When looking for power tools in the market, you will likely come across Kobalt and Craftsman power tools. They are top-rated brands that manufacture excellent power tools. However, you may be wondering which brand is the better option.
Let’s compare these power tool brands in our Kobalt vs. Craftsman Power Tools comparison, so you can make the right choice that suits your needs.
Kobalt vs Craftsman Power Tools
Kobalt and Craftsman are well-known brands in the power tool industry, and Craftsman has been around for nearly a century, whereas Kobalt is about to touch 25 years. Ironically, Lowe’s first launched Kobalt in direct competition with Sears and Home Depot, which owned the tool brands Craftsman and Husky, respectively.
It’s only fair to compare Kobalt and Craftsman to see how things have panned out over the years. We will compare Kobalt and Craftsman against some key power tool categories to help you understand which is the better choice for you.
Manufacturing and Quality
Both Kobalt and Craftsman power tools are made from quality materials and parts sourced from around the world. Most Kobalt power tools are manufactured in China and Germany, where they maintain strict standards.
Craftsman power tools are mostly manufactured in the US. However, they have moved some of their manufacturing overseas in recent years. Regardless, their internationally produced power tools are just as good as their local ones.
In terms of quality, both Kobalt and Craftsman deliver high-quality power tools. Despite being very young compared to competitors, especially Craftsman, Kobalt maintains a high standard of quality, which is evident when you hold or use their power tools.
On the other hand, Craftsman has been in the industry for nearly a century now, and they are widely known for producing affordable, quality power tools. A power tool manufacturer can’t stay competitive for so long if they aren’t producing quality, lasting products.
Craftsman’s established reputation often gives them the upper hand among power tools brands. However, our comparison revealed that Kobalt power tools are of good quality. So, both brands are equal in terms of quality.
Reliability and Durability
Most consumers think that if a product is produced in the US, it is automatically more reliable and durable than a similar product made internationally. However, this belief is unfounded. Just because most Craftsman power tools are manufactured in the US does not mean they are automatically more reliable and durable than their internationally-produced Kobalt counterparts.
Over the years, Craftsman has built a reputation for producing reliable, lasting power tools, whereas Kobalt has not yet established such a market perception. Regardless, our experience showed that both power tool brands produce reliable and durable products, mainly because they do not compromise quality.
It wouldn’t be a proper Kobalt vs. Craftsman power tools comparison without comparing warranties. Things are slightly better for Kobalt power tools than Craftsman in terms of warranty because of two reasons.
Firstly, Kobalt power tools come with 3-5 years of warranty, depending on the power tool, and they also offer limited lifetime warranties on a few power tools. On the other hand, Craftsman only just started offering widespread 3-year warranties with their power tools after they were acquired by Stanley Black and Decker.
Secondly, Craftsman power tools made before this acquisition (when Sears owned them) may have issues related to warranty claims. Generally speaking, Kobalt offers better and lengthier warranties than Craftsman, which can be important when making your purchase decision.
Craftsman has been around for a long time, and they have worked long and hard to establish good distribution and availability. Craftsman power tools are easily available at your nearest hardware store or tool store, which is true for most power tool users living in the US. They also have good international distribution and availability.
On the other hand, Kobalt is fairly new. Still, this difference is not why they have more availability issues than Craftsman. Kobalt is owned by Lowe’s, and it is their exclusive tool brand. Therefore, you can only buy Kobalt power tools at a Lowe’s store. Both brands offer their power tools online on their respective websites and on Amazon.
Range of Power Tools
The sheer age of Craftsman means that they inevitably have a more extensive range of power tools than Kobalt. They even have a more extensive range of automotive tools, outdoor tools, and accessories. However, for this comparison, we will focus on power tools only.
Currently, Craftsman offers more impact wrenches, saws, grinders, air tools, and power drills than Kobalt. Any power tool that Kobalt offers, Craftsman offers a few more options. Let’s look at the available drill options for comparison.
Kobalt currently has one available variety online:
In contrast, Craftsman has at least 4:
Craftsman emerges as the clear winner when comparing the breadth of power tools the two brands offer.
Kobalt truly shines in the performance department, showing you don’t need an established brand name or American production to make quality products. Both brands offer great performing power tools. However, our experience with each brand’s power tools and compared performances revealed that most Kobalt power tools slightly outperformed Craftsman.
Of course, this was our personal experience, and there are plenty of professionals out there who may tell you otherwise. Moreover, this does not mean Craftsman power tools do not perform well. We felt that Kobalt power tools performed better when comparing the two brands.
Overall, our Kobalt vs. Craftsman power tools comparison showed us how great each brand is and their strengths when it comes to power tools. Both offer quality, reliable, and durable power tools that should last you for long.
However, if you want superior availability, a wider range of power tools, and a long-standing brand reputation, go for Craftsman. However, if you want a better warranty and slightly better performance and aren’t worried about limited availability or range, Kobalt is perhaps the better choice.
If you are interested in Kobalt, Craftsman, power tools in general, and power tool brand comparisons, read related posts on Tool Inspector.