Five years ago, when Stanley Black & Decker acquired the Craftsman tool brand from Sears, they pledged to focus on USA production.
Here is some of what they said at the time, back in 2017:
We are committed to bringing Craftsman’s manufacturing back to the United States, using materials from around the world…
Stanley Black & Decker will focus on U.S. manufacturing, using global materials…
Stanley Black & Decker also believes it can bring innovation and investment back to Craftsman…
They would “leverage MIUSA expansion.”
They also said they would leverage existing & expand US manufacturing footprint.
They have certainly leveraged their existing US facilities, making utility knives and tape measures at Stanley factories, and metal tool boxes at their Waterloo facilities.
Back in 2008, when still a Sears brand, Craftsman’s catalog boasted that all of their sockets and wrenches were made in the USA.
All Craftsman sockets and wrenches are proudly made in the USA.
In 2010, I criticized Sears for turning away from this ideal. By 2012, Sears cancelled their Craftsman Professional lineup.
Stanley Black & Decker relaunched the Craftsman tool brand in 2018, and I was extremely excited.
Craftsman launched a new line of V-series tools in late 2021, and while they’re fantastic products that seem largely based on Facom designs, they’re not made in the USA.
Three years ago, Stanley Black & Decker announced they would be opening a new tool factory in Texas. There’s nothing about this factory in Stanley Black & Decker’s recent investor materials.
SBD uses plenty of “Made in USA with Global Materials” imagery in their recent annual report, but there’s nothing specific about any new domestic production efforts.
There is one teaser image, showing a mechanics tool set and the suggestion of USA-made ratchets.
Tekton recently announced that more than 20% of their entire lineup is now made in the USA. Tekton sought to reinvent themselves eight years ago, and it looks like they have done exactly that.
Milwaukee Tool acquired Empire Level a few years ago, expanding their USA-based production footprint. Milwaukee is also set to open a USA hand tools factory later this year.
What new USA-made tools has Craftsman introduced in the past five years? Tape measures and tool storage that leverage existing factories and know-how are great.
But end users want more.
Where are the USA-made hammers? Pliers? Professional-grade ratchets? Wrenches?
It has been five years. I expected more.
Yes, things like this take time. But Stanley Black & Decker had planned for Craftsman well before they acquired the tool brand.
At one of Stanley Black & Decker’s last NYC luncheon media events, maybe in early 2012 when Sears was already struggling and rumors were already floating around, a journalist asked a marketing executive if the company would seek to acquire the Craftsman brand. I don’t recall the exact wording, but the presenter made it clear they were watching things closely.
Meaning, Stanley Black & Decker had plenty of time to think about what they would do with the Craftsman brand, and then plenty of time after the acquisition to put things into motion.
What’s on the shelf at Lowe’s? Not USA-made Craftsman wrenches – these were made in India.
Tekton announce what they were going to do, and they did it. Now, they say they’ll expand their in-house manufacturing capacity, and I believe they’ll do it.
Craftsman said they’ll focus on USA production. But they have yet to officially announce how, what, or where.
Two years ago, Craftsman teased that select tools would soon be made in Texas. The pandemic disrupted everything, but we still don’t know what’s coming.
My worry is that all we’re going to see are select entry-price sets that mainly appear for major tool-buying holiday shopping seasons.
Lowe’s Kobalt brand had USA-made hand tools a few years ago, but then they switched. When talking to a product manager face to face, they said they weren’t satisfied with the quality and switched to an overseas OEM that could produce better tools.
Don’t get me wrong, USA-made mechanics tools are a great step in the right direction.
But after five years, Craftsman’s claims of bringing tool production back to the USA seem very under-fulfilled.
I bought USA-made Craftsman hammers, mallets, punches, screwdrivers, wrenches, ratchets, saws, pliers, cutters, tool sets, tool boxes, electrical tools, and more, back when Sears still owned the brand and before they ruined it.
I keep hoping that Craftsman could get back to that. But, I no longer have faith that they will.
Dewalt offered USA-made screwdrivers, but then they were discontinued. Craftsman’s V60 cordless outdoor power tools lineup looks to have disappeared from Lowe’s and other retailers. Dewalt discontinued their 40V cordless outdoor power tool lineup in 2019.
It seems that Stanley Black & Decker abandons products if massive success isn’t assured. Objectively, this is smart.
Craftsman still references V12 tools on their V20 chargers, but no V12 cordless products ever launched. I would presume this is because Stanley Black & Decker doesn’t want to dilute the footprint Lowe’s gives to Dewalt’s 12V Max Xtreme tools. (Craftsman and Dewalt are both owned by SBD.)
I really like Craftsman’s V-series tools, and maybe there’s room here, in this seemingly online-only product line, for USA-made tools.
So, what has Craftsman done over the past five years to boost USA tool production? What are they going to do over the next five years?
What do we have to look forward to? Quarter-pallets of USA-made mechanics tool sets that appear at Lowe’s twice a year for Father’s Day and the winter holidays?
I expected them to do so much by now, and am disappointed at what I’m not seeing.
Craftsman was lost under Sears and are still lost under SB&D. I have no faith they will recover sufficiently in my lifetime so I no longer look to Craftsman for anything. SB&D has to many brands and a lack of vision for how to employ them. This is very common within large multi-titled conglomerate corporations. They need to shed at least half their brands and stick with Dewalt, and Stanley/Black and Decker, leave Dewalt as their premium/Pro brand and Stanley Black and Decker as their entry/DIY line. Their inconsistent and rudderless introduction of line ups is not helping customers.
SBD essentially bought the brand name and little else, and so it was fair to hope things would be different for Craftsman with completely new leadership at the helm.
Tragically it is now clear that SB&D bought Craftsman not to resurrect it but to keep it out the hands of another competitor that might have actually brought it back to or near its former glory. After so many years SB&D clearly has no intention of actually bringing Craftsman back into the mainstream. Just another huge corporation buying up the competition (or potential future competition) with no real plans to do so in reality.
Lowes may play a part in all this too. As they are ostensibly the largest single purveyor of the Craftsman brand – their tool buyers and proclivities may be prioritizing price and profit margin over COO. If so – then that might reduce what incentive SBD has to start up in Texas
If everybody will stick together n raise enough hell about the Craftsman brand n SB&D might get off their asses n actually back up their mouths about building on a better brand. I’ve been waiting on a better tool box but it’s not going to happen apparently. Snap-On has just about put their happy asses out of business n I just looked around n decided that we’re not ever going to get the flying =V= series of the 60’s when I grew up back again or anything close to it n that’s sad because it can be done but that fat dude who has a secretary making his coffee everyday n taking it to him can stop and he could make his own coffee n she or he could be taking that time to figure out that the hard working people in the U.S.A. might be right n see about how to please them for once n we do have the majority to maybe stick together for once n a long time n get them to make at least a better damn tool than what they’ve been doing. If I would’ve told my dad that I would’ve made a difference n 5 years n I hadn’t of my u know what wouldn’t be to where I could sit on it today. Lol. But he bought Craftsman tools n I’m guessing because it had a 100% replacement on any kind of tool pretty much they made back then so I started buying Craftsman tools when I was about 18 I bought a 101 piece set I believe or something like that and I still have a lot of that set left today but buying these old ones off eBay and an occasional yard sale or estate sale is pretty expensive and at 63 it’s not like I’ve got a long time to wait on SB&D to make good on what they said. So I’m not sure if they’re ever going to do it but I could be wrong about it but I still say with enough people it’s amazing on how much u can persuade someone to do the right thing.
While I understand the corporate reasons to “shed half their brands”, I feel for the segment of the market that I am a consumer, when Apex did this it resulted in phasing out of the products in which I was most interested (US-made, mid-to-high quality industrial and mechanics hand tools). Gearwrench, which was started as a lower-cost and somewhat lower-quality version of their higher-end tools, became the “premium” brand. And now they’re slotting in a bottom brand (SATA) for the US market.
I guess they’re concentrating on what the market demands. That’s another discussion in how doing this can be detrimental, and how companies that don’t do this can still be successful.
I agree all SBD done was to buy it to keep it out of other competitive companies, because they knew they could not compete with them.
My entire family and I never looked anywhere except Craftsman for tools because they were excellent products made in the USA. I recently bought channel lock brand pliers, cutters, and screwdrivers since they are still made in USA.
Absolutely… You hit the nail right on the head!!
Part of the problem is that SBD screwed over Western Forge who made a lot of their pliers and screwdrivers and decided to have that all cheaply made off shore.
I’ve brought this up recently on their social media posts and other tool forums, it’s time for SB&D/Craftsman to sh*t or get off the pot. Many of us are to the point that we feel manipulated and lied to. Covid pandemic or not, they ARE the worlds largest tool manufacturer and have had plenty of time to get this USA plant operational and tools on retail shelves.
There is absolutely no reason at all for those raised panel wrenches to be made in India. There is no reason why something as simple as the acetate screwdrivers can’t be made right here at home. There’s no reason why they can’t offer us better quality pliers, even if they’re not made here.
SB&D hasn’t turned the brand around, they have made it worse in my opinion. With so many tool brands available in store and online in 2022, it’s hard to comprehend why they don’t try harder to resurrect the name and be the end all, be all of the tool world.
I have a very negative opinion of Stanley Black & Decker that didn’t exist prior to their ownership of Craftsman.
As much as I have tons of US-made Craftsman hand tools, those WF screwdrivers were really horrible… they made me turn to Wiha, Bondhus and Witte a long time ago, and Gedore more recently.
But I bought a few sets of the Craftsman V-series screwdrivers (the Facom ones) and they’re pretty good as you would expect. Unfortunately the price and range of offerings is not attractive enough to stop buying other brands.
Wiha USA offered India-sourced combination wrenches for quite a while (since they also offered Heyco at very high prices). They seem better than the Craftsman Chinese wrenches, but when the COO is as huge as India or China, you can’t paint them all with the same brush (although it was easy with China since my negative experience ratio is like 9:1).
I’d strongly have to agree here with everyone! These newer craftsman tools are of very poor quality and I’m very disgusted by it. Being a heavy diesel mechanic off and on for 30 yrs. My older Easco made craftsman tools have served me well. The older the craftsman tools the better! I hate to be the one to say it, and I know you snap on and max guts will wanna crucify me for saying it! But these older craftsman/Easco made tools stood right up in quality to the Mac and snappy tools of the time and were half the price. Even anything that years back that I had purchased that was Matco! Made in the same plant in springfeild Massachusetts as was the craftsman tool line, held up real well, no better or worse! SB&D really had a brain fart here and did away with a quality tool line in favor for a bunch of Chinese junk! Sad! And it’s not right folks! Look at the jobs that cost the springfeild Mass. area when danaher/and mitt Romney got involved with the Easco buy out! It’s costing us to much to produce quality tools, you employee’s will have to take a 50% pay cut in order for us to keep producing tools outta this plant! And away it went! Sad to say the least! That’s status quo in the USA anymore it seems like build a bunch of junk with global sourced materials, pay the worker poverty wages and then sell the product for a whore house price! Terrible!
That VULTURE Romney can go eff himself! I’ve never been able to stand the bastard, and can proudly say that I never cast a single vote for the sob, even though I am conservative, unlike his RINO backside that would sell his own family if it meant profit for him!
One of my uncles was a tool and die machinist in the US Navy and then as a shipbuilder building our nuclear submarines. My grandfather was a master carpenter for the TVA building all the dams on the Tennessee River. Both on my paternal side. So I grew up knowing and appreciating the value of high quality hand tools. I cannot stand, nor will I use a piece of junk tool. Ever. I do own SOME, albeit high quality, Chinese made tools, the majority of which are made in Taiwan. At one time, I had many SnapOn ratchets, sockets, wrenches, pliers, screwdrivers, and specialty hand tools, along with an extensive collection of USA made Craftsman tools from my days as a general mechanic for an auto body repair shop, until the layoffs of the early 70s hit. All these were stolen from the back of my vehicle at a hotel during a convention in Orlando. I was uninsured at the time. I managed to replace SOME USA made Craftsman tools, but never to the extent of what I had because Sears was already, early 90s, discontinuing much of the Craftsman line. Tough for me!
When Sears sold Craftsman and the real life time warranty died, I was able to get new old American made wrenches and sockets sets on eBay for a decent price with a small premium.
The sets I got in the 70’s and 80’s never had 6 point unless specially ordered from the catalog so I mainly bought those. I also bought a few newer pieces that were stamped AG which was Taiwan made. I believe they were close in quality to American and the first place Eddie went overseas .
One lady on eBay who sold mainly Knickknacks had 50 pristine Sears Bestbuy new old stock thumb wheel 3/8 dual pawl ratchets for sale. They were always my favorite so I bought a bunch and gave a few as gifts. I could sell them for double to triple today but I only buy.
Ebay also had more ratchet rebuild kits for sale so I know Sears went broke just in keeping them in stock.
I also picked from Harry’s but I could not understand why mailing costs were so high when they could have been put in a priority no weight limit box for far less.
I don’t even look a Craftsman at Lowe’s or Ace today.
Amen to u sir. I’ve worked with all the Mac daddy’s n Snap to it’s but the older Craftsman tools are just as good and especially for the price. And I’ve got a bunch of old Craftsman tools and I still buy them when I come across them. You would think SB&D would be proud to at least have a tool in their building that could be the best again for at least long enough to where we could enjoy them for while but I still say if we raise enough hell we can make it happen n if I was 20 yrs. younger I believe we might could’ve already made some things happen..Lol
I agree with you 100% makes you want a China made wrench over that India garbage.
I’ve got some Craftsmen Professional wrenches I bought like 15 years ago and they’re really nice. Craftsmen hasn’t been on my radar since my local sears went out of business.
I will say at the forefront Covid19 and now likely the ongoing war isn’t going to help anything in that supply chain crunches aren’t any better and won’t be for a while. This will be especially true if we don’t hold off a recession here or globally.
However SBD has had enough time even before all of this to get something on the ground going. Typically of SBD it’s all talk and no show. When they purchased Craftsman 95% new it probably wasn’t going to be a game changing deal nor would it result in anything good but 5% of me held onto hope it was a renewed future for such an iconic brand. It seems like that 5% is slipping all the time for me. To be honest too it really made me research USA made brands and higher quality stuff in general. I have a complete collection of 1/4, 3/8, 1/2, and 3/4 sockets / wrenches / etc of USA made Craftsman stuff that was passed onto me from family. As tough as those tools are I’ve more relegated them to easy use or staying as a sentimental collection. I don’t lend them out and I don’t put them through hell like I would if I could warranty anything for a likewise replacement, which you can’t do. These foreign made tools are a complete step down and I wouldn’t break up the collection for that.
So in earnest it’s made me buy tools I can warranty or repair that are much higher quality. Most of my day to day in the trenches ratchets, wrenches, and sockets are now Wright. Pliers and screwdrivers are mostly all German brands and Channellock for the few designs that Knipex doesn’t make. I feel comfortable knowing at least I’ll be able to get a direct or better replacement with all these for the forseeable future.
This is something you can’t count on with SBD. Even if USA Craftsman happens, they still have ADHD when it comes to product lines and who’s to say one thing will be around for a long time like it was with Sears and is these days with the brands I mentioned above or even tool truck brands.
So I guess I have to say great if they give people jobs here for USA Craftsman hand tools but I think the whole idea and experience is lost on me at this point. I’ve moved on to better things.
Craftsmen tools are junk. I bought a Craftsmen generator from Lowes that quit generating because the rotor went bad just over one year from purchase. Craftsmen refused to honor their warranty after paying an additional $160 for diagnostics at their designated shop alleging that it was used commercially for the sole reason that it had been used monthly for an hour or so to provide well water. I will never buy Craftsmen tools again. The red packaging reminds me of my costly experience. Other generators have lasted years being used for the same applications.
First of all it’s Craftsman, not Craftsmen. Second of all Craftsman tools are NOT junk. My father had Craftsman tools, and now I own his tools that were handed down, as well as the Craftsman tools that I have purchased over the last decades. I bet money that the Craftsman generator that you purchased was not Made in the USA. That is the whole point behind this discussion. The tools are not made in the USA anymore, and that is why the Craftsman brand has been not doing to well lately. “Old school” Craftsman used to be one of the best tool brands around. I would love to see that come back around and have tools being made in the USA again!🇺🇸
It’s fine to wish for more USA made tools, but prepare yourself for the associated hike in price that comes with that.
Look no further than Snap-on tools for an example of what “Made in the USA” costs.
Snap-on, being one of the priciest tool brands, is an extreme example, don’t you think?
It may be better to compare to Proto, Williams, Wright, etc. than it would be with Snap-On.
Yes, it would cost more than your general Harbor Freight selections, or even the current foreign made offerings. However, with brands like Proto, it is possible to have quality USA made tools at not Snap-On prices.
Fair enough on the Proto comparison, but to be honest, there are so many older high quality, lightly used Craftsman tools being sold for next to nothing on eBay, that I don’t see why anyone would want choose to buy something new.
I recently picked up a beautiful 3/8” drive Craftsman —VM— 43175 ratchet/deep socket set online for $12.00 shipped! That ratchet is silky smooth and rivals anything I currently have in my toolbox, which has ratchets from Proto, Snap-on, MAC, Wera & Stahlwille. The sockets are of the 6-point variety and are equally high-end.
It doesn’t cost that much to do business in the USA. Snapon is over priced big time. Just look at Chanel lock they make their stuff in usa with usa steel with reasonable prices.
he brought a lowes shit one
I had been looking for a reason why they haven’t released any yet, and I found one in the Q1 2021 earnings transcript from 4/28. Basically someone asked about what’s happening at the Fort Worth plant and the 2 plants in Mexico, and the CEO said something along the lines of that they wouldn’t be putting those products on the market until the demand (which according to him was up 45%) for their current products went down so it would be easier to slide the US tools in.
That was nearly a year ago and doesn’t sound like a good reason to me.
It’s hard to have demand for your products when they are mostly unappealing.
At this point, they can’t even get their overseas made tools right. The pliers are trash. Their ratchets are crap and non-serviceable, their wrenches are made in India. Their mechanics sets are full of filler and missing important sizes. For whatever reason, a metal socket rail is almost $15 and I don’t even understand how that came to be? They’re like 3 for .99 cents everywhere else.
The people in charge are incredibly blind. There’s obvious money to be made with the brand and they can’t seem to figure it out.
Your right! Craftsman socket sets leave out several sizes of sockets and even the socket trays (racks) don’t accommodate complete socket groups (3/8″ 6-point short, 3/8″ 6-point long, ect). Is it that hard to match a trays to a socket set?
I’m done with them.
I was curious to see where the comments would go on this topic. Seems like a pretty consistent attitude of disappointment and criticism.
I get it. I hoped for more by now too. It seemed like the original roadmap included big plans for the brand, the USA-mechanics tools not least among them.
SBD did build a new factory though right? So presumably these tools will arrive eventually. Covid certainly caused delays – though I can’t speculate how much of the delay is Covid-related vs. SBD bungling.
I wonder what hurdles are left now – or if SBD has actually switched gears and is no longer pursuing the original plan. E.g. could they be low on capital to launch new projects? Are they snowed-under with Covid-related home renovation demand for existing tools? Are there persistent supply-chain issues? Is Craftsman less successful than anticipated?
I wish SBD would communicate a bit better about Craftsman. They still can’t tell be when or if the V-Series will come to Canada.
Let’s face it Craftsman tools are gone forever. The former OEMs contracted to make affordable durable reliable Craftsman brand hand tools like WF, Pratt Read, Williams among others are either out of business or bought by conglomerates who shut down plants, consolidated and in many cases relocated to China. The knowledge skill and craftsmanship that went into making Craftsman tools of yesterday is gone forever. SBD is simply rebranding and soon to open a automated tool plant bereft of the personal craftmanship that once exemplified Craftsman tools. So why the rush? SBD bought a brand in an industry that has spent decades consolidating diluting and expunging quality and craftsmanship in tool making. I can wait.
The merchandising landscape has also changed. The Craftsman tools of yore may not have been top tier – but they were serviceable, readily available and reasonably priced. Sockets out of the Easco factory may not have been tool-truck quality – but Sears made them easy to buy and replace if needed. Back then – many industrial brands and distributors would not sell to the general public. What you could buy at the pre-Home Depot home centers were mostly low-end stuff. If you wanted Proto, SK or Williams – a trip to the local hardware store or Auto Parts place would set you back a pretty penny. So Craftsman filled a very substantial need in the market. Today – we have many choices – you don’t need to have the tool truck visit to buy SnapOn, you can order premium European brands, easily buy Proto, Williams, Gearwrench, and a batch of others – covering a pretty broad spectrum of quality and COO. So, breathing life back into the Craftsman brand is no easy challenge in this crowded market – even if that’s what SBD really wants to do.
I had some hope for something but when the cordless power tools were rebranded PC and when there wasn’t one USA made hand tool I more or less discounted everything else with that name
SBD keeps pushing Chinese made Dewalt hand tools and as it appears cordless tools too. It’s fairly sad really.
I was hoping to see more USA production of things.
Leaked pictures of the Ft. Worth plant are out there, looks like they are up and running. Maybe we’ll see something this year. They are dumping a ton of money into there so it will come on line eventually. I too hope it’s more than just a token amount.
isn’t the fort worth plant a MAC tool location?
that’s what I found so upsetting in the whole thing. name aside – they should be selling non tool truck priced, MAC like hand tools. craftsman or dewalt name etiher way.
Might as well be dewalt name to be fair since the MAC cordless tools are Dewalt.
SBD is just a bunch of corporate scammers dangling the carrot. Y’all been played. I just treat them like the run of the mill Chinese tool peddlers they are. Compare them to Harbor Freight, AliExpress, etc. and buy the cheapest when you don’t need quality…
Looking through a NAPA catalog I noticed that the Craftsman tools they were selling only had a 3year listed warranty. What’s up with that, Craftsman always had lifetime warranty.
News to me. Could be a mistake.
Craftsman is crap now. I needed to warranty a tool recently and they told me I had to do it through sears. Never giving them another dime.
They are not as good as they once were but they are better than lots of other tools. With the economy and prices the way they are, Craftsmanship certainly isn’t the only place that has tweaked there lifetime guarantees
Ace Hardware and Advance Auto stock lots of Craftsman tools.
And how many of those tools are made in the USA?
I recently took a 1/2 Craftsman ratchet to lowes because it had failed. I said “you sell Craftsman? Right?” The answer was of course yes. I indicated mine was broken and asked for a new one. The lowes employee said to just go get a new one off the shelf. That worked so well, I returned a week with a broken 1/4 inch ratchet and that was also replaced
I hope that was a Chinese one that you turned in for the Chinese/Taiwanese one you received back! You can fix the US-made ones with the free repair kits that people sell for $10 all over the place. Depending on the model, some can be fixed with Matco or Gearwrench kits too.
Spot on. Ebay. Refurbished three vintage craftsman rackets I paid three dollars for at a yard sale. Waiting at line in Sears few years back and a guy dropped off for exchange half dozen vintage ratchets. What a loss. Likely ended up in recycling bin.
At my (now closed) local Sears, at least 5-6 years ago, they had a “special drawer” full of refurbed USA-made ratchets. If you came in with a US-made one, and made a comment about getting an off-short, they’d open the “special drawer” and give you back a US one, or optionally let you come back and get your original a few days later after repair, or give you the kit if you’re comfortable doing it yourself. There were codes in the register for receipts, so I guess it wasn’t against policy. But maybe all the ones for sale on eBay were obtained with a single broken ratchet.
So I still liked the people at my local Sears even after the company stopped carrying US-made Craftsman.
Man just face it the Craftsman tools we grew up with are gone the way of the dinosaurs they won’t never Back
Bingo! Couldn’t agree more Leonard!
My dad had a workshop full of Craftsman tools. I grew up in the era of Levi’s jeans, Chuck Taylor converse gym shoes, Schwinn bikes….and yes Sears Craftsman tools.
I treasure those tools handed down to me and with the recent closing of Sears stores, I’ve begun collecting vintage Craftsman tools as a sideline hobby.
I would never buy any tools made overseas and especially not from China….ever!!
I was initially excited when Stanley Black & Decker purchase the Craftsman name. I thought that there was room and profit for a mass produced high quality made in the United States line of sockets, wrenches, and ratchets.
Now that Stanley Black & Decker released the v-series Craftsman line it really makes me doubt the possibility of them coming out with a United States made line of sockets, wrenches, and ratchets. This is mainly due to the fact that the v-series sits at what I was hoping would be around the price range that the United States version would be introduced or sold during promotional holidays for…
If Stanley Black & Decker is to release a United States made hand tools I would assume that they would be more expensive than the v-series. This is going to price a lot of people out of buying United States made Craftsman hand tools.
I was also a little disappointed by how much Stanley and Black and Decker invested time and money into the Craftsman power tool line. Sure, Craftsman has always had power tools but I’ve always felt like they’ve been more known further hand tools. It’s just really disappointing that they spent so much money and time investing into a power tool line that already kind of exist within the different DeWalt variations.
I’m sure there’s a boatload of money in power tool lines that were to lucrative for Stanley Black and Decker to pass up. I get it they are company after all.
I just think that there is potential room for a company to make money on United States made hand tools especially in a situation like Craftsman and the partnership with lowe’s, Napa, and Ace within the context of volume sales.
I’m pretty sure at this point that we’re not going to get any United States made Craftsman hand tools 🤕
I’d follow the advice on another post and just buy used American made Craftsman tools on eBay, Etsy, or your local flea market.
I’m not sure what purpose this would serve. If the goal is to support American jobs then it falls flat because it’s a used product and the purchase price is not going into American manufacturing. If the goal is to have a nice tool that seems a little strange as well; it either won’t be handled under warranty at all (if it’s a tool they no longer make), or you’ll be given a presumably undesirable foreign replacement if you do have to warranty it. And let’s be honest here, most of their tools were never anything special anyway when it came to the quality of the tool itself.
My father bought Craftsman in the 80’s, I bought lots of Craftsman when I was a teenager in the 90’s. Back then Craftstman was great…but thinking about it, it wasn’t that the tools were anything special. What made Craftsman great was a great warranty and easy accessibility–Sears and Sears Hardware stores were everywhere back in the days before the internet. The Sunday newspaper always had a Craftsman ad with sale prices. And while the Craftsman tools weren’t up to the standards of pro/commercial brands like Williams, Proto, SK, Snap-On, Mac, etc, they weren’t junk either. The average homeonwner probably didn’t even know about those brands so Craftsman really stood out compared to the import junk. Looking back, Craftsman was really the only mid-tier option out there. The alternatives were no-name import garbage or much more expensive professional tier tools. Its no surprise Craftsman was popular, not only were they solid USA made tools for a fair price, but they were the only game in town. But times have really changed now. There are plenty of tool lines which can compete with Craftsman in the mid range of the market. Tekton, Gearwrench, Milwaukee, Dewalt, Kobalt, Husky, Carlyle (NAPA), etc… they’re all competing in Craftsman’s classic niche: mid-tier tools with a lifetime warranty. The internet has also made many more brand options available too. Now anyone can jump on the web and browse everything from cheapo garbage to high end Euro brands like Facom and Knipex. Given the huge variety of options available today I don’t think that Ebay Craftsman tools would be the best value for money for any application.
On the other hand, if you just wanted to buy old-school Craftsman for nostalia or collector’s purposes that’s a whole different ballgame.
I took a broken Craftsman ratchet to home depot and they traded me for a new Husky ratchet. Was about 2008 or 2009
Right, that’s what I was getting at. If someone was insistent on having made-in-USA tools they probably wouldn’t be very happy with receiving a Husky in exchange.
Also, I believe that particular exchange program has been long discontinued.
Mike (the other one)
SBD has too many brands, and many of them sell the same tools with different labeling.
Stanley, Fatmax, Craftsman, Irwin, Vise-Grip, Marples, Hanson, Speedbore, Lenox, Blackhawk, Proto, MAC, Facom, Black & Decker, Bostitch, Porter-Cable, DeWalt, and more, are all SBD brands. Many of them don’t really have a purpose, and some (Porter-Cable) have essentially become store brands. SBD Recently bought MTD, maker of mediocre lawn equipment, so there’s even more brand overlap.
Really, SBD should have focused Craftsman as a DIY/Prosumer mechanic’s tool brand. We didn’t really need Craftsman power tools or leaf blowers.
I actually like DeWalt sockets and wrenches, but offering hand tools under that name just dilutes the brand. None of them have a real identity, and I don’t think SBD really knows how to address this. They seem to have too many fish in the fryer to make USA-made tools a high priority.
SBD will never bring USA-made back. SBD will keep throwing the USA-made idea here and there for marketing purposes.
All this expectation that manufacturers should just arbitrarily have stuff made in the US is nonsense. They went overseas for a specific reason and no one should expect them to come back until that reason is addressed. The reason they left is government meddling and laws that make it too expensive to manufacture in the US. Labor laws, safety laws, union laws, taxation, consumer protection laws etc. All these things are bad for the people, they eliminate US jobs and rightfully so.
Then they shouldn’t have made any claims about wanting to focus on USA production.
Mike (the other one)
Then how do Klein, Malco, Ideal, Channellock, Williams, Tekton, Mayhew, Wilde, Wright, Martin, Maglite, and dozens of other companies manage to manufacture tools here?
Probably because each of those concentrate on one line made in the US at relatively low volume, and have been established for some time.
For instance, you have to look long and hard in the Klein catalog for a US-made tool that’s not lineman’s or the basic screwdrivers. I have a lot of Klein tools because they are solid offerings, but the vast majority are not US-made. It took me a long time to find the tool bag that was US-made.
And for Tekton, while I appreciate their new found patriotism, all the tools I purchased from them previously were made offshore and not suitable for my use… and so I stopped buying them. But they were priced accordingly, and the customer service was good. I suspect that may suffer if they increase their volume too quickly.
Agreed. Most of those brands have either some % of their production overseas, and others have priced themselves out of the market, at least for many people.
I think Chinese-made Irwin Vise Grips cost about $12, meanwhile the Malcos made in the USA cost what, about $35-40ish? I’m sure that the Irwins outsell the Malcos 10:1 if not more.
Others could be said to be failing. Maglite used to be the king of flashlights in the USA in the 80’s and 90’s Hardly anyone else made a durable, reasonably priced, waterproof, light. They were the standard for everyone from campers to cops. Now they are another me-too brand struggling to keep up while other brands have taken their market. Sounds a lot like Craftsman, really.
You’re saying there is still SOME manufacturing in America. Of course there is still some residual manufacturing. But the majority of it has been shut down and moved overseas over the last 20 years. I’m talking about the overwhelming trends and you’re talking about the minor holdouts.
But even companies like Maglite are losing money and struggling to make a good product cheaply for exactly the reasons I outlined. Because the US government and people who have supported government have made it too expensive to make things in the USA anymore.
If we could just shrink the size of government and reduce government meddling the jobs would naturally return. But try telling logic to a government supporter.
This exodus started 45 years ago. Crap quality and high wages drove it out.
Only now do the manufacturers understand the desire for quality.
Many of those companies you listed were once upon a time Craftsman OEMs. They still make reasonably priced reliable tools. In a way, the brand known as Craftsman may be here in name only, but the tools we grew up with branded Craftsman decades ago are still here with the actual manufacturers name on the tool in place of Craftsman.
There’s less USA made Craftsman tools now than when they first launched.
It seems like thr SBD/Lowe’s sales agreement has resulted in a race to the bottom for pricing instead of the initial promise of bringing back the brand to what it was. Our local lowes is dominated by cheap craftsman socket and wrench kits, tape measures, hammers,pliers etc… that are all lackluster. I find myself looking more and more online for tools since we don’t have many in-store alternatives in our rural area, and no other big box stores.
Greed is the real reason that manufacturing over seas is so popular, Employees looking to earn a fair wage is not greed.
I’m not saying that stanley black and decker haven’t been dragging their feet on this project. But, there has been a pandemic for 2 years and with costs of materials skyrocketing and the labor market dipping it may not make too much sense too rush an opening. Most likely what happened is once it becomes cost-effective to manufacture a plant at low cost they will do it. It is a public company and they most likely are trying to forecast roi
Black & Decker bought a large piece of property in Ft Worth for their new Craftsman plant many years ago. Before COVID they were advertising in the local market for technicians to operate their new machines from Japan that would actually forge tools. My brother works nearby the area, so I had him drive by last year. He said it is still nothing but vacant land. I had high hopes at first. Most of my tools are Craftsman USA.
As Sears was converting to China made tools, I called the company that actually made their screwdrivers in Colorado. I had ordered a set of screwdrivers a month prior and Sears had not sent them. Anyway, the representative told me Sears had taken delivery on 6 truckloads of screwdrivers and was refusing to pay, so he was filing bankruptcy and closing his plant.
I can see from Google Earth that the land was graded in Feb 2020 and by November 2020 there was a whole building up with vehicles in the parking lot.
It’s a shame that SBD acts like a private equity firm trying to squeeze profit out of a brand until it dies. I want to like SBD brands like DeWalt and Craftsman. I like my DeWalt corded 10″ miter saw. I just don’t like how they don’t ever seem to have a cohesive vision for their assorted brands. What’s going on with Porter Cable? Craftsman? I’m not even sure SBD knows.
I don’t like that TTI is a Chinese Firm but at least Milwaukee and even Ryobi seem to have a clear market vision. Maybe more to the point, the Chinese owned Milwaukee and Ryobi have done more to manufacture in the USA it seems than SBD. Strange.
Mike (the other one)
Proto is Stanley’s industrial brand. Most of their tools ARE made in USA, and are fantastic, but you won’t find them at prices you are used to seeing in Lowe’s/Sears/Ace/Napa.
I have many Proto ratchets – they are my favorites. You raise a good point though.
It seems like everyone wants USA Craftsman tools, but it will be interesting to see whether those customers will be willing to pay the price a high-quality USA-made tool will likely command.
SBD might go a different direction of course – maybe they will make less refined and more basic tools in the USA to keep costs down. It doesn’t seem like that’s what everyone is clamoring for though. My impression is that everyone SEEMS to want premium made-in-the-USA tools.
What will happen if customers used to Husky (where a ~100pc socket set might be $150) meet Proto prices (which might be well north of $500)?
Perhaps SBD can sell USA Craftsman tools for less than Proto, banking on higher sales volume to increase profit. How much would they cannibalize their own brands though?
That background makes me suspect that Craftsman will try to produce USA tools that are perhaps a bit less refined than the premium offerings from their other brands (like Proto and Mac). Tools that require less machining, polishing, time and human intervention to keep production costs lower. Hopefully that doesn’t mean they pump out a bunch of gritty raised-panel coarse-tooth ratchets – but will USA Craftsman match Proto premium pear-head quality and still be sold at a discount?
Perhaps the V-Series was a test. Maybe SBD wanted a quick way to test the market for true premium Craftsman tools before finalizing the USA designs.
When I bought my first Craftsman wrench in the 1950’s it was likely made by MDF (Moore Drop Forge) in Springfield MA. MDF was acquired by Eastern Stainless-Steel Corp. (EASCO) in 1967. I think the “E” on some Craftsman items represented their EASCO sourcing. At some point Sears also started sourcing from Danaher.
BTW Husky was once an independent USA producer founded in 1924 in Wisconsin. It was sold to Olsen then to New Britain Tool. New Britain became a part of Litton when Litton was in their acquisition phase. Then Litton decided to get out of the tool business – selling Husky and Blackhawk to National Hand Tool. Then Stanley bought National hand Tool in 1986. By 1992 – Stanley was supplying Husky branded tools to Home Depot – and later on they seemed to have sold the rights to the Husky brand outright to HD.
Home Depot now contracts with various OEMs to produce Husky Tools. Some Home Depot Husky mechanics tools have been sourced from Apex – but some items seem (checking UPC’s) to come from Iron Bridge and Great Neck plus many others.
I’m no auto mechanic – but IMO Crafstman build quality was OK – but not up to Proto or SnapOn. I would suspect that SBD would also not want the new Craftsman to compete with Proto
Just called into B&D and they replaced my broken ratchets with new , mailed to my door , didn’t even have to trade in my broken ones ,
Dave the tool
Made in India is worse than made in China in my experience. I wouldn’t buy ANY tool brand made in India. Nothing against the people of India but in the past whenever I have purchased a tool or knife made in India (not knowing this at purchase) it was junk, not finished or refined properly and lacked any type of quality! I see Stanley has moved a bunch of their hand tools, wrenches, pliers etc to India and that is a NOPE from me! Like others I have given up on Craftsman and luckily have a bunch of the basic wrenches, ratchets and sockets from previous purchases in the 1980’s and 1990’s. Any new hand tool I purchase, Taiwan is the only thing I will purchase other than made in USA. The Taiwan hand tools remind me of the quality of tools that used to be manufactured in Japan decades ago and thus far I have had good luck with them.
We had a contract in our fabrication business to see what we could do to “normalize” a large number of parts that a client had received from a manufacturer India. They were supposed to be round insert covers that fit into a retaining ring. Out of something like 2000 sets – all the covers fit in their respective rings – but the covers were not interchangeable from set to set. When inspected – it was clear that the casting process was extremely sloppy and to correct the problem the manufacturer had hand fitted (used files/sanders/grinders) the parts to get them to mate. Very few sets were exactly the same. I suppose when labor is very cheap – this was a logical solution to poor manufacturing tolerances.
For me or you, it wasn’t that long ago that Glock pointed out that all the parts of their pistols were interchangeable when going up against Colt for military contracts! A lot of manufacturers were still using hand fitting for the final assembly.
Really, you’re OK with Taiwanese tools but you won’t purchase “made in Germany”?
Wiha’s wrenches that were made in India were decent, I found them to be better than most of what I found from China. They had their own plant for around 10 years I guess, but closed it maybe five years ago, probably because perception made it a difficult sale (even after they made it very difficult to find the COO of each of their products).
I buy previously owned Craftsman made in USA on ebay……pay a lot less and have good tools. F-em.
Started building my Craftsman tool collection when I was 17.
Great tools and warranty.
Was looking for the missing sizes for my ratchet wrenches but to no avail.
I still have all my Craftsman tools from 1974 and wish the China made stuff was
comparable but sadly it doesn’t come close.
Here’s the most interesting part of this article to me and I haven’t seen anyone mention it in the comments. Stuart said:
“Lowe’s Kobalt brand had USA-made hand tools a few years ago, but then they switched. When talking to a product manager face to face, they said they weren’t satisfied with the quality and switched to an overseas OEM that could produce better tools.”
I’d be interested in learning more about this. Why couldn’t they meet the quality specifications? Raw materials, equipment, skill of labor? Just not able to meet a desired level of quality at the price point they wanted?
I don’t know.
It could be that there were quality compromises in order to achieve a set price point.
Or, it could have just been what they were telling me, but it seemed more candid than rehearsed.
I have Kobalt US-made mechanics tools sourced from both Apex and Williams. The Williams stuff was nice. The Apex was what you would expect from entry level Armstrong, and the ratchets were like the very basic Craftsman 36-tooth models. Fine as a basic ratchet, but everyone was moving ahead with 60/72/84/88/90 tooth designs which marketing made sound great. If Lowes wanted Apex to give them a 60/72/84/88 tooth made in USA model, it was not going to be cheap… the Craftsman 60T thin profile, 84T premium, or Matco and Armstrong Maxx 60/88T ratchets were all priced higher than what Lowes (and Sears) shoppers were used to.
So I think you nailed it–price point dictated an entry level product where off-shore production had higher level features at the entry level.
I went ratchet shopping… and was most saddened by the reality that Craftsman was being made in China.
I don’t trust the metallurgy in China. USA, Canada, Taiwan, Germany, UK, Sweden, no worries…
Off to buy from Snap-On.
There are some current (post-SBD) Craftsman ratchets that are made in Taiwan. Most of the Chinese ones are pretty bad, but the TW ones seem fine. For 3/8, the CMMT81748 should be TW (but you never know when they might change). The same part number was used for a different model without screws holding it together, I felt this one was superior to the replacement with screws. There may have been reliability problems and thus the change.
Online you can find plenty of pre-SBD ratchets that are Apex-built in Taiwan, pretty decent and equivalent of the Gearwrench single-pawl models. In 3/8 size you can find the 11678, which was great, and was usually only $12 at Sears. It was similar to the higher priced 44995 but with pebble chrome finish instead of high polish.
Thank you for taking the time to share such great advice!!
Keep wrenching! Still using my Craftsman and Armstrong ratchets almost every day. 😀
I do too! I have my Dad’s craftsman from the late 1960s… and I have one of their Pro Series ratchets. I was looking for a long handle. Not critical, but nice to have.
I don’t see why this is a surprise. SBD’s a gargantuan, lumbering hodge-podge of way too many brands, redundancies, and glass ceilings galore. The minute I saw Craftsman’s power tools were mostly rebranded long-in-the-tooth Porter-Cable 20v fare, whatever faith I had their resurrection vanished into the ether.
Nostalgia can only get you so far, and that’s all Craftsman’s good for nowadays. It’s appropriate that all their packaging is red since it matches the flag that makes their stuff. It’s also hard for me to get excited about “ASSEMBLED in the USA”, which is the same as “Made in the USA with Global Materials ™” Is there seriously no way for these to be made from US materials? Because virtually everything I’ve seen from Craftsman since this nonsense started is below-average big box fare.
Sure there is a way for tools to be made in the USA. The question is, “Can it be brought to market affordably?”
Unfortunately, I do not feel it is possible. The workforce/machines necessary is probably too expensive. And the materials needed to make these items will still come in from other countries. Corporate greed and mismanaged unions have made the American work force a shell of its former self.
A lot of folks say they will pay for quality, but few rarely do. I bet a genuine “Made in the USA” power tool brand would be more expensive than Festool. I think assembled in the USA is a good as we are gonna get.
Well said all around. I think your statement that “A lot of folks say they will pay for quality, but few rarely do” hits the nail on the head.
Irwin Vise Grips, made in China, cost about $12. A pair of Malco Eagle Grips, made in the USA, cost over $40.
I’d bet that the Irwins outsell the Malcos 20:1. Probably more than that.
Making power tools in the US would be very costly. We do not have the supply chains needed to make all components anymore. Hand tools though are much simpler and require far less components. A modern high-tech factory in the US with reasonably high volume could produce hand tools at a very competitive price with Asian factories. Stanley is one of the very few US companies with the resources to make this happen, if they would so desire. As global politics continue to heat up, especially with Taiwan, I think Stanley may become more serious about US manufacturing.
Articles like this make me second guess committing to the V20 platform, but the sales Lowes and Ace have made it super easy to get my collection going. I just made sure the two main components of the collection were the American assembled DeWalt clones, but even those aren’t being pushed any more. Seems like they have committed to the Chinese made models.
On the whole, all the tools with the exception of the small V20 chain saw, have worked above and beyond my needs for them. My latest purchase was the brushless Angle Grinder they clearance priced to make room for the RP line. My only real need now are additional chargers and batteries as this grinder has shown my power needs are not enough, even with five 4ah batteries.
The only other brands in my garage are Kobalt, SKIL, and Festool. And those are all corded units. I don’t think Kreg and Dremel count?
I will admit. Nostalgia for my Grandpa’s tools made buying the brand palatable.
Don’t worry about buying into V20. I don’t believe cordless tools are a “lifetime” purchase, like mechanics hand tools. They wear out, or become obsolete by new requirements.
I purchased a few Craftsman V20 tools primarily because it was easiest and cheapest for a couple things that either weren’t available for my DeWalt 20V system, or weren’t critical items. Once I bought a few and had 4-5 batteries, it was easier to get other things that I had used only as Dewalt, and found that for what I got, the functionality, power and reliability were identical in actual use to my Dewalt ones. So instead of getting my DCF887 impact driver serviced, I got the Craftsman one for less money than Dewalt’s center prices. Or the portable fan, the Dewalt has continuously variable speeds, and the Craftsman has three. But the housing is from the same mold, and the fan blade has the same part number. So for less than half the price, the choice was easy.
You are all saying the same thing. You want the return of the Craftsman brand in the old Apex Tool Group style. In other words high end premium USA made tools at mid range prices.
That simply won’t happen. That is what the Dewalt name (mostly) is. Selling two premium tool brands makes no marketing sense. Undercutting the Dewalt brand is even more ridiculous.
Now promoting a USA made premium tool line under ANY banner though does make sense for them and that sounds like Stuart’s point, aside from a veiled effort to point out that I’ve basically written Craftsman off because they are a me too in a crowded market and I don’t have a reason to consider them.
Craftsman was never high end. Even back in their glory days they were not as nice as Proto, SK, Mac, Snap-On, etc. Craftsman Professional was touching on high end but I wouldn’t put them in the same category as the tool truck brands either (though I bought a lot of them as the value was hard to beat).
But I do agree 100% that they’re another me too in a crowded market today. Craftsman stood out for being good value for money with a great warranty. Nowadays the market is full of mid-tier tools at good prices with a great warranty.
@MM While I understand your opinion on how “nice” Craftsman hand tools are, I’m going to say that if you cherry-pick some examples it’s easy to disagree, but as a brand overall your argument is a good generalization. I’ll focus on mechanic’s tools, and about 15 years ago because I was buying a lot of mechanic’s tools and was cherry-picking things to get the best quality/value.
1) The Craftsman premium ratchet line (the 60 tooth ones). These were almost identical to Armstrong and Matco, and US made. Gearwrench was the “entry level” and was pretty much identical except 72 tooth made in TW/CN. The major difference was that the Craftsman had the quick release button, which was kind of a trade dress. But if you wanted a strong anvil over the quick release, the repair kits dropped right in, and vice versa if you machined a hole. Later models of all of those went to 88 tooth (US) and 84 tooth (import), with Craftsman moving to the import camp. Armstrong/Matco had locking flex heads to be “higher end” but the others didn’t have that feature. The common “high end” feature of the Matco tool truck brand is that a guy brings it to you, might extend you credit, and can fix it on the days he drops by. For this you paid double the price. Interestingly, now that the Matco is the only version available it’s now double the price. I guess that’s to pay for the low volume and retooling which is now somewhere in the US other than the Armstrong factory.
2) At that point in time, Proto only had superbly strong ratchets that were still of the Plomb design. While I appreciate a 3/8 ratchet that can easily handle 300 lb-ft of torque, I’m using a 3/8 or 1/4 because I have a space constraint common when working on newer vehicles, and a smaller arc swing is probably more useful. This mindset carried over to their socket. My oft-used 10mm thin wall deep 1/4 socket fit where a Proto might not.
Just an example, and cherry-picked!
I’m eager to see what happens here, but I don’t expect a lot and frankly the landscape has changed so much I think SBD is going to have a hard time. Tekton is supposedly going to start rolling out in more Lowes stores. GearWrench is out in a lot of HD stores, although not a ton of options currently and also available at Tractor Supply.
End of the day I question where they will slot in the “standard made in USA” hand tools with something like the v-series? It would be surprising to have a made in the usa tool be priced lower than the overseas option, but in that case you’re probably looking at $80 for a set of sockets, which is basically on par with Proto and well over Tekton, GearWrench and others, and who really knows the quality?
I think SBD isn’t sure where they want to position Craftsman. Looking at this graph shared on this site before (https://i0.wp.com/toolguyd.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2019/06/Stanley-Black-Decker-and-Craftsman-Tool-Brand-Positioning.jpg) and it’s clear SBD doesn’t have a clue. Craftsman spans from consumer up to industrial? Although they also rate the Irwin brand as Tradesman to professional and I would absolutely disagree with that based off the tools I’ve purchased and trashed from them, but hey.
Most of the Sears craftsman tools was good stuff. I still have most of the screwdrivers and sockets that I collected over the years. After watching some youtube channels I bit the bullet and purchased Snap ons 8” needle nose pliers and their electricians wire stripper/crimper tool. Price wasn’t that much different compared to the german brands but Im definitely impressed on the feel and quality of them. Hate to say it but SO might be the way to go if your looking for USA made hand tools if you don’t mind the extra cost.
I’ve been a Craftsman fan for 41 years, got my first tool set when I was 5 years old from my parents (my Mom worked for Sears when I was young) and my Dad was in automotive. Recently I broke a ratchet and needed it replaced. Sadly, the days of walking into Sears and getting a new one are gone. So I decided to try Lowes, the first Lowes I went to told me that my ratchet was too old and not covered by the lifetime warranty, involved the store manager and got nowhere. Stopped off at another Lowes on my way home and they would exchange it for a new one, but the new made in Tiwan ratchets they offered were utter garbage. I ended up going home and finding a nice, gently used ratchet on Ebay. Same model, look and feel. I guess I don’t like change… It’s sad what this country has become.
The new Craftsman hand tools are junk!! I’m disgusted with SBD! I have always bought Craftsman tools back when Sears owned them. Not anymore. Some of my old craftsman sockets (Made in USA) were recently stolen. I was devastated. Because I knew I’d never be able to replace them. And I was right. I bought some of the new craftsman sockets (made in India) just to see how they were. The first time I used a 14 mm socket, I noticed metal shavings on the inside of the socket. The metal shavings were breaking off from inside the socket!! So eventually what will happen is that the inside of the socket will strip and you won’t be able to use it anymore.. I immediately took them back to Lowes! Absolutely disgusted with Craftsman! The type of material that they use now is to soft and can’t handle tough nuts and bolts. They are not made for mechanics like they used to be. BRING CRAFTSMAN SOCKETS BACK TO USA! You would be amazed at how many people would appreciate this and buy the product.
Great article. I am extremely upset with Craftsman and their claims of bringing hand tools back to American production. I thought I was the only one who worried and stressed over what happens when I need a new ratchet, socket or double box end wrench.