The right power tool can be invaluable for a professional, woodworker, DIYer, or enthusiast. When you shop for power tools, you come across dozens of power tool brands, and choosing the right one can get confusing very fast.
Craftsman and Porter Cable are two big names in the power tool industry. Both brands are known for quality power tools at affordable pricing. They are also currently owned by the same parent company, Stanley Black & Decker.
So, it only makes sense to compare these brands in our Craftsman vs. Porter Cable power tool comparison, where we help you decide which power tool brand may be right for you.
Craftsman vs. Porter Cable Power Tools
To understand which of these brands best suits you and your needs, we will compare them against key power tool categories like quality, warranty, durability, and more.
But first, let’s look at these brands’ origin and journey to give you some background.
Sears introduced Craftsman in 1927, nearly a century ago, as the retail giant’s exclusive power tool brand. They were well known for their high quality, reliability, durability, and American-made production. Not to mention the lifetime warranty they offered with all their tools.
Recently in 2017, Sears sold Craftsman to Stanley Black & Decker, who reduced warranty terms and took most of the production of Craftsman power tools overseas to maintain the brand’s affordability.
Currently based in Jackson, Tennessee, Porter Cable was initially founded in Syracuse, New York, in 1907, making the brand older than Craftsman. Porter Cable has been a pioneer in the industry, introducing the helical drive circular saw and the portable belt sander to the world, among other tools.
Stanley Black & Decker acquired Porter Cable back in 2004, and, in terms of power tools, Craftsman and Porter Cable are roughly around the same grade.
Let’s dive deeper into some power tool categories to compare and identify the current differences between both power tool brands.
For the longest time, Craftsman was well-known for their high-quality, US-made power tools. However, things are not as they once were. Today, Craftsman power tools are mainly produced for light- to mid-level workloads and repair work for the occasional user, DIYer, or enthusiast.
They are not made for professional or heavy-duty workloads, which means they are not the most high-quality power tools you’ll find in the market. Porter Cable is not too different from Craftsman in terms of quality.
They produce power tools for a similar audience, and the quality is comparable. This does not mean that the power tools from both brands aren’t good. They are good quality power tools for the average user, just not as good as some high-quality power tools from other popular brands like DeWalt.
However, some Craftsman power tools are still produced in the US, which means they may be of higher quality. In reality, you will not be able to tell much of a difference in quality when you hold and use a US-made Craftsman power tool or one that is made overseas.
Similarly, Porter Cable makes most of their mechanic tools in the US, which may also deliver higher quality, but not to a discernable level.
Reliability and Durability
Quality often dictates the reliability and durability of any power tool. In the case of Craftsman and Porter Cable power tools, when used for their intended purpose like light- to mid-level workloads, they are very reliable and will last a long time.
However, if you use them for professional or heavy-duty workloads or use them every day for long hours, they will likely get damaged and not last more than a few months.
In terms of performance, we did not find much of a difference. Both brands’ power tools performed well for their intended tasks, and there wasn’t even much of a difference in the US-made variants versus those that were made overseas.
For general home use, occasional repair work, woodwork, or DIY projects, their power tools perform beautifully, and you will have no trouble getting the job done right.
Warranty and Pricing
Both Craftsman and Porter Cable offer power tools in a similar price bracket, and these are affordable for the intended audience. Moreover, both brands offer a 1 to 3-year limited warranty with their power tools, which is the market average at this price point.
However, Craftsman offers more 3-year warranties than Porter Cable, which mostly offers 1-year warranties with a few select power tools with a 3-year limited warranty.
Power Tool Options
Craftsman offers slightly more options than Porter Cable when it comes to power tools. For example, they currently offer 6 impact drivers and 7 drills compared to Porter Cable’s 4 impact drivers and 6 drills. This, and other similar options put Craftsman ahead of Porter Cable in terms of variety and power tool options.
Our Final Thoughts
Comparing Craftsman vs. Porter Cable power tools, we can conclude that both brands offer similar, good quality power tools for home use and light- to mid-level workloads. They offer decent warranties and pricing for the average user, DIYer, and enthusiast.
Craftsman does offer slightly better warranties and options, but ultimately, your choice will come down to personal preference. Perhaps you find a power tool feature from one brand better than the other, or you may prefer the better pricing of a particular power tool compared to the other brand’s counterpart.
Whichever brand you choose, you will get similar results if you use the power tool as intended. However, from a purely objective standpoint, Craftsman has a slight edge over Porter Cable, so we would recommend their power tools.
If you want to learn more about Craftsman vs. Porter Cable power tools, other power tool brands, or about our expert reviews and comparisons of various power tools and power tool brands, please check out the rest of Tool Inspector today.