Are Craftsman Power Tools Any Good? What We Know

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At one time, Craftsman was one of the most respected brand names in the tools market, both for residential and professional use. In the past, when you were looking for tools that every homeowner should have, it was tough to go wrong with the Craftsman brand name, owned and produced by Sears for nearly a century. However, as Sears began to have significant financial problems in the early 2010s, it began sourcing its tools from overseas, ending Craftsman's Made-in-the-USA advantage that many customers appreciated.

These days, if you want the original thing when it comes to the Craftsman brand, you may have to buy these items at estate sales to receive the original quality that was available when the products were made in the United States. By sourcing its products overseas for many years, some customers became dissatisfied with the quality of the products, reporting that they would break down too quickly.

However, the new ownership group for the Craftsman brand has begun sourcing products made in the United States again by opening multiple factories in more than a dozen states in the past few years. They include factories making battery-operated drills and drivers, hole saws, manual tools, compressors, pressure washers, and outdoor power equipment. These factories assemble the tools from materials sourced across the globe. Does this mean Craftsman's desirability is on the rise again? Our survey of recent reviews of the revamped power tool products appears to indicate Craftsman's quality is improving.

What kinds of power tools Craftsman makes

Craftsman has undergone significant changes over the past decade-plus after almost a century of stability. Sears purchased the Craftsman brand name in 1927 and owned and managed it until 2017 when it sold the brand to Stanley Black & Decker. The new owners decided to relaunch the brand a few years ago with a focus on returning some manufacturing to the United States. Recently written reviews indicate the tools are improving in quality since Black & Decker took over.

Like other manufacturers, Craftsman now makes a wide range of power tools that run on a universal 20-volt battery. Cordless designs are popular, as they allow you to switch between tools by simply swapping out the battery. Craftsman calls it the V20 System, and it offers products like cordless drills, impact drivers, power saws, automatic nailers, sanders, and several outdoor power tools.

Craftsman primarily aims its power tools at the DIY market, offering them at lower price points. Websites that include reviews of this brand's battery-powered tools describe them as "cheap but capable," good for "occasional use," and "easy to use," all characteristics that would make them useful for DIY-ers who are not going to be using these products for several hours a day like a professional. Another reviewer called them "decent ... and affordable," but also admitted that nothing really distinguished Craftsman from other value brands on the market. Still, this is an improvement versus the brand's perception immediately before Sears sold it.

What do customers have to say about Craftsman power tools?

Lowe's is one of the major retailers that now carries Craftsman power tools. On its website, customers give the Craftsman V20 brushless cordless drill with two batteries (available for $139 at Lowe's) favorable reviews, where 89% of reviewers recommend the purchase of the product. A similar product from DeWalt costs $139 at Lowe's, but it has one battery. 96% of reviewers recommend the DeWalt drill, which indicates Craftsman's improvements still leave it lagging behind a trusted brand like DeWalt.

Some favorable reviewers of the Craftsman brushless cordless drill appreciated the well-formed handle and the balanced weight of the tool, which made it easy to hold and use. These reviewers also appreciated the value they received with Craftsman. Multiple negative reviews of this product mention that the quality of the chuck is poor, as it won't maintain a tight hold on the bits. Another reviewer was disappointed in the battery performance, as it did not maintain power for as long as some others.

Craftsman power tools are also available at Amazon. You can purchase a 6.5-inch cordless circular saw from Craftsman at Amazon for $139 with one battery. For comparison, you can purchase a similar DeWalt circular saw for about $205 on Amazon. Reviewers on Amazon liked the lightweight design of the Craftsman saw. However, some negative reviews mentioned an inability of the saw to make clean cuts on thick wood because of too little power driving the blade.