Last Updated on September 19, 2022 by Barry Gray
Both Craftsman and DeWalt are viewed as being strong All-American brands of power tools, and for good reasons. These companies have the history and prestige that comes with operating in the industry for a number of decades, and they undoubtedly have their fans that stick by them with every tool they make.
But I’m not here to just tell you all about both brands. Even though that would be interesting, I’m going to do something that I feel is even better: comparing the two brands side-by-side.
You see, while both brands have that All-American appeal in common, they also come with their own range of differences in what they offer. Sure they both operate in the power tools market, but they tend to target a slightly different market.
Also, people expect different things from each brand, and those are the types of things I will pick out during this comparison.
So, let’s dive into what each brand has to offer and come to a conclusion as to the brand you may want to then opt for when purchasing your new power tools.
Which Option Should You Choose?
I would be happy to state that both Craftsman and DeWalt are fantastic brands capable of delivering some quality tools. However, I would tell people to try to push their budget out to own a DeWalt if I had to make a choice between the two.
But it will also come down to who you are and what you plan to do with your tools. If you view yourself as an enthusiastic DIY’er with a long list of projects lined up, then DeWalt tools will cope with so much punishment without too many problems.
However, if you are really a beginner DIY’er, or plan on only carrying out the occasional job, then Craftsman power tools will be sufficient. Also, if you need to work within a reduced budget, then Craftsman tools do come in with a lower price tag, even though the quality of their tools will still shine through.
The History of Craftsman
As a company, Craftsman has been around for closing in on 100 years since it was launched back in 1927. At first, they focused on small tools, and it wasn’t until 1929 that they sought to make the move into more of the power tool market.
That does mean they have slightly less experience in the power tool industry compared to DeWalt, but it literally is only by a few years.
The early years of Craftsman certainly led to them being capable of building their range of tools. Their first power tool was a drill, and it did do pretty well. From then on, they sought to build both hand tools and power tools, even though it took several decades for the power tools section to take precedence over the other.
But here is one thing some people don’t know about Craftsman. The trade name was registered by Arthur Barrows, who worked for Sears. So, it automatically became entwined with the Sears name right from the original concept of the tool line.
However, Craftsman is no longer part of the Sears brand. They were sold in 2017 and are now owned by Stanley Black & Decker, so at least the brand still has some considerable backing.
Even though Craftsman is your typical All-American brand, they no longer produce all of their tools in the United States. Instead, a number of power tools are now produced in factories in China. However, hand tools, and several other accessories, are still manufactured in the US.
The History of DeWalt
DeWalt has a slightly longer history thanks to being founded in 1924 by Raymond DeWalt. His first foray into the world of tools was to produce a radial arm saw, which did pretty well.
The DeWalt company continued to perform well up until the war, when things clearly changed direction thanks to the war effort. However, in 1949, the company was sold to the American Machine and Foundry Company, who continued to work on expanding the product line and market that the brand should then focus on.
But even though the brand continued to perform well, it was then sold again in 1960. This time, Stanley Black & Decker took ownership, and they still own the DeWalt brand to this day.
So, that does mean that both brands I’m comparing today fall under the same control of the same parent company. However, the two brands also come with way more differences, as you will see while we work through this comparison.
DeWalt is an actual global company. However, they do stress that their power tools are made in the United States, but there is another aspect you need to consider.
You see, DeWalt uses different factories around the world to produce various aspects of their tools. These different parts are then shipped to factories in the United States, where the tool is finally pieced together and ready for sale.
It does sound like an elaborate way of doing things, but it does keep some costs down for the company. That’s important because DeWalt tools come with a slightly higher price tag.
The Range of Tools
Both Craftsman and DeWalt come with an extensive product list, but DeWalt has the upper hand when comparing both brands.
DeWalt has over 200 tools when you look at their 20V range, and that does mean they cover almost every eventuality. Also, they have their Flexvolt range, and even though they do not currently have a vast number of tools in that range, it does mean they have somewhere in the region of 250 tools.
But that’s not all.
DeWalt also has over 800 accessories for its tools, which is impressive. It means you have the opportunity to personalize your power tools and get them to do precisely what you want to do.
Craftsman cannot compete with DeWalt when it comes to the number of tools. At this moment, they have over 100 tools available, so you should still be capable of finding the right tool for your needs. However, they also have fewer accessories, so DeWalt clearly has greater versatility.
So why should Craftsman tools appeal to you? Well, I know of several reasons why Craftsman tools can appeal to so many individuals.
First, there’s the quality of the tools. While they may lack some power and torque capabilities, at least compared to DeWalt, the overall quality of Craftsman tools is not disputed.
Craftsman tools are reliable and robust enough for anything other than heavy-duty use. I find their reliability and quality to be ample for people who tend to carry out even regular small jobs or projects around the home.
Durability is not an issue either. If you care for them correctly, these tools will last for years, so even though they are not costly, Craftsman tools remain an investment.
If you are searching for affordability, Craftsman is the better option out of these two brands. While they do not come out as the cheapest brand on the market, their price level does mean these tools are far more accessible to a broader market.
I think the price range is perfect for this brand because of its target market. They focus more on the beginner or individuals for whom carrying out regular DIY projects is not a huge deal.
But for those on a budget, this is the brand you should be looking at.
Ease of Use
Another thing I love about Craftsman tools is the fact I find them very easy to use. It’s clear that they have decided to produce tools that anybody can pick up and use, no matter their experience.
That’s why I feel they can be the perfect beginner tool for individuals. Craftsman tools clarify what you can achieve with them, and it doesn’t involve too much setting up to be capable of using the tools.
DeWalt tools are fantastic, and I’m a big fan. However, I get that some people may look at the higher price tag attached to DeWalt tools and wonder if it’s worth the extra. Well, if you plan on using your power tools regularly, I suggest pushing your budget to purchase DeWalt tools.
But I do have several reasons as to why DeWalt tools manage to stand out from the crowd.
DeWalt tools have the ability to withstand a lot of punishment, and you can use them extensively without worrying about them just giving up and breaking down. There’s a reason so many professionals swear by using DeWalt tools, thanks to their reliability.
Let’s face it, if you are a professional, then you need to know your tools will work throughout the job at hand. You don’t want the motor to break down, making the project take longer to complete. Well, while I cannot say that this will 100% not happen with DeWalt tools, it is improbable that this will be the case.
DeWalt tools come with a significant amount of power and torque, which is why professionals use them on their projects. You will tend to find DeWalt tools can complete the task in a shorter time, and who doesn’t want to save time and still get the same end result?
Even though DeWalt tools come packed with a lot more power, they are generally significantly lighter than Craftsman tools.
Weight is very important with power tools. It can reduce the potential for fatigue to develop, especially when you need to use the tool for an extended period. It also means the tools are easier to hold. Imagine if you need to stretch or hold a tool at a strange angle to complete a task? The last thing you need is for that tool to weigh a lot, as it increases your chances of making a mistake.
I mentioned how DeWalt also has a wide range of accessories with over 800 available, which means only one thing, options. I do love that DeWalt has a number of bits, blades, and other accessories that can completely change how a tool will work and the results you can achieve.
There is only one other brand out there with more accessories available than DeWalt, and it’s certainly not Craftsman.
It is clear that DeWalt has many amazing reasons why you may want to invest your money in one of their tools.
Comparing Craftsman and DeWalt
While both brands produce high-quality tools, they do focus on two slightly different markets.
DeWalt pays more attention to professionals and the serious DIY’er even though their tools can still be used by those new to power tools. However, the tool’s performance is focused on those that need power tools to work consistently and not let them down.
While some professionals or serious DIY’ers may use Craftsman tools, it’s not the primary market. Instead, they built their reputation via Sears, so their market focuses on those wishing to spend less money and where the performance level does not have to be quite so high.
But clearly, anyone can use either tool, but their design and development is undoubtedly going to lead to them targeting two different markets.
There’s no competition between the brands when it comes to price, and Craftsman has the edge, thanks to their price tag. There will always be a noticeable difference when it comes to the price. If you plan on buying tools on a budget and these are your two options, then there’s no way you would ever choose DeWalt.
But I’m not saying DeWalt costs a fortune as they don’t.
The warranty is a huge deal in my eyes. You should always take out the warranty, but the problem here is that each company takes a different approach as to what they will even cover with the warranty.
Craftsman will provide you with either a two- or three-year warranty on their tools, which I see as quite reasonable. However, their hand tools do come with a lifetime warranty in some instances, but that’s certainly more common thanks to the unlikely chance they will break.
DeWalt is slightly different in what they offer from a warranty perspective. Their 3-year warranty is almost identical to that provided by Craftsman, but they don’t stop there.
At times, you may have the opportunity to extend the warranty to 7-years, and that’s impressive. Also, you do have the opportunity to take out a 1-year service guarantee where they will repair any worn parts without charge.
But as with any warranty, I always suggest checking the small print as both brands come with certain criteria, meaning your warranty may not cover everything.
Whenever I purchase a power tool, I want to know if the brand is there to support me should something go wrong. Well, both brands perform exceptionally well in this area.
Both Craftsman and DeWalt have excellent customer service. If I had to select a winner between the two, then it would be a dead heat. Both companies will help you deal with any problems, and in the case of DeWalt, if you contact them for spare parts, you also often get free shipping.
But the one thing I can say is that both brands will be there to help you out.
So I would always tell people to try to own a DeWalt tool if possible. However, if you have never used a power drill or miter saw before, then I understand that DeWalt tools could be intimidating. At that time, I would certainly have no problem switching to Craftsman.
But I can say with absolute certainty that both brands will last for years before you have to worry about changing the tools. The only difference is that DeWalt tools can cope with more punishment and deal with heavy-duty projects with ease.
So, think about your projects and how you plan on using your tools, and that alone will help you decide which of the two brands would be best for your needs.