Craftsman vs Milwaukee

Craftsman vs Milwaukee: Which Tools are Better? (2023 Guide)

Craftsman and Milwaukee tools are some of the most well known tool brands on the market and I’ve used both of these brands for years.

Both brands manufacture quality power and hand tools that can be used for decades when well maintained.

But which is better?

In this Craftsman vs Milwaukee comparison, I’ll help you decide which tools are best for your needs. Let’s get into it!

  • Overall, Milwaukee tools are going to be better quality, more durable, and feature the best technology that’s currently available.
  • That said, Craftsman tools are still pretty good quality, but they’re much less expensive.
  • If you’re looking for quality tools that will last for years, go with Milwaukee. If you’re looking for decent tools on a budget, go with Craftsman.

Craftsman vs Milwaukee

Tool Quality and Durability

Milwaukee Tape Measure

In terms of quality and durability, both Craftsman and Milwaukee have always been reliable companions in my workshop.

Craftsman tools were my first introduction to professional tools and have always held up well for everyday use. They’re rugged and dependable, showing a great resilience to wear and tear.

However, if you’re looking for top-of-the-line durability, I’d give the edge to Milwaukee.

Over the years, I have seen Milwaukee tools endure a lot more heavy-duty use in my workshop making them one of my favorite brands of tools. The materials they use seem to be of a higher grade, contributing to a longer tool lifespan.

Design and Performance

When it comes to design, Craftsman takes a more traditional approach. The tools are straightforward and easy to use – no-frills, but get the job done. Their performance is good, and they’ve never let me down for basic to intermediate tasks.

On the other hand, Milwaukee tools seem to be designed with the professional in mind.

The ergonomics of their tools make them comfortable for prolonged use, and the performance, especially in their cordless line, is impressive. The power and battery life of Milwaukee’s M18 and M12 systems have been a game changer on numerous projects.

Product Lines and Offerings

Craftsman Jigsaw

Craftsman offers a comprehensive line of tools, from hand tools to power tools and even lawn and garden equipment. You can outfit your entire workshop or garage with Craftsman tools and it would cover most of your needs. They’ve recently been expanding their cordless line, which has been a welcome addition.

Milwaukee, on the other hand, focuses more on professional-grade tools.

They’re especially known for their cordless power tools and their innovative technologies like the M12 and M18 systems. They also have specialized tools for specific industries, something that you might find particularly useful when working on more niche projects.

Craftsman Products

The Craftsman V20 series of cordless power tools has been a reliable workhorse in my toolbox. They offer good power for most jobs and the batteries have a decent lifespan. Their mechanic’s tool sets have also been a staple, with the quality of their ratchets and sockets being particularly good.

Milwaukee Products

I’ve been extremely impressed with Milwaukee’s cordless power tools. The M18 Fuel line has some of the best performance I’ve ever seen, providing both power and efficiency. Additionally, their Sawzall reciprocating saws and M12 Heated Gear have changed the game in terms of job site comfort and productivity.

Warranty and Repair Services

Both Craftsman and Milwaukee offer solid warranties on their products, but in my experience, Milwaukee’s warranty service is a bit more efficient.

Craftsman provides a lifetime warranty on their hand tools, and their power tools come with a one-year warranty. Milwaukee, meanwhile, offers a five-year warranty on power tools, which really reflects their commitment to long-term quality.

Pricing and Budget Considerations

Craftsman Palm Sander

In terms of cost, Craftsman is generally more affordable, making it a good choice for those on a tighter budget or for occasional use.

Milwaukee, while more expensive, offers value for money for professional users who require higher performance and durability. While the upfront cost may be higher, I’ve found the lifespan and performance of Milwaukee tools make them worth the investment.

Craftsman Pros and Cons

Craftsman Tape Measure

Overall, Craftsman is a solid brand for home use and occasional heavier tasks. They offer good value for money, especially for those who don’t need professional-grade tools. However, for demanding tasks or professional use, there are other brands that offer higher performance and durability.

Craftsman Pros:

  • Affordability: Craftsman tools are generally more affordable compared to other brands, which makes them an excellent choice for those on a tight budget or for people who are just starting to build their tool collection.
  • Versatility: Craftsman offers a wide range of tools, from basic hand tools to power tools, and even outdoor tools. This makes it easier for users to find most of what they need under one brand.
  • Ease of Use: Craftsman tools are user-friendly, with intuitive designs that make them easy to use even for beginners. They typically don’t incorporate unnecessary complexity, which I appreciate.
  • Availability: Craftsman tools are readily available in many stores, making them easy to find. You can also find numerous parts and accessories for these tools.
  • Lifetime Warranty on Hand Tools: Craftsman offers a lifetime warranty on their hand tools, which gives users peace of mind regarding their investment.

Craftsman Cons

  • Durability: While Craftsman tools are decently durable, they may not hold up as well under heavy-duty or professional use compared to higher-end brands like Milwaukee.
  • Power Tool Performance: While their power tools are adequate for many tasks, they don’t quite match the performance of some competitors. In particular, the battery life and power of their cordless line can’t match up to brands designed with professionals in mind.
  • Warranty Service: Though they offer a lifetime warranty on hand tools, the warranty on power tools is more limited. Also, some users have reported that the warranty claim process can be lengthy or complicated.
  • Changing Quality: Craftsman’s ownership has changed hands over the years, and some long-time users feel that the quality of the tools has varied with these changes.

Milwaukee Pros and Cons

Milwaukee Tools

Overall, Milwaukee is a top-tier tool brand that caters to professionals and users who demand the best performance and durability. They continuously innovate to improve their tools, which keeps them at the forefront of the industry. The initial cost may be higher, but for heavy-duty or professional use, it is a worthy investment. For occasional or lighter tasks, a more budget-friendly brand might be sufficient.

Milwaukee Pros

  • High-Performance Tools: Milwaukee tools are designed with the professional in mind and offer high-performance levels, particularly their cordless power tools. They often lead the industry in terms of power and battery technology.
  • Durability: Milwaukee tools are known for their robust construction and durability. They withstand heavy-duty use well and tend to have a longer lifespan.
  • Innovative Features: Milwaukee consistently innovates with new features and technologies that improve performance and user comfort. This is especially noticeable in their cordless systems and heated gear.
  • Comprehensive Warranty: Milwaukee offers a five-year warranty on their power tools, reflecting their commitment to long-term quality.
  • Specialized Tools: Milwaukee offers tools designed for specific industries or tasks. If you’re a professional in a field like plumbing, electrical, or HVAC, you’re likely to find specialized tools for your work.

Milwaukee Cons

  • Price: Milwaukee tools tend to be more expensive than many other brands. While the quality and performance can justify the price, it might be prohibitive for hobbyists or those on a tight budget.
  • Battery Compatibility: While their M12 and M18 systems are excellent, Milwaukee has fewer options for those preferring corded tools. Additionally, the need to buy specific batteries and chargers can add to the overall cost.
  • Availability: While Milwaukee tools are widely available online and in professional tool stores, they might not be as readily available in common retail stores.
  • Weight: Some Milwaukee tools can be heavier than their counterparts from other brands, which might be a factor to consider for tasks requiring prolonged tool use.

Craftsman Brand History

Craftsman Circular Saw

Craftsman has been a beloved American brand for almost a century. It was established in 1927 by Sears Roebuck & Co, serving as their in-house brand of tools and equipment. The brand quickly earned a reputation for dependable, quality tools that were backed by an unconditional lifetime warranty.

The brand’s name was supposedly derived from Marion-Craftsman, a popular tool brand of the time, after the name was suggested by Arthur Barrows, a Sears head of merchandise.

Craftsman became a staple in homes and workshops across the country. The tools were even credited with playing a key role in the building of America during the 20th century.

However, with Sears’ decline in the early 21st century, the Craftsman brand also suffered. In 2017, Stanley Black & Decker bought Craftsman from Sears, injecting new life into the brand. Today, Craftsman continues to be a go-to for homeowners, DIY enthusiasts, and professionals alike, providing a wide array of tools and equipment.

Milwaukee Brand History

Milwaukee Electric Tool Corporation, commonly known as Milwaukee Tools, was established in 1924 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Its inception was marked by the creation of the Hole-Shooter, a lightweight, portable, one-handed 1/4″ capacity drill, which was commissioned by Henry Ford for use in his production lines.

Over the years, Milwaukee has been responsible for several significant advancements in the power tool industry. For example, they introduced the Sawzall reciprocating saw, which revolutionized construction and demolition work, and the Magnum Hole-Shooter, a powerful, high-speed drill for professional use.

In 2005, Milwaukee was acquired by Techtronic Industries Co., joining the same group as brands like Ryobi and Hoover. Under this new ownership, the brand has continued to innovate, leading the industry with its M12 and M18 cordless systems.

Milwaukee has always been known for making heavy-duty, professional-grade tools. Today, they remain a favorite among professionals in various industries, known for their durability, performance, and innovation. Their products include a wide range of power tools, hand tools, and accessories.

Looking for other brand comparisons? Check out these guides!

Final Thoughts

Overall, Milwaukee tools offer more power, durability, and features than Craftsman products. But they come with a much higher price that not everyone will want to pay.

However, Craftsman makes good tools at a more affordable price that’s perfect for homeowners, DIYers, or beginner woodworkers.

If you want extremely high quality tools and don’t mind paying extra, go with Milwaukee. If you want decent tools at a great price, go with Craftsman.