Kobalt Vs Craftsman: Which Brand Do I Prefer In 2021?

If you are looking for a new tool set or a cordless drill, chances are you are running into the agony of deciding between Kobalt vs Craftsman. Many a do-it-yourselfer or contractor has been there before you. Both brands are excellent brands that are revered across the United States for their own reasons. Before you get down to that final decision, use this review of Kobalt vs Craftsman to learn more about these brands so that you can decide which one is best for you.

Take a quick look at the differences between Kobalt vs. Craftsman:

  • Both brands are American-based, but both brands are not American-made. A lot of Kobalt products are made in Nevada, however much of their power tool manufacturing is outsourced to countries such as Germany and China. Craftsman does some outsourcing as well for parts, but are largely produced in America.
  • Accessibility is an issue with Kobalt products, many of which are found at Lowe’s or online retailers. Craftsman on the other hand is very easy to get. You can drive to your closest hardware store to get it, whereas with Kobalt, you have to find a Lowe’s if you aren’t ordering online. 
  • Craftsman is a company that has been producing tools since 1927, whereas Kobalt has been producing tools for Lowe’s almost exclusively since 1998. This longevity for Craftsman is a significant selling point for many Americans who like a product that has been around for generations.
  • Warranties for both products can be similar, and will range across product lines. Generally however, Kobalt offers a lifetime warranty on many of its sets, whereas Craftsman lifetime warranties are cherry-picked. Some products offer it and some don’t. Craftsman warranties can range between three and five years, but you’ll really have to check the warranty on every product you are considering.

Why You Should Like Kobalt

Kobalt is a good brand that a lot of Americans love. There are several reasons to select Kobalt vs. Craftsman. 

  • Quality

Kobalt is a quality tool that does have a lifetime warranty on it. Many of the tools in their tool sets offer a chrome vanadium steel construction and chrome finish, which means the tool is designed to last a long time. They will last, and they will perform.

  • Affordability

Kobalt is in the middle of the range when it comes to pricing, and this makes this brand within reach for most consumers that are in the market for pricing tools.

  • Warranty

The warranty on Kobalt tools is impressive in that most tools will offer a lifetime warranty, with some retailers saying that means “no questions asked.” This could vary across the product, specifically across the power tools. 

Why You Should Like Craftsman 

A lot of people like the story of the Craftsman tool, but there are a number of other reasons you should like this brand.

  • Quality

Craftsman is legendary, and that is primarily because they have been around since 1927. They’ve had a long time to establish that reputation. Toolmakers are either good at it, or they aren’t. Craftsman has been producing quality goods for almost a full century now, and Americans know it. So do people all over the world. Craftsman is a quality, durable product that people are proud to have in their homes.

  • Selection

Craftsman has been around long enough that it can afford to have a few extra products in their product lines. Craftsman offers more drills, grinders, saws, and hand tools. In some areas, Kobalt offers more tools than others, such as in the line of hand saws at this time. For the most part, Craftsman offers more choice.

  • Value

Craftsman offers a value that is in the middle of the range for price range and gives you slightly more than other brands in some areas. It is not uncommon to find a kit with hundreds of pieces in it for much less than with other brands. Craftsman knows what Americans are looking for when they buy tool kits, and they provide it for them.

My Recommendation 

My recommendation is going to be Craftsman. It meets my needs because it is a company that meets the needs of the whole. This company has been in business for one hundred years, and this still speaks today in terms of the value of the product and the durability of the product. I’m not worried if something will work when I take it out of the box when it’s a Craftsman, and if it doesn’t, that problem is already solved. Craftsman is my pick for the Kobalt vs. Craftsman debate. However, outside that, I won’t say I wouldn’t buy Kobalt tools on the odd occasion either.

Kobalt Company History 

Kobalt is the younger of the two in the Kobalt vs. Craftsman debate. In fact, Kobalt is young compared to many power tool producers. Still, this is a line of products that many swear by and with cause. Even Craftsman was only 20 years old once, and they were being sought out by defense for assistance during the Second World War. 

The brand is almost 25 years old and was started in 1998 by J.H. Williams, who is a manufacturing partner for Lowe’s department store. Kobalt was initially introduced by Lowe’s to compete with Craftsman and the Home Depot brand of Husky. It has done well in its 25 years, and there are still many consumers that will choose it as the winner in the Kobalt vs. Craftsman debate.

Kobalt Products 

Kobalt products are ideal items for any tool-lover. Here are some of their shining moments.

Kobalt 227-Piece Standard Metric Polished Chrome Mechanic’s Tool Set

Every good mechanic needs a starter set or a set to add to their existing collection that is sure to have a lost item or two. This Kobalt 227-Piece Standard Metric Polished Chrome Mechanic’s Tool Set includes 6 and 12-point sockets, 3 ratchets, 4 extensions, 30 wrenches, and 40 hex keys, among many other must-haves. Laser-etched call-outs and color-coded strips are intuitive helpers for you as well. The kit comes with one empty drawer.

Kobalt 40V Lithium Ion 480-CFM 110 MPH Medium-Duty Baretool Cordless Electric Leaf Blower

You can purchase the Kobalt 40V Ion 480-CFM 110 MPH Medium-Duty Baretool Cordless Electric Leaf Blower with or without its battery and charger. This tool will make your yard work a breeze with its variable speed trigger that lets you decide how much power you need. You’ll have fun with the cruise control feature as well.

• Kobalt 80V Max Baretool 16 Inch Straight Cordless String Trimmer

One 80V Kobalt charger will work with every Kobalt 80V tool, and that includes the Kobalt 80V Max Baretool 16 Inch Straight Cordless String Trimmer. This trimmer gives you 60 minutes outside of battery time which means you get to take a 40-minute recharging break after an hour of trimming. Until then, though, you have enough power and torque to get a lot done. 

• Kobalt 24 V Max Lithium Ion ½ Inch Cordless Brushless Drill With Battery and Case

The Kobalt 24V Max Lithium-Ion ½ Inch Cordless Brushless Drill With Battery and Case is a cordless drill and driver that delivers 650in-pounds of torque and has a long battery life after charging. It comes with a two-speed gearbox that is fun to work with at 0-2,000 RPM between the two.

• Kobalt 24V Max 6 1/2 Inch Cordless Circular Saw Brake 

The Kobalt 24V Max 6 ½-inch Cordless Circular Saw Brake is a saw that will surprise you with its comfort and ease of use. Weighing in at eight pounds, it doesn’t feel like it, and the features are easy to work with. That includes an electric brake that stops when the trigger is released, and it works well on non-traditional cutting projects. 

Craftsman Company History 

craftsman

The Craftsman brand became a trademark that Sears registered for its own use on May 20, 1927. At the time, Craftsman had been in business building tools on the smaller scale of things, but when Sears got wind of the company, it was purchased because the head of Sears hardware department liked the name. The name Craftsman stands on its own today.

Sears brought for its middle-of-the-range pricing capabilities, and this quality of Craftsman remains today. For everyday Craftsman products, pricing models are in the everyday range and are considered middle tier. Craftsman does build industrial products, and the pricing on that is reflected accordingly. 

One thing that Craftsman tool-users appreciate about this partnership is that Sears has honored the longevity of Craftsman tools with its consumer as well. In 1991, Sears began a loyalty program and called it the Craftsman Club, a program that is still active today.

By 2017, the Craftsman name would undergo another American move, and would be purchased by Stanley Black & Decker. The total value of the brand at the time was $900 million USD. Sears held onto the royalty-free licenses for 15 years as part of the deal and would continue to receive funds from any new Craftsman sale. 

Today, many retailers are eager to get Craftsman products on their shelves to bring to their stores the essence of a tool that has captured American customer loyalty for almost one hundred years.

Craftsman Products 

The Craftsman product line is one that you will love to own. This is a brand that is easy to get addicted to.

Craftsman 4V Max Cordless Electric Screwdriver 

This Craftsman Cordless Electric Screwdriver is the ideal tool if you already have a drill and want an extra hand with driving screws without the power of a drill, or the manual labor of a screwdriver. On one charge you will get up to 325 screws done, and its intuitive sensor knows how to change direction with your wrist and speed. I can’t hate this tool and almost want one in every room. 

• Craftsman 102-Piece Home Tool Kit  for Mechanics 

The Craftsman 102-Piece Home Tool Kit for Mechanics is an iconic Craftsman kit that comes with a slip joint, groove joint, and long nose pliers along with a socket kit. Also included is a fiberglass hammer. Each tool has a corrosion-resistant finish, and this is one item on the Craftsman list that comes with a full lifetime warranty.

• Craftsman V20 Cordless Hedge Trimmer 

The Craftsman V20 Cordless Hedge Trimmer is an ideal addition to your garden shed. It features 22-inch laser-cut blades and can cut up to 1/12 inch thick yard brush. This tool pairs well with others in the Craftsman wall organization product lineup.

• Craftsman Belt Sander, 3-Inch x 21-Inch CMEW213

The Craftsman Belt Sander features an angled belt design that will sand close and fast. It offers a tool-free belt release with dust bag for dust collection. If you are building a Craftsman collection, it also is a component of the Craftsman wall organization product lineup.

• Craftsman V20 Cordless Wet/Dry Shop Vac

A shop vac is something you want to have on hand, you never want to have to need one immediately and not have one on hand. It’s a good investment because they are good for cleaning up even when there isn’t an emergency. If you are looking for one, the Craftsman V20 Cordless Wet/Dry Shop Vac is one that you will have for life. 

What to Consider When Choosing Between Kobalt and Craftsman Products 

There are a number of things to consider when you are choosing between Kobalt vs. Craftsman. Some items may come down to personal preference, but key points will be on everybody’s mind.

• Warranty

Both Craftsman and Kobalt have a strong warranty system, with Kobalt leading Craftsman just a little. Whether this makes Kobalt a better brand is up to you. For many people, it does. For others, the Craftsman name speaks for itself. There are still many products in the Craftsman line that carry a lifetime warranty.

• Availability

If you are a Kobalt fan, the availability of products might be a concern to you. Lowe’s might be the only place you will get the exact Kobalt product that you need. You may be able to find Kobalt tools online, but you may not always find the Kobalt tool you are looking for. Lowe’s can get it for you in most cases. Craftsman products and what you need to have a wider range of availability on them.

• Price Point

The price point for both Craftsman and Kobalt is very similar. They are both marketed to the middle-range budgets, and so they are both going to have middle-range prices. For this point, you have to compare different tools individually, as you would normally do if you didn’t have a brand preference. Some power tools with higher price points may offer better warranties or vice versa. That is one element of any review of Kobalt vs. Craftsman that you will have to do just a pinch of your own product-specific research on.

Summary 

When comparing Kobalt vs. Craftsman, the comparison can actually be quite difficult at times. Both brands offer top-quality products with warranties that will help any consumer feel secure. Neither brand beats each other out significantly in price range, and both are names that most tool-lovers love to have on the shelf. My pick is Craftsman when I can get it. I’m a fan of an all-American tool with a long story. However, if I can only get a Kobalt of a tool that I am looking for, it will never be a bad addition to my collection. 

James Thomas

James Thomas

Tool Enthusiast

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