Craftsman is now nearly a hundred-year-old power tool brand and a well-known household name. They have been in the industry long enough to establish themselves as a key player and innovator in the power tool space.
For a long time, people have trusted Craftsman to produce quality tools and power tools at affordable pricing that work well and last a long time. But is this really true anymore?
There are claims by consumers who say that Craftsman power tools are not as good as they used to be and do not last as long anymore.
Let’s dive deeper to learn more about this power tool brand and answer, “Is Craftsman a Good power tool brand?”
Is Craftsman a Good Power Tool Brand?
Sears introduced the Craftsman brand in May of 1927, selling it exclusively at their stores nationwide. They marketed Craftsman as a trusted Sears house brand that produced quality, lasting tools at affordable pricing.
This positioning was true for a long time. However, with time, things have changed, including the lifetime warranty that made Craftsman such a desirable and reliable brand in the first place.
Sears was so confident in Craftsman products that it introduced a lifetime warranty for Craftsman customers. For the longest time, you did not need a receipt or proof of purchase to claim this warranty.
You could bring your Craftsman tools to your local Sears, and they would repair or replace it at no extra cost.
Things changed in 2005 after Sears merged with Kmart and the Craftsman power tools became available at Kmart stores and a few other retailer stores. By 2012, Kmart had reduced the lifetime warranty of Craftsman tools to 25 years.
Craftsman also required customers to present proof of purchase for warranty claims. They also excluded precision hand tools from any warranty. In 2017, Stanley Black & Decker bought Craftsman for $900 million. As a result, Craftsman products’ availability has increased. Now, you can buy Craftsman power tools from nearly every hardware store in the nation.
Upon purchase, Stanley Black & Decker vowed to honor prior warranties, but they recently limited the number of Craftsman tools an individual customer can get repaired or replaced. Today, Craftsman power tools come with a 3-year warranty, which is standard in the power tool industry.
Although, this warranty does not cover power tool parts that get damaged or break due to wear or misuse.
Power Tools Quality and Performance
Craftsman power tools have been known for their quality, reliability, and comprehensive warranty for the longest time. They provide affordable options for mechanics, construction workers, woodworkers, metalworkers, DIYers, and enthusiasts.
The Craftsman brand had built an excellent reputation for producing durable power tools for entry- to mid-level workloads. Craftsman power tools and hand tools were passed down from generation to generation because they could last long and have lifetime warranties.
Since Kmart and Stanley Black & Decker got control of Craftsman, respectively, they stopped producing most Craftsman power tools in America. A majority of the manufacturing shifted to China and other countries, leading consumers to complain that the build quality is no longer as it used to be.
In our experience, this is true, but it doesn’t mean that Craftsman power tools are not good or perform poorly. However, the tools aren’t as good as they used to be. The build quality of their power tools is passable compared to the current competition’s offerings. The quality and performance are slightly better for the price.
Overall, Craftsman power tools are not very different from other affordable power tool options in the market, which is a genuine concern. Craftsman no longer provides the quality, warranty, performance, or reliability at competitive pricing that helped the brand gain recognition among the average consumer.
There are many power tool reviewers and experts out there who claim similar experiences as consumers. They agree that the Craftsman power tool brand has declined in recent years.
What Does This Mean for You?
The power of the Internet allows us to share experiences, verify claims, and, ultimately, bring forth the truth. When so many consumers and reviewers say something about a major brand and its products, it is usually true. We have also assessed these tools, and we agree with everyone who has had a less-than-perfect experience.
Craftsman has a long-standing history in the power tool industry, which affords them brand recognition and sales. However, there is little else that makes them stand out. However, Craftsman is not far from what you would expect from an affordable power tool brand in the modern market.
If you look at direct competitors at similar price points, you may find some good options, but they may lack what Craftsman has. For example, Kobalt is a direct competitor of Craftsman. In fact, Lowe’s launched Kobalt in 1998 in direct competition with Sears’ Craftsman.
Today, Kobalt produces slightly better-performing power tools than Craftsman, but they are exclusively sold at Lowe’s stores, whereas Craftsman is available almost everywhere. Moreover, Kobalt does not have the same rich history or brand recognition as Craftsman.
On the other hand, DeWalt is a similar, long-running brand that offers far superior power tools than Craftsman power tools. Craftsman tools are mostly manufactured in the US. They perform far better, can take on heavy-duty professional tasks, are durable, reliable, and come with better warranties.
However, you pay more money for DeWalt power tools than for comparable Craftsman power tools. Moreover, DeWalt is also owned by Stanley Black & Decker. However, it is their premium power tool brand, whereas Craftsman is one of their affordable power tool brands.
Who Is Craftsman Good for?
Considering everything, the Craftsman brand and its power tools are not entirely bad. They can be the best power tool option for certain customers. If you are someone who uses power tools for mid-level workloads, do not use them very frequently. However, you can use Craftsman power tools for simple DIY projects.
They offer easy availability, a standard warranty, and decent quality and performance for someone who is not a daily user. The best part is getting a well-known power tool brand at a highly affordable price. If you use their power tools as they are intended to be used, they will get the job done and last you a very long time.
Our Final Thoughts
So, is Craftsman a good power tool brand? Despite everything we mentioned above, we think they are a good power tool brand, just not for the same type of consumer.
Regardless of what you may hear about Craftsman and their power tools, things are not as bad as they sound. Craftsman sits comfortably in the middle of the power tools players in the industry. Many consumers and reviewers are unsatisfied because they compare the brand to what it used to be.
The truth is that no modern power tool maker can produce high-quality power tools in the US and offer lifetime warranties at affordable prices anymore. Something has got to give, and in the case of Craftsman, it is a drop in quality.
While this may mean that they aren’t the best power tool brand anymore, they still have a place in the market and are an excellent option for certain people. They actually produce some good power tools in their price bracket.
If you want to learn more about Craftsman power tools and other power tool brands or read expert reviews and comparisons of power tool brands, please check out the rest of Tool Inspector today.