Kobalt vs Craftsman

Kobalt vs Craftsman: Which Tools Are Better? (2023 Guide)

I’ve used just about every tool brand you can find and two brands that often get compared are Kobalt and Craftsman tools.

But which is better?

In this Kobalt vs Craftsman comparison, I’ll explore the key differences between these brands and which is better. Let’s get started!

  • Kobalt and Craftsman are both manufacture quality tools that are great for all sorts of projects.
  • These brands are very similar in terms of quality and durability but ultimately, I’d give Kobalt a very slight edge.

Kobalt vs Craftsman

Tool Quality and Durability

Craftsman Jigsaw

Having used both Kobalt and Craftsman tools extensively over the years, I can attest to the quality and durability of these brands.

Both provide reliable, sturdy tools designed to handle a variety of tasks, making them popular choices for DIYers and professionals.

In terms of durability, I have found Kobalt tools to maintain their performance and integrity even after years of heavy use. This level of longevity speaks to the quality of materials and craftsmanship that Kobalt offers.

Craftsman, a brand with a rich history, produces tools that are equally impressive. Their tools have a reputation for being reliable and durable, standing up to rigorous use over time.

From hand tools to power tools, Craftsman’s reputation for quality and durability is evident in their longevity.

However, I will say, ever since Craftsman tools has moved some of their manufacturing overseas, there has been a drop in quality. Some of their tools are still made in the US, but some have been outsourced overseas.

Overall, I’d give Kobalt a very slight edge in this category, but not by much.

Design and Performance

Kobalt Hand Tools

Design and performance are two areas where Craftsman and Kobalt tools show their unique strengths.

Kobalt tools are ergonomically designed, providing a comfortable grip that reduces user fatigue. The tools are well-balanced and feel solid in hand, a trait that adds to their usability.

When it comes to performance, Kobalt tools are powerful and consistent, delivering the kind of results you would expect from a brand catering to professionals.

Craftsman tools also fare well in the design department.

They are designed for comfort and easy use, making them ideal for prolonged use. The performance of Craftsman tools is typically reliable, handling most tasks effortlessly.

Though, in comparison to Kobalt, Craftsman tools might be less powerful, but they make up for it with their usability, especially for home use and lighter tasks.

Overall, if you want a more powerful tool, Kobalt is a slightly better option. Again, not by a ton – but there’s a slight difference I’ve noticed.

Product Lines and Offerings

Craftsman Palm Sander

Both Kobalt and Craftsman offer an impressive range of tools and equipment.

Kobalt has a line-up that includes power tools, hand tools, mechanics tools, and outdoor equipment.

Their range is vast and often caters to specific professional needs as well as homeowners. From cordless drills to tool chests, Kobalt’s product portfolio is comprehensive and built to cater to a wide range of tasks.

Craftsman also boasts an extensive product line, offering everything from hand tools to power tools and outdoor equipment.

With a long history in the tool industry, Craftsman has a wider range of offerings than Kobalt, with many specialized tools that cater to specific needs. Their offerings extend beyond the professional market, making Craftsman a more versatile brand for both professionals and DIY enthusiasts.

Kobalt Products

  • Power Tools: Kobalt offers a wide range of power tools such as cordless drills, impact drivers, circular saws, reciprocating saws, and grinders. They also provide stationary tools like table saws and miter saws as well as outdoor tools like lawn care equipment, pressure washers, and more.
  • Hand Tools: Kobalt’s hand tool offerings include screwdrivers, pliers, wrenches, ratchets and sockets, hammers, and more.
  • Tool Storage: Kobalt manufactures a variety of tool boxes, tool chests, and tool carts for organizing and storing your tools.
  • Outdoor Equipment: Kobalt produces a range of outdoor power equipment like lawn mowers, leaf blowers, chainsaws, and string trimmers.
  • Air Tools & Compressors: Kobalt offers products like air compressors, impact wrenches, and air hammers among others.

Craftsman Products

  • Power Tools: Craftsman offers an array of power tools, such as drills, saws, grinders, and sanders. They also offer stationary power tools such as table saws, band saws, and bench grinders. You can also find outdoor power tools like blowers, trimmers, and more.
  • Hand Tools: Craftsman’s hand tool lineup includes products like screwdrivers, hammers, wrenches, pliers, and a wide array of mechanic tools.
  • Tool Storage: Craftsman offers tool boxes, tool chests, and mobile tool storage solutions to keep your tools organized.
  • Outdoor Equipment: Craftsman has a selection of outdoor power equipment such as lawn mowers, chainsaws, leaf blowers, and snow blowers.
  • Automotive Tools: Craftsman provides a range of automotive tools including jacks, creepers, wrench sets, and specialty automotive tools.
  • Power Tool Accessories: Craftsman also offers a broad range of power tool accessories, such as drill bits, saw blades, and multi-tool attachments.

In terms of product offerings, both Kobalt and Craftsman offer a variety of tools and products that can complete many different jobs. I’d mark this category as a tie all things considered.

Warranty and Repair Services

Craftsman Circular Saw

Warranty and repair services are significant factors to consider when choosing a tool brand.

Kobalt excels in this regard, offering a generous lifetime hassle-free guarantee on their hand tools, which promises to replace any tool that fails to perform due to a defect in workmanship or materials. This warranty adds to the appeal of Kobalt tools, reflecting the brand’s confidence in their products.

Craftsman also offers a robust warranty policy.

Their hand tools are covered by a full lifetime warranty. If a Craftsman hand tool ever fails, the company will replace it free of charge. However, for power tools and other equipment, the warranty period is typically limited to one year. Despite this, Craftsman’s after-sales service is reliable and ensures customer satisfaction.

Both brands offer lifetime warranties on their hand tools and have similar warranties on their power tools, so I’d give this category a tie.

Pricing and Budget Considerations

Kobalt Tools

When it comes to pricing, Craftsman and Kobalt position themselves differently in the market.

Kobalt, with its focus on professional-grade tools, is typically priced slightly higher than Craftsman.

The increased cost is reflective of the robust build and high performance that Kobalt offers. It’s an investment into long-lasting, reliable tools.

Craftsman, on the other hand, is generally more affordable.

Aimed at a broad customer base that includes both professionals and DIYers, Craftsman offers tools that provide excellent value for money.

While they may not be as durable or powerful as Kobalt’s premium line, Craftsman tools are reliable and more than capable of handling a variety of tasks.

Kobalt Pros and Cons

Kobalt Pros:

  • Professional Quality: Kobalt tools are designed with professional use in mind. They are made from robust materials that can withstand heavy-duty usage, and their performance meets professional standards.
  • Great Warranty: Kobalt offers a lifetime hassle-free guarantee on their hand tools. This speaks to the company’s confidence in the durability and quality of their products.
  • Ergonomic Design: Kobalt tools are designed for comfort and ease of use. They are generally well-balanced and provide a comfortable grip, reducing user fatigue during prolonged use.
  • Good Range of Products: Kobalt provides a comprehensive range of tools, from power tools to hand tools, mechanic tools, and outdoor equipment. This versatility means that they have a tool for almost every job.

Here’s a great review of Kobalt’s brushless tools.

Kobalt Cons

  • Price: Due to their professional-grade quality, Kobalt tools tend to be more expensive than other brands. This could be a drawback for casual users or DIYers on a tight budget.
  • Availability: Kobalt tools are primarily available through Lowe’s, which could limit accessibility for some users, especially those who prefer shopping in-store to compare items directly.
  • Battery Compatibility: While Kobalt does offer an interchangeable battery system, it’s not as extensive as some other brands, which may limit the flexibility and convenience of owning multiple Kobalt cordless tools.
  • Power Tools Warranty: Unlike their hand tools, Kobalt’s power tools typically have a shorter warranty period. While still reasonable, it doesn’t match up to the lifetime guarantee offered on their hand tools.

Craftsman Pros and Cons

Craftsman measuring tape

Craftsman Pros

  • Reliable Quality: Craftsman has a long-standing reputation for quality. Their tools are well-made and can handle a variety of tasks, making them a go-to for many DIY enthusiasts and professionals alike.
  • Extensive Product Line: Craftsman offers a broad range of products, from hand tools to power tools and outdoor equipment. This wide range of offerings caters to both professional tradespeople and home DIYers.
  • Affordability: Compared to brands like Kobalt, Craftsman tools are generally more affordable. This makes them a great choice for budget-conscious buyers who still want a reliable tool.
  • Warranty: Craftsman offers a robust warranty policy, with a full lifetime warranty on their hand tools. Their after-sales service is also reliable and customer-focused.

Craftsman Cons

  • Variability in Quality: While Craftsman tools are generally reliable, there have been some concerns about variability in quality, particularly after manufacturing for many of their tools moved overseas.
  • Power Tools Warranty: The warranty on Craftsman power tools and equipment is usually limited to one year, which is shorter than some other brands.
  • Battery System: Craftsman’s battery system isn’t as wide-ranging as some other brands. If you are planning on investing in a suite of cordless tools, this is a factor to consider.
  • Service Centers: Depending on your location, finding a Craftsman service center for repairs and warranty claims can sometimes be challenging.

Kobalt vs Craftsman vs DeWalt

When comparing Kobalt, Craftsman, and DeWalt tools, the most reputable and highest quality tools are going to be DeWalt. Here’s how I’d order these three brands:

  1. DeWalt Tools – extremely high quality tools, but more expensive than other brands
  2. Kobalt Tools – great medium tier tools that offer good value for the price
  3. Craftsman Tools – great value tools for homeowners and DIYers who don’t need to best of the best

Final Thoughts

Overall, both of these tool brands are great options for homeowners, DIYers, and woodworkers as they both produce high quality tools with solid warranties to back their products.

I’d give Kobalt a very slight edge over Craftsman tools – but not by a ton. Either way, you can’t go wrong with either tool brand and it’s more of a personal preference than anything else.

If you want a little more bang for your buck, go with Craftsman tools. If you want something a little more durable, go with Kobalt tools.

I found that Kobalt tends to offer better quality tools whereas Craftsman tools are more affordable.

Looking for more brand comparisons? Check out these guides!