Kobalt vs Craftsman: Which Private Label Brand is Best?

When it comes to mechanics tools, some of the most successful and well-loved tools are private-label brands manufactured for specific stores. Craftsman ushered in this trend many years ago, and since then, companies like Kobalt and Husky have entered the market.

But, which of these private label brands offers the most bang for the buck? Today, we’re going to take a closer look at two major competitors in our Kobalt vs Craftsman showdown.

History of the Brands

Both Kobalt and Craftsman are major private-label tool brands that are exceptionally popular.

Kobalt is the younger of the two brands and was incorporated in 1998 by the Lowes Company. Most of their tools are sold exclusively at Lowe’s stores. Their initial offerings centered around mechanics tools and tool storage solutions, and they’ve since evolved to offer a full line of tools, including popular lithium-ion power tools, pneumatic tools, and outdoor tools as well.

Across the way, Craftsman is the older and more established of the two brands. Craftsman was launched in 1927 and was contracted by Sears and several other retailers to distribute the tools. After some time, Sears became the owner and exclusive retailer for this popular brand.

With Sears experiencing tumultuous times that ultimately resulted in the company’s bankruptcy, they sold the Craftsman brand to Stanley Black & Decker in 2017. Today, Sears stores maintain a license to sell Craftsman tools in their stores, but the full line can only be found at Lowe’s stores.

Who Are These Tools For?

Both Kobalt and Craftsman manufacture a full line of hand tools as well as many popular power tools. Both brands are moderately priced and are accompanied by strong warranties.

For the most part, both these tool brands are marketed to the same consumers. Anyone who is hoping to purchase high-quality tools on a budget can benefit from the products these two brands offer.

Who Should Avoid These Tools?

On the other hand, both Craftsman and Kobalt are value-driven brands that exist in the middle ground of tools and accessories. Some brands are below Kobalt and Craftsman regarding quality and price, and there are also many brands that produce much higher quality and more expensive products.

Those who are looking for professional quality tools that are made exclusively in America may benefit from looking towards other brands, instead of Craftsman or Kobalt.

What Makes These Companies Different?

With so many similarities, it’s difficult to understand what separates these two popular brands. However, there are some key differences regarding the power tools each brand manufactures.

Kobalt offers a full line of lithium-ion battery-powered tools including saws, drills, and outdoor power tools like line trimmers, lawn mowers, and more.

Craftsman offers some battery-powered options, in addition to corded electric power and outdoor tools and also has gas-powered outdoor tools available.

Benefits of the Brands

Both brands feature similar benefits that may interest you as you search for new tools.

Warranty

Perhaps the most striking benefit is that both brands carry lifetime warranties on all of their hand tools. This trend was started by Craftsman and has been adopted by brands like Kobalt and Husky.

Keep in mind that this warranty only applies to hand tools, and power tools carry different warranties from product to product.

Price

Both brands offer exceptional value and are priced cheaper than many other popular manufacturers. When you go with Kobalt or Craftsman, you’re assured that the product you’re buying is going to deliver great value.

Durability

When a brand offers a lifetime warranty, it’s usually a sign that the tools they’re making are of high-quality. If people were redeeming their lifetime warranties on all their Kobalt or Craftsman products, neither would be around for long. With Craftsman and Kobalt, you can rest assured that the tools you’re purchasing are built to last.

Kobalt vs Craftsman: Evaluating Their Most Popular Combo Kits

ImageProductPrice
Kobalt 314-Piece Standard (SAE) and Metric Mechanic's Tool Set with Hard Case -...Kobalt 314 Piece Mechanics Tool Set
  • $349.98
CLICK HERE TO BUY
Craftsman 320-Piece Mechanic's Tool SetCraftsman 320-Piece Mechanics Tool Set
  • $168.78
CLICK HERE TO BUY

Last update on 2019-10-14 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

With so much in common between the two brands, we’ve pitted two of their most popular mechanic’s tool sets against each other to determine the winner in our Kobalt vs Craftsman battle.

Kobalt 19-Piece Standard and Metric Combination 3/8-in Drive Spline Socket Set

Last update on 2019-10-14 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

This Kobalt tool set is especially comprehensive and provides virtually every hand tool you could ever need.

This 314-piece kit includes a total of 124 different 6- and 12-point sockets, 25 driver sockets, 40 hex keys, and 12 nut driver adapters. You’ll also receive ¼”, ⅜,” and ½” 90-tooth ratchets, four extensions, three drive adapters, six open-ended combo wrenches and a magnetic screwdriver handle with assorted insert bits.

Also included is a quality blow-molded four drawer tool chest which will help you keep your tools well organized and safe when they aren’t in use.

Kobalt’s tools also have some intuitive features that help make your work easier, including laser-etched callouts and color-coded bands to help you easily identify standard and metric tools.

What We Like

  • High-quality 90-tooth ratchets
  • Standard and metric attachments are color coded
  • Lifetime warranty
  • High-quality toolbox

What Could Be Better

  • A bit more expensive than comparable offerings

Craftsman 320-Piece Mechanics Tool Set

Last update on 2019-10-13 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Craftsman’s offering includes a few extra pieces and comes in at a significantly lower price point compared to the Kobalt kit above.

This kit includes a total of 152 six, eight, and twelve point sockets as well as ¼”, ⅜,” and ½” ratchets. Four extension bars are also included to make it easier to work in tight spaces.

This kit also includes 40 different allen keys in short and long-armed varieties, eight combination wrenches, a magnetic screwdriver handle with 96 insert bits and a dozen nut drivers, and a blow-molded toolbox.

This kit includes substantially more insert bits, which may come in handy with basic projects around the house. Overall, this kit includes virtually everything you’ll find in the Kobalt kit at a more affordable price point.

What We Like

  • Great price
  • High-quality toolbox
  • Lifetime warranty

What Could Be Better

  • Mediocre screwdriver handle
  • Ratchets aren’t as nice as Kobalt

Final Word

While each kit from these two heavyweight tool companies can certainly get the job done, there are a few areas that separate these kits. In this battle of Kobalt vs Craftsman, our favorite kit is made by Kobalt.

Last update on 2019-10-13 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

While the Craftsman kit is more affordable and even includes a few extra pieces, the quality of the Kobalt kit is better, and that quality is worth investing in. Plus, given the tumultuous last few years, the Craftsman brand has had given all of Sears’ issues, Kobalt feels like the more trustworthy brand at this point. Who won this showdown? Share your thoughts in the comments.

Shares

Add Comment

Note: this article may contain affiliate links. If you make a purchase using one of these links, I may be paid a referral fee at no expense to you.