There have been reports of Craftsman tools replacing Kobalt tools on shelves and in displays at Lowes stores. It was first brought to my attention back in September 2018, and at the time, I didn’t believe it. There have been many more reports of this happening, and I naturally wanted to confirm it first-hand.
I haven’t been to a Lowes store in a few weeks, so I visited the closest one today, taking a 20-25 minute drive out there. I am not a fan of this location, but was eager to see what they’ve done with the place.
I was puzzled, as there were plenty of Kobalt tools still on display. I found some new Craftsman tools on the shelves and in special end-cap displays, but there were no big changes compared to my last visit to Lowes a few weeks ago.
My Lowes store still has nothing like the Craftsman tool displays or Kobalt tools push-out of the like that readers from around the country have described.
Where are all the new Craftsman tools?
About three months ago, I visited five different Lowes locations, even going to one an hour away when visiting family. At the time, there were many promotional Craftsman tool displays still up from the holidays, and just a few tools intermixed with the regular stock.
There was a slightly increased presence of Craftsman tools this time around, but I didn’t see much difference in the Kobalt tool offerings.
Maybe other nearby Lowes stores have seen changes, but I didn’t have it in me to spend half a day visiting multiple stores to see the same layouts that they all had last time. My visit to the closest Lowes was disappointing, even a waste of time. Nothing much has changed since my last visit!
I did find myself a little diverted during this visit, thinking about things beyond what will happen to the Kobalt selection if or when my local Lowes displaces their house-brand tools in favor of Craftsman.
Readers previously brought up concerns about branding overlap, but it wasn’t until I saw some of the displays that I started sharing the same concerns.
Circular saw blade selection? Mainly Dewalt, Lenox, Irwin, and Craftsman, with a small sprinkling of other brands.
Hand saw selection? Lenox, Irwin, Craftsman, and again, a scarcity of other brands.
Utility knives? Lenox, Irwin, Craftsman, Kobalt, and some house-brand tools. But, mainly Lenox, Irwin, and Craftsman. There was a nice selection of Olfa snap-blade knives, and some Gerber folding knives.
What about metal snips? Stanley FatMax, Lenox, Craftsman. There were only two FatMax SKUs, but they still count.
Reciprocating saw blades? Mainly Dewalt and Lenox. Oh, and is that Porter Cable too?
There’s limited shelf space at any retail store, and here a lot of hand tool and power tool accessory space is occupied by Stanley Black & Decker brands. That’s not necessarily a bad thing – many of these are excellent tools! – but I was surprised by the lack of variety.
The selection is not much different than a year ago, except at that time there were mainly Stanley tools where the Craftsman tools now hang. However, we are now more frequently reminded that Irwin and Lenox are now Stanley Black & Decker brands too.
I do miss Black & Decker Outlet Stores, but c’mon!
At this point, I started questioning what it was I, as a customer, wanted. I want to see Craftsman, Irwin, and Lenox come out with new hand tools – hopefully more USA-made ones too. But Craftsman, Dewalt, Irwin, Lenox, and Porter Cable? That’s a lot of brands from the same company, and a lot of competition against any other brand that shares the same shelf space.
To be fair, if the current selection of SBD brands’ products were thinned out a little, what other brands could or would Lowes fill the spaces with? Remove one of the Lenox tools from a section, and one of the Craftsman models. What other brands’ tools would you fill that space with?
For hand saws, maybe Vaughan and Shark? But Vaughan might have an agreement with Home Depot. For reciprocating saw blades, maybe Diablo? But they too might have an agreement with Home Depot.
Stanley Black & Decker brands are dominating the hand tool and power tool accessory shelf spaces at Lowes, and while it’s surprising when visually reminded of that in person, there aren’t a lot of other feasible alternative options.
As a side note, the hammer and striking tool section had a good variety, with a strong Estwing presence.
I was happy to see USA-made accessories from Dewalt and Lenox. And seeing a couple of new Craftsman power tools on shelves made me optimistic about what is to come. Hidden in the tool storage aisle, they had a quarter pallet display of “new lower price” Craftsman USA-made tape measures. I would have bought one, but I bought a two-pack of these (or very similar) tapes back in December.
Overall, my visit to Lowes today was somewhat disappointing. I’m never in a good mood when I leave a tool or home improvement store empty-handed and uninspired. Unfortunately, that usually happens at this particular Lowes store.
I’ll likely go there again in a few weeks, either ahead of Father’s Day or when my memory of this visit starts to fade, whichever happens first. Or, maybe I’ll make the trek to my favorite Lowes store instead, which is unfortunately 45 minutes away.
You guys are fantastic, and I’m going to have to lean on you as ToolGuyd’s eyes and ears. My closest Lowes stores aren’t going through many changes (yet?), and my last emails to Lowes and Kobalt press/media contacts were never answered, and so I have no one to ask about these matters. So, if you don’t mind, What’s going on at YOUR Lowes store? Are you happy with whatever changes you might be seeing?
I think that Lowes’ tool section can be strengthened, and maybe a Craftsman-centric remodel will do the trick. Thoughts?
Honestly the Lowe’s by me has been trending more towards sears than Home Depot lately. The depot is definitely winning the war these days.
What’s so great about Home Depot? Can’t find some items in stock.
The ones near me are always stocked and busy. Lowe’s is empty by comparison.
I like all hardware stores. Sometimes I find the coolest things at a little hole in the wall that’s been here for decades before chain stores But when I also need wood stock I usually head to HD or Lowe’s.
I went to home Depot just last week. I wanted to throw together a console table because we had company coming. When I could only find kreg jig brand pocket screws in bright shiny silver. I asked the salesperson where other ones would be and he, believe it or not, had no idea what a pocket screw was. There we’re half dozen other people working but they were not salespeople and also had no idea what I was talking about.
I left drove 20 minutes out of the way and bought everything I needed from Lowe’s. They have several sizes of Hillsman pocket screws in bronze and brass. 1″, 1.5, 2″, 2.5″ for different stock thickness. Since I planned to stain my piece shi y silver is not what I wanted.
Not only that, the staff was much more pleasant to deal with, although that is store specific and not nessasarily chain specific.
On another trip I was able to trade out a damaged Craftsman deep socket with no problem at all. There is a whole wall of Craftsman hand tools there
I was just going to say the same thing. I visited one the other day looking for something only Lowes carries. I walked past the hand tools area and Kobalt was definitely slim pickings, but so was craftsman! The shelves were so sparse I couldn’t help to think I was in Sears!
They’re clearing the shelves in a major way. There’s a huge overhaul coming in April.
I go to harbor freight and buy alot of my tools?
Last week I went to two Lowe’s stores in Albuquerque area, and was pleasantly surprised seeing full range of Craftsman System (aka VersaStack) tool boxes. Don’t remember ever seeing DeWalt TSTAK anywhere other than on-line.
Hand tools situation there was very similar to what you just described. Craftsman power tools were most prominent on display, but both Hitachi (intermixed with Metabo HPT) and Kobalt were still present too.
Jeremy A Craft
It’s a spread of reset times with the company. As the one in Waterloo, IA the reset won’t happen till 2nd week in April and it’ll be a 2 week process. Be patient and be excited for what changes are coming.
I was just there yesterday. I’ve posted recently that even in the last few weeks something has shifted towards the positive there. Prior, it was as one above described as heading towards Sears (toward the end) as opposed to HD or Menards. It was on par with what Stuart posted above before. A mess… As noted, something has shifted in a positive direction at that store lately. You can tell it just walking in. The employees were always super nice, it was the store itself that needed organizing.
I still wish the store was laid out better but it’s not as large of a building as the others it doesn’t seem. You can only do so much. I look forward to May! Nice to see Craftsman in play again! Now if SBD would offer their outdoor tools in tool only form for those of us with a few V20 chargers and batteries already.
Yep! Reset time in our store… Washington state.
I live in Washington state as well and they started a reset here recently, almost done. As someone else said, it’s a sea of red here. It’s all craftsman now save for a few random sections of Kobalt, mostly hand tools. They also seemed to add on to the dewalt space as well. Before they started it seemed like all you could get drills, drivers and saws only. Now they have grinders, radios, multi tools etc. i haven’t always been a fan of Lowe’s but the local store has made some positive changes in the past few years, though can’t say that about all the area stores.
They don’t sell Makita so I don’t care. However the kobalt 600ft/lb pneumatic impact is a beast. Breaks loose bolts other so called 600ft/lb pneumatic impacts can’t. I get calls from friends needing to use it all the time
The Lowe’s in gibsonton Florida is almost all craftsman now. I’m bummed that I missed out on some potential kobalt sales
Lowe’s has been slowly rolling out more and more Craftsman products as Stanley Black & Decker has continued to release further product offers. Many Lowe’s have gone or will under go a massive tool reset to accommodate the new product offers from Craftsman. Having seen the planogram from the tools reset many of Lowe’s current hand tools and power tools will be sold along side future Craftsman product offering. Certain Kobalt tools are being marked down and clearanced out but the vast majority will continue to be sold. The majority of the tool resets are being completed internally during overnights by Lowe’s team members during the course of the next 3 months. Although this will vary across the country.
Mike (the other one)
The one near me is a sea of red. Screwdrivers, sockets sets, individual sockets, hammers, saws, tool boxes, more tool boxes, more tool boxes, power tools, shovels, lawn mowers.
Same with the one closest to me north of Atlanta.
Lowe’s is 100% killing Kobalt tools and going all in on the Craftsman
The resets was scheduled then they pulled back on the schedule. Imagine he undertaking to reset and stock 1 store. They will do them all.
Hope Craftsman is what L9we’s thinks it will be. Our store has been marking down and clearancing out the no power tool, ratchet, socket, wrenches yes. Anything electrical hasn’t been reduced yet. But it will.
We have one Lowe’s near us that has all the Craftsman stuff and huge displays while another five miles away has barely anything. It must be decided on by the store manager and not done at the district level.
The Lowes nearest me has been slowly discounting various Kobalt products and shuffling the remaining stock into a smaller and smaller area. There are hardly any Kobalt end caps or shelf talkers, and a conspicuous gap where the larger contractor tools and air compressors once sat. Where there used to be mobile displays of Kobalt contractor-type items (knives, screwdrivers, blades, bits, etc) all over the entrances and aisles, there’s now Craftsman gear everywhere.
There aren’t any wrenches or sockets left other than the larger xxx-piece sets or some less-commonly needed items. I missed out on the $30 clearance price on ratcheting wrench sets by a few hours. All of the Kobalt power tools are marked down between 10-15%, although I don’t have any idea what the “normal” price is for them, and there’s no backstock for some items. There are even “as-is clearance” carts of the display tools occasionally.
I don’t think Lowes will kill the Kobalt brand – they invested too much into building it up over the last decade. I do think it will be severely scaled back as long as they have favored status with SBD for the new Craftsman lineup.
My local Lowe’s is stocked like the one you visited. Just a small amount of Craftsman mostly in end cap displays.
Lowe’s lost me years ago. They used to have more people on the floor than HD. Then HD figured out customer service is important. There’s hardly anyone on the floor at Lowe’s and if they are, they hang out together. Lowe’s prices are also higher and more and more brands are in house, cheap Asian junk. I don’t by many garden tools because they switch out brands so often, you can’t get parts. I believe they stock who ever is paying them big money. It’s no wonder sales and stock price is down. Craftsman? Hahaha. Eddie ran it into the ground.
Dennis, the Craftsman everyone is talking about here is not Eddie’s Craftsman, it’s SBD’s. Eddie sold the brand while keeping rights for Sears as well. All the Lowes stuff is SBD.
Mine had a bunch of Craftsman at Christmas, but that was pretty much all aisle end cap stuff. Mine looks like yours at the moment with a bit of Red. There is actually a Kobalt endcap, not too discounted yet.
They seem to be planning a redesign of the tool area. I was there last week and there was a layout guy measuring out the main length of the department and stopped 20ft of where is currently ends to the disbelief of the manager. I was in again today and overheard more concerns about how they are going to fit all the product.
I am just hoping there are some decent clearance deals resulting from the update.
My local Lowe’s is stocked like the one you visited also. My Lowe’s redesigned the tool aisle last summer but I thought before Christmas time it would look it a Sear’s Craftsman department. It did not and still does not. It only has the basic stuff and mostly sets. I am old enough to have most of the basic stuff and sets and I need to build on those sets with odd and large sizes that are not in the sets. Every disappointed so far. I want my Sears back from 20 years ago.
Be patient. It’s coming. Doing my store starting this week.
I work at a Lowe’s store on the east coast… what i’m reading is surprising… the store in which I work went through a tremendous reset where the colors changed from Kobalt blue to Craftsman red in three very painful weeks. If anything, we are overstocked on Craftsman tools and accessories… I don’t know about anywhere else, but come to the East Virginia Beach Lowe’s-you will be pleasantly surprised. The Craftsman supply is both well displayed and stocked.
Our store in Fayetteville, Ga just finished a two week reset in the tool department. Looks great and you can tell Craftsman is the top line being pushed. Kobalt got a whole new display and a few new products. Looks like they’re keeping at least power tools. Don’t know if they can afford the space to carry all the accessories (sockets) for both brands
New Jersey stores exactly as you described.
My local Lowe’s has had the tool department completely reworked, with tons of Craftsman products on display.
All-in-all, I would say it’s a huge improvement. According to one store associate I spoke with, there is an outside team of people who came in to rework the tool department. I suspect there are a limited number of these teams, and they are slowly making their way around to all Lowe’s stores.
When I was told last summer that it would be a slow roll-out, I assumed it meant a section-by-section update, such as hammers, then screwdrivers, mechanics tools sets, and so forth. “One store at a time” seems clunky, but Lowes has always had very different store-to-store experiences.
It’s going store by store. We have a lot of the Craftsman inventory, but it’s waiting for a two week overnight conversion
A lot of stores hire companies to do big store resets like this. If that’s what they’re doing then there are a limited number of crews to go around. So they’ll do one store, then the next, and so on until they’re done.
There’s a Lowe’s and a Menards both within 5-10 mins of where I live. Home Depot is a 30 minute drive. So far I haven’t noticed any huge changes to Lowe’s as far as Craftsman/Kobalt tool lines go. Craftsman is definitely taking some shelf space but Kobalt is still available. I honestly prefer to shop at Menards over Lowe’s though. Customer service at Menards is far better in my opinion, and there’s a broader selection of tools and materials, and price range as well. I prefer to buy store brand products over name brand because of warranty claims. For example if I break a Menards brand socket wrench with a lifetime warranty, I can simply take it in and get it replaced on the spot no questions asked. Lowe’s also offers lifetime warranties on a lot of their tools as well. But if Craftsman is going to “takeover”, I’m glad I’m already using Menards brands products. As far as cordless power tools go, my brother in law bought me a Ryobi cordless set as a wedding gift a few years back and I’ve been adding to it since. Kobalt does have some really great tools all around. Corded, cordless, pneumatic, hand tools, I really hope they keep the Kobalt line going. Options are always nice, instead of just SBD.
I went to Lowe’s this week and they had a lot of Dewalt reduced drastically. Miter saws were $200 off, also their worksite saws had good prices. Here’s a link to some of the bargains.
Mine had a lot of red, but I wasn’t paying much attention since I was in a hurry to get the couple of things I needed.
I also noticed some of the Kobalt cordless items were reduced prices, looked like they’re trying to get rid of some of the lesser used items. Too bad, it’s a good line for the money. I have the cordless circ saw and it’s great for the money.
That dewalt saw is always $350. Just bought at that price 1 year ago this month
Hope they’re not following Amazon’s lead of pumping up prices then looking like you’re getting a great discount. I’ve gotten some of my best bargains at Lowe’s when they changed stock. Guess you always have to check.
I went to the Lowe’s in El centro ca .and they was great they had everthing I needed. Customer service was great.and there loader . put all. My stuff in my car .and I was on my way .great team work. Wat better than that other store .
About half of my Lowe’s are down to 8′ of Kobalt hand tools and like 24′ of Craftsman hand tools. It’s just condensed on the Kobalt side, Craftsman has a lot of sets. Craftsman and Kobalt have the same full 16′ of power tools (Same as Dewalt).
I work for Lowe’s and see the transitions happening in our area. Fact is it takes 8-10 people about a week to change one store over to prominently display Craftsman. The 3 closest stores to me were done last May, then October and the third one 2 weeks ago. There is a lot less Kobalt, unfortunately, but that shelf space had to come from somewhere. The two stores I am familiar with have been replacing old, failed Craftsman products without a receipt.
Haven’t I seen posts like this before? While HD sticks them in the middle of the store. Lowe’s sticks their tools way to the corner. Their tools offerings seem more like an after thought or “convenience store” setup. Even though it’s short shelves, it’s a very secluded and lonely section of store. Kinda like an office with cubicles. Lighting and fans are the most identifiable sections. Even the restroom has more character than the tools section.
Agreed. My long ago “take” was Lowe’s was more women-centric and HD was more guy friendly. And nothing’s much changed my perception over time. Regionally and nationally.
The Craftsman tools being sold at Lowe’s are crappy Stanley made tools. SBD bought the brand.
I guess it depends on your definition of crappy. Craftsman stuff at Sears has been absolute Harbor Freight level garbage since the late 90s. Sure, the new SBD Craftsman stuff is not pro-grade stuff, but the price isn’t up there either. IMHO, it’s a significant improvement on everything that has been branded Craftsman at Sears in recent years.
The Topeka, KS store is in the middle of a reset. Most of the Kobalt hand tools are gone. And a lot of what is left has been shifted to a clearance aisle. There are a lot of holes on the shelves right now, I expect they’ll start to get filled back in next week. As far a brands go, I would like to see Tekton and a lot of their newer USA made lineup in one of the big national stores. But I doubt that will be Lowes since it seems like SBD has near total control of the tool dept these days. Selection isn’t really a big deal for me. With Lowes, Home Depot, and Menards all with a couple blocks of each other it’s not hard to get what I want between the 3 of them.
Guys, I think the grass is always greener on the other side of whatever fence you’re on. And I think whether we want to admit it or not, we all have a brand preference. In my little part of the country Home Depots are few and far between and they all are trashy and the customer service is extremely poor. The Lowe’s stores are always neat and clean and Associates are always willing to help me. The five Lowe’s stores that all are within a 1 hour drive of me are very well stocked with a good selection of hand tools, cordless tools and Electric Tools. I used to be a huge Home Depot fan and shopped exclusively there. But like I said, at least in my area, Lowe’s has gone above and beyond to get my business. So instead of all of us bashing the other brand let’s like guys do when you talk about Ford or Chevy or Dodge, just be thankful and appreciative that you do have options. If you don’t like your options, then by all means go back to your little local hardware store. But don’t be upset there if you can’t find have the things that you can at one of your orange or blue stores. Everybody’s a Critic.
I work at Lowes and there are alot of craftsmen tools on display. They are in the process of resetting displays throughout the store. Rome wasn’t built in a day.
90 % of the time I am wandering into a Lowes or Home Depot for something project related. I do check out the tool aisle from time to time.
My Lowes certainly has a lot more Craftsman, but still also has Porter Cable (despite all the conspiracy theories). And so far not many liquidation items except old Hitachi stuff. In that regard HD always seems to have more sale stuff than Lowes.
My local Lowes store had:
Irwin router bits, screwdrivers, driver bits, saw blades
Lenox, Dewalt sawzall blades
Bosch, Dewalt SDS+ bits and chisels
Kobalt mechanc’s tools
All 75% off. Really some amazing deals to be had, so stop by one frequently if you haven’t lately.
But in general, Lowes is in 3rd place on my list as a remodeling contractor. Their selection of plumbing and electrical supplies is limited and poorly stocked. Their 2x lumber and plywood is always a bit warpy.
Home Depot is my first choice as they do pretty much everything right as a home center in terms of selection and quality.
Menards is a mixed bag… really crap tool assortment, lot’s of cheap Walmart-feeling products, that stupid 1/2 mile away walk outdoor lumberyard… But – they have a very deep selection of some items that lowes and home depot don’t even begin to stock. Menards’ plumbing dept, while a very confusing layout, has about 2x the range of products and quality levels than Home Depot and other dept’s have some oddball stuff and hard to find items.
They have a much expanded sheet goods, trim, drywall and outdoor construction products as well.
Check again in a few weeks, Lowe’s is doing a massive craftsman reset soon. You might be surprised
I can’t speak for any other Lowe’s stores but the one I shop on East main in Spartanburg SC has complete overhaul of the tool area the Craftsman tool selection is spot on ! I did not care for Kolbalt tools junk! Home depot better get on the stick!
Lowes is about a year away from needing a major turnaround to survive. And on a side note the merchandising in those photos sucks. Their manager should be fired.
Other than “politics” yesterday this is the most hilarious line I’ve seen in a while “or when my memory of this visit starts to fade”!
Faint praise indeed. And exactly how I feel about our local Lowe’s mostly low end mix, staffing and therefore interest on my part in visiting let alone actually buying.
Yup, always comical to see those who live in a bubble have to realize, you don’t always get your way. Heh, predicted that years ago.
Lowes is sub par to Home Depot, with the exception of the fact they carry USA made (and yes some is unfortunately sourced elsewhere) Gator Sand paper and Montana brand sourced USA made twist drills and TTI Industries USA made oscillating blades. With sand paper I am specifically mentioning power tool sand paper and average grit sand paper.
That is it though, as Home Depot beats them in other categories, sometimes on prices and Home Depot is exponentially more pro veteran, community focused and the original founders are genuinely pro small business.
So yes if I need sandpaper, twist drills or oscillating blades, I’d go to Lowes. Not because I like Lowes, this strictly only because I want to support domestic manufacturing. Yeah 3M does have some products made here/global materials, but that isn’t what HD sells.
Spend your money wherever, I am not here to control others. But if I were Home Depot, I’d ditch the Diablo power tool sand paper, not all their products and create even more competition with Lowes. Same with the other brands.
Pretty simple strategy, as much as some like to embrace the notion that all consumers care about is cheap goods, there are those of those that don’t want to enrich other countries, rather put America needs first and foremost.
I have a lot of tools. I can count on one hand how many I’ve purchased from Lowe’s. A Kobalt compressor, a Dewalt jobsite blower, a Kobalt hammer, a speed square…
I try not to buy from HD either because their prices are hardly ever competitive with CPO outlets, toolnut, acme tools, Ohio power tools, etc. Homedepot is just there like a local car part store, for when you need a part right now.
I do, however, buy a lot of lumber and building materials from Lowes over HD because their prices are usually identical, and I get 5% off if it’s a small purchase and upwards of 13% off on large purchases. HD has their own discount platform but I find it doesn’t discount their products as consistently as Lowe’s.
So, I continue to buy material at Lowe’s, hand tools at HD or Lowe’s, and power tools from locals or eBay.
As an aside in Portland, OR we’re blessed with many actual contractor level specialty vendors, actual factory sponsored/authorized repair stations, a Hilti store, countless electrical supply houses (all with tools) and best of all several extremely will stocked independent building material dealers.
So while I buy weird stuff on Amazon almost daily (mostly for “business” yeah sure) and drive a couple of miles to one of the half dozen HD stores nearby for simple commodity stuff I haven’t historically found squat at Lowe’s except the occasional odd Bosch closeout or a surprise doohickey. Sadly.
Mike (the other one)
I will say this: so far I have not been blown away by any craftsman product I have seen. The socket sets look ok, but the price point seems high for something made in China. The classic handle screwdrivers are nice, but the handles are slightly different and not as comfortable. (I always felt the Phillips #2 had a handle that was too small.) Also, made in Taiwan, which is not a deal breaker, but disappointing. The red/black new style is much more comfortable, but those are made in China, and I see plenty of nooks to hold dirt and grime. Not sure how durable they are. The rest of the stuff, (tape measures, saws, hammers) look ok, but will likely never replace the ones I trust.
The lawnmowers look like standard MTD models in a new shade of red. Honestly, one of those might be on my shopping list soon, but I’d love to see some reviews. Hint Hint.
I’m not convinced that Lowe’s has a very good chance of survival in this world today. Seems to be grasping at straws to stay alive . Hope I’m wrong but doesn’t look good.
It may not be what investors are thinking.
HD has been reporting a PE ratio of not quite 19.1
Lowes PE ratio of almost 37.5 as of March.
That would suggest that investors may be expecting greater growth at Lowes.
Meanwhile Lowes revenues have continued to increase every year since 2005 but their net income is predicted to be down in 2019 from the $3.4 billion high that they reported for 2018. In fact, if you look at Lowes Net Income it seems to have whipsawed year over year – plus or minus $1 billion or more
It’s the same thing at the store by my house. They have ditched kobalt for craftsman. In fact they’ve had to put up a partition wall in front of the tool section which has made the tool section no longer accessible from the main aisle. It’s an inconvenience. One side of it is all craftsman and all of the other brands are on the other side of it. I was told that they had to do this because there was so much craftsman overstock that it was taking up room for the other brands. It wasn’t put up because craftsman tools are flying off the shelves and they needed somewhere to display it. From what I’ve observed and from what I was told by an associate that I know that has been working there for years, Lowe’s misplaced their faith in hopes that craftsman was going to fly off the shelves like Sears craftsman did when they were dominating the market. That ain’t gonna happen again and especially not at Lowe’s. There’s a lot more competition than there was when Sears was booming and the fact that sbd failed to meet the expectations of what Americans wanted craftsman to be. The craftsman tools on the shelves by my house are starting to collect dust.
Mike (the other one)
Had they been American made, I probably would have gone on a shopping spree.
How can the C-man project be considered a failure when it has barely started? Some stores do not even have Craftsman yet, and others have had it for less than a year. Aside from views expressed on a few online forums, what were Americans expectations of the new Craftsman, and how can anyone say they were not met when the tools are not even done being put in stores?
Back to the original post, the Lowes near is full of C-man tools. The Kobalt hand and power tools are on a clearance rack. One nice change is that there are 12 different tool chest/roll around displays in our store. Previously, there were never more than 2 Kobalt tool chests on display.
B&D Outlet Stores – now that brings back some memories. When I first started in the trades, my boss had no issues buying Klein, Ideal, Greenlee, etc. But, when it came to power tools, he strongly favored reconditioned consumer grade (translation – DISPOSABLE) ‘tools’ from the outlet…
Maybe he got a bargain on a B&D Super Sawcat – arguably the best circular saw of its era. Not everything from B&D was that orange-plastic-housed low-end stuff they sold at the home centers and discount stores.
Seems like the Lowe’s in my area have a bit more Craftsman than the one you visited. Some of the items I’ve seen locally: lots of flashlights, pliers, multi material screwdriver sets, acetate screwdriver sets, quite a few different Craftsman tool boxes/chests (odd location in the back of the store), mowers, HSS drill bit sets (picked one up recently), picked up a corded Craftsman circular saw. Most of the stuff was on end caps, but not all.
Just came back from a stop at the local Lowe’s and in just a week’s time, it has been blanketed in Craftsman red.
It’s pretty clear that SBD is replacing Porter Cable with Craftsman in that mid-tier price point that. All the corded PC models that were on display just last month now have a Craftsman model in their place. Looking at the tools, they appear to the same tools, just with a red shell. And quite honestly, it makes sense for them to do so. Your average Joe has probably never heard of PC, but you can bet they remember the Craftsman tools their dad or grandpa had.
What really surprised me, through was every Toro mower was gone in lieu of a Craftsman. But like the in the case of PC, it appeared that, at least for the push mowers, they were Toro (MTD) products in a Craftsman wrapper.
Correction, it’s Troy-Bilt, not Toro that was replaced.
I have only had two Toro mowers in my life. One John Deere, cause my mom worked for them. The first Toro was 15 years old when I gave it to my son, he had for several more years. My current Toro is about 20 years old. Just replaced the back flap. Very well built, hope they still are today, hate to have to buy another one! Putting a Craftsman label on it does more harm than good.
I just don’t get the buzz about Craftsman tools. I have many pre-China ones, love em. That was then, and they took them off shore, cheapened the quality, then Sears sold the brand. It’s nothing special any longer. Another me too-l.
What competive advantage does Craftsman provide? The move to China was the downward spiral of a well respected brand. They will never be a New Coke and be forgiven. In the meantime, smoke and mirrors for unaware consumers.
Everyone likes Porter Cable in our neck of the woods. It’s inexpensive and it works, not sure if Porter cable customers will move over to craftsman. Thinking sbd is making a mistake doing that. On the mowers I think it was a wise move. They are still the same as the Troy bilts but with a name people like in power equipment and their nicer tractors are a spin offs of Cub cadet and they are getting great feedback Sofar. Plus Their zero turns are also top notch.
Our lowes is also doing a big reset and it’s looking nice. All Dewalt power tools grouped together and all Kobalt power tools grouped together ect. Getting rid of all slow sellers to make room for new stuff. Lowes just needs more tool brands like HD does. Like Flexvolt, Milwaukee, makita, ego and on and on.
Store 3351 has finish the reset and when you walk to the tools dept. You will see a big change very nice choice of craftsman kobalt and dewalt.
Having spoke with the tool guys in the local and regional stores the regional ones have been full on Craftsman for a few months removing almost all kobalt hand tools. The non regional stores are transitioning in the next month or so. Per the same people and VCG kobalt hand tools are going away to be replaced by craftsman but expanding in the power tool segment. This is consistent with the regional store showings. Kinda a shame because kobalt had some nice hand tools, even though I am a fan of craftsman.
I live in Flint MI. There were 2 Lowe’s stores near me (one in Burton which was about 3 miles away and one in Flint which was about 10 miles away). The idiots closed them BOTH in January. What the…?
I’m going to comment from a different perspective. You guys likely know/use tools far more than me. On my last trip to Lowes, Xmas, the entrance started with Kobalt stuff, and craftsman power equipment. But thy he tools section itself was far less impressive so I shopped at HD. Usually a smart retailer tries to get idiots like me to buy stuff I don’t even need ( Home Depot is great at this. Flashy display s, good lighting, inviting sales price signs. Lowes had exactly jack in our city. It was reliable, but flat–just like all year. HD you gotta keep going back because you will catch a good sale, even off season. Our Lowes does not inspire that commitment.
I work at Lowe’s as a cashier. I discovered that Metabo is the new name for Hitachi. It says that in the fine print on the boxes.
Stores are being reset store by store so it may be awhile before you see changes in your store. My store has been reset and you can see Craftsman all over the place.
My guess is that Lowes is stocking according to competition and margin. In areas like ours, where there is no HD, menards, etc… it seems like we have more craftsman AND kobalt in stock since the start of last xmas season. Less b&d, less porter cable, and more blue and red.
I’m probably going to buy the kobalt 24v miter saw. They finally put one on display along with the craftsman 20v, and it was way better: 10 inch crosscut, dual bevel, much tighter feel overall. I pulled the craftsman on the slide, and the bearings were horrible! They felt rough and you could feel the head assembly shift when you pulled down on it. I was considering some craftsman 20v for our handyman business since lowes is all we really have here, but that saw changed my mind instantly.
Had to go to Lowes today to exchange kobalt tool which failed only to find I was out of luck because they don’t carry kobalt stuff much, it’s now mostly crsftsm and Irwin. Saw tons of craftsman in OPE and tools. Much more now than during Xmas. Not overly happy with the way they handled it but I guess lifetime warranty always depends on whether a company continues to exist on the shelf. Kobalts warranty webpage explicitly stated to handle warranty at the store level. Oh well, one more reason I go to home depot, I made that clear in the store. Not sure I trust the lifetime warranty on my craftsman replacement either (for which I had to pay)
When I was buying tools for my businesses – I looked rather askance at “lifetime warranties”. I viewed them at best representing a notion that the manufacturer or vendor stood behind their product. But more likely I thought that they might just be marketing hype that could prove difficult to implement.
My thought was to look for tools (and manufacturers) that had a track record of proven performance. For power tools we were looking for ones that would perform at or near the top of their class – and ones where we could realistically estimate life expectancy on the job. The thought of having a tool fail mid-job – resulting in lost time, delayed completion time or worse (e.g. an injury) was not something that a “lifetime warranty” would ameliorate. Stopping work to run to a store (even if nearby the jobsite) to replace a failed tool is not a money-making proposition. The other alternative of carrying spares on the trucks – was also not very practical.
The expectations were spelled out and very well known long before craftsman was bought by sbd and the kicker is that sbd made a pledge to address any concerns about what they already knew what was to be expected the same day that they bought the brand from Sears. 100% made in the USA craftsman tools. All of them. No global materials whatsoever. Sbd has absolutely failed to meet the one expectation that people gave a shit about. I think this is another reason why home depot decided not to sell craftsman. As a whole, myself and the majority of the guys I work with have always considered Lowes as a second or third choice for procuring even small amounts of building materials and hardware for a job or shopping for tools to be used on a job. We only go to Lowes if they are significantly closer to the job site I’m at and only if hd or the lumber yard or if one of our local building materials suppliers doesn’t have what we need or if we need a specialty item that only Lowes carries which is very seldom. I guess it’s because I live in Georgia which is where home depot was founded and Lowes has always been considered as in the likes of Ace hardware. Last resort.
The SBD statement was that American made was the goal, Eventually. They’ve addressed it several times in press releases and at trade shows.
They closed their entire Orchard Supply chain mostly on the west coast because their latest CEO said “it wasn’t worth their management time” for a mere sub billion dollar enterprise.
All vacant by January.
Like Penny’s revolving CEO I wonder how long the newest management team at Lowe’s will itself last?
For me, it’s Lowe’s for garden, appliances, and basic lumber. Their garden center, at least near me, absolutely destroys my local HD. For whatever reason, I find their lumber is reasonably priced and less picked over than my local HD.
Home Depot is for power tools and some hand tools. Ace for fasteners and guys that actually know what they’re talking about when I need a second opinion.
Biggest problem I have with Lowe’s is their tool section is just all thrown together and everything is just mid-tier stuff. I swear the number of times that I have looked for something to find 3 brands of the same thing with tiny differences in feature set and price is simply unbelievable. The best example I can think of was I was recently looking for a multi-bit ratcheting screwdriver. They had Kobalt, Craftsman, Irwin, and Lenox options. To me, none of those scream either high end or particularly budget. They all had comparable bit sets and the prices ranged from $13-$16. What is the point?
Lowes’ problem is that they lack both compelling entry level and high-end selections. Think about it. SBD Craftsman, Non-FlexVolt DeWalt, Hitachi/Metabo HPT, and Kobalt are all what I would call firmly mid-tier products at this point. Sure, perhaps DeWalt XR trends a little higher than the others, but without FlexVolt, to they’re in the same neighborhood as Kobalt 24V Brushless and Craftsman Brushless in terms of both price and performance.
Comparing Home Depot and what I perceive as very clear tiers, is pretty interesting:
High end pro-grade: Milwaukee M18 Fuel, Makita 18V LXT, Dewalt FlexVolt, Bosch.
Mid-upper level enthusiast: Milwaukee Non-Fuel, Ridgid Octane, DeWalt non-FlexVolt.
Mid-level DIY/upper level homeowner: Ryobi One+, Ridgid brushed.
Budget: Cheaper Ryobi stuff and some Black and Decker.
I think mid-level stuff, while probably the best value proposition for most non-professionals, probably sells a fraction of what both the lower end and higher end stuff sells. Let’s face it, the pro with a full set of DeWalt 20V or Milwaukee M18 batteries and chargers who needs a new tool is not walking in and weighing price vs. performance for 20 minutes. They’re walking in, buying the tool they need on their platform, and walking out. Similarly, the guy who needs to replace a few boards in his deck is not mulling over which miter saw will give him the best performance for the price or which drill will hold up best under heavy loads, he’s buying the cheapest thing that will get the job done.
Even myself, as a guy that does weigh performance vs. value as a bit of a toolhead, I walk into these stores and I have an idea of what I want to spend on a tool. If it’s a drill I’m going to use all the time, I’ll spend a little more. If it’s a tool I need for a particular project, I’m probably getting the cheapest thing on the shelf. At Home Depot, I know I’m looking at Ryobi 9 times out of 10. At Lowe’s, I’m stuck reading marketing shpiel on 6 different boxes priced within $20 of each other, and trying to make a decision. Nothing appears to be a particularly good deal compared to anything else, and because of that I’ll usually end up doing a Home Depot/Amazon price comparison anyway.
Honestly, I like Kobalt tools, but I think they need to be either eliminated or re-branded as an upper-class tool if Lowe’s wants to survive in this fight. A clearer entry-level brand would help as well.
The two Lowe’s in my area have undergone a drastic change in just the past two weeks. Lots of Craftsman everywhere including a huge Craftsman only section and a de-emphasis of Kobalt. Still lots of Kobalt around, but all the Kobalt tool sets are marked down up to 50%.
HMM – slightly different opinon I guess. Memphis Area here – I’ve ended up in 3 lowes stores in the last 2 weeks. of the stores this is what I see. both big and small.
1) lots of center aisle space on clearance / orphaned stuff. Example bosch top hand jig saw – the 470e model – no box no info – bare masking tape label. Saw blades unpackaged – masking tape labe. Hitachi, bosch, dewalt, etc. some recip sets – clearnace priced. PC, Dewalt,Kobalt,etc. Lots of one off things like bosch masonry bits – individually.
2) new shelving systems – with all the piece meal hand tools in drawers with racks of sets or bigger items. IE what that 3/8 drive 14mm socket – in a drawer now. What a new ratchet to turn that – on the wire rack above. This is for more than just the kobalt stuff too.
3) Dewalt space is smaller – craftsman space is huge – no hitachi space – didn’t see any new bosch space. On the other side of the Yellow/red rack – all kobalt. Full cordless and corded line all together on the other side.
4) metric tonnes of RED. Everything that could have a craftsman naming piece – had one. OPE – tonnes of red – no yellow – little Husqvarna, still some Kobalt. (Note – NO Yellow, not one piece of dewalt OPE on the rack) . Craftsman push mowers took the place of any Troy-bilt mowers – or so it seems to me. one 3 orange models on the shelf. Kobalt cordless – still sitting there. MIght have been old. Shock to see – EGO cordless. Never saw any at lowes last year which makes sense if Chevron makes the Kobalt line.
5) Craftsman labels Outdoor tools (rakes/hoes/etc) displacing whatever used to be there. True- temper I guess. WHich I thought was an ACE TOOL name. Little to no fiskars stuff.
Just the bits that jumped out at me on my visit. Leads me to wonder if there will be further reduction in name branding at Lowe’s – and other names moving to HD.
I can’t seem to type right today either – FYI
There is a Merchandising Roll-Out of Craftsman coming whereas the Kobalt hand tool counter on the main aisle is replaced entirely by Craftsman. Your Lowes simply has not yet received.
There will be about 8′ section of Kobalt remaining on the interior. In time and by Christmas if any Kobalt remains it will be relegated to base line value driven price point.
No “Craftsman takeover” yet at any of the 3 Lowes stores near me. However, do believe it’s coming, since I’ve noticed clearance prices on a lot of the Kobalt ratchets and other hand tools (which I’ve taken advantage of – scored 3 “mini-head” ratchets for $8/piece), and there’s a decent amount of surrounding empty shelf space in the tools area.
Insert the meme here: “Brace Yourselves… Craftsman is Coming…”
I have two Lowe’s in my town, which I already vastly preferred over Home Depot but adding craftsman I was able to cut out the struggling sears hometown store and make more trips to Lowe’s.
Anyways, In both local Lowe’s craftsman displays have completely taken over kobalt and porter cable space combined. Entire hand tool section is almost exclusively Craftsman. I’m pretty satisfied with it, I’m holding off buying any mechanic tool sets (not just because I already have about 8 full sets) to see if they bring some hand tool production back stateside.
You are right. I have noticed more of the Kobalt being not available in stores or on line. I have 5 , 40 volt batteries of Kobalt. Several of the Kobalt tools are not available any more which I purchased , maybe 2yrs. ago. Several of their most recent tools are not either. Do not know who is actually making their Craftsman, but whatever happened Sears is almost out of business. The prices of the craftsman do not impress me either. Not good.
The Lowe’s in Moreno Valley, CA has a bunch of clearance stickers on a wide range of tools. I opened their open stock drawer and all the Kobalt Sockets were marked at 50% off.
I think it will take a while, they have a lot of clearance to go through before they reset my local Lowe’s.
Local Lowes seems to be clearing out Porter Cable, Irwin (but just some lines, not all) and Kobalt. A lot of clearance, and a ton of empty racks, assuming they are bringing in more craftsman.
Picked up the display models of the 20v Porter Cable 18ga brad nailer for $50 with battery, and the 16ga finish nailer for $70 w/ battery. Already have one of the 18ga brad nailers that has been flawless thru a couple thousand brads.
Tommy R Applegate
Lowes has made a poor decision on getting rid of their biggest flagship. I am not a craftsman fan.
My local Lowe’s seems to be pushing Bosch tools and accessories out on clearance, but there seems to be plenty of SKU’s at Lowes.com.
Since my last reply March 25, 2019 regarding this subject, I have seen more and more price reductions, especially their Kobalt line which I think is being phased out.
Craftsman tools are the poorest quality tools for such a big name.
Been calling their tools “Crapsman” for over 20 years now.
Who cares? Craftsman and kobalt are both low end brands. The only Red tools worth worrying about say Milwaukee or Hilti.