Kobalt or Craftsman?
Features of Kobalt and Craftsman
History and Reputation
Kobalt had its conception in the late 90s, and was launched to target the same demographic as Craftsman. We see this in the similar quality of tools and the common price tag. Kobalt is now part of the Lowe’s brand and is the designated house brand, also known as a private label brand for the home improvement giant.
As for Craftsman, their history goes back further to around 1927. They were the house brand of Sears. In 2017, Sears relinquished ownership and sold the Craftsman line to Stanley Black & Decker, a major brand in appliances and tools, which also happens to own DeWalt.
Craftsman has been around longer than Kobalt, which is why they have a more extensive power tool line. Craftsman also features lawn care, outdoor power tools and mechanic tools. The Craftsman brand uses red as the signature color for most of their tools.
The Kobalt brand, as the name suggests, has their products in a nice deep cobalt blue. Kobalt tools is a younger brand than many of the other key players in the power tool industry. Yet, the brand is as competitive as other brands started earlier. In fact, since Lowe’s started carrying their line after incorporation, their kits and power tools have risen in quality.
Manufacturing: Kobalt and Craftsman
Let’s start with Kobalt, which has a large brand presence in the USA. Most of their mechanics tools are made in Nevada, but their power tools are made overseas particularly in Germany and China.
Craftsman tools are largely manufactured in the USA, especially their hand tools and accessories. In fact, Stanley Black & Decker recently announced the opening of a new manufacturing plant in Texas, furthering efforts to keep the creation of Craftsman tools close to home.
Availability of Products: Kobalt and Craftsman
Although they are direct competitors, Craftsman vs Kobalt both have products in Lowe’s. Like DeWalt and Porter Cable brands, Craftsman product can be found in more than just the retail store. Lowe’s exclusively carries Kobalt, which results in the brand having a limited presence.
Price Points: Kobalt and Craftsman
Warranty and Service
Our expert team says the warranty  and service agreement a brand offers speaks volumes about exactly what quality you are getting. The Kobalt brand has the edge in the warranty department as it offers a lifetime warranty on its tool sets. On the other hand, Craftsman offers lifetime warranties on some of their products as well, but they mostly apply to hand tools.
Depending on when you purchase your Craftsman tools, there could be an overlap between the Sears warranty. This may cause issues since Sears no longer sell craftsman tools.
The two brands are well-known for their combo kits. Let’s take a look at the Craftsman kit first. The tool box all the pieces come in is of a sturdy design. The tools are easily accessible and can be well-organized within the box. One thing our professional woodworkers really liked about the Craftsman set is the universal joint, which increases the versatility for applications.
Kobalt also has a full line of tools in the Kobalt set with ergonomic design. The tool carrier isn’t of a better quality per se, but it is of a better design with more storage space. Kobalt conveniently incorporates the SAE and the Metric system for ease of use. Some of the tools you can find in tool sets from both Kobalt and Craftsman brands include standard ratchets, allen keys, and a socket set among others.
Sockets and Ratchet
Kobalt sockets have a hex design and there are smaller sizes available. Ratchets from Kobalt are cumbersome, and aren’t the best for tight spaces.
Craftsman ratchets are better for smaller spaces but they don’t have as many socket options. One more downside of the Craftsman set – the new tools are not as sturdy as the Kobalt products.
Craftsman is the one brand that dominates the power tools round as it started earlier. While much of the details is based on personal preference, Craftsman items come at affordable price with a huge product range to choose from.
On one hand, Kobalt offers great value for money, too. However, the power tool line is more limited. Nevertheless, the products are still impressive.
Products Offered: Kobalt and Craftsman
Both brands offer a wide variety of products from small accessories and handheld tools to outdoor tools and lawn care products. Both brands provide the most bang for your buck as they are mid-range options.
Whatever you need for your workshop, these two brands have the power tools and handheld options to offer.
Which is better Kobalt or Craftsman?
Is Lowes replacing Kobalt with Craftsman?
Overall Winner: Kobalt
It was a pretty tight result, but our professional contracts ultimately handed the crown to Kobalt. Yes, Craftsman is more widely available, but Kobalt offers excellent quality, which is most evident in their tool kit line. Kobalt also offers a better lifetime warranty, because it’s available for most of their products rather than just hand tools.
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