanley DeWalt Craftsman and a half a dozen other companies so therefore they are all basically based upon the same designs and parts Black & Decker owns Lennox Craftsman Irwin tools DeWalt and crib master so what the hell is the difference they’re all Black and Decker

          3. Stanley (B&D) have started integrating bluetooth & GPS into various layers of their products. Think drills & batteries that require your phone to work (so they stop working if stolen off a job site), track loader accessories that report their position without needing 3rd party tool trackers, etc. Not at all surprised some of this has migrated to the pre-sales side of things.

          4. Oh wow it is costing them 7/10,000th of a percent in profit. Poor people starving folks getting evicted and they are clutching onto couch change. Give me a f****** break.

      1. There store brand has never been makita try better try the orange colored rigid Makita tools will hold there own with DeWalt and Milwaukee all day long and if you get in the 40v platform there is no comparison though it is marketed more to the heavy tech mechanic with the torque ranges of impacts and the size combination of grinders

        Sad thing about black and decker is that it is the parent company of DeWalt.

      2. I am a professional ,I have been in the construction industry since july of 1983, I have built countless homes,high rides and everything you can name , and I must say you are wrong . I use a makita saw every day it the no.one selling saw in the world ,along with the complete line of makita tools they are one of the top brands but just so you know the other brand most used is dealt, which used to be sold under black and decker professional, but they changed their name ,but as,apro I dont care who makes the tools long as it performs the way it should I have countless nail guns but surprisingly the guns my employees reach for most is a 99 dollar harbor freight the senco,and Hitachi spend most of their day in my trailer,proof that quilty tools are some times manufactured by the store brand

        1. I will second the inexpensive HF nail guns, I have one that must be 25 years old now. I must have ran 100,000 nails through it. I have let helpers use it, it has taken spills off of ladders, it has gotten wet, and it just keeps on ticking. I got one of the HF upscale nail guns and I really wanted to like it, but I don’t and the helpers do not like it as much either. It was funny too as I bought it with a 25% off coupon and the guy at HF insisted that all the so called premium brands were excluded but they omitted that one on the exclusion list. and much to the guys dismay I got it for 25% off. I would have done better getting two of the cheap ones.

          1. I bought a three in one finish/brad/crown gun thinking that if I ended up using it often enough I’d buy something proper think I may have paid extra for a year no questions asked warranty or something. Either way I figured Itd go bust after a month of putting it through its paces I’d go trade it out and be easy on it afterwards but I’ll be damned if that little pos that the bumb trigger never did work on isnt still chugging along.

            I definitely get behind the idea if buying quality the first time most of the time but sometimes if I’m not sure if I’m going to use something often it’s not worth the cost of the quality.

          1. Often times, tools aren’t provided for the helpers. My god, the cost of providing an entire crew with all the tools, god forbid they break or steal them.

        2. I personally love makita, thats mostly all I have. But i do agree, i had a harbor freight roofing gun( bought for 5 bucks at a return center) that would outperform my senco or old dirty bostich. We used it for years, paid for itself 10000 times over lol.

      3. A professional can use any of these power tools and absolutely do the same quality work . Most of us didn’t start out with the best tools ., Of course I love my equipment and I’m not stuck in one particular brand because they all have their star player …Don’t buy into the hype ….

        1. What difference does it make who DeWalt is owned by? Are you saying they don’t make quality tools? Do you slam Lexus because they’re made by Toyota? Sorry but that’s a really dumb criticism.

          1. I think you’re missing the point. The thumbnail is a Black & Decker tool and, if accurate, will receive the treatment described in this article. If Black & Decker does it with their branded products, they’ll also do it with other labels under their umbrella.

            Nobody attacked the quality of Black & Decker’s tools or the tools from their sub-brands. Context is important.

    1. Milwaukee, DeWalt and Ridgid are all top quality cordless power tools. Heck, even Ryobi are decent tools for home owners and DIY level guys. I’m not sure what tools you are referring to when you say they are like toilet paper soaked in Kool-aid.

    2. What are you talking about?? First there are no Home Depot branded tools. Second, even ones sold “exclusively” at Home Depot are still not “Home Depot Tools” like Ryobi but this brand is the only one I can think you are try to bash. The rest are unquestionably good tools. Ryobi is part of the same company that owns other high quality tool manufacturers and share some of the same technologies. I’ve had the same Ryobi power tools that I purchased in the early 2000’s and have some other random less used Ryobi power tools, just because I have the batteries and they are not daily commercials work tools. My work tools are all Milwaukee, RIDGID and DeWalt. I have some Husky tool bags and cases and some hand tools. All take daily abuse and use and no issues.

  1. I don’t think I care that it needs to be activated. I would only be concerned about the possibility of being *DE-activated* and perhaps some bright executive getting around to thinking about RE-Activating…

      1. The plan is to make it automated through point of sale, once purchase is confirmed it goes through a wireless activation, a la something akin to NFC or Bluetooth. Cashier just has to ring it up, no other involvement required.

      1. I’m sure the manufacturers would love that! Need to pair the drill to your phone over Bluetooth and pay them $19.99/ month to use the drill. (or $24.99 if you want to add the ‘screwdriver mode’).

        1. I could actually see this being used for reselling and warranty transfers, the tool knows how old it is and if any warranty time remains. Using an app a new owner could transfer the remaining warranty.

          Only usefulness I could think of out of all this

      2. The big box stores do a good rental business. The as a service thing is close to existing on that front now. It was funny, I was building something for a guy and had my chop saw, compressor, nail gun, generator as well as a slew of hand power tools and good ol mechanical hand tools at his site. We were at one of the big box places picking up wood. He had commented a couple of times about how expensive I was. I took him into the rental room, and showed him what the per day rental costs were and it would have only cost him about $50 more a day to rent the big stuff I provided and he DIYed it. The look on his face when he saw that was priceless,

      1. Just look on CL, no doubt you will be seeing ads for new tools that “stopped working” and are “probably an easy fix” . My guess is it will be them.

        The only tools I have been buying have been Ridgid at HD. If you follow the process and register all the pieces on line within the allotted amount of time post purchase, the tool and the batteries are covered by a lifetime warrantee. In a few years the owners of other brands will be faced with that buy a new tool and battery for $15 more than a new battery or buy a new battery for $15 less than a new tool and battery, while I can just swing by HD and get a replacement for free.

        As far as this being a good idea.. In my mind it is one more thing to go wrong. An unnecessary link in the chain.

          1. So true and with more shoplifters the products end up being more expensive for all us
            who buy our tools .

            ( This is also true for all other kind of shops , when shoplifting gets big
            we as costumer end up pay more for our products )

            in the end it is every costumer who end pay the loss .
            I like this idear with tools that stop working if stolen from a work site and the
            activation at exit from the shop and the tracking of the tools by gps .

            As long as it can work without too much troble for the costumer it is just great .

        1. You get a Ridgid lifetime warranty after you register your purchase unless Sparky, the Ridgid DBA, gets into the act.

          I have had two different instances where I “applied to register” (because you aren’t registered until Ridgid SAYS your are, and even then…) and Ridgid has said, “Registration? We don’t have a registration for this tool” or tools. First time, they said “No registration, please send proof of purchase to us”. When I sent a copy of the HD purchase receipt, they said, “Oh, this tool was registered four times”. Right.

          The second time was for the first two Ridgid tools that I had purchased years ago (and registered). Ridgid said, “We have no record of these tools being registered”, i.e. – they won’t warrant the tools, period.

          I said, “Your registration process sucks, and your $25 an hour DBA du jour should be fired.”

        2. The lifetime warranty is why I have a sack full of RIDGID tools, I find them to be more than adequate and haven’t had any issues with them. I use the 1/2″ drive impact all the time and it still surprises me occasionally when I put it in something I just know it’s not going to have the needed torque to remove and it just buzzes it right off. Such as axel nuts which have never been removed

        1. I regular HD once a week. However, last weekend I didn’t see any products mentioning activation at the register. I will go in wednesday or thursday just to see if such things exist. Some internet reports indicate that they are bluetooth activation. I have an email account with the big G.

        1. That’s a fantastic business model, from my perspective. As long as I stick with the same brand, I can make a one-time purchase for expensive batteries and have access to a huge selection of relatively cheap tools? I’m in. Great for customers, great for the brand, as it locks in those customers.

          1. Hmm, except tool batteries are consumable (even rechargeables eventually die) so your one-time purchase is repeat. I’ll take mains powered tools where possible, a copper cable should be cheap compared to a battery pack.

          2. My selling point was being able to leave the tools in a shed and the batteries in the mud room with climate control. Also they’re usually just 18650s if anyone needs to put those idle hands to use in the devil’s right-to-repair workshop.

            That said, I’d like to know why ryobi put security bits on a cheap desk fan.

          3. You forget that one brand can use 4-6 different battery standards for their tools, each one compatible only with some tools. It’s the DSLR lens mount business model, where Canon, Nikon and some others used to have 4-6 different lens mounts (each) for different camera series…

        2. well probably it’s almost realistic. let’s say your battery is 18V, 4Ah if you want to create this in new, good quality 18650 for retail prices, it will set you back about 70..80USD plus a case and some bms, whereas a motor, a drill chuck, a pcb (and a case) for the drill itself will probably cheaper.

          are there openhardware powertools?

          1. Sure, it may be less expensive, but are you a commercial carpenter or a homeowner/ diy guy? If you roll up to a job site and don’t have a wall to plug into, then a cordless is going to be the best bet. It also saves you a ton of time, which actually makes our money and pays for itself and is way safer than a corded model. Bit if it is something you hardly ever use, then a corded model is an option for you.

    1. I went to buy a Milwaukee oscillating tool and had to have it unlocked then the tool girl was to escort me to the checkout line. After I was done shopping. She trailed behind me when I started to accept this then said f that I’m not being escorted for a drill. I told he to put it back and went to Lowe’s. L

          1. No, the chaperoning is an illusion for creating perceived value of the chosen product, to instill importance of the chaperoning person’s position at the company, and to give a chance for civil and boring chit-chat.

          2. Actually the chaperoning is to correlate the purchase with the security cameras. So if you sneak off with the tool there’s no doubt about which person in the video tapes it was. It’s always the person being escorted by a store employee.

      1. Better solution is to have the tool in its box locked in bigger, transparent box that contains an anti-theft tag and require special key to be removed at the checkout. That’s how many big stores in my country dealt with theft of small electronics and computer games. Later they added HD cameras, security guards, hidden tags (inside the box) and even fake customers to look for suspicious behavior. And I get why they have to assume that every client is a potential thief. One store that sold second-hand clothes by the mass (at equivalent of 2USD per kg of clothing) had to invest in big plastic tags and whole alarm system because people were stealing even the cheapest clothes…

          1. thrift shops pretty much all suck now, for both giving and buying. They used to be a community service. They took stuff and sold stuff cheap. You could get a good deal on something. Now they are all about their missions and making the biggest buck. Anything worth anything now goes to auction at shopgoodwill.com, no good deals to the local community ma d they are picky as hell about what they will accept. If someone wants me to take a load of stuff to one of them I have to warn them up front ot call and end pix and verify they will take everything or else they risk my bringing what they would not take back and I expect to get paid for the two way run. The dump has tipping and permit fees and I won’t go there w/o being paid. The salvo army is so bad I suggest people just go right to the dump. The people at the salvo paw through every box and are not at all concerned that they are taking an hour and leaving you with 90% of the crap you wanted to donate. Sadly much quicker and easier to just go across the street to the dump.

            I also have issues with the salvo army on the begging front. When I was a kid they would have a couple of people they were helping in front of one store with a coffee can with a slit in the lid. I would give them my change. Now they have these custom made begging kettles and are in front of every store and even banks, It seems 2/3 of every buck you give them they use to set up another location to hit you up for another donation at. The people they help no longer man the begging stations they pay people to do that now and they are very aggressive. The local Target shop at the mall did not want their customers harassed by them, so instead of just honoring that request they set up as near to the mall entrance to their store but on the malls side. God forbid they just leave those people alone. I had to complain to my bank because they were literally shaking people down at the ATM.

            So imho there are no good thrift shops left. Sad but true.

      2. My god it sounds like as much hassle as buying a gun at a big box sporting goods shop. One person escorts the gun to the register while you pay, and you get to carry it after that, but you also get escorted out of the store. I think at the checkout they do open the package up and make sure the s/n’s match the paperwork a 5th time too.

        This country is getting I dunno.

        You now essentially need “travel papers” to fly between states. I am waiting for the check points along the highways. The US is starting to look like Casablanca.

          1. Yep. There’s another one over somewhere between CA and Nevada if I remember correctly. They stop everyone and they ask if you’re citizens. What a great use of time and money. They could have just texted me to ask.

          2. When I lived in Az they had one when you got near the border, they would look in your car and under your car, but the real pisser was the one on the Cal border that would not let you bring fruit in. Like Cal is a movie theater and you can not bring in your own food? You have to use their concession stand…

        1. Probably a stupid question, but I’m not American so don’t know how it works…
          So they escort you round because you’re buying a gun, which is dangerous?
          But aren’t you allowed to walk back in the next day with the gun you’ve purchased anyway, to do your regular shopping? Or are you not allowed to bring guns into shops normally?
          Or is it that you’re escorted just until you’ve passed safety checks and stuff? But I thought you don’t need to have a licence or be certified sane or anything to buy a gun in the US?

          1. Realistically? These are hoops to jump, because their lawyers say they have to have something to protect them from lawsuits. Because some people spread the belief that violent crime is committed with lawfully purchased items, and they believe that no one rational would want a gun or a knife. Gun crime is committed in the vast majority of cases with illicitly gotten weapons.

            Despite what Hollywood shows, no, most of us in flyover country don’t walk around “packing heat”. In a number or states, an individual may have a license to “concealed carry” that requires applying to designated law enforcement, with background checks, etc, that take weeks or more to complete. And stores have the right to put up signs saying not to bring in your legally permitted weapon and kick you out if you ignore their sign. In general, someone planning to commit a gun crime ignores those signs, and also the laws that prohibit robbing people.

            I will leave you with a thought exercise: the Transportation Safety Administration (that sets up the rules about what you can and cannot take on an airplane) limits you, the law abiding citizen, to 3 ounces of shampoo, and confiscates more than that. However, you can, in fact, carry an entire pie on the plane, which is likely to contain a bit more than 3 ounces of semi-fluid content. Please compare and contrast the ability to transport dangerous materials, and the effectiveness of these rules to prevent, say, hijacking…

          2. Also, there actually are a number of laws that restrict gun ownership. Fugitives, felons, and those who have been involuntarily committed to a mental institution are not allowed to purchase or possess firearms, unless those rights have been restored.

            I’m not up on the legal prohibitions, but I don’t think you have to be certified sane to write for a newspaper, or be a radio/TV newsreader. Or hold public office. I think there probably is some mechanism to exclude sane people from Twitter, though./s/

          3. You’re missing the point …they escort you to the cash register…so they’re sure to get their money. After that, it’s your gun to take shopping, out for breakfast, etc….until someone breaks into your house the following week and steals it.

          4. You have to pass the background check before they sell you the gun. You select the gun you want and you fill out the background check form and they enter in the mfg., model and serial number of the gun and hey submit that to the government. Most checks only take a little while so you can go and shop for other stuff. When you have passed the check and want to check out one of the people from the gun department will carry the gun to the checkout with you and wait until it is paid for. Than you can carry it, but they also have a person escort you out of the store as they don’t want people carrying guns, even in their shipping boxes, around in the store.

    1. What they’re saying is “We’re big enough that it’s cheaper for us to lean on manufacturers than to hire people in each store.” Given that most large retailers have a “no touch” policy towards shoplifters, they’re probably right.
      As we old farts say, “Don’t trust a techological solution to a social problem”.

        1. Really, REALLY poor choice for a comparison.

          San Francisco is far worse than either Anchorage or Tulsa…or almost any other place you might consider inhabiting, for that matter. As far as is known, people have not started shitting on the sidewalks in those places, in broad daylight, in full view of anyone and everyone.
          To be quite fair to San Francisco, it hasn’t started there, either–it’s been going on for years, now.

          Most any garbage dump would be a far better choice. of abode.

      1. If anyone has a better idea, please go forward and let someone know. If you saw the amount of power tools, etc that go running out the door on a weekly basis, and it was YOUR business, you’d try anything you had to, considering no one is allowed to try and stop them for fear of getting fired. The thieves know it, so they get away with it. It’s frustrating to all that would simply like to kick their ass before they hit the door, but yet… There are literally parents using their children as shields to run out and jump into a getaway car! It’s insanity! And if the prices go up, you can start hunting down the thieves and thank them for it. And yes, the cameras do work, and they help to ID thieves, but then police don’t have time to go after every petty thief that has already dumped the stuff at a pawn shop or in someone else’s garage..it’s a domino effect that needs to be stopped…Anyone got any ideas that aren’t full of sarcasm and bashing of what they do try? Can’t say it won’t be a pain in the ass, or that it will work, and thieves will probably find a way around that too.. but what will make it stop?! Pretty sure third world treatment of steal something, lose a hand, wouldn’t go over too well, but….

        1. Get money from customers first – maybe online – then deliver the tools to them at their home the next day. With the money you save not running a store, you could sell the tools cheaper and throw in free delivery.
          You could call it “Euphrates First” or something.
          Customers would also love not having to drive miles to get stuff.

          1. The thieves don’t care. An alarm tag means nothing to them when they’re carrying an entire armful of stock out of the door that, conveniently, comes to just under a grand.

          2. Mark everything in the store +$1000, but give $1000 discount for people paying in cash or credit card to bring the price back to regular. i.e. shoplifter do not get discount and everything they take out goes above $1000.

        2. The problem with every anti-theft/piracy/etc scheme I’ve seen is it ultimately punishes the lawful/paying customer and is only a minor hindrance to the thieves who already don’t play by the rules so what’s one or two more ones they have to break to get what they want. It’s easy for a manufacturer or store to place the burden onto valid customers, all other consequences for badly thought up and implemented ideas be damned because they wont be the ones suffering them, it’ll be all of us.

          1. Perhaps really sting the thief by embedding radio jammers into items that are commonly stolen? The thief won’t know until the FCC is after him.

            Or a similar idea with smoke bombs that go off a few minutes after being stolen.

        3. “If anyone has a better idea, please go forward and let someone know. ”

          Lock it in a case. Provide a peg with paper tags with the SKU. Swipe tag at checkout, and an employee delivers it to you. Countless retailers already do this. It’s significantly cheaper than embedding electronics in each and every device sold, which *YOU* pay for.

          “If you saw the amount of power tools, etc that go running out the door on a weekly basis”

          Do you math much? According to the article, shrinkage is .13%. I can’t think of another industry with numbers that low.

          “but then police don’t have time to go after every petty thief ”

          Why not? It’s literally their job. My city’s police department has an ELEVEN *BILLION* dollar a year budget. The vast majority of that goes to overtime. Of course, the cops in the street aren’t allowed overtime. It’s all management sucking up all that cash. No wonder crime is up nation wide.

          “it’s a domino effect that needs to be stopped”

          Sorry, but LESS than 2/10th of 1% is NOT the “problem” you’re making it out to be.

          “but what will make it stop?!”

          How about enough well paying jobs that people aren’t forced into crime to survive? Roughly 70% of Americans have difficulty making ends meet. Meanwhile, CEO pay has increased over 1000% since 1978. It surged 14% in 2019 alone, but for you and I, it’s barely gone up at all.

          “CEO pay has increased 1,008% between 1978 and 2018, while typical worker pay has edged up 12%.”


          Hell, I’m making LESS now than I was 15 years ago, despite having grown my skill set significantly. I once owned my own home, now the possibility of owning another is completely out of reach. Meanwhile dickheads like Jeff Bezos exploit workers so he can fly a dildo to the edge of space and give CNN talking heads $100 MILLION each for being tools of the 1%.

          WTF do any of them do in a day more than any of us? Are they even capable of creating something on their own without resorting to underpaying their betters?

          let me ask you, when the vast majority of this country is homeless and starving in the street, who is going to be left to be buying power tools, let alone anything else that corporate America sells? Corporate greed is driving America towards COLLAPSE! Spending is what drives our economy, and fewer and fewer Americans are able to participate because of this concentration of wealth. This negative feedback loop has only ONE possible outcome, and it’s disastrous for EVERYONE.

          1. I’m with you on everything except for “How about enough well paying jobs that people aren’t forced into crime to survive?” If you truly think that people shoplifting – for the vast majority of the cases – are doing so “just to survive” then you are delusional. I’d give you the same 2/10th of 1% of all shoplifting or theft cases are caused by hunger or true NEED. The vast majority is caused by the same greed that you claim is destroying the country. People are too damned lazy to work, so they steal what belongs to others. Either just because they want it – and t hey don’t want to actually work for it – or they steal it to sell to buy drugs, You are never going to stop theft, but you can lessen it – not by providing ore jobs [companies are BEGGING people to come to work right now] but rather by teaching children morals and respect. THAT is the true reason this country is going down the drain.

  2. Slippery slope. If it’s easy to defeat it’s pointless. So it’ll end up being integrated into same chip as motor controller. Once the Borg have invaded your drill/saw/etc, it’s easy to take the next step, which is “oh yeah, device demands to phone home” every so often, or else device refuses to work! This way, if someone steals the tool from You after you buy it, We can find/brick it! Oh, this is for telemetry, so we can make our products better! So we can alert you when your tool is getting near needing replacement! You did want to replace every year didn’t you? Or every month? We totally won’t brick your tool in under a month. Welcome to tools “as a service”.

    **** that, man.

    1. 100%. Absolutely spot on. That’s the exact progression with most companies these days, which is why I refuse to use any of them. I’ll go back to hand tools before I use an Adobe model impact.

      **** that, indeed.

    2. They’ll also be adding a hall effect sensor and require that you swipe it by your arm before use to ensure that you’re vaccinated. This being in a parallel universe where vaccines create magnetism and drills phone home.

      1. Except well already live in a universe where I pay $4,000 a year for my RSLogixs 5000 subscription. All because Rockwell knows I have to have it. Even thou, I need so their overpriced hardware works.

      2. You are just so wrong! Why use a hall switch when they can just use your hand on the drill as the field magnet. Have you been to an appliance store as of late? The refrigerator section is like fly paper for the people who got the vaccine.

    3. There was a point in time, long ago, when my enthusiasm for high tech knew no limits. I looked with eager anticipation toward a future with C3P0-like robots, for example, to live in my home with me, assist me, and in my declining years, aid me.

      All that has changed. That pollyanna future has instead become a dystopian present, where increasing amounts of our personal tech is not owned but licensed, and where every conceivable tool/appliance is predisposed to connect to their manufacturer’s Borg mothership in order to track, spy, and collect data on us.

      If my “smart” TV continually reports back to the manufacturer what shows I watch, my phone tracks who I’ve called, my fridge reports what food I eat, and my car reports to somebody where and how I drive, what intimate and excruciating detail do you suppose a domestic android would “write home” about?

      “Activation” for a battery powered drill? Seriously? Screw that. I still own a drill with a cord. Barring that, a bit and a brace.

      Alternately, I may start a nice little side business purchasing bricked tools on Craigslist and stuffing in new control boards of their own design.

      1. It’s just terrible that cars need keys, you should just be able to walk onto the lot, get in and drive away. I mean you have to pay before they give you the keys. What if they keep a copy? What if they send someone to change the locks while you are asleep? Golly car dealers are awful for hiding away the keys.

        1. Power tools aren’t cars dingus. I suppose you’re also advocating for requiring a license and insurance to use that drill? See how your lame, fallacious analogy falls apart? With “logic” like yours, probably not.

      2. I feel your pain. Between big brother or big business spying on you, and gratuitous electronics on things that really do not need them.. My mindset has changed. Now I see bells and whistles as just more crap to go wrong.

        In fact I have a $500 plunge router that has a soft start and a variable speed control on it. The electronic module is potted, and it is dead. Once in a while it will pop on and run for a while but if you touch the control or turn it on and off it will not restart, and no it is not the brushes or corrosion on the armature. I am about ready to see if I can just series wire the field coils and armature and have it be a nice one speed router that kicks a bit when you turn it on, instead of a useless lump of plastic and metal. The replacement part is very expensive and has essentially no warranty, and from the amount of life I got out of the first one I am real dubious about replacing it.

    4. Make this the next HaD challenge! Replacement controller *WITHOUT* DRM.

      In the early 2000s Hollywood tried selling a DVD format called Flexpay that expired after 48-hours. The blowback was *HUGE*!!! Needless to say, it never caught on. Let’s hope this trend fails just as badly.

    1. Don’t worry, they’ll sell enough your money missing from the stack won’t be noticed. Your average weekend warrior that just wants to build a bird house or deck isn’t going to bother looking up what models have DRM to make sure only official batteries can be used and as long as it spins up when they pull the trigger after they get home, Joe 6 pack won’t notice any difference.

      1. You think that is where the profit comes from for tool companies? Industrial buyers spend more in a year than Joe 6 packs entire neighborhood will in a lifetime. I buy 10-15k in Milwaukee tools a year just for my location.

        1. Exactly, what will make or break this will be people/companies who buy, use and abuse these tools for a living in mass, not one random dude who buys one tool that he uses a handful of times over the course of a few decades.

    2. wait for people to forget about it when it’s actually in place in a year and the lack of transparency as to which tools require an activation. oh those lawsuits are going to be fun. sign me up for that class action suit

  3. The original article showed corded drills, which is misleading, this article showed a cordless drill which is probably accurate because the function will probably be built into the battery control system, because to add that feature to a 120v tool would be expensive and obvious. Just another case of the lame stream media.

    I would say they went with Ryobi, since it is a HD exclusive. But, what ever brand it is, will be cursed because who wants that built into a tool. It is hard enough to get a battery for your HF Drill Master drill after 5 years, never mind dealing with a tool being shut off by a random event or employee.

    1. I worked for home depot for 9 years, I first heard this mentioned by a Milwaukee rep that they were showing it at the store manager meeting (a trade show the show what’s coming to the stores in the near future) I mentioned concerns about longevity because I would imagine it would have to be an electrical Reed switch or something that’s triggered magnetically I dropped my tools all the time how many drops will it take until that falsely deactivates. I also mentioned to him that I know that the margin that home Depot makes on those tools is less than 10%, who’s paying for the security device to protect home Depot the end user? If it eats up more profit margin than the loss that the company is experiencing in a hole then it defeats the purpose so if I was the guest the end user is going to see the price increase which then is just going to keep them from being competitive to the retailers that is not doing this stupid ass program. How he mentioned it he said that they had an internal meeting and this was home depot’s proposal but they’re not really on board of it either again circle back to longevity of the tool that’s their name on the tool it needs to last the same as if it was bought with or without the security device and that’s not likely to be the case.

      1. The tool maker really won’t like the bad reviews by people with tools that were DOA because the activation step was skipped.
        I’m guessing the activation involves pulling out a plastic strip or something equally non-technical.

      2. If the tool stops working, or even if the battery dies, it won’t cause me any major problems. I own HD’s RIDGID tools. If the tool or the battery dies they have a lifetime warranty. I just take it in and get a replacement.

      3. “who’s paying for the security device to protect home Depot the end user?”

        You don’t seriously think it’s the retailer or the manufacturer do you? Bet your bottom dollar that *YOU* are paying the extra expense to “solve” *THEIR* problem. Shifting corporate America’s operating costs on to consumer or tax payers is the American way! Just ask all the underpaid Walmart and Amazon employees on welfare!

      1. Yes, far larger market for the Ryobi (batteries) then the Milwaukee. Though the Milwaukee tools are worth more, they are only worth 1/2 price to someone already in their red eco-system and those people tend not be on-line looking for steals. Too busy at real jobs. imho, Far better to steal Ryobi batteries and chargers.

      1. I actually have three. The B&D one I bought in 1975, another bought for$3 at a garage sale a decade ago (it even reverses) and one I found when it was waiting rforthe garbage. I suspect those two were “obsoleted” by the owners going cordless.

        And yes, I have the B&D drill press adaptor, so one of those later two sits in it all the time.

        I do have a couple of cordless screwdrivers, and a more decent cordless drill (replacing my first one, which was cheap and the battery died).

    2. Ryobi has made their ONE+ 18 volt tools for 25 years and the Lithium Ion ONE+ batteries work in every ONE+ tool. They recently launched a more powerful 40 volt line, all of which use the same 40 volt batteries in several amp hour capacities. Very likely they’ll still be compatible 25 years from now.

      Buy some new ONE+ batteries and a charger then hit a pawn shop for some of the older blue Ryobi tools instead of buying the new yellow ones.

    1. That was the first thing that came to mind. Some tool exec is going to realize they can make more money by dropping the price of the tool and then having to bring the drill in every 90 days to reactivate for a fee.

      Second thought was any solution simple enough for a minimum wage cashier to do perform and cheap enough not to drive the price of these tools up is going to have a work around up for sale on ebay within a few weeks.

      Third thought was these are possibly going to start failing in the middle of a project because it somehow became deactivated.

      1. “and cheap enough not to drive the price of these tools up”

        Hahahahahahaha! What does the manufacturer care if *YOU* are paying extra to solve *THEIR* problem?

        “a work around up for sale on ebay within a few weeks.”

        Who needs eBay? Thieves will buy it, mark it, return it, then go back later and steal the already activated return.

    1. One power transistor few resistors and a microcontroller cost almost nothing. how quickly replacement controllers will be on grey market? And given the tools – they are probably unified anyway.

  4. To a degree, just put the power tools in a checkout counter of their own and if people ask, then say that shoplifters are a problem with these high value goods. Few people would question it to be fair.

    I have seen similar setups for tons of other products, so I at least wouldn’t mind.
    Some stores in my area have almost no product out on the floor, practically everything goes over the counter.

    1. It’s probably not about the tools but the labour. covid has screwed up the employment market and by making the tools intelligent home depot can put any unskilled worker behind the counter. personally i would make do with a fuse that is blown in a special procedure to enable operation, kind of like a reverse bricking feature, but no drm needed.

    2. The problem is that is is not where you keep the tools, unless you keep them locked up in the back room, where you only have to worry about employee pilferage. I read on one of the forms I am on that employees are specifically not allowed to even try to stop people from leaving with things in many stores. They are supposed to call the police and file a report an let the insurance deal with it. It is much more expensive to fight off a suite for having an employee get hurt or worse yet, hurt a paying or nonpaying customer. I also know first hand that about 90% of the time that things with the security tags that are supposed to be deactivated at the checkout are not. I no longer even slow down when I buy something and the alarm goes off. They ask me to stop, I just say no thank you and keep on going. I used to stop and I would get the manager and go to the cashier and make a big deal out of it but things never improved playing by the rules and trying to get them to improve. So now I just keep walking.

      1. Security tags are NOT de-activated, that is supposed to be a deterrent, which obviously it isn’t..they are always to be completely removed. So if you keep walking, that’s on you if you can’t wait for it to be taken off. There isn’t a need to cause drama about it, sometimes humans forget, especially if it is a large order. It’s as simple as asking the cashier to remove the sensor..
        You are correct however, about not being able to stop anyone because of liability. No matter how annoying it may be..

        1. Exactly. The companies like Walmart get the products with the tags inside of the product packaging. And I agree, if they decide to tackle me, we will be having a whole nuther conversation. But they don’t. I am always polite but insistent and say ask me to stop I just say no, thank you. And the first few times I did stop and really did try to get them to fix what was broken.

        2. Ten years ago I bought a parka. It was made for the store. They removed the anti-security tag, the ones that need some special tool.

          And I started triggering alarms. The first time I didn’t stop, assumed so.eone else set it off. But it kept happening. I did get stopped, and it wasn’t what I bought, but tye parka. I get home, and feel it, and there’s something in the lining. I open a seam on the pocket, and there was a disposable tag. Never deactivated because the store where I bought it used a different system.

        3. “Security tags are NOT de-activated,”

          Wut? All but the durable, reusable kind (think clothing tags) absolutely *ARE* deactivated. The paper/sticker kind are destroyed by applying a strong field to the antenna (foil coil) that blows out a tiny diode, killing the tag’s ability to emit a harmonic of the excitation field.

      2. “keep them locked up in the back room, where you only have to worry about employee pilferage.”

        I would think that if they have an employee theft problem, CASH is a greater problem going missing than a bulky power tool in a box. They seem to have a handle on that.

        “or worse yet, hurt a paying or nonpaying customer. ”

        If they didn’t pay, are they *really* a “customer”???

    3. Some stores have that, but then some self righteous customers who don’t understand why it’s being done, get all uptight about being treated like they can’t be trusted. Well…?! HD is all about giving everything away when people pitch a fit! I agree with you, I think it is a better way of handling it, especially in the high theft stores..there just aren’t enough LP people to handle it. I think high dollar items should have something on them that needs to be de-activated at the door or the person gets tased personally..you KNOW the ones that paid would make sure it was de-activated!🤣

  5. Before I bought a tool with this “feature,” I would have to know it included whatever tool I needed to re-activate it any time I needed too. I’ve been burned too many times by planned obsolescence, upgrades-that-remove-features, replacement batteries that cost more than the device, etc. Not to mention items that quit functioning when the manu goes out-of-business or decides his connectivity feature is no longer included in the price I already paid,

  6. Makita has had a form of this built into their batteries for years. The average consumer does not know this because it is not active on batteries when sold. Check their website for the specifics. I had been using batteries with this software for years and did not know it until I came across it on their website.

  7. Thieves are grabbing tools and running out of the store with them. Security can not detain them and by the time they get the police involved, it is too late.

    On a second note, Ridgid replaced batteries on their tools for free I believe.

  8. In a perfect world this would be fine. There would be no drm left in the drill after activation, and no additional failure modes introduced (parts that can’t be replaced, or which brick the drill if removed, etc). Unfortunately big corporations have proved time and time again that this type of tech WILL be abused as soon as consumers have gotten used to it.

    I would not buy a tool with this “feature”.

    1. In a perfect world there would be no crime and hence no story. And now we know why we can’t have nice things, or at least nicer than currently. Thievery is the thing that people have “gotten use to”. Accepting the higher costs we pay. The inconvenience reflected in the shopping experience. The product packaging to discourage sticky fingers.

        1. You really think that people steal power tools because they’re poor!? Try it’s because they’re lazy and don’t want to work. You want to address the issues that cause theft? Great. I agree. Let’s address parents not teaching t heir kids morals and ethics and a sense of right and right. Let’s talk about children growing up with a sense of entitlement with no work towards earning that entitlement. Let’s address all of that and then we can START to get to the root cause of crime.

  9. I’d bet a donut the whole thing was conceived in order to introduce a stepping stone to the subscription model and actually had little-to-nothing to do with loss prevention. Big companies like that write off so much loss, I’d be surprised if they even really noticed it. Working in corporate America has taught me that unless there are ways to monetize things like this, it’s not likely to change.

  10. Well, its done over bluetooth so someone go to HD with a bluetooth sniffer and see, at least, how much data is sent :) Then we’ll know if its a firmware system….which, depending on implementation, could be made “secure”…or with some help from the likes of Bruce Schneir, and some custom silicon, could be made very secure. In fact, with those two things, you wouldn’t need a firmware programming system.

    Of course, what are the chances they paid Bruce Schneir? (What are the chances Bruce Schneir would have taken the job if paid?) More likely they paid an intern who downloaded CRijndael from The Code Project and called it good. I hope the lockpicking lawyer picks it up. I haven’t got the time myself.

  11. I support them all the way and understand the desperate search to protect themselves from thieves to say in business. Home Depot and Lowes are the big guys we need. It would be sad to see them shut down.

    1. I hope that was meant sarcastically. They are in absolutely *NO* danger of closing due to theft. They are simply maximizing returns for their investors/owners at additional cost to the consumer, as usual.

      1. And criminals are maximizing benefit to themselves at the expense to the consumer.*

        At least in a round-about way we’ve come to the conclusion everyone is looking out for themselves.

        *Partially by driving up demand for their services. Place ripped off too expensive due to theft? Buy from the local black market.

      2. Spend one week in a high theft store and you will re-think that narrow minded comment. HD is everything about making customers happy, to the point of nausea sometimes, from the people who think they should get something for nothing..
        I mean, they may as well roll out the red carpet for the thieves, so what do you think they would do for someone who actually pays for what they get?! They are constantly marking things down to make customers happy because they wouldn’t have a business without the consumer!
        I love how so many people want to bad mouth them, but yet they keep going back and spending more…guess they are needed…what would all the husbands, etc have done with their time during shutdown if stores like HD and Lowes had closed also?!? Ha

        1. “HD is everything about making customers happy”

          LMAO! This is downright DELUSIONAL. While Home Despot does have a reasonably good return policy, their staff isn’t as knowledgeable as any local hardware store, and they don’t ever seem to have enough people for things to run as smoothly as it should.

          “from the people who think they should get something for nothing..”

          You’ve said that several times up and down this thread. Just *who* are you talking about?

          “They are constantly marking things down to make customers happy”

          What crap. They mark things down to get *RID* of stock that isn’t selling or is being replaced by something else. I guarantee that “making customers happy” plays *ZERO* role in their pricing decisions. Seriously, name a single corporation that considers “customer happiness” in their PROFIT making calculations. It’s utterly naive.

          “but yet they keep going back and spending more”

          I love how you think you have complete insight into what everyone else thinks and does. I haven’t shopped at a big box retailer in nearly a DECADE. For durable goods I buy *used* when I can, and if not, go out of my way to find the local mom & pop to keep my hard earned dollars circulating *locally*.

          All the suckers who were lulled in by Walmart’s “low, low prices” soon found their town’s Main St. boarded up, with the SAME retailer being one of the only remaining employers. Of course, you can’t make your living working for one of those companies. For example:

          “Walmart and McDonald’s are among top employers of Medicaid and food stamp beneficiaries”

          “About 70% of the 21 million federal aid beneficiaries worked full time”


          And here you are, shilling for the WORST type of corporation, that shifts it’s operating costs on to taxpayers, all the while extolling the virtues of how “GREAT” they are.

          The *ONLY* reason these companies are profitable is because they’re exploiting workers and taxpayers. FULL STOP!

          “what would all the husbands, etc have done with their time during shutdown if stores like HD and Lowes had closed also?”

          Probably kept local businesses from closing for good. now their Main Street is boarded up and empty. Local business owners are probably selling whatever they have left to stay afloat while they apply for a job at the big box joint and sign up for food stamps.

          What Walmart and friends did for small town America, Amazon is doing to cities. We’re already seeing it. Countless storefronts are now boarded up in my city, and this was happening BEFORE the pandemic.

          But hey, at least Jeff Bezos just bought a yacht for his yacht.

      1. You clearly underestimate the unbridled greed of the 1%. Wall Street and corporate America does NOT care who they have to squeeze, or how hard they have to squeeze them to realize endless profit.

        I wonder what they’ll do when there’s no one left to extract wealth from?

    2. “Home Depot and Lowes are the big guys we need.”

      Good lord! Shill much? Corporate behemoths like these underpay workers and drive local retailers out of business, not to mention funnel MILLIONS out of communities only to line the pockets of people who already have FAR more than they need.

      “It would be sad to see them shut down.”

      You spelled “AWESOME” wrong.

    1. ICs are like medicine. The actual cost of production is very low. What you pay for is R&D and distribution costs. The cost of adding this “feature” is close to zero. They already have a microcontroller in most power tools, it’s just a matter of adding a tiny little bit of firmware to manage the lockout, and a way to communicate with the outside world which could be a simple serial port or optical (they often already have a white led for lighting, they could use it for TX, and add a phototransistor for RX, cost <$0.1)

      TL;DR hardware cost to implement this is close to null

  12. This will also be a problem with Right to Repair. If you open the device, it could likely deactivate it – specifically to prevent “thieves” tampering with it to activate a “stolen” tool. So as the rightful owner, if you want to work on the tool, then it will brick it. This forces you to an authorized repair shop which can reactivate your product once they have fixed it. And they will charge an arm and a leg to repair since they have a monopoly. Same story as the tractors these days.

    I will never buy a tool that has this “feature” built in.

  13. I know there are some negative possibilities here, but I think they are approaching it from a different angle than people are expecting here. First of all, TTI builds Ryobi, Milwaukee, and Ridgid tools. Ridgid is Home Depot’s “House” brand. First to address battery expense and tool longevity concerns. Ridgid has a (basically) no questions asked lifetime warranty on their tools IF YOU REGISTER THEM IN THE FIRST 90 DAYS (otherwise it’s a 3 year warranty) a battery has a 1 year warranty. The trick is that any tool that comes with a battery covers the battery under the same warranty as the tool (except their vacuums which I found out thru sad experience). I have used the warranty once, they literally sent me two new batteries and let me keep the old ones.
    Second, for the subscription model everyone is scared of. They will be doing this over Bluetooth. There are already Milwaukee tools that have the feature and all of my batteries are Bluetooth enabled. You can optionally pair them to an app and use it to see battery stats, lock the battery, and make the battery chirp if you can’t find it. I rarely use it, but I have to locate a battery a few times. Also useful to lock your batteries and make them useless to criminals.

    I have 7 Bluetooth enabled batteries, 3 x 3Ah, 3 x 6Ah, and a 9Ah. I purchased them with tools, so all but the 9Ah is covered lifetime (the 9Ah came with the vacuum). I am not a professional, but I do use them a lot, and have had no trouble. I actually pulled some old chargers apart for the battery holder and contacts and installed them in some power wheels for my kids. The batteries will get replaced free when they die, so why not? Also, power wheels batteries are the real rip-off. I know some of you like to hate stuff for the sake of hating it, but at least for now I don’t see any mal intent here, and I have been VERY happy with my Ridgid tools. My oldest drill from them is about 8 years old and still going strong.

    With registration tools AND batteries have lifetime warranty with HD house brand. They use Bluetooth for locating tools/batteries, as well as stats, and give you an option to lock your tools. If no app, tools work as normal unless you expressly locked them.

        1. TBH, I was given a set of Ridgid tools when I was younger and just kept going with them. I continued because I liked the lifetime warranty on the batteries. I agree they are not the BEST tools, but they are no B&D garbage. I have never had a real issue and I don’t see a reason to plop large sums of cash for tool quality that will not realistically benefit me. That just seems stupid.

    1. Thank you..Finally, someone with some actual knowledge speaking on the subject, instead of, like you said, hating it just to hate it..so it’s another step..sounds like it was a benefit when it helped you find a missing battery!

      1. He doesn’t know it’s Ryobi that’s the Home Depot “house brand”, not Ridgid. But Ryobi isn’t their house brand, the company just has an exclusive sales deal with Home Depot. The actual Home Depot house brand is HDX.

        1. HDX is home depot’s house brand for simple tools and supplies. I have never seen an HDX power drill myself. Home Depot “Launched” the Ridgid line in 2003 and has exclusive rights to sell. From my research and talking to people home depot also services the lifetime warranty for the power tool line. This discussion is not about the Ryobi line, and I don’t care for their power tools (the battery design bugs me) so I have not done much research beyond knowing they are also produced by TTI. Do your (any?) research before you spout off bud.

      1. False. Both can be purchased via amazon.com
        The lifetime warranty for Ridgid tools is serviced by home depot. If you try to register the tool it will ask for the Home Depot receipt (there are a couple other options like if it was purchased at a Ridgid trade show or home depot website, but home Depot receipt is the primary option, you can not buy from an online outlet besides HD and get a warranty).
        I have NEVER seen a Ridgid power tool sold in a store besides home depot (unless you count pawn shops). Care to share an example?

  14. “We suffer more in imagination than in reality.” – Seneca

    so many of these comments are nothing but fantasizing about the worst thing that might happen, and then lamenting. you’re torturing yourselves, not making realistic or useful predictions about the future.

    1. Except ….. Corporations are amoral entities. Their mandate is to separate you from your money. The ONLY limit is what they can get away with. What we will put up with.

      If they can do it without too much negative perception they will. They will find a way to make you buy your own prison and look forward to it arriving at your house.

      1. It’s true that corporations are amoral and their only intent is to make money, but at the moment there are people who are actively immoral taking things from those corporations and forcing money out of everyone else’s pockets (corporations will cover their costs).

          1. @Jeremiah McKenna Productivity has increased while wages have stagnated or decreased after accounting for inflation, which is another form of wage theft. While the workers are the ones responsible for the increase in productivity, they have seen zero of the benefits of that labor. This is wage theft and exploitation. Have you never even been asked to do unpaid overtime? Lucky for you.

          2. @Jeremiah Mckenna said: “What wage theft?”

            “Wage theft is the costliest crime in the country. It costs the country $15 billion in lost wages per year. That number is more than car thefts, burglaries, and other larcenies—combined.”






            Maybe educate yourself a little before pretending that something doesn’t exist.

        1. The fact that your concern for amoral corporations is greater than for your fellow citizen is all I need to know that your argument is as morally corrupt as the corporations themselves. Sure, theft is bad, but why is it ok when the corporations do it, but not when those victimized by corporations do it? You can’t be against one but not the other.

  15. This is ridiculous. As long as the item(s) do not total over $950, it not illegal to take them from the store without paying (this is a fact – check Penal Code 495.5).

    With this change to their tools, people will first have to stop at the register before leaving.. it’s ridiculous to burden customers with this requirement.

    I guess as long as this can be done at the “self-checkout” registers, it won’t add too much delay.

    1. Theft is theft. 1 penny stolen or 1 million dollars is the same. I dont know where you get that cockamamie idea from. But if you steal from a store or person you are a thief and deserve to be prosecuted when caught.

      This device will hopefully deter thieves from doing this, and thus PASSING THE COST TO THE REST OF US HONEST PATRONS. That is how life works.

    2. Ignorance…I guess that means you make regular trips to stores and take up to $950 worth of stuff because it’s actually NOT a crime, is that right? Absurd..Yes, usually you do have to stop at a register before leaving the store, if you are a paying customer..
      So you’ll be one of the 100’s of people that go thru self check out and try to not ring things up as well? I’m sure that because of people like that, that won’t be an option, sorry..no self- de-activations, would kind of be pointless wouldn’t you think?!

    3. 495.5 is part of the Californian penal code, and not applicable to the entire United States. It states that taking items from a store where the total value is under $950 is classified as shoplifting and is a misdemeanor punishable by up to 6 months in prison.

      Misdemeanors are still illegal!

      The $950 limit is used to separate shoplifting from burglary which is defined as entering a structure with the intent of committing grand or petty larceny or a felony.

      Also, customers already stop at a register before leaving, and while there often times have other security devises disabled without much additional delay or burden added. This deactivation step is even performed at self checkouts by the cashier monitoring the registers.

  16. How many holes would you say the average person needs to drill in their lifetime?

    Most people would probably be better served by a manual hand drill:
    – no batteries to go bad sitting on the shelf
    – always ready for action without first re-charging
    – no cord
    – very cheap
    – extremely reliable
    – safe to operate: you need both hands to drill
    – no planned obsolescence or DRM

    1. That is true, for around the house stuff.

      I got my first electric drill in 1975, when I was fifteen. But I was drilling chassis and circuit boards. But it’s got a cord, the only thing that it needed over 46 years was some new bushings about 1990.b

      That’s a reasonable balance, but likely for the things done around a house, cordless is easier than dragging an extension cord out.

      1. More to the point: the reason why the common hand drill is of terrible quality is exactly because the common user buys one to drill three holes and then leaves it on the broom closet shelf for 1-5 years.

        A regular drill in the 1970’s was made with the assumption that anyone who buys a drill really needs it for something, whereas a drill in the 2020’s is made with the assumption that you want to pay the absolute minimum price because you only need it for one thing once.

        1. I wouldn’t know. The hand drills that were around were my grandfathers. I vaguely remember using the “eggbeater” style drill to put some holes in metal. The brace was too much trouble.

          How many with cirdless drills for home use actually drill holes? I suspect many want them as screwdrivers. In 1975, I coukd see tye value of variable speed, but wasn’t willing to pay more for reversible.

        2. I have an old blue and orange Ryobi ONE+ 1/2″ drill which I bought used along with others in a set. I’ve been working it hard with 4AH lithium ion batteries. No problems except Ryobi drill chucks are crap. The only way to get them to hold (even brand new ones) is to either use hex shank bits that can be bottomed out in the chuck or really crank the chuck tight with a couple pairs of channel lock pliers.

          Otherwise, when driving screws, if the bit slips a couple of times to chuck loosens and the screw bit slides back into the chuck. I bought a brand new 3/8″ Ryobi ONE+ drill and if I don’t crank the chuck as tight as I possibly can, wearing gloves to get a good grip, the stupid chuck can slip on the bits just drilling into soft pine.

          I have new Jacobs keyless chucks that will fit both drills but I’ve removed the left hand thread retention screws from the chucks and cannot get the Ryobi chucks to unscrew. They must have used thread locking compound on the spindles.

          I’ve used these Jacobs chucks on corded drills that came with crappy keyed and keyless chucks. The Jacobs chucks HOLD after using hardly any force to tighten, especially the two click style. Turn until it clicks twice and the bit is NOT going to slip. I put one on a 1/2″ corded Skil drill with permanent magnet motor and with a 1/2″ shank 3/4″ auger bit the thing will about break your wrist before the chuck will slip.

        1. You’re asking hackers if they drill many holes…. The average person here is not average compared to a truly average person. Don’t bother asking if he drills many holes. Ask him the name of his drill.

    2. You’re a funny guy. I actually have a few. They take forever, even in softer wood, and look at driving screws, or drilling through metal or steel. Not going there. Should we also give our power saws away and onlynuse a hand saw to build your house and furniture? You think it takes a long time to build now, if we go back to 1940’s era tools and practices, we will never get out of the housing shortage.

      We absolutely need power saws, nailer, chisels, drills, drivers, impacts etc.

      1. >They take forever

        So what?

        >driving screws

        It’s a drill. It drills holes.

        >or drilling through metal or steel. Not going there.

        I have. It takes some time, but again so what?

        Remember we’re talking about the average person whose DIY skills end at assembling IKEA furniture if we’re lucky.

    3. Funny you should mention that. I just got a nice hand bit brace, I hav e a couple already, but this one came with a really cool military tool roll of auger bits. God onl knows how old it is, the tool roll had leather ties on it that are pretty whooped. I recall playing with one of them as a kid and as soon as I got it home, I chucked up a bit and drilled a nice hole in a piece of rough cut oak. It was surprisingly easy, but it was out in the open and on the ground so I had lots of room and could put my shoulder into it. I also have a few egg beater shoulder braces. You can get into tighter spots but they are a lot harder to crank. Also the auger bits have to be a foot long, even the narrow diameter ones. Your not going to be drilling PCB’s out with one. More like big holes in barn beams to knock pegs into.

  17. Sounds like the perfect opportunity for someone to start a business selling converted versions of the tools. Send the battery in, replace the locked guts with your own unlocked version, send back out.

    Their initiative sucks, but undoing it is a dirty job and someone’s gotta do it.

  18. I’m not convinced this isn’t a bluff until we know more about it. If they come up with a creative way to stop shoplifting, good on them. I just don’t see how they could easily implement this from manufacturing to POS. I’ve worked retail, I’ve repaired my own power tools. I doubt they’ll add any wireless technology, so that means physically doing something to unlock the tool at the POS. I could see adding Bluetooth chips to unlock something big like a miter saw, but that would be a lot of investment for a $79.99 drill or saw- usually left out in the open (versus behind a locked gate) and thus the low hanging fruit for theft.

    1. Apparently some tools already have Bluetooth locks in them (e.g., https://onekeysupport.milwaukeetool.com/en/knowledge/ios-tool-lockout). I could see integration as easy as scanning the UPC, then scanning a serial number barcode (Nintendo has required this of their retailers since the mid-90s), then pushing a cryptographic activation code via BTLE once the transaction is done. Or they could use EPC/RFID to read the product type and serial number simultaneously. Or replace the UPC with a 2D barcode, etc.

  19. The problem is that many states in the U.S. changed their laws in regards to theft. In many states you can steal up to $900 worth of goods and just get nicked with a misdemeanor charge that results in a minor fine. This has caused a massive uptick in theft. We have cities like San Francisco where drug stores and closing across the city because the homeless walk in with empty garbage bags and fill them to the brim with goods and just walk out.

    I’ve personally seen it happen in grocery stores at night where a group of thuggish teens roll in – take some stuff and just walk out. It’s always group so as to prevent some irate customer from stopping them.

    Eventually we will end up like certain stores in Mexico where you give a clerk a list of goods you want and they fill the order.

      1. It’s also like the first time I bought parts. I copied the parts list from the magazine article, went to the electronic store that was in the basement, and they regrieved the parts.

  20. I don’t know why they didn’t simply have the tools on display to look at and hold. Then the other tools in a cage and when I wanted to buy a tool, I could pick up a card, taken it to checkout, swipe and pay for it and have someone bring me the tool. Such a simple and easy system that has been working for countless other stores for decades.

    1. That’s how it worked at most Fry’s Electronics locations and I think it’s a very good idea. It needs a store layout to support this, where there is a reasonably large stocking area close to the check out.

  21. I am quite surprised no one has mentioned GoodWill or other thrift store chains (Value Village for one) and the local ones that have only one location.
    I see old tools there all the time. Some corded, some cordless with dead
    batteries. Some with the charger, some without. When the first supermarket
    was “invented”, people said the owner would be robbed blind. The model worked
    because people were honest. They were taught integrity. Before the supermarket
    was common, the clerk would bring your foodstuffs from behind the counter.
    Now it seems because of the thievery, the supermarket model no longer works.
    First off, I was in a walmart, and there was only one checkout person for
    the whole store. There were a lot of self-checkout lines. What’s to stop
    someone from going in with Walmart bags, an old receipt, filling those bags
    with stuff, and walking out? If no one is watching the security cameras,
    absolutely nothing. Now batteries, I can understand as a lot of E-Bike
    builders build their own packs. I have a friend, I think he paid like $700
    or somethng for a huge battery for his E-Bike back in the day.
    A lot of these tools are built/assembled by robots so that cuts the
    labor cost down. Sell for as much as you can get for it. Maximize profit.
    The Ferengi would be proud. The E-Waste problem is already ruining this
    planet, this will make that disaster even worse. Then again, those tinkerers
    who will know how to fix these bricked tools will find many easy tools for
    the picking. On another note, you have places like Harbor Freight or
    Northern Tool selling crap for pennies on the dollar compared to what you
    would pay at the box store/warehouse. When I was a child, people respected
    the police. Those days are long gone, and the police cannot be everywhere
    at once. Want to stop this problem, it will cost a whole lot of money.
    Say, a double door system that closes and locks if you try to walk out
    with something you didn’t pay for. That’s expensive. Or, you can do the
    simple thing, put everything behind the counter and it gets brought to you
    when it is paid for. Nah, that’s common sense! Can’t have any of that in
    this politically “correct” woke world.

    The more they overthink the plumbing, the easier it is to stop up the drain.
    –Montgomery Scoot, USS Enterprise NCC-1701-A

    1. Believe it or not, there are a lot of security and loss prevention people watching cameras and walking around Walmart communicating with one another. They’ll see you filling your old bags.

    2. I’d like to walk up, submit my list or scroll through and click and have my stuff brought to me, pay and leave. However, the retailers know we tend to buy more when we see things on shelves.

      1. Walmart, Home Depot, Lowes, and many others are already doing that, even grocery stores. Buy your stuff online through their website or app, roll up and park in one of the delivery spots then call the store or notify through the app and they bring it to you.

    1. Simple: it’s integrated with their POS system. No transaction, no activation.

      I suppose you *could* “return” it but I bet they have other return fraud systems in place for that.

  22. No, thanks!
    I would never buy a tool that could be expired by Software for no reason or must have a online connection to the Internet to work.
    What if i´m out of nowhere and my Drill would not work ´cause there no WiFi Connection ?!?

  23. Just in case somebody hasn’t pointed it out yet – the “shoplifting prevention” line is probably a smokescreen. What’s *really* going to happen is the tools will be sold by subscription, and you’ll need to pay a yearly fee to keep using them.

    1. Came here to post this. Absolutely. I can totally see HD replacing their “lifetime warranty” on their Ridgid range of power tools with a subscription model where you no longer own the tool.

      Something like : pay $9.99/month and we will swap out the tool as soon as it stops working, and supply you with replacement batteries every 3-5 years.

      We need to reject these things, I hope noone will buy into this model

    2. I suspect the percentage of tool users who are willing to open up and fix their own tools is pretty high. A subscription model is probably redundant. We already buy consumables: screws, bits, battery packs, and unnecessary accessories.

  24. Next thing coming up : you will need to pay a monthly “subscription” for the tool to keep running.
    Before you say I’m crazy, some companies already do this as of today. Example : Klim motorcycle airbag.

  25. When I buy a Stihl piece of equipment it is registered at the store I buy it from immediately before I leave the store. A real time saver and great customer service. I’m glad HD is doing that too. I register all my Ridgid tools I buy and it would be a timesavers for me.

    1. Remember, there was a time when leasing was common. You could lease IBM selectrics, and even 30 years ago, there were ads in the paper from companies that would lease tv sets and air conditioners and I forget what else. (And cars get leased too). So some of that just faded away to make room for leased software and drills.s

      There was a class that couldn’t get credit and didn’t have enough to save, so they leased. Now people seem quite happy to pay monthly fees to access music and movies, and whatever else.

      1. Look up a place called Rent-A-Center. It’s c chain here where you rent something (tv, washer, pc etc.) until you’ve either paid on it long enough to own it, or you returned the item.

    1. Or they say they don’t work. Some just have a battery shell held on with a fancy strap or bracket. I got some air tools off a display from a store that was changing things over to a new display. They insisted they didn’t work but I took them home, screwed in the quick connect fittings, hooked up the hose. Working tools.

      If the tool feels suspiciously light and a spinning part spins too easily or won’t spin then it’s a display model. Dumpster divers love it when display models get tossed because most of the time the parts that are there are identical to what’s on the full tool so if someone dropped their drill off a 30 foot ladder they’ll buy the shell off a display model. Or if the door or display or knife holder on their Cricut broke, the shell and other parts on the display that doesn’t have the PCBs or motors are the real parts.


    1. I can see that happening for professional grade tools but that will never fly with regular Joe 6 pack who does diy projects at home. I’ll go back to Harbor Freight or buy knockoff tools from somewhere besides HD.

    1. You don’t have to do anything except walk out of the store. Sadly a large majority of Home Depot lacks actual security and the company won’t pay a third party that can legally stop someone from stealing. Employees are told that even if they grab only the cart a person is trying to walk out with that they can lose their job. They don’t need this weird technology, they need to support their stores with real security officers. That would slow down people stealing at least.

      1. Bulk of retail theft, is the employees… The activation thing, is probably intended more of as a deterrent. Likely, there was already a trend with manufacturers to make smarter tools. Mostly like, the consumer will eventually have the same controls, and more of their purchase. Not always possible to keep your tools in a locked, secure cabinet. Not play toys, for yours, someone else’s kids. Or even just anybody, on a job site. I can see a GPS, or similar tool locator. Really surprised it hasn’t been a ‘thing’ for a while. Tools, get lost. misplaced, sometimes ‘walk’ around on their own… I don’t mind my brother using my tools, but he’s terrible about putting them back where he got them, doesn’t always mention he’s ‘borrowing’ something.

        Mostly though, Home Depot, and many others, are making it easier, more convent to buy online. Brick & mortar, always have greater operating expenses.

      2. It was a few years ago, but, I had talked to a Home Depot employee about changes they were making and he said a majority of their losses stems from contractors, their biggest customers, simply taking it out the back door (literally) along with their legitimately bought supplies. This in turn requires an employee to at least turn a blind eye towards it, if not being directly involved with it.

        So, the guy from Home Depot in the interview is flat out lying about the main reason behind the remote activation of the tools, imagine that.

        I forget the industry term used, but, it appears Home Depot is not addressing the losses from a guy running out with a drill in his pants, but, from their biggest customers working inside the system with their trusted employees that they value so much.

        The guy sneaking a tool out is the person requesting someone return the new tool for credit because he lost his slip or using his slip (stolen or found in the parking lot) . You encounter these people in the parking lot that think you are a contractor or you see their posts on Craigslist.

        imho, The whole story is a canard and an example of the lame stream media, because what Home Depot is addressing are losses from insider thieving or employees getting back at their employer by not ringing up big ticket items.

        Some of Walmart’s biggest losses occurs from cashiers not ringing up sales to cohorts, that simply walk out the door with product. Or worse the ring they busted that ran the scam with the Walmart cards. Which is why Sams Club has people at the door checking sales slips for the number of items purchased.

        Home Depot is part of the new world order things that run this reality. People can choose to believe the incredible story of it’s founders, and think we need Home Depot and Lowes, while ignoring the debacle of the Cash for Caulkers, which rewarded SABIC (and HD) even more for their purchase of the GE Plastics division aka screwing over America, which of course involved Soros and Peter Lanza.

        What this reality can not tolerate is you stealing from the families that are stealing the world blind, that simply can not be tolerated.

        At least I know enough now to avoid that eco-system of tools, maybe I will stick to HF with their tool lines named after pagan gods instead.

      3. Marsha is correct. Many Home Depots do not have sufficient “external loss” to employ a designated asset-protection specialist. If this is the case in your local HD, no one in the store is authorized to detain or impede shoplifters. Managers as well as Associates can be terminated for obstructing, touching, or even following the thief into the parking lot.

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