Automotive Tool Review

Craftsman Tools Now Widely Available. Are they Any Good?

Are Craftsman tools still professional quality? 


Once upon a time when big box retailers were still a “thing” and the likes of Amazon didn’t rule the commercial world, a trusted tool brand was born.


Craftsman tools, at that time sold exclusively at Sears was once a staple in the toolbox of all tradesman from carpenters and plumbers to construction workers and automotive mechanics.


Is Craftsman Still a Brand you can Trust?


According to, the Craftsman brand originated in 1927 on a set of sawblades. Soon thereafter the company hired a man named Arthur Barrows to head the tool brand known as Craftsman.


It was Barrows who we have to thank for the chrome plating and ergonomic design of modern tools as he was the first to see how much pride mechanics had in their tools and capitalize on it.


Craftsman logos through the years
Craftsman has been a trusted brand since the early 1900’s. Logo courtesy of 1000 Logos.


At this time automobiles were starting to become a staple in Americans lives. A result of the auto boom was a demand for tools specially built to work on cars. Quality was the main concern when Craftsman rolled out their tools in this era.


Unfortunately, gone are the days of big box retailers and with them went a friendly name in the original Craftsman brand. It’s a shame really, as the tool truck brands like Snap On and Matco have risen to the top of the food chain. Taking with them a large part of the market in professional automotive tools.


Craftsman tools are still made. Are they still high quality though?


Craftsman tools are still being sold in 2022. In fact, the former Sears-only brand is now being sold at dozens of retailers since being acquired by Black and Decker in early 2017. Most major hardware stores as well as many big chain auto part retailers now carry the Craftsman brand.


Just because you can still buy Craftsman tools tell us nothing though. We are only interested in the quality of those Craftsman tools. Did the Craftsman name bring its well known quality with it to Stanley? How do these new Craftsman tools compare to Snap On? It’s also worth looking at the warranty on Craftsman tools in 2022 since their return policy was another reason the brand was so successful.


Unlike the truck brands that offer the best warranties but are often accompanied by a hassle, Craftsman was easy to warranty even on a Saturday night at your nearest Sears location. Now, being in dozens of retailers is it even easier to warranty Craftsman tools?


What’s Craftsman’s Warranty process in 2022?


According to the Craftsman warranty page, any retailer that sells the Craftsman line of tools can exchange an item with lifetime warranty. Sounds legit. But is it really that easy to warranty a Craftsman tool in 2022? And what if the Craftsman ratchet you bought from Sears breaks? Is Lowes going to warranty it?

Will Lowe’s warranty Craftsman tools?

I’ve read mixed reviews on the warranty process, but there are videos out there showing an effortless Craftsman warranty at Lowes.


Of course every retailer is going to be different when it comes to warranty on Craftsman tools. That’s just the bottom line. There’s also the human element, so one employee may know the Craftsman warranty process better than the next.


If push comes to shove, there is always the Craftsman warranty page linked above that will walk you through the process. One way or another it seems in 2022, Craftsman hand tools are pretty easy to warranty as long as they offer it for life.


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Craftsman’s warranty is good, but does it compare to Snap On?

Any time a tool company changes hands there is potential for a change in quality. Cost cutting measures and different management teams may influence the way tools are built or how much money is spent on quality versus marketing.


At one time Craftsman tools frequently occupied the same drawer as Snap On tools. This was before Sears started to struggle with the e-commerce boom and eventually licensed the Craftsman name to Stanley.

Since Stanley Black and Decker bought Craftsman, has there been a drop in quality?

When I hear the names “Stanley” or “Black and Decker”, I do not immediately hear quality automotive tools. Neither of those brands are known to be leaders in the auto tool industry or should be mentioned in the same breath as Snap On.

The warranty process on Craftsman tools versus Snap On is comparable. The problem is, the quality is no where near equal. When you buy a Snap On ratchet, you will pay hefty but it will be built to last. Craftsman on the other hand is built more for the DIY mechanic in 2022.


You can bring a Craftsman tool to any store that sells the brand to warranty it and they will not hassle you. Make no mistake though, you will end up with more broken Craftsman ratchets than Snap On. It’s up to you to decide if frequent trips to Lowe’s or Ace Hardware are convenient.

Craftsman tools are no longer “Made in USA” 


My initial impression of the new Craftsman line was less than favorable and some users have also pointed out that Craftsman tools are no longer made in the US lending to a drop in quality.


It wouldn’t be fair to judge Craftsman’s quality on whether or not it’s built in the US. Most tools no longer are built in the US and we have politicians to blame for that.


Bottom Line: Are Craftsman tools junk in 2022?


The bottom line is Craftsman tools may not be quite what they were in 1980, but the new tools are not junk either. Like most tools, they have a market. I just don’t think that market is the professional technician at the moment.


Though Craftsman has made a push with the V-Series but the “professional” line has more to prove than to offer at this point.

Most consumers know that Craftsman is no longer the trademark Sears brand. Therefore many are skeptical of paying big money for a tool that after almost 100 years finds itself in unproven territory.


Any technician that knows tools, knows that Stanley is a cheap, DIY brand. Attaching the Craftsman label to that reputation does not send mechanics running to the store.


That doesn’t mean there’s no market for Craftsman tools. It just means they no longer deserve to occupy the same space as Snap On and even cheaper lines such as the Icon brand offered by Harbor Freight.


In fact, there are some in-house tool brands such as Carlyle that deserve a look before Craftsman. Do your research.







By John Green

I’m John Green. I’m a 33 year old auto technician from Upstate New York. I have 18 years of experience as an automotive light duty and heavy duty truck mechanic. Cars, trucks and anything with moving parts are my passion in my professional life.

Aside from my life as a technician, I am also a seasoned investor and consider myself very financially literate. I use this other passion combined with my passion for cars, trucks and tools to look for ways to save money for my technician friends.

Raising my three girls and teaching them the proper way of life is my personal passion in life. If you want to know more, just ask! I’m on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube as well!