A clone so soon?

Well, this is interesting…
Got a Harbor Freight giftcard for my B-Day & went looking around the website yesterday for something to use it on. Went back today, and this was newly announced:

No 1/8" collet or mention of ER-11 compatability, and stated speeds slightly different, but looks like a twin.
Ryan - any insight?
P.S. Anyone in the market - I would NOT consider the Harbor Freight. Even if it were of equal build quality & specs (unknown), the 1/8" collet and ER-11 compatability makes the Kobalt the obvious choice.


Couple huge issues. First RPMs are faster, 5,000 doesn’t seem like much but can mean a world of difference.

Also 90 day warranty… :flushed: that’s small even for the makita

Looks like a body clone. Most manufacturers will let other companies use the same mold

Also… Winston Churchill is a fan…


Seems odd to clone a brand new router… wonder what’s going on here.

Is it weird I was hoping to see a LR3 on that page?


With the ones I’ve seen, it’s often the cast parts that are identical w/clones - they slightly change the injection molded plastic parts to differentiate. My Makita clone (Bauer from Harbor Freight) appears identical to a Makita except for the plastic parts. That’s what caught my eye with the Kobalt clone - it seems the plastic parts are the same shape and color. That, and the inclusion of leds - which my clone and others lack.

The same pictures is what gets me. Like maybe the same render?

Maybe on the box?
As long as they’re cloning…

Well… It says “Compare to DeWalt”, but…

Kobalt, I believe, is made by Chervon, a Chinese company, which is also where Harbor Freight gets a lot of stuff.

Almost all tool brands are really just a handful of tool manufacturers at the top, so very likely they licensed it or manufactured it for them, with some slight changes, and possibly with the agreement that they “target” a compare to with a competitor, of which DeWalt is because that’s a Home Depot stocked brand.


If so, then it’s a clone that misses some of the key elements.

I wonder if this started in the pipeline before the refinements that Ryan and company suggested and the Kobalt one is the later (in design time) engineering refined derivative.

Very slight, but enough that you would have to have different castings

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Actually I think it might be. I think I sent the very first one back…or I could check. That is funny. Our work cost an extra $10!

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lol…but remember…They’ll be $59 with coupons and ITC memberships, etc. once they recoup some costs


Wow that is insane! Used mine as a router tonight. The slow start is very nice when it is in your hand!


By hand?! Like a caveman?!


You’re right - thought I’d done a good side by side of the pics, but clearly not.

Yeah. I needed a quick pocket on a 2x4 so voilla, i had to unbox an get it running!

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It sure does look like a clone, and the description (even down to two LEDs) sure sounds like a clone!

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That’s not very Ron Swanson of you

I’m pretty sure Ron would disagree with everything this forum stands for lol

Edit: Well…except maybe for this thread Smoking Meat