Earlier today, I posted about the best cordless power tool brands, discussing my quick thoughts about the most popular and available cordless power tool brands.
I left a few homeowner-specific brands out, such as Black & Decker and Skil, and focused on the brands I felt to be of most interest to ToolGuyd readers. I also left out some of the higher brands I don’t have much experience with, such as Panasonic.
I could have perhaps mentioned Ingersoll Rand in there, which makes some fantastic drills and impact tools, but they’re automotive-focused. My focus in the post was towards more construction or general purpose brands.
The question first came up on Facebook responses – what about Craftsman?
Not to mince words, what about Craftsman?
Their 12V Nextec lineup was good, but has been all but abandoned. Their C3 19.2V tools are decent, but many if not all of the better ones are also available by Ryobi. Their 20V Max Bolt-On line? Made by Black & Decker and also available under the B&D Matrix line.
More than 5 years ago, someone asked about whether it was still worth investing in the Craftsman C3 19.2V lineup. I responded in a post: Craftsman C3 19.2V Power Tools, to Buy or Not to Buy?
At the time, I was optimistic. Now, not so much.
Craftsman Black & Decker bought the Craftsman brand. Sears can still develop and market their own Craftsman tools. But how long until Stanley Black & Decker Craftsman vs. Sears Craftsman competition takes a toll on sales?
How long until Sears declares bankruptcy? Many analysts have described Sears as spiraling towards that inevitability.
How long until another contract or supply dispute results in a bigger disruption?
More importantly, when is the last time Sears Craftsman came out with new cordless power tools? A quick search of ToolGuyd posts suggests that my last new Craftsman cordless power tool post was back in 2014.
I can’t think of any reason for someone to buy Sears Craftsman’s cordless power tools, unless perhaps they were already invested in the lineup or have Sears gift cards to burn.
It’s like the brand completely gave up. If so, and they’ve given up on their customers, does it really come as a surprise that I’ve given up on them? Or that in writing up a Best Cordless Power Tool Brands analysis I hadn’t even considered adding a Craftsman entry?
I’m sorry, I just see no real incentive to buy Craftsman cordless power tools these days. Some of their tools are appealing, but you can get nearly the same thing from Ryobi. The difference is that Ryobi will support their 18V lineup for a long time.
Even if Sears Craftsman has not seemingly given up on the C3 19.2V lineup, their support is tied to Sears, and Sears’ longevity is not guaranteed.
It is with sadness that I consider Sears Craftsman to be a vestige of a tool brand that used to care, and of a retailer that used to try to sell tools to users like me.