I recently wrote about Craftsman’s new V-Series tools that have popped up on Lowe’s website. Since then, even more new Craftsman tools have appeared, with some bearing resemblances to Facom products.
Facom is owned by Stanley Black & Decker, and they have substantial presence in Europe.
If you’re not familiar with the brand, you might be asking “well, why should I care?” Bottom-line, Facom tools are good quality, and they also have quite a few unique tool designs.
For instance, I am quite happy with my Facom combination wrenches, which are darned good tools. In my experience, Facom tools are reliable and well-made. They can be pricey, but seemingly proportional to their quality.
As a pro-oriented and industrial brand that caters to a lot of different user needs, Facom tools tend to be more solutions-focused.
The frustrating part is that Facom does not have a very strong presence here in the United States. They’re great tools, but for whatever reason, they’re not widely available here. Maybe this is because Facom tools might not mesh well with Stanley Black & Decker’s Mac Tools and Proto brands?
Alright, so with Facom offering innovative and high quality tools, what about Craftsman? How does this all fit together?
Not to mince words, Craftsman’s current hand tools are boring and generic, seemingly designed around consumer-friendly price points. That’s not a bad thing, it’s just how things are.
Craftsman hand tools are like “hardwood,” while Facom is like “hard maple,” or like a “steak sandwich” vs. “sliced sirloin sandwich.” They fit a need, but without distinction.
I have purchased a couple of Craftsman hand tools ever since Stanley Black & Decker acquired and relaunched the brand, but mainly for ToolGuyd-related purposes. I have purchased wrenches, screwdrivers, ratchets, and sockets over the past few years, but not from Craftsman.
Oh, Craftsman mechanics tools are perfectly fine, but what sets them apart from other brands’ like-priced offerings?
There’s nothing wrong with this – most of Craftsman’s hand tools are aimed at less discerning and demanding shoppers.
A lot of enthusiasts and more demanding tool users have been waiting for Craftsman to up their game. While Craftsman is set to deliver on their promise for more USA-made hand tools, there could be more, right?
So, here we have a new Craftsman ratchet and socket set, and it’s basically a Craftsman version of Facom’s kit.
I am absolutely THRILLED to see this. Are the tools and components of similar quality? I hope so.
It is hard to judge without testing the tools or at least examining them in person, but there’s the suggestion that these tools are comparable to Facom’s. For instance, the Craftsman set comes with locking extensions that appears to be a rebranded Facom tools.
If you’re wondering about the unusual case, Facom’s “Detection Box” is designed to help prevent FOD (foreign object damage) by making it easy to see when a tool has not been returned to its proper place.
There is also a new Craftsman V-Series screwdriver set, with very Facom-like screwdriver handles.
I ordered a new set of Facom screwdrivers a couple of months ago, and really love them so far.
Let me ask you – do you own any Wera tools? Wiha? NWS? Knipex? Felo? Facom is in good company with these European hand tool brands, offering high quality and distinct designs.
If Craftsman V-Series tools – and the brand still hasn’t shared much details about this lineup – will be Facom-like in design and quality, they might very well find their way into more demanding users’ tool boxes.
It has been a long time since I’ve been excited about Craftsman hand tools. Earlier today I wrote about a new Craftsman Pliers Wrench. That’s interesting to me, but I’m not excited. Craftsman came out with swivel-head ratchets. These are good staples, but what’s special about them?
I bought Facom wrenches for their unique shape, angled socket wrenches because they proved to be convenient over the years, screwdrivers because they’re comfortable, and various other tools and accessories for similar reasons.
Currently, are there any Craftsman tools I could describe in the same way? No, except perhaps their Facom-like adjustable wrench.
Are Craftsman V-Series tools going to be a better class of tools for more demanding users? Based on the number of tools that resemble Facom products, maybe, or I certainly hope so.
But will all of these new Craftsman V-Series tools match Facom’s quality? And if they do, will American consumers and pro users be willing to pay for it?
Details are still sparse, but this is definitely a new and big development for the brand.
It has been a while since I’ve been excited about new Craftsman hand tools, and I only hope that they don’t let me down.
See More Craftsman V-Series:
Get Ready for a Massive Craftsman V-Series Hand Tool Launch at Lowe’s
I’m excited too! If these are Facom-quality, I will purchase some.
I was wondering about that case – my first instinct was that I didn’t want my portable tool kit to be that exposed. At least it serves a purpose though.
I’m interested to see what they are coming out with.
I know they aren’t related, but that ratchet case looks a lot like my Power Torque 1/4 drive set from O’Reilly in how it’s laid out and uses the extension for the handle.
If there are really up to snuff I can see myself buying a lot of their stuff. I love the few facom tools I have
Im pretty excited to. Hopefully they roll out at napa to.
I only own a few Facom tools, but I agree totally with Stuart’s comments about their quality. They make pretty good stuff, and I wouldn’t mind owning more. However … that Craftsman ratchet is totally different from the Facom one. The extensions are different, also. If you look closely, the case is not identical, either.
I think the key point here is that the new Craftsman V series is SIMILAR to Facom/USAG designs. Again, I don’t think we’re getting rebadged FACOM/USAG tools under the Craftsman V banner but rather, Taiwan made versions of FACOM/USAG designs. Just like down the road if SBD ever releases US made mechanics tools, I don’t think will see MAC/PROTO clones either. The Craftsman V series has the potential to offer some great items from what they’ve previewed so far. However, we need to get the tools in our hands and put them through their paces to see. many of the current FACOM/USAG tools are made in Taiwan so, I don’t think it will be much of a stretch to make the Craftsman V series. They’ll get some of my money for ratchets, and the compact 1/4 set so far. I look forward to fondling the Craftsman V series tools soon hopefully.
A lot of real facom tools are made in Taiwan. Most if not all of their currently produced wrenches are made there
Stuart and commentors,
Where have you guys bought Facom tools up to this point?
Mine are from Grainger Canada (which I presume has a similar catalogue in the USA), but I think another popular choice is Amazon – either Amazon USA or from one of the European Amazon sites.
I have never seen what I would call “standard tools” by Facom for sale unless I’ve specifically gone searching oneline for the name. By that I mean things like combination wrenches, socket sets, ratchets, pliers, etc.
However, I often saw many of their industrial tools pop up in the fliers I would get when I had a machining business. Enco and MSC had them, so did McMaster-Carr, Grainger, Drago, and Motion Industries. I believe that Enco and MSC are one company now, but they were/are the big boys in industrial and MRO supply. Every month there would be Facom tools in the flyers, but it wouldn’t be things like this article, rather it was all larger and specialty tools. I recall pin and hook spanners, face spanners, jumbo snapring tools, very large size open-end wrenches in black industrial finish, and a wide range of pullers of various sorts.
I have a Facom automatic center punch, a pair of adjustable face spanners (one with round tips and the other with square), and a very large OD hook spanner. I can’t remember if I bought them from Enco or MSC but it was one of those two companies roughly 15 years ago. I’m actually not a fan of the center punch, I wouldn’t buy it again. It is covered with a vinyl grip but this makes it difficult to adjust. When you try and twist it to change tension the vinyl slips on the tool. So you have to yank the vinyl cover off, adjust, then put the vinyl back on. Also, there is a LOT of slop between the punch itself and the steel body it slides inside of. I have an old Eclipse (British) which is better than it in every way. The spanners are great, top-tier quality. Easily up there with Proto, MAC, Snap-On, Knipex sort of quality. I’ve got their smaller sizes of OD spanner and a couple of their small size pullers on my wish list.
I bought a pair of Facom #506 slip joint locking pliers based on one of Stuarts Posts about 8 years ago:
They are nicely made – and have some added utility beyond more conventional Vise Grips.
I was also intrigued by some other different Facom designs that Stuart has posted about. These wrenches seemed different – but I’m not sure how useful they would be:
Those locking pliers look neat! I might need a pair.
Proto rebrand Facom pliers too – might be easier to find if anyone else is looking.
It is interesting to see that someone is still making that style of socket wrench. I have not used them personally but it is my understanding that those are a very old design. I’ve seen them in old advertisements, I’ve seen vintage Snap-On ones listed on Ebay, I’ve seen them appear in WWI era military tool kits.
It seems like they would have great ergonomics. The thick round profile would surely feel better in the hand than the narrow beam of a typical wrench when breaking loose a tight fastener. And they also seem like they’d be fast for “spinning” a fastener into position using the long end.
I’ve wondered about them too, but I couldn’t really think of a use for them. Assuming I couldn’t get a cordless impact tool to the fastener my next choice would be a ratchet & socket or a ratcheting box-end wrench. If there was no clearance for the ratchet then a solid hand tool is in order. But what would this sort of tool do than an offset box-end wrench could not? That’s where I get hung up.
The nut might be recessed below the surface. Just a thought.
Offset box end wrenches can reach below a surface just like this tool can.
I keep my three most commonly used sizes of fixed socket wrenches in my tool belt. 3/8″ 7/16″ and 1/2″.
They serve as my larger nut drivers to compliment my 11 in 1 screwdriver. Slip a screwdriver through the short end and they are impromptu T-handles. The short end gives plenty of leverage and better knuckled clearance than a box end wrench.
They are just really handy, and can do the job of several different tools.
That makes a ton of sense. If you have limited room in a toolbelt and need both nutdrivers and more standard wrenches these would be an awesome choice.
Alas if I need wrenches chances are I’m working out of my big rollcab, so I have no need to consolidate a nutdriver and a wrench into a single tool.
We have stocked and distributed FACOM for sixty years.
I bought my wrenches from Ultimate Garage. Just got a set of 440XLs. He also carries USAG (a sister company). I think Griots Garage also carries a selection.
Ultimate Garage sells a lot of Facom tools. I have a set of e-torx wrenches (very nice) that I got from there. Always wanted one of their high end ratchets, which is why I instantly took exception to Craftsman V = Facom.
https://www.ultimategarage.com/ Steve used to offer a Garage Journal forum member discount, and still might – you’d have to ask. Due to price increases, they recently started offering comparable and often identical USAG tools.
I also order Facom tools from Amazon UK and DE, and Zoro.
That is a great tip. I will definitely ask Steve the next time I order something. Thank you, Stuart.
I’ll be happy if SB&D can bring quality at a fair price back to CMan.
Not sure why these sets got me really excited. I’ve been looking at adding a 1/2” metric set of sockets to my arsenal. I don’t have a huge garage, so these cases seem perfect for my needs. If these really are Facom/USAG items at a better price, then I’m sure they’ll get some of my money. I assume they’ll be less than the Facom sets I’ve seen online. They all seem to be $300+. The similar USAG set at Griots is about $180 but, doesn’t have the “detection” box or the same extensions.
I’ve also been eyeing one of the Wera sets in the fabric-covered case. They still seem to be made in the Czech Republic. And I really like their brushed/satin chrome finish and the knurling on the sockets. But, sometimes it’s nice to be able to get something locally… even if it’s made in Taiwan.
The case seems to be the main similarity. I wonder if they just used that and put normal craftsman in it.
None of the V-Series look like “normal Craftsman” though, which has me optimistic.
Normal >$20 craftsman wrench sets come in the same cases that MAC and Facom use…..
The Craftsman V ratchet in that case is clearly not a modern Italian palm head.
Don’t set yourself up for disappointment.
I am still very very far away from buying or even considering the purchase of anything Craftsman. For now it is still a matter of principle. Just can’t do it, don’t care if they’re made by Snap-On. This guy aint ever going back to that brand, it’s dead to me. No excitement whatsoever.
so a few things – I think they are leveraging that facom tools are not often seen in the US to use those designs to make a “new” series of tools. yea
and I like some facom things so that could help. But I don’t know I’m willing to pay those prices for taiwan made tools when I can buy others cheaper.
specific to this set – not that the extensions are the new locking extensions and they look alot like Mac locking extensions. (or proto I guess). and that ratchet is very similar to the mac and while I didn’t see it listed I assume here it is a 84-90 tooth device.
Overall I like the idea and am optimistic – but where is there quality USA made, modern ergonomic tools.
At least SBD is expanding the Craftsman offerings. I’m still waiting on the USA made Craftsman tools, but we’ll see.